Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I've learned

In just over a week I've learned quite a lot about hot glass. For one, it's hot. It reaches this molten state that scares the pants off me sometimes. I need to learn to slow down when I work. I do love it though. Its my "zen time", I crank my music so I can hear it over my ventilation and work on getting good shape for my beads. It's harder than it looks. I can tell you that!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Frit, beads and other things

There are days that I want to just sing everything instead of talk it. I think that today is one of those days. Since Sunday I have tried to do two batches of beads a day. It's really paying off. My kiln fits 11 beads each annealing cycle because I make them and put them directly into the kiln. I don't want to mess around with batch annealing.

Anyway, so I make about 22 beads a day. I can seriously say that not all of them are good ideas. Some turn out amazing and others I have to blink at and wonder what I was thinking.
(Left) This was the first batch of beads that I did. The first two turned out really... wonky. I was getting used to the glass and melting it. These are beads 5-11. At this point I had only made 4 beads prior.

My second batch was much better, if I do say so myself. You can see them to the right. I'm still working on getting perfect shape, but for only having done some 40 beads at most I think that I'm getting there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

And Completion

For about four months now I've been working on my brand new lampworking/beading studio. As of 2pm yesterday it was completed and my Nortel Minor torch was fired up for the first time!
What started out as an old hot tub room (see photo on the right). Is now painted, spiffed up and with fire, ventilation and everything else I need!
I am in love with my new space. My kiln is rather small, but I can get 10 or so beads in per annealing cycle. It works for now. I've also fallen in love with my oxygen/natural gas duo for my torch. Talk about EASY! Since set up I've made 20 beads, I have a long way to go but I'm enjoying every step of the way.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Safety is a big thing for me. There are really a lot of small ways to be safe, whether you're making jewelry or lampworking.

For jewelry making, I always make sure that I "guard" my cuts, which means when I cut wire I try to cover the tail that I'm cutting off with my finger or hand (keeping it out of the nippers of course!) and I always wear my glasses. They're made for close work or reading, so they're a bit required for me. Another thing I try to do is pick up any fallen beads. Not so much for safety but comfort. It hurts like a bugger when you step on a bead that's sitting on a concrete floor. There's no give and so the bead kinda.... well it hurts a lot.
Now for lampworking it's a whole different animal, if you will. You have to have didymium glasses, no ifs whats or buts. If you work with borosilicate glass you need even stronger glasses than that. Not only are they there to protect your eyes from flying glass (you never know!) but also to protect your eyes from flame glare. After the glasses you have your rod rests and your tools- and always remembering that the bead is HOT.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Another Step

As some of you know, and some of you don't; I'm slowly setting up a lampworking studio.
Until today I had almost everything I needed.
Today, we got our natural gas hook up. Now, I know that I could use propane, but NG is so much easier and burns cleaner.
These are the first and only beads that I've ever made. I have sooo much glass to work with, and bought my Minor torch just before Christmas. Earlier in January I got my oxygen concentrator.

Our next and last step: Ventilation.
I want my ventilation to be proper, to make sure that any fumes that are created by melting glass are quickly and easily swept away. We have the hood that we want to use, so all that's left is the fan and hooking it up with ducting and all that. (Can you tell that I'm not the one that will be installing that either?)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Plug board? What's that?

Some of you may have noticed the set of randomly flashing little icons on the left of the page (it's a bit down the line, but it's there!). You might be asking, "Well what, exactly is that?". It's a plug board. A really nifty idea that allows people to advertise freely. Free plugs. Artists like those.
Go take a look and browse through a couple of the sites, you never know what treasures you'll find! I know that personally I love browsing through the sites to see other artists' work. Sometimes the plugs will link to blogs, and sometimes sites. So you never know where you'll be going!

Friday, February 1, 2008

So what next?

Often I'll create a piece or two, finish up everything and sit at my work bench wondering "What next?". For me it's not so much a problem of what to do, it's a problem of what to do next. I have so many creative things that I enjoy and so many that are rather time consuming.
I sit back and I relax, listen to the music on my computer and look around my studio. If I'm working on a jewelry piece I'll look through beads, findings and sometimes I'll even go for a walk. If it's sewing, or any other sort of crafting I stand up and walk around the studio a bit, humming or listening to music. It's a matter of what sparks my attention next.
For example; right now I have a pair of Faerie Wings in the works as well as a necklace and a number of bottle cap pendants. I make sure that each time I'm done with a step, if I have to wait for drying time etc that I move on to the next thing. Never taking the time to get too terribly distracted. For me, distraction is Public Enemy #1.

What do you do to stay on track or get inspiration for your next work?