Posts Tagged twisties

Whoops, been gone a bit, haven’t I?

Do excuse the vanishing act. I’ve been very busy doing a whole load of things. I’ve decided that it’s pointless to try and catch up on all the posts I’ve meant to make, so will just start here.

So, what’ve I been up to?

In April I officially became self-employed (as well as being full-time employed). I became a UK distributor for Farbglashütte Lauscha, so I’m importing lovely glass from Lauscha in Germany and selling it on my website at I’m also gradually getting through colour testing it all, because we don’t have that kind of information as available as we do for other manufacturers. I’m posting the results on my website as well as on the Frit-Happens and Craft Pimp forums.

(If you’re interested, my testing typically goes plain spacer, spacer reduced or etched, silver leaf, silver leaf reduced and encased, psyche, terranova 2 frit, white, CiM tuxedo, CiM stoneground, copper green, ivory, then for transparents there may be frit painting with iris gold and a spacer over white. Plus testing with any other colours I think might be interesting).

I’ve been to some classes, all at Di East’s studio in Enderby, Leicester: By George, it’s Lush with Julie Fountain and George Harper-East in June, where we made beads the first day and made them up into jewellery the second. Di East taught Sarah Hornik’s Glass & Colour class at the end of July when Sarah got refused entry into the UK – she also had an open day immediately after which I stayed for and shared a table for my first time selling glass at a fair.

I went to Tuffnell Glass’s free Summer Bash in August – two days playing with glass and I camped with a tent I’d got specially! I had my first go with boro there and made some marbles. (I mean to try soft glass ones too as soon as I get the time…)

13.08.11_boromarbles 13.08.11_boromarble_side

On Saturday I’m doing a figure class with Lucio Bubacco. Eeeek! I’ve never done anything like this before so should learn a lot. I did a bit of practicing this week – off-mandrel sculpture in soft glass is a very different way of working. There are photos up of what Lucio demoed on Wednesday – they are just amazing.

Here are some of my tests (click to go to Flickr to see more).

29.08.11_caricature_head_02 01.09.11_figure_02

I’m getting ready for the GBUK AGM and Bead Fair on Saturday 24th September at the Loyd Lindsay Rooms, Ardington, Oxfordshire. I have a table booked there and will be selling my beads for the first time as well as Lauscha glass, so I’m busily making stock and trying to sort out how I will display it and all those many things.


Phew! There have also been a few fun swaps going on – there was a twistie swap earlier in the year that I got a bit over-enthusiastic about and made piles of twisties! I’ve just sent my murrini in for a murrini swap, and I’m quite pleased with a couple of the recipes I came up with. I have a charm swap due at the end of September…


I’m also doing a little bit of testing for Kaz’s monthly limited edition murrini and frit blends.


It’s all go, and I’m having a great time! I decided that this was the year I would go for classes and attend events, while I am still full-time employed and have the disposable income. I’m intending to go part-time so I have more time for glass, which requires the courage to actually leave or alter my rather dull job. I think I’d probably be better off leaving entirely and applying for something different part-time, but I know how things work here and there would be Change! So I keep putting that part off, but the days when I manage to get a decent amount of glassy work done are so much more satisfying that I know I have to do it eventually. I’m waiting for restructuring at my boyfriend’s workplace to be over, then I think I’m out of excuses. (He’s happy for me not to have a part-time job at all. I’m… not. I get issues about money and the spending thereof in that situation).

Life! It’s full of stuff! :)

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I’ve been playing a little with some silver glass twisties too. Trial and error, because it’s hard to know what’s what with something where the end result depends on what glass you used in the twistie, how you constructed it (base vs stripes vs encasing), what bead base you put it on, and how you treat it after it’s on the bead! I mentioned before that my twistie with red roof tile and hades in it didn’t turn out as intended because those two glasses swamped the stripes of silver glass.

Couple of silver glass twisties

They looked pretty before I used them, at least!

The redder looking one is CiM stoneground with stripes of kalypso, psyche, terra 2 and aurae. Lord knows what the best way to treat that would be! I put clear on the end for the pull, so I also have some thin end pieces that have clear twisted into them too. Which can be fun.

The grey-green one is CiM canyon de chelly with stripes of Lauscha olive and ekho.

Twisties on ivory

This bead is ivory with the aforementioned RRT twistie on one side and a thin end piece of the stoneground twistie on the other. With twists and clear dots. I reduced it a bit. Ivory probably isn’t a great choice of background colour to be doing this on in the first place…

Dragon's egg

This was from before: also the RRT twistie. Ivory, silver leaf, twistie, reduced and encased. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it’s rather nice in an organic way. I’m calling it a dragon’s egg.

Opalino twistie

This is the stoneground twistie on a white opalino base. Reduced and it has a lot of shine and fuming.

RRT tube with twistie

In this case, the base bead was red roof tile, and it has the olive twistie on top. It’s interesting and again organic but more subtle this time. Probably still not the best base to show off the twistie on.

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Off-mandrel hearts

Serendipitously, Holly of Holly’s Folly Glass posted this off-mandrel heart tutorial and I thought “Ooh, that looks interesting” so I went off to have a go.

First off-mandrel heart

First try! I used a thick rod of transparent pale blue for the base and added twistie ends in neutral and green. I twisted the centres, shaped the heart end and added a loop in baby blue (tricky!). Then I held the heart in my reverse-action tweezers, not the loop, in case it might shock. I took off the rod and heated the end to round off, then tried to put the heart into my kiln… but the tweezers wouldn’t let go! So I stuck it in my annealing bubbles to cool down. My tweezers have very thin pointy ends, and one of them had got embedded in the glass. I hadn’t put them in the flame, but I most have got them too hot anyway because it was well and truly stuck. In the end I just bent off the tweezers, so now one of the points is shorter than the other, and the remains are still in this bead… After this, I used my needlenose pliers instead and always hold the loop!

I made heart 2 (the blue one below) in the same way, without the mishap. Then I read Mr Smiley’s heart tutorial (there are pics later on in the thread) and I made more… and more. They’re fun and rather addictive, but I still find the loops tricky!

Blue and pink off-mandrel hearts

Blue heart: pale blue with a blue twistie and a green+brown twistie.
Pink heart: Reichenbach mystic pink mixed about with Lauscha soft clear. Goldstone ribbon on the surface and encased. The shape has a bit too much on one side for my liking.

Citrine twistie heart

This heart is Lauscha citrine with my red roof tile twistie. There were a couple in between the pink heart and this one, but they’re off to the Valentine’s swap so I won’t show them yet. The RRT twistie hasn’t been a great success – basically it may as well be RRT and hades only, because those are the colours that take over.

Opalino raku heart

I really like this one. It’s a white opalino base with coe 96 raku frit. I didn’t strike the frit properly, though I did get the opalino hot enough that it’s started displaying faint black spiderwebbing in places. Neither of which I mind – I think it gives it a delicate look, and the muted colours go well with it.

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Squares, charms, twisties and presses

[Sept 2010]

The UKJC charm swap was due on Sept 9th – I’d been making the teeny lotus beads with that in mind, but then I started making these and liked them much better!

Twistie squares

I got out my Zoozii’s Mini Duo press for these – it has a tiny square and a tiny diamond, and I’d had a couple of goes with it but then got distracted by my lentil press. It’s just right for things like this. I think these are a great way of using up odds and ends of twisties. You just need a piece that’s an inch or so long, wrap it on and encase with clear and press. Then add a little random murrini to one side! Note: it works a lot better on 1.6mm mandrels. I usually use 2mm, but these are so small that the larger mandrel doesn’t let you press as neatly.

My favourite was a multicolour dark + hades twistie with one of Kaz’s multicolour mermaid murrini. So I used that to make my charm swap bead – put it on a nice fine silver headpin and voila! See a gallery of all the charms.

Here’s the charm I received – it’s a beaded bead in black and silver by Anita Mistry and is lovely and very clever! (We do the swaps secretly, then have a big guessing game to work out who did what).

UKJC charm swap by Anita

The other thing I tried at this time was a little sculptural head. This is the second try, the first is a bit more Lego styled :p


I used CiM ginger for the face, which got a lot darker with the longer working time than it did when I made test spacers – now I know how to get what I want out of it! I was disappointed with the paleness of the spacers, but this is very nice. Oh, and the mouth is CiM chai. He went a bit little old lady, because I kept accidentally melting parts of his face in when working on others… needs more practice.

I got a second hand Kalera Long & Lean press, and proceeded to make everything into kaleras. I do like them as a shape.

Organic kaleras

I was trying a number of things, some of which didn’t work (that silver brown again!). There are some Vetro odds in there too – Jolene gave me some bits and bobs to play with when I visited her.

And this is the big version of my twistie squares. I like it a lot.

Elements kalera

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Lampwork: week 15

[June 1 – 6]

The two on the right are CiM dirty martini bases, with a twistie of magic and hades on the rightmost, and MCD and hades on the other, then encased. The magic didn’t strike. (The MCD developed brighter colour after annealing). The other two are a white latticino twistie wrapped round a black base.

Twistie rounds

This one didn’t work very well, but it does show my rainbow murrini. It is a mid amber lentil with a couple of green twisties on top.

Rainbow murrini on lentil

I am really pleased with the way this one came out. It is a clear core encased in CiM khaki, with Kugler silver green frit that I reduced, then a bit of clear striped over the top, and some of my complex green murrini. I love the way it looks like it has water washing over it.

Khaki and silver green lentil

The Theme of the Month Challenge was June Bug this month, so I tried making ladybird murrini. I had to fight a bit with a huge gather, and I now know why people like stainless steel punties for pulling larger amounts of glass. The ends warped, so the ladybirds from there have no heads! They can be added onto a bead anyway, so they can still be used, but I would rather like some proper punties… (I have had no luck trying to use other glass rods as punties. Something always gets too cold and falls off/shatters exactly when I don’t want it to. I have been pulling my murrini using stainless steel chopsticks, which works well if they’re bullseye-style and you make a relatively small amount at once).

Ladybird murrini

And the colour of the month was Effetre 026 teal. I’ve included in the picture the teal hollow I made a while ago to show the batch variation you can get – it’s much bluer than the (probably older) batch I have more of. There’s a spacer, the hollow, three bases with different twisties wrapped round, and two with teal bases, white dots, more teal on top.


This is a periwinkle opalino lentil with trails of teal on top. It has a watery effect (looks better in person – in the photo the periwinkle seems to come more to the front).

Watery lentil

A ladybird bead: I made a core of lime green, added bome very fine black stringer lines and mostly encased it in dark grass green. Then I added my ladybird murrini, capped with clear and patted in a bit. (There’s one on the back I melted in flat and didn’t cap. It didn’t come out well). Then there’s a 3D ladybird I made in situ on a base of dark grass green. Finally there’s the METAtropolis bead take 1, with a P&T black oblong, white and mid amber dots and ladybird murrini.

Ladybird beads

Teal and CiM kryptonite lentil, with a twisted line of SIS around the centre and complex green murrini.

Teal and kryptonite lentil

METAtropolis bead take 2. P&T black tab shape, fine clear stringer for the brickwork and two handmade ladybirds. (P&T black will stay black under transparents).

METAtropolis bead take 2

P&T black lentil with vine cane and ladybird murrini that have been capped with clear.

Ladybirds with vine

Dark lavender and CiM kryptonite lentil, with SIS swirl and Jolene’s purple murrini. Dark lavender is a lovely colour, though it colour changes to blue under incandescent light (as here).

Dark lavender and kryptonite lentil

A sandy, beachy lentil. Ivory, silver foil and Jolene’s orange murrini.

Sandy beach lentil

Reichenbach caramel and flamingo testing. I did these because Melanie of MindMelt did some colour testing of flamingo, and her description of the rods she had sounded a lot more like the caramel I had. Since I had a rod of each, I thought I’d compare them.

Caramel and flamingo testing

L to R:
1. Clear lentil part encased in copper green, with flamingo trails. The copper green reduced a fair amount.
2. Caramel round (did this previously).
3. Caramel reduced.
4. Flamingo reduced – both these go metallic.
5. Copper green on caramel.
6. Copper green on flamingo.
7. Silver foil on caramel.
8. Silver foil on flamingo.
9. Clear, encased in copper green, caramel on left, flamingo on right.
I didn’t get such impressive results as Melanie, and the colours on top of copper green didn’t get the outlines hers did, but I have an idea why not. It has happened before for me that colours you would expect to get large reaction lines with (and which do when they are rounds) don’t do it nearly so much when I press them as lentils. I am suspecting that when I add the surface decoration to the lentil, the base isn’t getting hot enough for the glasses to react together properly. On the lentils here you can see some pitting on the top colour where the raised parts got too hot when I was melting them in, but they still haven’t properly sunk in to the base. Need to adjust my technique, I think. Possibly the copper green layer was also too thin in this case.

Anyway, my results do show that caramel and flamingo react in exactly the same ways in these tests. Caramel is just always browner and flamingo is always pinker. They both reduce to metallic like Reichenbach’s iris colours, and are very pretty doing so.

Ivory lentil with orange twisties from Jolene wrapped around. Thermal shocked, so it has a crack down the centre.

Orange twistie lentil

Reichenbach silver brown again: tiny cores and Laura Sparling’s thick encasing method. They’re better than my previous efforts, but I was still getting the inside too hot.

Silver brown

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