Archive | February, 2017

Murrini adventures and Soap Collabs

26 Feb

Recently a friend told me that his wive, who makes soap, was thinking to design a soap based off of some earrings I made for her. These are the earrings:


Then, she posted a photo of a beautiful bar of cold-process soap, decorated with pink piped sakura blossoms on a blue base, and it was my turn to be inspired.


I spent an hour at the torch figuring out how to make a floral murrini, ended up with a nice pull of several inches of nice cane. Of course, the oxygen tank was running on empty after all of this, so there was only time to race the clock and make a single bead. While my encasement technique definitely needs work, the pretty pink flower turned out well, and it’s fun to see the bead and soap next to each other. Hopefully we can keep bouncing inspiration off each other.

The other plus side to this is the leftover cane I have. I practiced applying murrini on a few beads, and I think I’m getting the hang of it, encasement issues notwithstanding.


Murrini chips ready for application.



Blossom bead, a pretty large focal, compared to my usual stuff.

The large floral focal was a nice exercise in dichroic layering, and I’m happy to see the sparkle wasn’t burned out, which I have been guilty of doing on several occasions. If I were to redo all of this, I would have pulled the murrini chips into points first, so the flower would appear to close on the inside, and I would also have used a thinner dark core on the floral cane itself. that abyss is a little overwhelming at the center of each bloom. I’m still not sure how I feel about the random bumpiness of the whole thing. Needs more work!


Weevil Update

26 Feb

A week of warm weather allowed for generous weevil practice. Everything seemed to be peachy, until my husband mentioned how, instead of weevils, he only sees tentacled creatures with floppy horns on their heads. Now, I am having trouble unseeing that. At any rate, the weevils are coming along! I am most pleased with their tiny antennae, which represent my first successful hair-thin stringer applications.

I still like the first one the best, with the turquoise weevil and green polka dots. The cute pair both had some reduction scum, which was removed with a dip in the Etch-all. That pair is also where the “tentacled floppy unicorn squid” is most prominent. Note to self – don’t let the background color show through as much, if at all, and maybe dial back on the black line separating the thorax from the abdomen. (It’s not a smiley face, which I know is hard to believe.)

More weevils to come, once the weather cooperates!

Dr. Weevil

18 Feb



Dr. Weevil

The objective: Make a whimsical beetle bead. It will be colorful. There will be polka dots and flowers and above all else, a long-ass snout that defies all reason. There may be bow ties or business suits or polka dotted dresses. I don’t know why the dots are important but they just are.

The problem: I have no idea what I’m doing: I know the look I want to achieve but nothing about the execution. Therefore, I’m just throwing myself into it and seeing if I can ham-fist my way into making a bead and putting a weevil on it. Something something stringer control. Something something melt in slowly.

I’m going to take it one at a time and see where that takes me.

Weevil #1!

This is the first time I used a stringer to twist two colors together, so I’m pleased to see how that worked out. I did it on both sides, which was a mistake, as I tried to put weevil legs over that one and it’s a total eyesore. The legs look creepy, don’t know what to do about that yet. I think just making them smoother will give them less of a creepshow vibe. The snout went beautifully, and I’m also pretty happy with the hair-thing stringer antennae/mustache.  I accidentally gave him a beauty mole by getting black stringer onto the snout. Eyeballs are good and buggy, abdomen needs a lot of work.

Weevil #2


I consider this Weevil Improvement. There is some background, even if the flower petals are too light to see and the stem/leaf are a bit out of control. I nailed the cartoonish look, and the snout is still excellent. I need snout excellent above all else! The polka dots are cute, even if I hoped for evenly sized dots. Legs are too thick, but less creepy, but also poorly oriented. The abdomen still needs work. Unrelated to the weevil, but the flat tab shape gave me hell, although that is nothing new.

I’m happy with the supporting staff beads. The pea green does not look green when in a stringer, so it will need to be replaced with a darker green or encased with a darker transparent green. A darker blue would have been nice, too. The intention is to make twenty weevils to gain skills in stringer control, melting in flat, shaping flat tabs, and planning layout.

Thus begins the story of Dr. Weevil.

A beginning of sorts

18 Feb

I’m not starting at the beginning. Ideally, I would have started this back in 2007 when I took my first glass class. It was a Beginners Beads class, which I took, not because I was interested in making beads so much, but because about a month from that class, a man (FiG) was visiting from out of town to teach an advanced course on flameworked spiders. I had one month to go from “no experience” to “advanced.”

I’m glad I was kind of stupid. I took the beginner class, and then the second class, and then I asked my instructor what she thought about signing up for the spider class. She said to GO FOR IT, and so I did, and it was great. I made and broke spiders, but I didn’t break all of them.

I had no torch of my own, but when the Bug Man came back for a second course on dragonflies a year later, I took that one too. And a year after that, a course on beetles. I do not recommend only getting behind a torch once a year–there is zero practice to solidify the course concepts learned and it’s awful! But in the meantime, I was slowly accumulating a torch, tanks of oxygen and propane, safety glasses, tools, and glass.

When I packed up all my belongings and moved to a new state for grad school, the torch setup came with me, and miraculously I was allowed to set it up in the living room of my apartment. (Don’t ask about the safety of such a set-up, or about the heavy metals I definitely inhaled.) I was able to start melting glass on a semi-regular basis. I made a lot of lopsided beads, eye beads, and a ton of organics with silvered ivory stringer.

A Ph.D. is a whole other distracting ballgame, so I didn’t get as far in beadmaking skills as I’d liked, and then grad school ended, and I packed everything up again and moved out of the country for a postdoc position. And then that was over and I moved back in the country, but to a place where there was no torch allowed. Finally, in 2015, I moved to my current place, where I once again was miraculously allowed to set up the torch. So while I’ve been a student of glass since 2007, it’s really only this last year where the actual progress has occurred.

Which takes me to today. I’m wanting to write about what I’m trying to do, how I’m doing it, and what works or does not work. And this week’s prime agenda is Dr. Weevil.