Hot Pink Problems

29 Mar

The striking pink bead I posted last time has turned into quite the learning experience. A friend saw the photo and asked for a similar one, also sparkly, which could be worn on its side like a lifesaver, about an inch in diameter. A great challenge! Here is the breakdown:

  1. Worn on its side – I think this means another row of dots should be added to the sides, so there is less transparent core showing through and more of the hot pink awesomeness. Of course, I had already made an attempt at bead before I realized it needed more dots. See second bead down in the below photo.
  2. Also sparkly – keep up the dichro.
  3. About an inch in diameter – Okay, let’s built that sucker up!

In practice, here are ways I’ve gotten all three of those requirements wrong in the subsequent attempts:

  1. These extra dots mean working closer to the mandrel, and with thinner stringer. This has caused an uptick in dot-placement errors. Worse, the first dots that get laid down are in white, which is an extra gooey color. So whereas with another color of class, a misplaced dot can be knocked off the bead, the white immediately gets welded to the bead and cannot be removed. Ooh, I have an example of this catastrophe in action. I present to you, in the third bead down,  thirty minutes of work, ruined:  ClioDonuts
  2. Also sparkly. I thought I’d use a different color of dichroic glass for the bead, one with blue, which I thought would go well with the bluish pink. Unfortunately, as you can see in my first attempt for my friend, in the bead second from the top, this blue doesn’t sparkle much. Initially I thought it was because of the way I applied it, but as you can see in the fourth and most recent bead attempt, the blue just doesn’t show much.
  3.  Bigger. Yikes, this has been a pretty big issue. All beads have been too small, despite real attempts to make them bigger. I had to watch a youtube video of Kristina Logan working on a donut to get at what my problems were.

So here we are. I have another attempt in the kiln right now, which for the most part got things right. It’s much bigger, and has a nice donut shape, well placed holes, and the right dichroic. However, right near the end, disaster struck, and the bead release broke. A bit of it got stuck to the bead (AGHHHHHHH), and I didn’t get to do a final shaping to get everything as smooth as I wanted, because the bead was sliding around. It won’t be nearly as nice as I had hoped, although I’m guessing it will still be pretty bitchin’. No regrets though, each of these projects, even the ones that are laughable when they come out of the kiln, are learning experiences. Three hours of glass practice a day are doing wonders.

Hot Pink and Peach

27 Mar

Spring is definitely here, and with it, an uptick in torch time. It’s almost time for another oxygen run. The regular practice has been great, and improvement is coming, slowly but surely.

I haven’t done work towards the fly trap anemone, aside from scheming how to either make a sculpture, or a murrini that can be made into an undersea-type bead. The peachy glass I have is pretty stiff, which would be great for sculpture, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have thermal cracking issues if I go the sculptural route. So I think I’ll shoot for a murrini, although I’m foreseeing some technical issues with that as well.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting familiar with the peach glass, in other ways, through basic beads and hollows.

The stiff glass is great for hollow beads, and I’m working on a cohesive set for a peach necklace.

I’m also starting to get the hang of Clio, a hot pink glass that is a bit tricky to use.

Wowza, huh? I’d like about fifteen more, please. I’m thinking I’ll try to make a matching one this evening.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to envision more interesting ways to construct a commission I have. Right now, I can do the basic elements, but the end design is pretty plain, and I think some blue dichro sparkle is in order. However, I am still pretty much Amateur Hour over here, so it’s taking a while to come up with something I feel confident about.

There’s the update!

Goals and Intimidation

10 Mar

The is a video making some rounds online, of a venus flytrap sea anemone, which is an AMAZING animal. Look at it!


Photo from the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Is it not stunning, intriguing, and definitely pink?  I want to melt some glass into the shape of this animal, and while I think I know most of what I need to know to do this, there are still some questions. I have a beautiful glass that is an exact match, and I know what I need to do to lay down and pull the noodly appendages, but I’m not sure about whether I should be keeping that big pink base warm, or if I can safely let it go cool without it cracking.

If I have to keep it warm, I think I’ll have to make the base, lay down all the dots for the appendages, and then anneal it. Later, I can go back an add individual noodles. Sources estimate there are approximately a billion of them.

Then there are more questions about the base. It will be another large hunk of glass, because this thing would basically be built to fall over and shatter pretty much immediately. I think I need a supporting structure, maybe a second coral winding up, to help anchor it. Would I have to keep that whole thing warm? Can I garage it and assemble the parts later?

It’s safe to say this is biting off more than I can chew, but I’m going to do it anyway, and hopefully learn something from the failure. Unfortunately, I’m guessing this failure will look like malformed genitalia.

Earrings on Deck

10 Mar


Eight new pairs of earrings, all hanging out together, shining away. I got a shipment of some gorgeous glass bundles today, and now it just has to get a little warmer out before it can be melted. C’mon, sun, you can do it!

Just a stunning pair of beads, nothing more

8 Mar


Note to self: make more of these. Oh, my singing heart!

Torch Time

7 Mar

Every few days it gets warm enough to burn through some oxygen. I’ve been working on a mish-mash of things, but mostly right now the focus is on some new silver glass.

I love the way the glass curdles the ivory, and the different oil-slick colors that emerge. I’m trying to get a little more control over the reaction, because it can either go a golden metallic luster, or richly colored metallic luster, and it would be more useful if I could use flame chemistry to choose which flavor I want in the moment.

Then, I did a another set inspired by the soap of a friend, which was inspired by the Obscurus from the recent movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


This set was a lot of fun. The glasses were super stiff, which made the twists kind of a pain, but I”m so pleased with how it turned out. The design is still partially raised.

Other than that, there is a commission I’m working on that is a little tricky to figure out, and I’m wanting to make another necklace set, based on old Polaroid photo colors and Summer.  Current major goal is to continue working on fine stringer application.

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!