I wonder what Plumpton’s stuffing the turkey with this year? I’m not sure that I want to know
Melanie West skidded into town from Maine last week to teach a class for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.
Melanie looks amused as she shows how to use Ultra Soft Sculpey to make big forms, which are baked, carved, laminated with canes, trimmed, baked, carved, sanded- it’s a labor intensive process and definitely not for the “make-n-take” crowd.
But here is the result of Melanie’s labor- her bangles are light, sturdy, colorful and as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Here is Melanie wearing one of her big bead necklaces while Ellen Marshall is deciding which of Melanie’s pieces to add to her own collection. (Hint: See the first picture).
And here are my efforts to take Melanie’s process and add my twist to it. While I like the basic shapes, the lamination experiments are not so good.
But I am interested in pursuing the carving aspect and seeing where I can take it.
If you would like to see some prime examples of Melanie’s work that include her recent foray into vessels, go to her website here.
Continuing on last week’s post, here are some more glass cabochons.
Click on the pictures below to see how I made them. Most of these cabs were fired a minimum of two times. I kept cutting, fusing and reassembling until I got a result I liked. Who knew you could stack ugly beads in a kiln and make something new? It goes without saying that all the glass must have the same COE if you want the fusing to be successful. And you have to get every last speck of bead release out of the holes. I mean all of it, because fused bead release is not pretty. On the other hand, if you fuse a cab and find that you didn’t clean out all the bead release, you can grind or cut or it away and try fusing the glass again.
Here’s the Fusing Schedule I used. Yes, you can fuse with Moretti glass! And here are some ideas for using lampworked bead scraps in fusing projects
Yes, there is such a thing as an ugly bead. I should know because I have made so many of them. The ones you see below are glass rejects that I have accumulated over the years. They suffer from such defects as garish colors, drippy dots, pointy ends and general whopperjawdidity.
I had a sack of ugly beads that I had saved over the years. At first I thought I would give them away. But why should I give away crappy beads? Then I thought I would toss them. “No,” I decided, I’ll put them in the recycling bin. “No, I’ll sprinkle them in flower beds in the neighborhood.” No, that didn’t feel right either. And then I decided to pull out the kiln and see if I could make them into something beautiful. And Viola! All the glass cabochons in the picture below are made from the ugly beads you see in the pictures above along with a little dichroic, Moretti rod chips, stringers and some flat clear Moretti.
I put the beads in the kiln a few at a time and melted them (after cleaning out all the holes thoroughly) I broke up some beads and rearranged the pieces. Some beads I stacked on top of other beads and put a stringer of a contrasting color glass down the middle.
If I only liked part of the fused cabochon, I cut it off and combined it with something else I liked.
I added dichroic class for interest to some of the cabs. I didn’t want to use too much. I think that fused glass cabs fill of dichroic glass are boring. The cab above is a disk bead with dots around it stuffed with goldstone stringer and topped with a layer of clear. Later I fused it to another partial cab that I liked.
Sometimes I liked the bottom of the cab more than the top. So I just cleaned off all the shelf primer, turned it over and fused it again.
This one is a clunky star bead that I fired with a layer of clear over it. I considered trimming off the places where the color did not flow and firing it again, but I like the contrast between the clear and the color. I like the bubbles too. The white dot in the middle is where the hole in the bead was originally.