Posts Tagged flame off 2010

Catchup – weeks 7-8

Week 7: 5th – 11th April

Week 7, first lot

Some faux boro – straw yellow with iris gold frit, pulled into stringer. I was trying some things to see if they cut down on the cola tones. These are over white, then encased. The dark one 2nd from left was encased in teal – not such a good idea! The other two are me trying out blends of the small amount of frit I had, over white.

Fugly? Moi?

I call this bead “Who do you think you’re calling fugly?” or possibly The Kitchen Sink. It’s an end of day bead where I started with a teal base and added a bunch of leftover stringer ends and little bits, then put razor creases in it and encased with clear. I capped the ends with CiM Stoneground and some dots of it elsewhere. I then put SIS on top and added some teal raised dots at the very end.

I also had a few goes at blowing shards this week, using a hollow mandrel. Not quite how they’re supposed to turn out, but quite pretty…

First shard

Clear with blue-green frit mix. It probably wasn’t a good idea to start with clear when I haven’t made hollows before, because I think I had a small hole somewhere which eventually got covered up. Then once it was expanding I got a small blowout. The walls are still thick and it is still in one piece – there wasn’t much point smashing it because it’s far too thick to use and it is rather pretty in itself.

Then I tried using medium red, so I could see what I was doing as I built it better. It was rolled in iris opal yellow frit. With this one I got it blown up a bit, put it back in the flame to heat it back up so I could blow more… and melted a hole in one side, assumingly where it was thin. No pics of this one as it’s the same as the next only smaller.
Third: same as the above, a bit bigger, and blew out when I was reheating with my finger covering the end of the mandrel.

Third shard

Fourth shard: same again, but in orange. This one worked a bit better in terms of regularity, and it’s a bit bigger. Still not as thin as it should be.

Fourth shard

I then smashed up the two small red ones so I could use the thinner pieces to decorate some beads:

Shard beads

I tried some more implosions – it’s still very tricky to work out what I’ll end up with when I’m choosing the starting point. These have surface decoration on the sparser end of the implosion – vine cane, clouds or flowers.


Two end of day beads: black base, coral stringer trails, little bits of clear on top. Also a pale blue round with ink blue on anise white flowers.


Sage green with CiM Canyon de Chelly trails and SIS on top. Then the same with CiM Khaki.

SIS trails

End of day bicone. The centre is pastel yellow with black trails and light amber on top. Sage green wraps on each end, and SIS on top.


Colour tests
R-L: Pea green, yellow opalino, dark turquoise transparent, light turquoise transparent, teal and sage green transparent.


Week 8: 12th – 18th April

Teal base with Vetrofond odd light red jasper, dark amber and SIS on top.


Somewhat inspired by Michael Barley’s baleen beads – I mean to get the tutorial at some point. This was a dark purple transparent cylinder, with razor cuts and encased in clear. But you can’t see the cuts because it was a transparent… Oh well, you live and learn. It has CiM Canyon de Chelly ends and dots with SIS added. The eye is Vetro odd light red jasper, plunged and covered with clear. There are some other small clear raised dots around to balance it.

Eye 1

Eye 2 is similar, but with petrol green inside and in a tab shape. Don’t think it worked particularly well.

Eye 2

Here’s them all collected together. The top row left to right are: another go at faux boro, two tabs of Vetrofond odd light red jasper over dark amber, my first hollow in teal, and the last two were going to be a hollow but the bead release broke in the middle so I just rounded them off – teal over odd light red jasper.

Week 8

Flame Off beads

Flame Off beads

On a Cricket I made two rounds with Reichenbach Ocean (the second also has dark blue transparent frit, which I didn’t know was transparent at the time and so doesn’t show up) and a cylinder made of transparent grey with Reichenbach silver brown on top, reduced. Didn’t get much out of that, only the ends struck and I should have encased it anyway… Not wonderful shapes – a suddenly hotter torch and 2.4mm mandrels when I’m used to 1.6 will do that! Also no marver in my immediate vicinity, so the cylinder was shaped on the bench top.

On a Minor I made a clear round, encased in DH Aurae with clear dots on top. Reduced to lovely gold and managed to squish it in the fibre blanket (lots of light = hard to see if it was still glowing). Then I made a mimosa round with some commercial murrini on it. I was planning to do more (there was a rod of Psyche grinning at me) but then it was clear-up time.


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Flame Off 2010

Flame Off

For 16-17 April I was in Towcester (which I was informed after I got back is pronounced toaster…) for the UK’s annual Flame Off, which is organised by Martin at Tuffnell Glass. I had a wonderful two days! It’s held at Towcester Racecourse and consisted of a bottom floor of stalls selling glassy goodies – rods, tools, frit, presses and of course beads – plus a large tent attached to the side with lots of torches available for anyone to have a go on. On the first floor there was a large hall where glass artists were giving demos throughout the day, being filmed and shown on large projector screens (there were also small screens downstairs). I was wearing my Frit-Happens! name badge, and there were a *lot* of us there!

I travelled there via Northampton by train then bus, and stayed overnight in the Towcester Silverstone Travelodge. Next year I’m going to try to arrive on Thursday night and stay for two, so I can be in there right at the start :)

Demo-wise, on the first day I saw the end of Sharon Peters’ goblin heads demo, the second half of Teresa Laliberte’s goddess demo, and all of Sabine’s rose demo. I think the whole room went wow at her “here I grow a third hand” manoeuvre!

Teresa (LavenderCreek)’s goddess beads are beautiful. I’d seen pictures of some of them, but they do really need to be seen in person. They’re so much more delicate than photos make them look! I didn’t really ‘get’ goddess beads before – I could appreciate the skill that went into them, but the finished object didn’t grab me. Now I want one and I also think her tutorial for them may be making its way into my shopping basket soon!

I stayed for the charity auction that was held after the rest of the event closed. More hilarity than your usual auction! I didn’t bid on anything, but some people picked up bargains.

The weather was gorgeous both days – just as well because it takes a good 45mins to walk from the racecourse to the travelodge, and I was trundling my wheely trolley full of glass along behind me.

I had a go on a Cricket and a Minor on the second day, and have probably blasphemed by preferring the Minor! I liked that it felt more solid and was less sensitive to adjust. Hopefully I can have another go on both somewhere when I have more experience and want to get a new torch, but that won’t be for a while – I’m fairly sure I’d be happy on a Minor though, which does simplify things!

(For those who don’t know, Minors are easy to get hold of and known for being unfussy and pretty rugged. Crickets are made by a small American company called GTT, whose torches are held by many to be the best you can get. Crickets were also designed to be run on a single oxygen concentrator so they can give a much hotter flame than other small torches on the same equipment. But they’re hard to get hold of, particularly in the UK – apparently the ones Tuffnell’s had at the Flame Off were ordered a year ago! – and slightly more expensive, and they have to be cleaned frequently. Minors run better on bottled oxygen, which is what the Flame Off ones were on, but they’ll work on an oxycon too, and they’re more or less the default next step after a Hot Head, by virtue of being common and relatively cheap. I’m not convinced I would need the extra heat from a Cricket, and I also prefer a slightly bushier flame – Crickets are very pinpoint. But yeah, the plan is to try some again after I know more about what kind of beads I want to end up making! I reserve the right to change my mind :p)

My score for the weekend runs at:
Pre-orders from both Tuffnell’s and Off-Mandrel picked up
Sample pack of Plowden & Thompson 100 CoE, plus clear and black
Single rods of Reichenbach 96 from P&T
Lentil Trio from Maria-Louisa (
BeadySam frit from Maria-Louisa
Beads from Fyrebirds and Kate Sullivan
Rods I was swapping in the FH glass swap
Single rods of CiM from Off-Mandrel, plus a rod of TAG Taxco Silver Turquoise
Reichenbach Ocean and Mystic Grey-Blue from Tuffnell’s
Frit from Jolene (Kitzbitz Art Glass)
Annealing bubbles, 5mm mandrel, silicon carbide grit and a Japanese shaping tool from Manda (Mango Beads)
Mixed pack of murrini from Kaz (Cheeky Cherub Designs)

Kaz very kindly did murrini and shard blowing demos for us and gave us samples of what she made. There’s a photo of me watching taken by Richard Downton – he was doing unofficial photography duties the whole weekend. Go back a few pictures and you can see the shard blowing. I’ve started practising with some commercial murrini so I have a better chance of not ruining Kaz’s when I use them!

I think I had more to say, but it’s taken me so long to get round to finishing this post that I’ve entirely forgotten :p

It was a wonderful weekend and I will be back next year.

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