A pile of bird beads

15 Jun

I just checked, and I’ve only been making birds for about three weeks, but it feels like it’s been ages. I have made boatloads of them in that time, learning how to pull a slightly curved beak, what makes a more pleasing bird shape, and I’m getting a better handle on perfectly indented eyes.

So, what to do with all the birds piling up? Some of them are becoming earrings and posted on my etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/ImperialMoth. And the rest have been going up on bead auction pages on Facebook, for others to make the birds into baubles.

Hot pink seems to be a perennial favorite, since they are so bright and cheery, but my personal favorite are the Cosmic Birds. Check out this nebular goodness!

I love their little unusual galaxy heads, and I’m totally going to make more. Space birds, assemble!

Some other recent favorites:

I want hundreds of them!

On a side note, I’m coming closer to achieving my venus fly trap dreams. I have to remake the cane, but I think it might do the trick..


22 May

They make me so happy.

Pack it up pack it in

22 May

There is an impending move looming in my immediate future. I’ve packed endless boxes, and one of the final challenges is the lampwork studio. I’m leaving with a lot more glass than I moved here with, and I am NOT looking forward to hauling it anywhere! I’m not ready to say goodbye to the torch just yet. At least there’s still a whole week to go before it absolutely must be packed up.

Recently it’s been mostly earring pairs, although there are several pairs of birds in the kiln right now. Their shape certainly needs refined, but I’m happy with how they look so far. The main discovery is that I can do two on a mandrel, side-by-side, which I couldn’t handle a month ago. Turns out if you leave off the wings and give them dinky tails, it’s entirely manageable.

A couple of these earrings have a new frit mix I got from Melanie Graham’s etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MelanieGrahamStudios

It’s called Jabberwock, and after admiring it for some months, I finally got a bit to try out. I think it’s beautiful–check out the reddish and purple-blue tones that came out! I’ll definitely be getting more of it when I run out.

Foundation update

15 May

Flowers 4-6 are showing improvement:

There are some things I’m still not understanding well, like how to make the second row of petals look nice. At the moment, it seems like a toss-up on whether they will come out looking okay or not. I have an idea of what to do better, at least. Most of the current improvements have been related to the bottom half. The encasement without so many bubbles and overall shape. The whole process is getting less stressful, too. I don’t need to refer to the tutorial anymore, and I fixed the issue where my handle would start to melt partway through.

The new plan is to make several zinnia-type blooms separately and melt them together into one bouquet. Why learn to walk when you can jump straight to running? I predict a disaster.


9 May

A while back, I wrote about wanting to make a venus flytrap anemone in glass. I thought of a few ways to potentially make that happen, including:

  1. Sculpture
  2. Some kind of murrini manipulation

The second avenue got me looking for all types of floral murrini beads people have made, and then lead me to floral implosions. A floral implosion might do the trick. If you want to be awestruck by some glasswork, look up the work of Elena Hernberg. She “grows flowers” in glass, and they are stunning.

As luck would have it, a recent issue of Soda Lime Times features Hernberg’s work on the cover, because, gasp, she wrote a tutorial on how to make these pendants. So I’ve been practicing and practicing and running out of oxygen all over again, trying to grow a flower in glass.

Attempts 1-3, from left to right:


It’s hard to tell, but there is some progress being made! At least, with every iteration, I know of at least one thing I can definitely do to improve the next one. Anyway, I’m so grateful that she put this tutorial out into the world.

Selling earrings is now sustaining the cost of my oxygen tanks, which is good, because these pendants are eating through oxygen at an alarming rate.

Alarming! 🙂


Earrings for days

4 May

Coming back from California to warm, spring weather and flowers in all directions has been wonderful. I have gone through two tanks of oxygen, already, and I saw my first mosquito of the season fly into my torch and vaporize its wings.

I have had two more failures at the big pink purple donut bead. Sigh, someday.. Actually, I haven’t tried one for a few torch sessions–I think I’m getting a bit haggard just thinking about botching another attempt. Nor have I made a derby pendant attempt in a while. The last one I made is much closer to what I’m envisioning, but I’m waiting for some star murrini to arrive in the mail before I give it another go.

In the meantime, it’s been all earrings, all the time. Here are a few favorites:

Enough delicate pinks and purples for you? I made a few pairs of the swirly mixed green beads, and two of them sold instantly, so it’s nice to know there are other green aficionados out there.

Today’s mission is to get yet another tank of oxygen. Turns out it burns up pretty quickly when you torch for 2-3 hours a day. Happy melting!

Hot Pink Problems Lead to Bigger Things

4 Apr

Little peachy pink bird on a bubble nest. I’m scheming to make more, now, and it’s unfortunate that I’m on a three week torch hiatus. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out with my husband in California, and camping some in the Mojave Desert. I’ve got a ripe banana and a beer, so I can make some fermented fruit paste to attract any nearby moths to our campsite. But when I close my eyes, it’s all molten glass thoughts.