Here is my latest, just came out of the kiln last night. I guess with all the Christmas Holidays happening right now, I was truely in the mood for Green. I used lots of Gold Glitter, encased with transparent Green, and added more Glitter to the bottom of the bead. I like this one so well, That I am KEEPING it for my own Christmas Present, to myself. At least for awhile, until I make a better bead. I think all artist do that. They keep it until they get tired of looking at there own work. Yet I have some paintings I did, in the past, that I have kept for years now. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all.
Here is my latest custom order. Helen and Dennis ordered this for his daughter, for Christmas. I made the ladybug BIG. I have fun making Ladybugs. As they say, they are so good in your Garden. A GOOD BUG!!!
One of my girl friends saw my Fish Pendants, and said, Ohhhh! can you make me a pair of earrings like that. I responded, "Don't you think they would be way to big?" She quickly replied, "No way, I can pull it off." You have to know Sandy to appreciate that one. She is quite the personality, an awesome singer, and she does a great singing show. So since they are HOLLOW BEADS, what the heck.I sold a bunch of these earrings at the last Craft Fair I participated in, last Weekend. I have reduced the price, and listed them on Etsy. It's my way of giving all my regular customers, a Merry Christmas treat, by offering reduced prices. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!
I am so honored to be accepted in the artist Gallery of DEVARDI GLASS. I order their special Golden Luster Frit. Their Luster Rods, are devine, and so easy to use. Same thing with the Metallic Black, no fussing around to make it SHine! SHIne! SHINe! SHINE!! Not sure I could ever make beads again, without all their FANCIES!!!! I can not rave on enough about their Dark Transparent Rose. The semi-opaque Colors are out of this world. I have been so bored with a limited pallette of colors, and their color mixes, are a dream come true. I would say their White is (CREAMY & DREAMY). Not so darn soft to work with. I can use the white in my press, and with my Cgbeadrollers.com, BEAD ROLLERS, from DONNA FELKNER. Absolute dream to be able to use a stiffer white, that does not easily, get so DARN SOUPY! Check it out HERE . http://www.devardiglass.com/glassartists.htm
I live in a very small resort town in Florida. There is a lot of fishing, airboats, and alligators around here. Just for fun I tried to make an alligator, I showed it to my hubby and he exclamied"Oh, it's a dinosaur!". ROFL, It actually does look like a dinosaur. Well, back to the drawing board, for more practice. PPP. Anyway, when I went out to my studio, to take a picture of the alligator(dinosaur), low and behold, look what was swimming in my backyard canal. I zoomed up as close as the camera would get. I hope you can see him. No swimming for me today!!!!
I am so excited. On Lampwork Etc,forum, they have a Secret Santa Thread. I have recieved two tutorials, form fellow Lampworkers. I received a Pleated Vessel Tutorial form slcuniques, that is just wonderful. There are so many pictures, and step by step instructions. You just will not believe how detailed this tutorial is. And the photos, are so clear, and concise. You can get it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/slcuniques
Also, Naos, form Lampwork etc, sent me Amy's Storm Tutorial, for making Stormed Beads. Naos has a website here, and I admire her work so very much. She is a successful seller, on Ebay, and Etsy. You can find here website here. Check it out. http://www.naosglass.com
Stormed Tutorial is here: http://beeswaxrubberstamps.com/lampworkbeads.htm
And Last but not Least, A Thread from Lampwork Etc, showing lots of pictures of the Stormed bead. (Awesome Eye Candy) http://www.lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140300
This is just a short note, to all my friends, fellow bloggers, Lampworkers, and family. I wish each and everyone of you a Happy Thanksgiving. It is 6:30 am, and I already have the Turkey in the Oven. I think I like the LEFTOVERS, better than the actual Thanksgiving Dinner. I regret that I won't be with my family this year, yet I am still going to cook, my traditional Thanksgiving Meal. This is one of my favorites to cook, besides Cooking Glass. LOL! Have a piece on PUMPKIN PIE for me. Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!
Lampwork Fish! Look what I can make now. I have been so involved with my new Cricket Torch. I can make things faster now. The thing I love the most about it, is the pinpoint flame. I can melt shorts together. I mean really short shorts. :) I can aim, the flame at one litle eyeball, when making Fish. All this has allowed me to progress by leaps, and bounds. I will never be sorry, I learned on a Hot Head, and if I was ever living in a place, where I could not have the equipment, I would not even hesitate, to go back to it. I think learning for over a year and a half, on a hot head torch, taught me a lot. I know that I can still go do DEMO's and not have to take a bunch of equipment. I recommend learning on a Hot head first for everybody. After I started making the fish, I have been busy with a lot of local orders. Here is a pair of earrings, CUSTOM order, that I finished up today. Picture above.
ok guys! Look what I got. hehehe!!!! And Santa did not even bring it. I saved everything I have earned from my Etsy site, since I started working it 3 months ago. And I purchased this new Cricket Torch. A friend of mine, in the medical business, bartered with me, for a oxy con. I traded a silver foil bead necklace, for the unit. It is old, and loud, but I don't care. It works great, and the loudness, is no worse, than the loudness of the Hothead. I had a little trouble, at first, until, I learned to open the oxygen on the torch wide open. Then adjust the propane accordingly. I also set the propane psi, to 8 instead of the 5 that the instuctions, included with the torch said to do. It seems to work better at 8. Amazing what that little bit of added psi made. Also, the first time, I melted white glass, I finally realized what they mean about soupy glass, that might get away from ya!!! Wow, never ever had this much heat, with the Hothead! And when adjusted just right, it does not burn the glass at all. Really hard to realize, that can be possible, but it is. Another thing I LOVE about the Cricket, is that you can melt your rods, down while still holding them in your hand, until almost totally used up. You can adjust the Cricket flame, to a fine pinpoint/ Look at the picture, and see the short red rods. I held these in my hand, and melted them this short, with the cricket adjusted to a fine pin point. I also, made a fish, and found that I could direct, the pin point, on one little eyeball, and melt just that very spot. JUST LUV'in, my NEW CRICKET!!!
I'm in the Christmas Spirit already, and whipped up these Holiday Beads into a bracelet, yesterday. I will have another coming to my Etsy site soon. I do not think I will post a lot of Christmas items, unless, I see that they sell. Since this is my first Holiday Season on Etsy, I am not sure how well seasonal items sell. So let's test the (waters before I go overboard.) Now is that some kinda of pirate talk. Arrrggghh!
Here are some Handmade straight sided lentil, beads. They were made with a press, that you can purchase, at http://www.zooziis.com/slim.aspx They call these a SPREE, I like that name. Sounds fun, exciting. It could be a new word for SUMMER, as far as how it makes me feel. It takes a little practice, to get used to a press, but I really like the smooth ends, and the straight sides. I included a full pic, and a close up, so you can really see just one Spree. One of the BEST things, I have discovered upon wearing this style of beads, is how nice, and flat, it lays on the wrist.
The beads,in this bracelet, are very Dainty, and comfortable to wear. The plain blue beads, are etched, giving them a nice soft look. This color combination, could be worn casual, to elegant. I make all my jewelry, in my home studio, with my own beads.
Woke up this morning, and it actually felt kinda Cold. At least if you are in Florida, it is cold to us. We were having record high temps, and this morning, it was below 60. Now from 90's to 50's, that would make anybody a little chilled. Anyway, this Sunday afternoon, I am going to just relax. I worked at the torch this morning, and actually, had to wear a jacket. First time, in over a year!!! Here is a picture of the area, where I do my torch work. I will soon be upgrading, my torch, and have a new table, coming soon. Will be so nice, to have a larger work area.
Just am really excited about our first cool day here in Florida. I can really get some serious torching done now. It has been record temps, for weeks now. And the humidity, is very low also. Woot!!So this all means, that I will have some new items for my Etsy Shop, soon.
I wish to write a few things about the treatment of mandrels, and dipping. Recently, I made a trip to our local welding supply, because all my mandrels, had become bent. So I purchased 3 lbs, of 316L quality mandrels, 3/32 size, only to find that the manufacturer, had stamped and printed there name on one end. This as you all know would ruin, one end of two pieces of 12 inch lengths, out of a total 36 inches per un-cut rod. Make sure you look at your rods, before you purchase. I still cut them up, and filed down the good ends, and can use them for myself. They just would not be good enough to sell though, with one bad end. After you CUT them into either 12 inch lengths, or 9 inch lengths, they have to be prepped for the bead release to adhere. I have found that if you heat one end of each mandrel in the flame, until just lightly glowing hot, and allow to cool, that the mandrel will be ready to go. Now a BIG TRICK, what, I recently discovered, is that the speed of your dip, makes a big difference. I am self taught, so I discover as I go. If you dip, and pull out fast, you will have a thicker coating. If you dip, and pull out slow, then allow just a few seconds,still holding the rod, upside down, it will have a nice thin coat. Try this process of a slow removal, of the mandrel, from the bead release, and waiting a few seconds, before turning upright. When you do this, you will not have a lump of release, at the top of the rod, where, it has gravitated down. I then insert my mandrel, into a container filled with sand. Hahaha, as SAND, is so easy to find for free in Florida. Got it out of the BACKYARD!! But then I live in a rural resort area, next to the water. So my backyard, has all kinds of FREE sand. Here is a HANDY trick for removal of stubborn beads. You can easily use a pop rivet tool, to remove stubborn beads. Also, putting them into, the freezer, for awhile, will help with stubborn beads. And in Florida, with all our humidity, I have found that if you heat the rod, and remove all the moisture out of a pre-dipped mandrel, you will not have sticking problems. Sometimes, when I dip the day before, I end up with moisture in the pre-applied bead release, even if they just sit over night. This happens, to me, because, my sunroom, is not air conditioned. So I heat the complete end of the mandrel, where the release has been applied, and then let cool, ever so slightly, this way, the moisture has a chance to escape. Hope this has helped some of you with your mandrels, and bead release lampworking problems.
I am so ready to try some of my new frit samples from Dragonfly Glassworx. I received some of the most beautiful frit blends, and wanted to torch today. She also, shipped them, wrapped in a paisley tissue paper, inside a green plastic bag. Then all of this was wrapped with a lavish Purple and green bow. I liked the little present, and presentation, almost as much, as the wonderful frit enclosed inside. So to continue on, I wanted to torch today, as I said before, but I had to drive with my hubby, over to the East Coast. Ft. Pierce Florida. He had an eye appointment, and may require surgery. We drove an hour, after we signed in, and waited a half hour, they informed us that the Dr's Office accepted out insurance, yet there surgery center, did not. So wasted trip for my Hubby's troubled eye. OK, now for my real MOTIVE, to go along. I knew I might have to drive him back home, if they put drops in his eyes. I really went, so I could go to a Store I have wanted to check out for awhile. He agreed, so, we drove towards the Ocean, and the Historic Downtown. We arrived, and there were the nicest little shops, all lined up along the street. Then we parked in front of the store, called BEADS and BAUBLES. Now I was excited. We walked up to the front door, and it was LOCKED> Darn. They were closed until Oct 20th, on a buyer's trip. LOL, so the whole trip, over and back, ended up being a total lose for both of us. So I'm back home now, and passing time, writig here on the Blog. It is still so HOT, here in Florida, in fact, Record Temps, for this time of year. As soon as the West Sun is not blasting, directly into my Sunroom, where I torch, I am going to finally get to try out some of my new Frit.
Lately I have been using a lot of silver Glass. This is a another challenge, that is a little tricky to do, using a Hot Head Torch. Anyway this is a blue set, listed on my Etsy. Last time, I posted a silver glass set, they sold, within a few minutes of listing them. How lucky was that?
I am so thankful, with the economy being so slow, that I am busy making custom orders. The sad thing, is that I don't have enough time, to add new items to my Etsy site. I did add a nice autumn bracelet yesterday. I encased all the main autumn colored beads, with clear. I have been experimenting, with keeping the bead quite warm, when I add the clear. And making sure the clear is very hot, coming off the rod. It makes a thinner encasing, and I did not have any bubbles. Anyway, I kinda liked, and kinda miss, the bubbles. In fact lately, I have seen some beads, that lampworkers, are adding BRASS FRIT. This technique, creates a lot of beautiful bubbles. When I get time, I really need to try this.
This is a picture of the Gtt Cricket Torch that everybody is raving about. It is very efficient with fuel and oxygen. You can even custom order it in different colors. You can use it on a 5LPM, and also the larger Oxygen concentrators. It works, ever better I suspose, as I do not have one YET!! After visiting the site, I see that it is still on Inductory price for $139.00 The site is here http://www.glasstorchtech.com/torches.html , so sure hope I can get one before they go up to the $167.00 price. Christmas after all, is right around the corner. The torch is a surface mix, with 5 jets. I seen one, when I was in Cape Coral, for a lampworking session. You can make a very small pin point flame with this torch quite easily. I can easily see this torch replacing the Nortel Minor, as an industry standard for the first step up, from a Hot Head. Some have claimed as far as efficiency, this torch has outperformed the Betta, and Paranha. I even read in a blog somewhere, where somebody stepped down from a 7 jet torch, the Bobcat, to this oxygen efficient Torch. SANTA, Please don't forget me this Christmas!!!
This Bead is almost two inches long, and 1/4 inch thick.It is quite difficult to make a Large Focal Bead with a Hot Head Torch. They do not have as hot a flame, as the other more expensive torches. I know lots of people, who have always, and still do work on a hothead torch for many years. This Bead took a long time, to make, and a lot of patience. Keeping all sides of the bead hot, is also a challenge. You can move it side to side in the flame, and rotate it always. Quite the juggling act, but you kinda get it in time, and lots of practice. If you are a beginning bead maker, or just want to try working with glass to see if you would like it, then a Hot head Torch is the way to go. It is a good torch for teaching some newbies, as it is easier to control the heat flow of the glass. Be aware though, that some of the kits they are selling, at the supply websites, are not a good torch. A little something, about the materials,and techniques, used to make this bead. I started with Dark Ivory, and added some frit. Then I used silver foil stringer, that I pulled myself. I added some spots of silver glass, that I kinda swirled with the tip of the rod. Then melted all in, super heated the silver glass,(That's another subject I should blog about later), and squashed it flat. Shapeing and centering the hole thru the middle is also a trick to be learned with PPP(practice. Keeping the weight centered when making the bead, helps with even centering of the hole. If you shape it into a barrel shape, before flattening, it keeps the bead from bunching up in the middle, and stealing glass from the ends. This way you keep the center flat, and you have nice ends. Finally re-heat the whole bead, so that all parts are hot, cool just enough that when you put it into the Kiln, it does not stick to the fibers. (The Chili Pepper Kiln, has a fiber lining)then garage it in your kiln, and properly anneal it. This is the only way you will have a strong durable bead. Let me add that it is almost impossible, to make a large bead like this, without putting it directly into a kiln. I started out, trying to put my beads between fire blanket fiber, to cool. This is fine for small beads, but believe me, I wasted a lot of time, and money on glass, when just starting out, only to end up with broken beads. It is well worth the money to go ahead and get a kiln, if you are serious about doing Lampwork. Hope some of these tips, help. the beginning bead makers. FiredancerBeads, Handmade Hot Glass Lampwork, by Nell Stanley
Not much to say today. Sunday is my day off, although, working at the torch does not count, now does it? Anyway, it is still so hot, in Florida. I have to get up early, and go out to the back Sunroom, before it gets too hot. I am so ready, for the cool days of Fall, and Winter to get here, and then I can torch for longer periods of time. Ahh haa, then I can post more bead sets to my Etsy account. I usually torch in the morning, and make a few pieces of jewelry, inside the house, during the heat of the day. By the late afternoon, the kiln, will be done, and then I have the wonderful pleasure of cleaning the Bead Poop, out of the beads. So how boring is this, hearing a run down of my daily activites. Sometimes, I swear, that bloggin' is more for the benefit, of the person writing the blog, and not the reader. Well, enough of my Sunday Ramble. Have a wonderful weekend fellow Torchers, and everybody else.
This is a copy/paste, of a message sent to me, from a customer, who purchased a bracelet from my Etsy Site, right before she went into the hospital. She also, purchased it on her Birthday. I do not know what her medical problems are. The message, put me in tears. Here is what she wrote: Dearest FireDancer, My lifes name symbolically, this is Nikki aka Nicoletta.. Iam sorry I didnt write sooner about how much I treasure the beautiful butterfly braclet you created fro me.. I wil never take it off except for xrays or surgery.. a truning point in my life that started with buying these from you.. they are Beautiful,,, Peace and Love, Nikki.. dontmind the typos.. in a hurry and the butterflys are on the move here....
This is one of the biggest inspirational, things, that has happened, since I started making lampwork Beads. All the hot summers, in Florida, working at the hot Torch. This message makes it all worth while. I can not find the original picture. It is, similiar, with one already posted here on my Blog, archived, as Eye Candy.Only the one I made for her, was made with straight sided Spree Beads.
I made a trip over to Michael's Craft store, and purchased some Etching Cream. So I wish to blog a little, about using the etching cream with Lampwork Beads. They did not carry the solution. I live 50 miles away, from the Coast of Florida, so I purchased the Cream, instead of the solution. In the Lampwork etc. forum, they all talked about using solution. Said it was the best way to Etch your beads. I used one of my 50% coupons, that I received thru the email list, I joined for Michaels. The price for the 16 oz Etching Cream was about $33.00. After I used my coupon, it was quite affordable. Now I was hesitant, about how to use it after I arrived home. I was afraid, maybe I had wasted my money, because all I had read was how wonderful the solution works. When I got home, I strung my beads on monofilament, and just put them on the top of the cream, and pushed down a little bit,with a plastic spoon, to make sure they were emerged. Kinda like quicksand, I guess. LOL Anyway, I left them for 5 minutes. Then I took them out, and rinsed with water. Viola! Perfect. Now a few CAUTIONS. Use plastic with your Etching Cream. And if you have any spill, remember that Baking Soda, will neutralize the acid. I really liked the cream, as I can imagine spilling solution, compared to cream. I would say, that the cream, would not be such a big mess, as thin solution. Also, Use disposable gloves, and do not let the cream touch your hands. IT IS ACID, remember. oh! Also, makes sure your beads are perfectly clean, and try NOT, to touch them after cleaning, and submerging, into the cream. I have heard stories, about residue, can cause uneven etching. I was lucky, I cleaned mine with Windex, rinsed with water, and then submerged into the cream. I had wonderful success, and it is not as scary, as they all were saying. So, if you want to try etching your Lampwork Beads. I recommend the Cream, you can get it at Michaels.
I just heard this morning, that effective September 1st. The cricket torch is no longer available for the introductory price. Ahhh, I missed out. Its still on my christmas list though. Did you hear that Santa?
Here is just a short post showing some eye candy. It is a new set of straight sided Lentils, made with Brown, and then I used a mint, and pink frit blend. It has been a challenge learning to use the lentil press. Not for the faint of heart. But as they say, practice practice practice. PPP You can view them on Etsy at FiredancerBeads.etsy.com
I saw this today on the Featured artist link on the main page of Etsy. I think this is some very good advice, as to how to run your Etsy Shop, and in fact, any kind of internet marketing. The address for this article is (http://www.etsy.com/featured_seller.php) , and I will post a short snippet right here, as follows; Post great pictures of your products. They are more likely to be picked up by bloggers. Make quality products at a variety of price points. Keep enough items posted to keep people in your store longer. Post items regularly to keep your store fresh. Be attentive to your customers. Answer their questions, pack your products well and ship them quickly. Include any necessary instructions on care and use. His shop name is Wood Elements.
I was awake early this morning, researching other sites, such as Lampwork etc, and free tutorials. I wish to make some different style beads. maybe more that are just a focal, and not full sets. Also, I am thinking about NOT posting any lampwork jewelry on the site. Maybe only beads. I have some new pics here, of a few of my most recent listings on Etsy, at my shop called Firedancerbeads.
Check it out, if you get a chance, this is my lampwork site, on Etsy. You can email, from the site, if you ever want any special orders. I am quite busy making and selling to the local people, I know. Christmas time, was quite busy for me, doing custom orders, as I am the only lampwork artist in my area. So I had my website on vacation mode, and just recently re opened it. The link is as follows: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5928514
Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins You Can Make Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins Beads of Glass by Cindy Jenkins Passing the Flame by Corina Tettinger 1000 Glass Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Schrader and Cathy Finegan The Art and Soul of Glass Beads by Susan Ray and Richard Pearce
By annealing the glass beads, they are guaranteed hard as rocks, durable enough for everyday wear with long lasting heirloom quality. When a glass bead is finished, the hot bead (while still on the mandrel), is placed in a kiln heated at 960°F. The annealing process releases the stress from the glass and slowly cools the beads down to room temperature. Cooling the glass beads too quickly will cause them to crack.
A variant of the wound glass beadmaking technique, and a labor intensive one, is what is traditionally called lampworking. In the Venetian industry, where very large quantities of beads were produced in the 19th century for the African trade, the core of a decorated bead was produced from molten glass at furnace temperatures, a large-scale industrial process dominated by men. The delicate multicolored decoration was then added by people, mostly women, working at home using an oil lamp or spirit lamp to re-heat the cores and the fine wisps of colored glass used to decorate them. These workers were paid on a piecework basis for the resulting lampwork beads. Modern lampwork beads are made by using a gas torch to heat a rod of glass and spinning the resulting thread around a metal rod covered in bead release. When the base bead has been formed, other colors of glass can be added to the surface to create many designs. After this initial stage of the beadmaking process, the bead can be further fired in a kiln to make it more durable. Modern beadmakers use single or dual fuel torches, so `flameworked' is replacing the older term. Unlike a metalworking torch, or burner as some people in the trade prefer to call them, a flameworking torch is usually "surface mix"; that is, the oxygen and fuel (typically propane, though natural gas is also common) is mixed after it comes out of the torch, resulting in a quieter tool and less dirty flame. Also unlike metalworking, the torch is fixed, and the bead and glass move in the flame. American torches are usually mounted at about a 45 degree angle, a result of scientific glassblowing heritage; Japanese torches are recessed, and have flames coming straight up, like a large bunsen burner; Czech production torches tend to be positioned nearly horizontally.