Monday, September 28, 2009

Cricket Torch

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 , 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!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Large Focal Bead made with a HotHead

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

Sunday Torching

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.

Friday, September 18, 2009

From a Lampwork Customer

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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How To Etch Lampwork Beads with Cream

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.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Update on the Cricket Torch

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?