The Big (Blog Hop) Reveal

It’s time for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal! Here is what I made from the beads my parter Marta Grabalowska sent me. Her blogs are http://galeriakota.blogspot.com/ and http://wilkmademe.tumblr.com/.

My bead soup was not my typical color palate and I consider that a good thing! I realized that I had some pink seed beads in my stash that I thought I would never use. They were almost identical to the ones  in the soup. I mixed them with  beige and tan beads of a similar value  and threw in some turquoise  beads to make a bead crochet pattern. I used the remaining beads as embellishment.

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The copper clasp holds the rope closed. I beaded around the focal cameo and went for an asymmetrical look. I am very happy with the result. Thank you Marta!!!

Here are some more pictures.

Thank you Lori Anderson for making another great beading experience possible!! You can find a list of all the participants on Lori’s blog.

Jeri’s New Jewels

Not many words this week, just pictures of  new beaded baubles from Jeri Schatz.

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    The beauty of these little elements is that you can make a bunch of them in your favorite palette and then combine them with one another or other elements (beaded beads?  lampworked beads?) to make a one of a kind beaded creation.  

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And the possibilities for making clasps, closures and focal pieces are unending!

  Jerri  teaches beading and is currently offering classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology  in NYC and The Bead Garden in Havertown, PA.

What I Made at Clayathon

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I decided to try making hollow beads using marbles as cores.  The technique goes like this:  You cover a marble ( mine were 25mm and 32 mm) with  clay, poke a little hole so air can escape and bake for 20- 30 minutes.   You slice  the clay open and slip out the marble.    I learned a neat tip from Olivia Surratt.  Don’t cut all the way around the marble; think clamshell.  If you leave a bit of clay attached you will be able to line up the halves perfectly.  Then I glue the bead back together with cyanoacrylic glue.   You can also use Genesis Medium and pop it back in the oven for a bit to set it.

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Marbles covered with white clay before baking

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Finished bead.  I got the texture from rolling the bead in salt before baking.

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Beads covered with zig zag canes before going in the oven.  After they come out.  I sand and buff.

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Some of the finished beads strung with bicones and spacers

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You must admit she looks stunning with or without the beads!

For more Clayathon pictures, press HERE

We’re Having Bead Soup Again?

This is one leftover I  never tire of.  I am just back from Clayathon and will post pictures later today.  But for now I am looking forward to participating in Lori Anderson’s 8th Bead Soup Blog Hop

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Metal, Mixed Media, and Imagination

That’s the name of the class I am teaching at the Main Line Bead Society ‘s 2014  retreat.   I plan to teach the students some methods for using metal, fabric, paint, wire and found objects ( to name a few) to make jewelry  or anything else we can dream up.  I want the class will be a guided play session for grownups,  and the students feel comfortable enough to create with wild abandonment.  I plan on bringing a ton of tools and materials and  inspiration pieces. (see pictures below).  And I hope to learn as much from the students as they learn from me.  Wish me luck!  I’ve never done this before.

Bead Shopping in Prague

I’m writing this on my last day in Prague; we leave tomorrow for Copenhagen. Prague as you may well know is in a part of the Czech Republic called Bohemia. To my husband, that means Bohemian
Rhapsody and every corny joke that goes with it. To me, that means Bohemian crystal. The souvenir shops are full of Bohemian crystal, both cheap and expensive: goblets, vases, candy dishes and figurines like your Grandmother used to display so proudly in her china cabinet. These don’t do a thing for me.  I came for the Czech crystal beads.

Before I left the U.S. I scoured the Internet in search of bead retailers who would be convenient for me to visit during my trip. I found Robinson Beads without much trouble. It’s a small store with a large selection of Czech crystal and glass beads at reasonable prices. I didn’t buy much because I have a large collection of Czech beads already and I was in search of something new. I did buy a copy of Perlen Poesie and read through several more issues. This is a fabulous beading magazine out of Germany that I’d heard of but I never got to leaf through an issue. Now that I have, I will subscribe. I also picked up a few issues of Koralki a Czech magazine with much simpler projects. I always like to get at a copy of at least one beading magazine from each country I visit and Robinson’s Beads is the only place in Prague where I saw any beading magazines for sale.

My big find came by chance. While trolling the open Market on Havelsky Street near Old Town Square in Prague, I saw a stall crowded with customers looking at beads.   Did someone say beads?

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I ended up buying some attractive and different looking (to me) crystal beads, some old favorites and a few glass beads. The prices were good. An example: I paid $5.00 U.S. for a bag of 300 very sparkly 6mm round faceted crystal beads.

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The proprietor (and I am sorry I didn’t get her name) explained that her son ran the business and sold beads on the Internet. I took her card and looked up the site: http://www.koralky.cz and saw that they run five bead stores (not including the stall) and that three are in Prague. By the way, koralky means “bead” in Czech.

The koralky.cz site is in Czech and it will likely stay a Czech language only site because they get so much new inventory that requires frequent page updating. They do speak English, however, and will be happy to answer questions if you contact them.

Here’s another tip: if you want a good tasty Czech meal that’s not over priced or swimming in grease (with vegetarian options too!) try Blatnice, Michalska 6-8/511 Prague 1.

 

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More Glass Beads from my Work Shop

I had a friend who traded working in polymer clay for glass. She reasoned that when she screwed up polymer clay it was ugly but no matter what you do to glass, it’s still beautiful. It’s hard to disagree, although some of my glass work might be an exception to her rule.

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 I only make lamp worked beads in the summer because I do not have a proper exhaust system to suck out the fumes. In the summer I can open windows, doors and run a series of fans to keep the air moving. But when the autumn becomes brisk, I put the glass away.

beads4.jpgSilver.jpg  Being a summer only lamp worker means that I don’t have the torch hours necessary to get as adept as I would like. On the other hand, I find that I am pretty much able to pick up where I left off when I light the torch in the spring.

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 The beads above are made from  lead glass or moretti glass and some of them  are enhanced with fine silver.  I love the blue bicone.  That’s blue and a bit of green translucent lead glass fumed, raked and paddled smooth on the bead.  The beads are sitting on a fiber blanket in my kiln waiting annealing.  I cool them in a fiber blanket when I first make them, but that does not anneal them!

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I batch anneal my beads rather than heating the  kiln going every time I light the torch.  I think it’s more energy efficient.

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Here’s the Jen Ken Bead Annealer that has served me well.    It has a manual control and for a few years I had to monitor the kiln like a hawk  and make sure it was moving through the annealing cycles properly and making adjustments. 

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Then  I found this baby for a reasonable price a few years ago.  Thew price has gone up since then.  A digital controller  is great though and  a separate controller can be used with different kilns.   I like the flexibility.  Now all I have to do is enter my annealing schedule and the kiln does the rest.  Yes, I still have to watch and monitor but fiddling with the dial is a thing of the past.

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Big Holed Bead on the mandrel

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Lead glass silvered

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The same bead cooled.  Aren’t the colors great?  That’s translucent lead glass similar to what you see in the picture below.

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Happy bead making!

Don’t  miss Beadfest this weekend!

Where I Make Glass Beads

Welcome to my summer lamp working studio.  I work with City gas and an oxygen concentrator.  My glass is mostly moretti or scrap class that I find or friends give me. 

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My lamp working station with home made arm rests (cigar boxes).  The top of the table is an old door protected with pieces of thick aluminum flashing.    I drilled holes in a wood block to hold the mandrels.  I only make lampworked beads in the summer when I can have the windows open and the air moving.

 

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The workshop.  I batch anneal and when the kiln is on the area around it is cleared!

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Glass shards

 

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Stringers pulled from scrap glass

 

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Disk beads and silvered glass.  I wear a respirator when I am working with fine silver in the torch.

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Here I’ve mixed blue and green scraps and added some silver.  I don’t know the COE of these glasses but they behave  similarly and I think they must be very close in COE if not the same.

 

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More beads

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My home made mashers (rebent barbeque tongs)

 

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From the Dollar Store, these also work as mashers but you have to quench them in water to keep the glass from sticking.

I’ve made a lot of beads this summer.  I even like some of them.  I will share them with you in a later post.

Circus Beads

My friend Wilma said these beads remind her of the circus, so I am calling them Circus Beads.

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And be sure to check out Clayathon goes to the Circus.

Revealing!

Reveal day is here and I had a ton of beads to use thanks to my partner My partner is Miranda Ackerley who runs MirandackArts. Miranda’s beads were mostly gemstones. There were a few shell beads, a couple glass and metal. and the yellow focal was ceramic. I used the clasp and the yellow focal in two different necklaces. Oh, and I really got into wire wrapping this time making many many wrapped loops for necklace number one ( below) and making a pearl chain using gold filled wire and the lovely freshwater pearls that Miranda sent (Necklace Two). I had never made a pearl chain before.

Clasp NecklaceNecklace Number One

I used Miranda’s clasp in this necklace and the bit of gunmetal chain she sent. I added brass and copper figaro chains and mixed my metals willy nilly. Miranda included a strand of chicklet-like brown beads with her soup and most of them ended up in this necklace, I had an especially good time assembling the focal and combined the beads in an unconventional way. I like how they look! Besides the chains, I added some seed beads and wire, and the brass, turquoise and red beads which I thought would go well with the brown. This necklace ended up being a lot of work and I had to solve some engineering problems but I had fun and that’s what counts.

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Necklace Number Two

Here you see the big yellow focal with one of Miranda’s turquoise beads. The focal frame is an earring I found on the street! Miranda sent a strand of chips which I strung with 0/8 turquoise seed beads. The pearl chain is the second strand and the third strand with the gemstone beads is connected by base metal eye pins that I wrapped with real French bullion gold wire that I’ve had for years. I think it really makes the piece look opulent although I never heard of French bullion being used this way. It’s a bit extravagant but I wanted to try it. I made the toggle clasp from brass (process explained in prior post) and textured it to go with the brass disk Miranda included with the beads. That’s a bullion-wrapped eye pin hanging on the bottom.

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Necklace Number Three

The only Miranda beads I used here are a gorgeous Biwa pearl (she sent two; the other one is in the focal of necklace number one) and a brown freshwater pearl. The rest of the necklace is street finds: rusty washers, stripped electrical wire and materials discussed in a prior post.

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I have a confession to make. When I first saw these wire beads I didn’t like them. They don’t have any holes and Miranda sent three of them. I was stumped until I turned them on their sides, added some of her chips and her purple crystals, and ended up with earrings I will wear!

Silver PendantAnd I made a pendant with the third wire bead and an enameled bead Miranda sent.

Thank you Lori Anderson for another great Bead Soup Blog Party!!!

To see the rest of the participants, press here.

Here’s a gallery of close ups and detail shots.