Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happily and busily working away.....December 29, 2005

No, I haven't disappeared! Between the holidays and working at the torch, I haven't had much time to post! It's funny, most people slow down over the holidays but I rev up and work furiously! It's when I have the most time to myself so I spend all the time I can at the torch. The longer and more sustained time I spend at the torch, the more creative my work becomes. I'm a realy hands on person and I have to manipulate the glass to see different things in it. Some artists draw their creations and then create them at the torch but I have to have the glass flowing in front of me to see what it can do and where I can take it. My slumps don't come after I've been at the torch for a long time, they come when I'm not at the torch! :-) So, this is short and sweet this morning, I want to get to the torch as early as possible!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

New imported Italian Glass color....December 15, 2005

I had promised a picture of the new imported Italian glass color and the beads I made with it. Here it is! This is a very pale Granny Apple color, I think it's the color of white wine. It wasn't named that, I believe because there was another color slightly lighter that was named Chardonnay - I think this color is really the same. I've done a very simple technique on these beads, some a plain wound glass and the others are rolled with a little bit of frit (small bits of glass) that gives them a brown/gold color. The jar of frit kept calling me while I was making the plain beads and saying how wonderful it would look on the beads! I agree! Looks like white wine and gold! These are up for auction on Justbeads. com under Lampwork Diva!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Working and creating in the cold.....December 14, 2005

I'm heating the studio with two powerful space heaters and sometimes, even that isn't enough to keep the studio warm (may have something to do with no insulation?!). The cold doesn't dampen the creative spirit, though. I went out to the studio to continue working on the pendants with crystals on 2mm mandrels but my creative muse had other ideas! I picked up the 3.5mm mandrels and started making large hollow beads with Czech glass! The Czech glass has a different "flow" in the flame than the Italian glass, it's "thicker" and flows slower. Perfect for large hollow beads! I haven't made many of them because when I tried a year or so ago, I couldn't clean mine. To this day they have bead release rolling around inside! Well, this morning, I figured out how to clean them - I fill the hollow bead with water, cover the holes with my fingers and shake to break up the bead release and then blow very hard through the bead hole. All the bead release comes out! Clean as a whistle as my father would say.

I've posted pictures of the pendant beads, though because I've been promising pictures of the various styles I've been working on, the hollow bead pictures will come in a few days. I took the simple notion of a crystal plunged into a floral bead and simplified it. The attraction is the crystal only and the metallic finish of the rondelle bead that the disk is suspended from. Here and there, I've varied it a bit - no crystal but a twist of the metallic rondelle, or plain rondelle with a crystal. I'm still playing around with variations. I like these simple, uncomplicated pendants. I'm going to post a few for auction on in the next day or two. But if you see one you like, please make a comment or drop me an email, I'm happy to sell it to you!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

New styles and photographing.....December 11, 2005

I've talked about photography before, mostly complaining about how long it can take because you have to shoot alot of pictures to get a few good ones. Thank goodness for digital photography and I don't have to develop all of the those photos that I don't use! I have been working on some new styles. If you look at a post from a few days back, you'll see a taupe and amethyst pendant with a single 2mm crystal in it. I've been taking the idea of crystals in floral beads and simplifying it - placing a single crystal in a single colored glass. So, I have several different pendants now using this concept and I need to photograph them so you can see them! Which reminds me, if you ever see a set of beads on the blog that you'd like to purchase, send me an email. Most likely, I have those beads available as an auction or sitting on my bench.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Soft or hard glass???.....Friday, December 9th, 2005

I want to take a bit of cyberspace this morning to explain the glass that I use to make the beads. I use primarily imported Italian glass which is the same glass used to make those lovely Ventian glass art objects. The Italian glass is made by a company called "Effetre" (ee-FAY-TRAY) and is categoried as "soft glass." Now, if you're like me, you're thinking, "that makes no sense" - how can glass be "soft." Now, this might not be the right scientific explanation for it, but you have to think of the "soft" in comparison to other glasses. You know that Pyrex baking dish you have? Well, that's made of borosilicate (bore-oh-SILL- ah- kit) glass or "hard glass" and it's called "hard glass" because it doesn't melt or crack when you heat it at baking temperatures. In comparison to Pyrex or Borosilicate, the Italian glass melts at a lower temperature. The Italian glass wouldn't melt if you put it in your oven but it does melt at a lower temperature than the borosilicate. You can do all the same things with borosilicate glass as I do with the imported Italian glass, but you need a MUCH larger and hotter flame! The borosilicate color palate is much different than the Italian glass too, it's much more subdued. Right now, I prefer the vibrancy of the soft glass color palate.

So, all of the beads and small sculpture you'll see from me will be made of "soft glass." All beads are individually handmade, even the plain spacer beads! A rod of glass is melted in the flame of a bench-mounted torch and hand-wound around a stiff wire or mandrel. Once decorated, the hot bead is placed in a brick kiln to cool very slowly. This is called "annealing" - if the glass cools too quickly, it will crack as an ice cube does when dropped into a glass of water. Annealing assures that there is no stress in the glass so that you can enjoy them for years to come.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Sweetest thing......December 7, 2005

As I've been telling you, when the temperature goes below 30 here in the Northeast US, I'm unable to work in my unheated studio. Well, my husband did the sweetest thing on Sunday, he surprised me with two very powerful heaters that he placed in the studio. Within 2 hours, the studio was as warm as a July afternoon! Wasn't that the sweetest thing to do!? I think so and now I am able to work happily away even in the winter! WhooHoo!

I've been working on a fairly simple yet elegant design - a single crystal placed into a single colored round tab suspended from a rondel-bead. I'll be working on them again today in the studio to see what sort of variations I can come up with. I like the elegant look of these beads - the single crystal. Adding the 2mm crystals to the bead isn't easy. It's the preparation that's the killer! I place a tiny dab of glue on the end of a stainless steel mandrel and glue the flat end of the crystal to the tip of the mandrel. I've lost quite a few of the crystals because 2mm is tiny! It's hard to see which end is flat sometimes and the crystals will slip off the bench and onto the floor! Sometimes I find them, most of the time, I don't. Once the crystal is glued onto the mandrel, I make the rondel-bead and had the round bead to the end. I flatten the round bead then heat a section of the round tab bead and press the crystal into the hot glass. A dab of clear glass is placed over the crystal as a lens to magnify it. The clear is melted smooth in the flame and the bead placed into the kiln to anneal. I'm showing one of these beads but have several different variations sitting on my workbench. I'll photograph them later in the week and post them here.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

December 3, 2005.....New Glass colors.....

Been working with some new Italian Glass colors that fall within the green palate. I love the color green and I love the way many of the greens flow when worked in the flame. The transparent greens and teals behave superbly in the flame and make lovely transparent beads.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cold and Fire.....November 27, 2005

Studio has been too cold to work in the past few days....the studio is unheated and has to be at least 30 degrees Farenheit for me to be able to heat it with the kilns and space heater I have. I've tried to work when it was colder, but it's just too darn cold! Spent the day putting up auctions and scheduling some for the next few weeks. When it warms up outside, I want to be able to work at the torch!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

November 22, 2005....Beadmaker as Photographer?

I intended to get to the studio yesterday but spent my torch time taking pictures! After I took the pictures, then I had to edit them into web-seeable shots - I don't alter the look of the beads or the colors or try to smooth out any of their handmade quality when I photo-edit. If I didn't lighten the shots then they'd just be too darn dark for anyone to see! It's kind of fun to do the close up shots but all of this takes time! I spent all of my torch time photographing, photoediting and then posting auctions! So, I'm thinking that a beadmaker or really any artist might also be considered a photographer! Yes, I could pay someone to do the photographing but have you tried to find someone who specializes in small works like beads?!? They're just not to be found! So, I've posted the fruits of my labor - check out my auctions on ebay and under Lampwork Diva.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

November 17, 2005.....

First snow today! I know living in the Northeast US that we'll eventually get snow but I always like it to hold off because I don't have any heating system in my studio - brrrrr! I won't be able to get to the torch until this weekend but will have a few extra days over the Thanksgiving holiday. I've been working on the LampworkDiva logo, business cards and some other informational materials. I've got some photographing to do of some beads I made last weekend too. I'm working at keeping a steady stream of new bead auctions up on justbeads and ebay. I'm varying the number of beads I put in each set to see what buyers like.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

LampworkDiva Logo and Auctions....

I've had a good friend of mine create a logo for Lampwork Diva! I am debuting her here! The logo is based on beads I have created in the flame. This one is made of enamels painted onto glass and then formed into a bead in the flame. She is a tribute to Picasso and is entitled Picasso's Amour. She isn't for sale but definitely is a DIVA!

There are auctions up on ebay and justbeads. For those beadlovers not familiar with - you NEED to GO THERE! What's great about justbeads is that is it just that - BEADS! No wading through the volumes of different items that you can get on ebay - if you are looking for just beads then you gotta go to JUSTBEADS.COM!

Here are a few of the beads I've put up on - search for LampworkDiva and you'll find me!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Saturday, November 05, 2005

New Auctions on Ebay!

November 5th, I'm trying to get myself back into the swing of posting bead auctions weekly. All auctions are made by "the Diva" that is the Lampwork Diva! I've been focused on doing more art and less computer so it's been awhile since an update. I know in the land of the internet that means people have already forgotten me so I have to start all over again! But instead of griping about my lack of computer motivation, let me tell you about the work I've been doing lately.

In September, I took a class in blowing glass with Sally Prasch! It was way kewl! I've posted a picture of Sally here today so you can see the master at work! She started in glass art when she was 13! Wow! Imagine having that much clarity in your life - to know what you wanted to do! Sally is a very generous artist and very encouraging to her students.

Blowing glass brings up a whole other set of skills that I am eager to develop. Most people think that the wound glass beads are "blown" but they're not! they're wound on a thick wire or mandrel. Before I took Sally's class, I had been playing with blowing glass with a stainless steel pipe - a blowpipe - and was having some small success. Taking Sally's class gave me more confidence to continue.

Ok, I think I've spent enough time at the computer this morning, my studio should be warmed enough for me to go to work for a few hours. I promise to post more - in the mean time, take a look at my auctions on ebay:

Monday, October 31, 2005

Fibers and glass......

I've had less time in the studio this fall. More work as an interpreter that I save to get me through the summer months when I have little freelance work. I've been productive with the little time I do have, though! In September, I took a class with Sally Prasch and learned to blow glass using tubing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Websites are a PAIN! But I lOvE bLoGs!!

My website is a pain! It won't save any of the changes I've made in the last few weeks! ARRGGHHH! I don't like to leave the website that long without an update! If you've been there and it looks the same old, you know why! I'll work on it later today and hopefully finally have a solution! I must be one of the few people in the world creating a website on a Mac! :-)

Made more of the hand-felted ropes. I made them thinner and longer than the ones I made last spring. They're about 4 feet long and I can combine the subtlest of colors in them too. I have an idea of custom art beads to work with the felt, a donut style that isn't perfected yet, but getting there!

Websites are a PAIN!

I'm having trouble with my website. I've gone on it about 5 times in the last 2 weeks and it won't save any of my changes! Arghhh!! I don't like to leave it that long without some sort of update! I got a Bravenet account but I just am not computer savvy enough to build the site from scratch! So it just sits there!

I made some more hand-felted ropes this past week. I'm able to make them thinner and longer than I did last spring. They're about a 4 feel long and pretty thin! I'm experimenting with some "donut" style beads designed specifically for the felted ropes. Have done some special wire wrapped pendant slides in Argentium silver to hang pendants from - having hit exactly the right note yet but will continue!

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Auctions and getting back into the swing of things.....

I've got some new auctions up on and ebay. It's taken me about 5 hours to photograph the beads and then put them all up for auctions. I write 10-12 different descriptions for each auction, but about auction 9, I start to run low on literary language for the beads! So some are more interesting than others! :-) I'm getting myself back into a regular schedule of auctions and beadmaking - fall is definitely in the air!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back from Vacation!

Back from vacation and the Innovative Beads Expo! It's been a long two weeks! I enjoyed the vacation and we had lovely weather. I'm putting up some pictures from vacation at Lake George, NY. The weather was warm and sunny most of the week. We made a trip to Saratoga Springs because I was so curious about the natural spring water. There are several springs you can drink water from in the village and state parks. Some taste great some not so good. We couldn't taste the "Island Spouter" but the rock you see underneath it is travertine that is the minerals in the water. The mineral deposits at a rate of 2 inches per year!

Auctions are coming back on Sunday, August 28th. I've got lots of new sets and beads to offer. I'll be back at the torch this week - Yipppeeee!!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Beads, buttons and yarn.....

I took some pictures of the ribbon poncho that I crocheted a week or so ago. I made special beads to go with the poncho. The yellow and baby blue interact to create a line around the dots I placed on the yellow base beads. The beads are made on a little larger than normal mandrel so the bead hole is a bit larger. I took a very small crochet hook and pulled the ribbon yarn through and tied a knot on both sides of the bead. It gives the tie a bit of heft but not too much. The beads make a built in necklace! I just love this!

I'm off to vacation and then to the Innovative Bead Expo in Albany, NY. I've been quiet because I've been working in the studio. So I'll treat you to some eye candy that I'll have with me. I'm bringing my hand-felted ropes and examples of how to use them. New painted beads inspired by the Faux Porcelain line - blue and white with lots of clear to give the pattern depth! Hope to see you in Albany!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Emerging from the cave....erhhh studio

Wow! It's August 8th already! I've been holed up in my studio working working working every free moment! I haven't been on the computer much! Have a set of buttons with backs that will stay on! I went through 3 different glues before I found one that wouldn't pull off the smooth surface of the glass and dries clear! But I did spill it all over my fingers and got them stuck together! They should put a warning on those glues - Warning! Not as thick as Elmer's!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Making Glass.....

I've been promising pictures and here they are this morning! I'm combining pieces I make at the torch with fusing/melting the glass in the kiln. The yellow glass in the photo was actually red when I put it in the kiln. I opened the kiln after it had cooled expecting to see red and SURPRISE! Yellow! Nice surprise - it was a monochromatic palate rather than the contrastive one I had planned - but it works!

I'm also working on the painting and fusing. I do this with my beads and now I want some cabachons and buttons that will be available to crocheters, knitters and those who sew (can't say "sew-ers" here - looks like sewers! :-) The buttons and cabachons will be 1 inch or less in size.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Melting glass in the hot weather.....

You're looking at a millefiore - a very small piece of glass "cane." "Milli's" are melted into glass at about 1425 degrees Farenheit. I've spent the last two days melting in the heat and only making it worse by running two kilns at 1000 degrees +! The kiln has yielded button sets and pendants. The milli you're looking at is part of a larger pendant. I've got a nice triangular pendant that I'll put up tomorrow. Yellow transparent glass is what happens when you load the kiln with red transparent Italian glass and heat it. Surprise! It turns yellow!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm working in the studio early mornings due to the excessive heat. We've had 90+ weather with 80% humidity making it difficult to run hot kilns at 1000 degrees plus! So I am out early in the morning getting things set up to fuse and then I can be in and out of the studio in the afternoon. I firepolished a set of pendants, cabachons and buttons in the kiln yesterday. I'll take some pictures and post them a little later - errhh, you've heard that before but today I promise! :-) Things take longer than I anticipate and since I have to unplug everything when I'm not in the office (don't ask - that's another story!) - I sometimes don't get back to the computer to post.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Diva has arrived!

You're looking at a close up of an off mandrel glass pendant done in black and white glass. She's a mythical figure that serves as a talisman. Off mandrel means there is no "beadhole" per se but there are glass bails incorporated into the small sculpture to allow you to make it into jewelry if you'd like.

As I've mentioned on my other website, I have a new name and identity for my line of auction beads. I've gotten a webhost but unfortunately, it is taking me much longer to put up the actual website! I wanted more creative control over the website, but too much means you have to be a professional website developer! There's lots of work to be done on the site and I don't want to delay in getting the word out! The blog will let you know how everything is progressing in the meantime.

I'll be out most of today but have spent the last week with a kiln full of fused glass. I'm working on a line of buttons for yarn shops and sewing. I do alot of crochet and the yarns are just gorgeous! Glass buttons will work very nicely with them. The fused buttons will be a variety of colors but this past week's batch were a transparent cobalt blue with the iridescent dichroic glass floating above it. Gorgeous. I'll get some photos up a bit later.