Posts Tagged tree

October Trees

[October 2010]

The theme of the month was October Trees and the colour was Effetre 460 yellow ochre.

I haven’t much liked yellow ochre when I’ve tried it before – it’s a bit mustardy for my tastes. I generally prefer pastel yellow or dark yellow. (Or CiM creamsicle – mmm, that’s a lovely colour). Anyway, I started with these, which I think are a bit of a mess:

Ochre dotties

Then I started making trees.


Vetro odd pale avocado over clear, with the tail end of a red and brown twistie used to draw the lines, which I then added twists to. I pressed it and added the leaves/birds (whichever you prefer – I think they’re a bit more bird-shaped) as dots of a MCD + hades twistie and raked them for a somewhat abstract tree effect.

Hippo tree

This is CiM hippo, rolled in silver leaf and pressed, with the tree done in hades stringer. I reduced it at the end. This bead was partly a test to see if the silver got the same effect as it does on African gray – it doesn’t.

Ochre with silver

Some more goes at the yellow ochre. I do like this one – it’s yellow ochre with silver leaf, then a dark ivory design and dark red brown dots. The silver leaf made it go blue!

Ochre with Cheeky Frit Blends

This pair are with more of Kaz’s Cheeky Frit Blends. On the right is Tobacco Road, superheated and with the tree in dark red brown. The other is the same, with Green Green Grass frit. Not quite sure about the result – they come and go with me!

Turquoise with spirals

This spirally bicone is a base of dark turquoise with yellow ochre spirals, then dark red brown spirals on top at another angle, deliberately pulling the surface a little.

SIS tree

This is dark ivory that’s had silver leaf melted in and given a twist on each side. Then I drew a tree on each.

Etched fritty tree

Etched fritty tree. It has Tobacco Road frit on the bottom and Ferry Cross the Mersey in the sky.

Etched pink tree

The last tree: etched pink and purple. I like the tree shape, but I wanted smaller blossoms on it :)

Ochre and amber

Finally, the last go at yellow ochre. For this I used yellow ochre stringer on amber for the focal, and I really like this set. The BHB is the same, but the stringer sunk in a bit more over the course of heating and shaping it, so it isn’t quite as clear.

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Lampwork – newbie week 3

March 9 – 16

Newbie week 3 beads

Here we have… (right to left)
1. Dots – dark grey opaque base with dark chocolate brown, ivory and coral dots.
2-3. Cat and penguin, see below.
4. Ivory mashed bead with random raked coral.
5-6. Coral spacers. One heated up more times than the other.
7-10. Iris gold frit on white, black and twice on dark ivory.
11. Bicone attempt. Dark ivory with dark turquoise ends, dots and stripes.

Catmouse and penguin

Catmouse and penguin

More critters! The cat ended up with a bit of a mouse face… I’m pleased with the penguin, though I’ve realised that if I make them with the bead hole running that way, if I want to make them into jewellery, I’ll have to thread them on something that won’t let them turn easily or they’ll hang upside down.

Fairy beads – these were for the (extended) February Newbie Challenge on Frit-Happens!

Green fairies - all

1. Tree. A grass green trans cylinder base with iris opal yellow frit on the bottom and green aventurine frit on top, then the tree done in black stringer. The green aventurine doesn’t show up very much as it’s rather dark.
2. Round. Grass green transparent base, iris gold frit. Then I tried putting little bug-like shapes on with stringer dots – lime green and turquoise. Then encased with clear, which turned the bugs into abstract bits of colour instead…
3. Oblong tree with fairy. Grass green trans and iris gold frit again, encased in more grass green and mashed into an oblong. Tree on one side – black stringer, lime green stringer and aventurine green frit for leaves. Added a bit too much so it went all blobby. Fairy on the other side – dark ivory and turquoise and some trans mid purple that doesn’t show. There was more decoration at the top so I had to add extra green glass to the bottom to even out the thickness a bit.
4. Large cylinder with bug-fairy. Grass green trans and iris gold frit again, encased in clear with a little more iris gold on top. The fairy shape is in coral with petrol green and turquoise dots. The coral was probably a bad idea – it looks dull grey-purple when hot, so I ended up using too much of it without realising quite how bright it would end up.
5. Eye! Lime green opaque core, encased in grass green trans. The eye is two dark ivory dots with a black one in the centre, then a small ring of ivory over the black for the iris. The iris has cobalt blue and grass green dots. Black stringer around top, going to a small squiggle. Corner of the eye is light pink with striking red on top. There were then trails of 3 dots in cobalt or lime green decorating other places on the bead. Then I encased the whole thing in clear, which in hindsight was probably a bad idea. The eye itself looks ok, though more smeary than it originally was, but the rest is rather lost. The encasing isn’t great either – I was getting tired and it was taking forever to melt smooth. The slightly irregular shape feels quite nice to hold, though.

Closeups of some

Fairy trees detail

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(July 23-24)

As the other part of my mum’s present, I made a new tree. I was aiming for a small tree for ease of transportation. However, I used pieces of wire that were far too long (the kind of lengths I use for the cherry blossoms) so it wasn’t going to work for that. It’s also amusingly springy because of how thin the wire is. (My 0.5mm silver-plated wire was still at the post office depot – I picked it up the next day).

Gothtree the first Gothtree the first, pic 2

Gothtree the first

0.315mm silver-plated wire, obsidian chips and translucent grey seed beads.

It’s slightly unstable. I think I should probably use a pebble for the base to weigh that down a bit – it does stand up on its own, but it takes careful balancing.

So I made a smaller one the next afternoon, using the 0.5mm silver-plated wire that finally got picked up from the post office. Still obsidian chips and translucent grey seed beads. This one is 3 inches tall by 4 inches in the widest direction. The sproingy one is now residing in my living room.

Gothtree the second Small silver and obsidian tree, another angle

Gothtree the second

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Cherry blossom trees

My next tree! I made this one out of 0.5mm diameter brown-coated copper wire. This is a little thinner than my gold-coloured craft wire, which is a slightly odd size (it’s somewhere between 0.5mm and 0.6mm – smaller than one but larger than the other).

Brown wire tree Brown wire tree, another angle

Brown wire tree, two views

I got the tree part done, and then was stuck for a little while, because I wanted to do something different from the stone chip approach. I wanted something that suggested blossoms. I was dubious at first about using seed beads, because I wasn’t quite sure how I’d get them to cluster. So I left it overnight, came back the next day and made a two-tone cherry blossom.

Brown wire cherry blossom Brown wire cherry blossom, another angle

Brown wire cherry blossom, two views

I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out. Also that the sun came out, which helped the photograph immensely! What I did in the end was to string a small number of seed beads onto a branch, make a little loop that held them in place about halfway down it, then add a larger number on at the end for the ending loop. It was a good thing I left the branch ends so long – when using chips they can be shorter. This gave the clustering effect and meant there was plenty of blossom on each branch. I did them in two types – the lower branches had the larger ecru seed beads along with the little clear ones on them, while the higher ones had small red and clear beads. (I’m not convinced that ecru is the best description of their colour, but I can’t think of anything better – they’re frosted off-white/neutral coloured).

It takes noticeably longer than using chips, but the result is lovely.

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At this point, I needed supplies

I wanted to make more things, but needed something to do it with. I spent some time checking out UK online bead stores, and my friends pointed me in the direction of bead shops in London – I visited The Bead Shop and London Bead Shop, which are both very close together in Seven Dials. I found The Bead Shop much more useful – it’s larger (two floors) and has a large semi-precious stone selection downstairs, along with a much better selection of seed beads. While both have a lot of beads you can buy individually, that’s all the London Bead Shop has, and I am more interested in being able to buy by the strand.

I ended up getting a load of large packets of Czech seed beads, two strands of discounted blue-and-white millefiori (4mm and 6mm), some chocolate brown cord, coils of silver-plated and copper wire, and some thin acrylic beading “thread” to practice with. The seed beads looked like packets of multi-coloured sugar when I got them home and piled them up.

Aside: I went for seed beads in quantity instead of the higher-quality Japanese ones so I wouldn’t be afraid to experiment. If I have plenty, I can do whatever I like with them and not feel like I’m “wasting” them. Also, they look perfectly fine for my purposes – I am not yet doing bead weaving, or anything that requires an ultra-regular shape.

I repurposed containers for storage: I actually found the ideal thing to keep my large quantities of seed beads in – the local hardware shop had a plastic octagonal lidded container intended for serving chips’n’dip. Eight compartments plus a round central one. I poured my beads in with glee (they make a great noise when you do that). It shows them off side by side, like a colour wheel. It’s incredibly useful, and if I ever find another one I’ll snap it up.

Octagonal wheel, full of seed beads

Octagonal wheel, full of seed beads

Later, I got hold of two sets of three clip-down lidded small containers from a pound shop, intended to be used for refrigeration. They were just the right size to hold the remaining seed beads that didn’t fit in my octagon.

My boyfriend has also picked up a couple of storage containers from Maplin for me – these are divided into a lot of very small compartments that are non-removable and won’t mix up the contents if you turn the box upside-down. They stack well, too. They go for about £2 each and are very useful for smaller quantities.

My birthday was coming up, so I pointed my mum at Beads Direct, which is my favourite of the online shops I’ve looked at – it has a huge range, lots of semi-precious stones, and has good prices. A little while later, I put in a big order myself. Lots of stones and chips, some wire and thread, needles and findings. I’d also picked up some needlenose pliers and wire cutters from that selfsame hardware shop – electrician’s tools, not jeweller’s, but they made it easier to make…

Another tree!

Lapis lazuli tree (click through for a secondary view)

Lapis lazuli tree (click through for a secondary view)

My gold coloured craft wire again, with lapis lazuli chips from my new supplies. I also added little translucent grey seed beads on the branches to make them look a bit knottier. Twisting the wire with actual pliers instead of tweezers let me twist it a lot tighter – who knew!

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How to kick-start an obsession

I’ve made occasional pieces of jewellery in the past, with bits and pieces I had lying around – broken costume jewellery I inherited, little earrings made from beach shells, friendship bracelets – but nothing for years. I’d never done anything with new bought-for-purpose materials or tools.

So what started it?

There was a confluence of two factors:

a) I bought this necklace from my local Sainsbury’s:

Brown and turquoise necklace

Brown and turquoise necklace

Cheap, but I love turquoise and brown together. However, when I got home and tried it on, I didn’t like the way it hangs. I had the vague idea that hey, I could split it into a two-strand and a one-strand necklace, and those would suit me better. (Note: I haven’t got round to this yet…)

b) I’d been reading the journal of someone who makes jewellery and wire trees. I loved the trees, and the jewellery-making helped put the vague idea above into my head. I was inspired to go and get out the small amount of bits and bobs I’d brought with me when we moved to London – I had gold-coloured craft wire and a necklace of amethyst chips, of the type you get from Crystal and Gem Museums, that I had never been inclined to wear. I took the necklace apart, used some heavy-duty tweezers as pliers, followed the instructions, and made a tree!

Amethyst chip tree

Amethyst chip tree

I was incredibly happy with this – it’s lopsided and the branches are a bit messily clustered, but it’s gorgeous and I made it!

From that point, I was hooked.

That was the end of May.

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