Monday, March 21, 2011

Necklace with lampwork and enamel be

I made this necklace yesterday using both lampwork and enamel beads. The enamel beads are such a pleasure to work with. They instantly add detail and keep things light.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A small diversion - the mirror has two faces

I don't know how it started, but a couple of days ago I came across the idea of each side of the face expressing different aspects of our personality, and how cutting an image of a face in half and then mirroring it, accentuated the differences. So I had to do it. I made sure that the lighting was as even as I could get it, and used a nikon d90 to snap the pic.
Well it turns out my nose is not in the centre of my face, so it ends up fat and skinny. Smile has always been a little lopsided, more active rightside. An eyebrow (right) has usually been a little more raised (the skeptic in me) and I have a mighty neck and chin on the right. Anyway the right side is quite intense and strong (freak!). The left side looks friendly, I could be friends with someone like that.
While looking for other faces on the 'net I came across Angelina Jolie, very striking  and unexpected differences. Also saw Gwyneth Paltrow, who appears almost perfectly symmetrical!
Ok, now that I've purged that notion on to the blog I hope to focus on more important things!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Enamel filigree beads - getting the hang of it

Ever since I read a tutorial in a bead magazine about enamelling filigree beads I have felt compelled to gather the ingredients and have a go. After a couple of months of sitting on the idea I finally had a couple of goes.  I have to say that the tutorial has some gaps in terms of usability of the technique offered.  The first attempt, following the instructions, was very poor. If the bead is free spinning and you turn the stick it's threaded on, well the bead won't spin when you turn the stick, will it??? no, it won't. That is quite different from lampworking, where a coating is put on the mandrel, which the glass sticks to while working on the bead, but also enables you to release the bead when it's ready to remove. The other problem with threading a filigree bead onto the uncoated mandrel, is that enamel falls through the filigree and gets melted onto the mandrel, making it next to impossible to remove the bead. very frustrating, and the beads look dodgy and mangled and patchy from the efforts to remove it.  I guess I am missing something obvious and would probably benefit from watching a demonstration. Anyway, I ended up developing my own technique which I am relatively happy with. It is along the lines of  'puntying up'. Hold the bead with tweezers and get a little patch of enamel established, then get some enamel melted onto the tip of the mandrel and connect the two. So the bead is stuck to the end of the stick through the whole spinning process until I melt it off and smooth out the connection. Holding the bead with warmed up tungsten tweezers when removing also enables one to get it into the vermiculite with ease. That technique will do until such time as I see someone do it efficiently a different way!
I love the beads that turn out, they are light and lacy looking. The light weight of them means that they balance out the weight of glass lampwork so that you are not going to break your neck when wearing a full strand of large beads.

OK, here is the motley crew. The first efforts are mixed in with the second efforts. I think by effort number 10 they should be looking  perfect ;-)

Here are three white filigree along with a bunch of largish round lampwork beads. Even though the three large white lampwork beads are 'hollow', a whole strand can be quite hefty.

Green toned bead caps. The longest one at the front is my favorite of everything (40mm long). I love the berry red tips. Will be making more with that concept. I can imagine it as a focal with a dangle hanging down from it's centre. The bead caps I found are nice and large so that they can fit on the large round beads I tend to make.

The cool toned beads. I love the teal color, which is actually 'turquoise' enamel. It can have beautiful depth when layered a couple of times, such as the front right bead. There is also a robins egg blue, nile green and a pale yellow green. These are acutally large substantial beads. The barrel shapes are 30mm long and 20mm diameter.

The pink pastels. I love the orchid color of the centre round bead. Also digging those top right bead caps.

A few red beads. Not quite happy with the outcome of this red yet. Will be putting a tranparent blue  layer over the next one to add some depth.