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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Call For Artists ~ Anyone Interested?

I received this Call for Submissions and thought I'd pass it on to all of you...

Making It: The Art of Contemporary Craft

(Swainsboro, GA) Gallery RFD seeks submissions for it upcoming exhibition titled
Contemporary Craft.

While the Industrial Revolution may have worked wonders for the production process in terms of output and standardization, it has arguably written the creatorial's role out of the process. As machines replace humans or minimize their necessity in ever more labor fields, we are witnessing nostalgia for the return of a human element, lest automation render us obsolete. Though few are clamoring to give up their tools of convenience, individuation and uniqueness are now novelties as witnessed in the rising popularity of mass-customization. Gallery RFD seeks submissions of work in any media that project evidence of a human hand or craftsmanship.

Submission deadline: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2008, 4 p.m. (EST)
Jurors: Christy Petterson and Shannon Mulkey, co-founders of the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta, GA.

Exhibition runs Dec. 13, 2008 - Jan. 3, 2009
Opening Reception: Dec. 13, 2008, 5-8 p.m.

Further details and prospectus available on the Gallery RFD website: www.galleryrfd.org

Adding "Bling" To Your Beads


Once in a while you think your bead would be enhanced with a bit of sparkle. There are quite a few options, silver, gold or palladium leaf or foil, dichro, fine silver wire, aventurine copper flakes or perhaps you're ready to try Cubic Zirconium which are also known as CZs.

This Christmas Tree (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7806618) has 5 CZs that are 2mm. The tree is about 1.2" tall with a 1/16th vertical hole. I skipped putting CZs on the back side, because it seemed like they would be wasted in that location.

There are all kinds of methods for placing CZs in your beads, but this is what I did.

1. Get out your CZs and put a few extra on your graphite pad, or where ever you're placing them.
(They are slippery!)
2. Warm your bead in the spot where you are going to put them.
3. Pick up your CZ with needlenose tweezers. Look carefully, because there is a top and bottom to them.
4. Warm your CZ slightly in the outer part of your flame.
5. Place it onto the warm spot of your bead and press in gently so it is sunk into the glass up to the top edge of it.
6. It is optional whether you add a bit of clear glass to case it. I have used CZs both ways, (with and without the extra clear glass and both ways work fine for me.
7. CZs can be purchased through http://www.pehnec.com/ Keep your choices small, and feel free to vary the colors of them.
8. To see a slightly different way to set CZs, visit www.KimMiles.com She not only makes beautiful beads, but she incorporates CZs and makes them even more lovely.

Monday, September 29, 2008

From Mundane to Magnificent


Creativity in any area tends to get my attention and this one did it. Who knew, that someone out there is making barcodes interesting?

These are done by a company called D-Barcode who has been making creative barcodes for Japanese product packaging. What a lot of fun!

Now let's turn this into a glass question...what are you doing in beadmaking that might look a bit like others, and how can you add that extra zing of creativity to make your beads stand out?

Later this week, I will take one of my beads that needs a shot of creativity and show you before and after photos of what I did to stylize mine. If you'd like to join me in this creativity exercise, please contact me through my website, www.StudioMarcy.com, and I can post an example of what you are doing too.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Random Act of Glass Kindness ~ Thank You Canyon Echoes

A few weeks ago, I saw some similar beads in Canyon Echoes' Etsy shop and I emailed her to let me know when she had more of them, as I'd like to buy them.

I love Canyon Echoes' beads. They are organic, have gorgeous layers and I love her use of silver with the glass.

The layers remind me of the layers of rocks that are visible throughout parts of Colorado- her home state, and my old one. You can almost imagine the the different periods of time that formed them. (Can you tell I'm an Archeologist's Mom?)

On Saturday, I received a package in the mail from Canyon Echoes. I couldn't believe my eyes. There were two perfectly matched beads in her beautiful style. I will be making a new pair of earrings on Monday and thinking of Johanna and her transcendent generosity whenever I wear them. You can find these beads and more of her styles at http://www.CanyonEchoes.etsy.com. Read her shop announcement to find out how to sign up for her monthly drawing.

Thank you Canyon Echoes. I appreciate you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Getting Out the Vote by September 30th (Halloween Vote)

I belong to a wonderfully supportive Lampwork Etc. Street Team which is made up of Etsy lampwork sellers. (LEST)

We are having our monthly challenge and surprise, it's a Halloween theme. (October's challenge relates to a more important topic: Breast Cancer Awareness). So we're celebrating early. Come join us.

Participating members have added a photo of their Halloween beads, (<----that's my Vlad to the left ), and we'd like you to come vote for your favorite.
Just look through the photos and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to vote. There is no prize involved, but the fun part is that you can discover more glass beadmakers .

Here's the link: http://www.webjam.com/lest/halloween_challenge_coming_soon
Voting ends September 30th, so hopefully you'll have a chance to stop by before then. Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't say, "Please vote for me". (I'm working on learning how to ask for what I want.)

And while you're there, look at the red bar on the top of the page. It has a list of our members' etsy shops. I bet there are hours of fun just in visiting them.

See you on Monday. I'm taking the weekend off.

More Inspiration...Ace of Cakes

I love watching Ace of Cakes on the Food Chanel. Baker Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes', slightly irreverent style as well as the breadth of cakes that his company bakes, really makes me smile.

Watching his crew assemble and decorate their offbeat cakes reminds me in a way of making sculptural glass beads.

Their orders are custom orders and a lot of mine are also. Each one is a little different and always a challenge.

They are given a theme and then start researching online some reference photos.
After they find what they need, they print it out and often sketch more angles of it. I do that for
some of my more complex beads.

Of course, the scale is quite different as well as the components, but watching this show always inspires me. They love what they're doing, appear to have fun and have to use their imagination and resources on a daily basis.

Besides the really different ones, they also make layered cakes with cool color combinations and patterns.

So watch your favorite show and look at it a little differently. See whether it inspires you to try something new in your lampwork beadmaking. I know that Ace of Cakes does that for me.

Let me know if you'd like me to post some of my challenges over the next few weeks and show you the process from start to finish? Meanwhile, visit my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My, What Big Eyes You Have

Meet Norah and her personal bluebird of happiness, Kenley.

Norah has some pretty big eyes. Not exactly "piercing", but they do stand out on her face.

I wanted to show you another use for commercial murrini. Sometimes we buy murrini and then wonder what we're going to do with it. I like finding non-traditional ways of using it. Eye balls suit my personal style of lampworking.

Instead of sinking the murrini all the way in so it is even with her face, I left it partially raised, to give her a wider eyed look.

The amethyst shading around the edges rocks. I didn't have to add eyebrows, which would have been too much for her face. This keeps it simple so the eyes really stand out.

Kenley was added for fun. For years I have made a series of beads of women with birds sitting on their hats or hair and called them "Bird Brains". I guess they're semi-autobiographical.

Norah and Kenley are currently residing in my etsy shop,
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15569723

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tool Time Drawing For One of My Beads

And the winner is...... (drum roll please).... Melanie! Melanie, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you before, so thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I really appreciate it and thanks to all the other people who commented. I will contact you for your address, so I can send you a bead.

What a fun combination of answers for my video blog's question about my new brass tool. From beadmaker prod, to belly button pusher, to a hat maker and petal pusher. Each one had their own merit.

The tool turned into quite a question mark to me. first I tried to see whether I could get an exterior bead shape from it. I used a light pastel opaque for its pliability, and it wouldn't hold that shape. The bead kept wanting to round up. so it ended up looking more like a modified egg shape. So the shaping aspect didn't work...yet. (You know me, I'm going to give it another try sometime.)

That leaves me with using the to indent this blue glass bead. First I tried a simple indentation and with the shape of the original bead, it reminded me of a sugared Easter egg that has the little flowers, bunnies and chicks in frosting on the inside. I tried a simple one with a sculptural blackbird on the inside and a tree on the outside. I'd like to take this concept a step further at another time and get more intricate. It would be fun to try it like a silhouette and do people faces and decorate the edges of the circle like a picture frame. And of course, I'll need to try an Easter theme at some point too. Lots of possibilities.

My second bead, I call "Singing Tommy", which is pictured above. I decided that tool would be able to make a large and wide open mouth. To make the depth more apparent, I first melted in a black dot and then pressed it in. I used a #420 Effetre coral for the tongue which was to accent the hole. If I had wanted to draw more attention to it, I'd maybe have tried a brighter or lighter pink that would show up even more against the black.

If you've read the comments, they were varied and lots of fun. I might try some of the other ideas in the future, but unless I get really frustrated, I might skip burning it.

Both of these beads are available in my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com .
And please come back for more online coaching, tips, tricks and who knows what else!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ask Studio Marcy ~ Online Coaching...Santa's Face with Mallory and Me

Mallory, of www.rosebud101.etsy.com has volunteered to be this week's online student for lampwork coaching. Thanks Mallory!

Here you'll see her very first Santa face, which she nicknamed, "the deranged Santa", because when she flattened his eyes, they went a little crazy. He is a hollow bead made with moretti's soft pink.

Here is an excerpt from my response...
"Here are a few hints...hope you don't mind me including them.
Make your base bead, Cool down your torch. keep your flame smallish, because when doing this much detailed work, it's easy to melt it all together. Your Santa's hair is nice and fluffy, so I think you might be doing this already.

Your comments about his eyes made me laugh. I can't tell you how many goofy eyed beads I've made. eye balls only need to be a tiny dot. (I use thin stringer) And as you put a dark glass on top of white, the white needs to be quite cool, because the stiff glass will pull it if it's warm. I then chill the eyeball by press down with my brass Stump Shaper. I always do pupils towards the end, because they have the ability to get warmed accidentally while I'm doing something else and then the eyes go all over the place as they kind of melt from the heat of the other details.

I always do my biggest details first and then add in the rest in descending order depending on what might melt in and be a mess versus what could get a touch too warm and still look okay.

If I were doing a Santa head, I'd probably do it in this order. (and after each addition, lots of bathing in heat to keep the entire bead warm.
Head, hat, but not the trim, white part of eyeballs, cheeks, bottom part of beard, white trim around hat, mustache, white ball at end of hat, pupils. And possibly I'd change up the order if the red hat came down low on his face. If that were the case, I might add his pupils in earlier, if I thought there might be a problem in reaching them when adding the white band trim around the hat."
So look at her second Santa head. Wow, what an improvement!
Mallory made a smaller head that wasn't a hollow this time. I like how his beard and white hat ornamentation are fluffy like cotton. His hat adds a lot to the face. Mallory told me that she was trying to make his nose "like a cherry", the way it is in the poem. Perhaps, I'd attempt a pink cherry instead and just try that out. This red might be a touch too much contrast. His eyes are much better and perhaps I would have added just a touch more black right on the center whether the one pupil is a bit smaller.

I've included two of my Santas to show you and to talk about a bit for additional ideas.

This first Santa I made for any of you who enjoy using presses. His face was made with a Zoozii tab press, but lentils, or other similar presses would work fine.

I added his cheeks, (CIM Gelly Pink for bright, cheery ones) as place markers so I would know where to spot his beard, mustache and the rest of his face. Then I basically followed the order that I gave Mallory and is written above. The benefit of a face bead made with a press, is that it lays really flat, which is nice when it's made up into jewelry.

This second Santa has a rounder head - more similar to Mallory's shape. I indented the space for his eyes with one of my whimzicalities sharp tools and then placed the black dots. It gives his eyes a little more shape and holds them in place better.

For his hair, (same as the other one), I clear encased white glass with clear to give it a bit of definition. Although I have to say, I think Mallory's fluffy beard is fabulous. I always make the beard first and then the mustache, so it sits on top of it and shows up well. This bead also has the CIM pink for the cheery cheeks. I like adding the pink, because it makes the white stand out a little more from the ivory face, adding a little more warmth to the bead.

Some of the places you might want to look for inspiration are holiday catalogues, newspaper ads, favorite tree ornaments and my favorite spot...google. I love having a selection of pictures at my disposal that I can print for inspiration.

To view more angles of my Santa beads, visit my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com . They are both in my "sold" section. Mallory has listed her second Santa face "Peaches". Visit her shop, http://www.rosebud101.etsy.com.

No Joking Around.....but in the the meantime...


My online coaching tutorial will be up later today (Tuesday). Mallory - Rosebud101, has made a great start at Santa faces. I made some additional Santas yesterday, and I have to wait until the light is right to photograph them. So please stop back later for the coaching and mini tutorial and my extra photos.

Meanwhile, if you scroll down, I have added a light blue box on the right side of this blog so you can receive my Etsy shop sales and announcements. Often, I give special discounts or early notice to my subscribers. Sign up if you'd like. And while you're waiting, feel free to stop by my shop, http://wwwStudioMarcy.etsy.com
See you later.... and I'm not clowning around!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finding Inspiration in....Legos?

If you enjoy making character lampwork beads, your inspiration can come from anywhere. But who thought it would come from chunky brightly colored kids' toys like these?

Looks like Lego Toys views inspiration similarly. Here are a few historical or celebrity images that have made it into their toy line.

It makes me smile, because I've thought many times that I'd like to make a Ben Franklin Bobblehead glass piece and I've already made an Amy Winehouse bead. Her hair style and facial features are just perfect for it. I just haven't put it up for sale, as she's such a mess and it doesn't seem right to take advantage of it at all.

The final Lego picture is of movie character, Indiana Jones, who has great characteristics for glass interpretation. But because he's a movie character, I'm sure he's copyrighted and I can't make him.

When choosing a character for interpretation, I look for something that makes them easily recognizable to the general public. What facial or body features, or clothing makes someone know who they are immediately? Is the image off limits because they are owned by someone already? Who would you like to see as a bobblehead or a bead?

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for this week's Online Coaching. We'll be looking at Rosebud 101's Santa face and I'll offer some ideas for improvement.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Glass Studio Safety ~ Prescription Cream for Burns


There are a lot of things I joke about, but treating burns isn't one of them. This is the kind of prescription burn cream I keep on hand. I saw it used at a glass retreat and it's healing power was amazing.

If you can't read the label easily, it is prescription Silver Sulfadiazine Cream. It has some other names it goes by, I think one of them is Silvadene or something like that. Use it twice a day.

I am not a medical person, so please ask your Doctor for his/her opinion. I just wanted to give you another option, in case you were like me and thought that ice water and lavender oil would do the trick each time. Keep this by your torch. But if your burn is a bad one, please seek medical attention right away.

Here is something funny, though. I took this photo with my computer camera, so the blue background fabric is draped over my head, and I'm balancing the cream in one hand and searching for the spacer bar under the fabric with the other to activate the camera. If you saw me, you would have laughed.

I'll be back tomorrow and don't forget, Tuesday will be my next online coaching session with Rosebud 101's Santa face.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Music With A Touch of Glass

Although the world of glass fills a large part of my soul, music, friends and family are so important too.

Last night we went to No JabOinga's gig with some friends. The fabulous guitarist on the right, Evan Krupa, and my son played together throughout their school years.

They were our own garage band, playing almost every day...in our garage, hanging out at the house, and gigging on the weekends. I sure miss those days. The live music really was a joy to hear, the laughter and of course, the traditional very late night visits to Waffle House after their shows.

Last night, when No JabOinga did their cover of Allman Brothers' Whipping Post, all the memories came rushing back. That was always one of my favorite songs when the kids were practicing. In those days, Evan's fingers already were magical and his deep gravelly voice gave it a mature sound. And although No Jaboinga's drummer is hugely talented, I still wished that last night my son was around and sitting up there for that song.

Before leaving last night, I chatted with Ev and told him how that song brought back such wondeful memories. I teased him and asked if we're going to Waffle House next. Without missing a beat, he smiled, "Only if you'll drive me. Just like you always did."
* * * * * *
And here's your glass tidbit of the day...
Instead of a regular chair, I use a drum throne for making my beads, (their term for the drummer's chair/stool) It has a comfy seat, an adjustable padded small backrest and the seat can move up and down.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's Up With This Tool? Post & Win a Prize


In my constant effort to make technology my friend, I decided to mix it up a bit and experiment with my computer's video capabilities. This is called a "vlog" - video blog.

Watch the very short video and put your name in the hat to win a free bead from me.
1. Answer the question posed on my vlog- funny or serious response
2. Add your name, where you live, and if you'd like, post your website and/or blog .
(It's free advertising for you!)
3. If you have a problem viewing the video, please let me know too. That's part of the reason why I'm trying it out.
4. Next Wednesday, I'll have a friend pick a number and the person who was that number posting, will win one of my beads. I'll ship it to anywhere- including internationally. And the winner's blog, etsy shop or whatever will be featured in this blog at a later date.

Just click on the lower left arrow to listen. And then respond. I look forward to hearing from you.

And by the way, I made a bead using this tool and I'll show it next week when I announce the winner.

And if you have a free minute, stop by my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com . I'll be adding more beads a little later today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ask StudioMarcy ~ Online Coaching " Penguins" with Fiona and Me

Welcome to today's online coaching. But first a quick note... tomorrow's post will include a video posting. I'm trying to learn this century's technology, so it's a bit of an experiment, as well as some fun. It will include a contest to win a free bead too.

Fiona couldn't have chosen a better type of bead to make, because unknown to her, penguins have really been on my mind recently. My daughter leaves soon to work in Antarctica, where penguins are one of the featured inhabitants. I've been thinking I need to make more and now I have this chance.

Here is Fiona's second lampwork glass sculptural bead. She is now making penguins. This little fellow will be shown in three different poses.

Here is a side view. Let's talk about his basic construction. I can not tell whether this penguin was made on a black base with a white section added for his tummy or whether he was made with a white base and the additional black glass added on. That's a good thing. So here are a few tips for making the base bead.

1. Shape can be long barrel shape or chubby tear drop shape. With the addition of wings, it makes the slimmer top section thicker, so either would work.
2. When adding white to a black base bead, make sure your black is not too warm. If the white is warm and the black is too warm, then sometimes your white starts blending into your black around the edge and you get a bit of purple outline. As you know, white glass is a lot softer than the stiffer deep transparent purple, (if using Effetre brand), which we know as black glass.

So now it's time to add the head. Fiona added a head that looks like our donut shaped bead. It's in proportion in size, but doesn't have quite as much room for a face. My suggestion is to make it a little larger, so your eyes, beak and any other features can stand out a little better. I really like his beak. I think the size and shape are perfect.

The eyes could use a little work. Perhaps melting in the whites first, letting them cool a touch and then adding the black pupil at the end, will keep it from standing out too much. In person usually an eye that is so 3-D looks fine, but photographing something like that is much harder. If you want your penguin to look more like a character, you can make the eyes larger, if you want it more realistic, keep them in proportion to what they should be. Always add your farthest away eye first. Then the closer one will be easier to for you to gauge and place. I put on the whites of the eyes as soon as I make the head. That way I can melt in the white, without disturbing any of the other features. While I'm melting in the whites, I add a little heat and then gently marver the dot flatten a bit- not pushing hard, because that will spread out the white. Heat again gently and repeat, until they are in the shape and location that you want them.

Fiona wrote to me about the Penguin - "my second ever birdy bead... he is about 25mm tall, has popping eyes (when do I put the white on to melt it flat) Im 'quite' happy with his beak and feet but his right wing (as you face him) is odd... I know what I did though.. put too much black on.. I didn't let it get hot enough be before I swiped it so it was too thick."

Well, Fiona knows exactly what to do differently next time, which you will shortly see. You want your gather nice and hot and you want both of them the same size. Here are a couple of tricks.

1. If you have a hard time adding your wings in the right spot, then before you add them, place a small dot of black where you want them to start. It will blend in when you add the wings, but will be a visual reminder where they should be. If you don't like how you placed it at first, then just melt the dot in and start over.
2. Your wing gather of black glass should be approximately the same size for both wings. you can measure your glass, or you can just "note" it pretty carefully. Be aware of what you're doing and it will work much better. In cases where perfection is really important, you can keep a set of calipers on your studio bench and measure the rod as to how much of the rod you're going to use.
3. Once you've laid on the first wing, don't forget that you can make some adjustments. You can heat just the wing and move around the raised glass with your brass Stump Shaper or other brass tool. (One of my sayings..."graphite will smooth it, brass will move it"). Then do the same with the other wing. If a wing is too narrow at the bottom, add some small dots of black and gently heat them in and move them where you need extra glass to make your wing fuller.
4. If the wing is too big, then don't forget that you can remove glass by heating it up a bit and taking a cold rod or stringer of the same color and gently pulling some off. Careful, go slowly on this, as if you take too much, you just have to add it on again.


Here is Fiona's second penguin. Wow! She named it,
"I Believe I Can Fly" with good reason. Look how she added character to the wings, (which are well balanced), the eyes are improved, and she even photographed it so that it looks like it's on ice. Hooray for Fiona and her fabulous penguins.

I suggested to her that it's now time to add more details to them, whether it's clothing like a striped scarf, or other items to make them stand out as "hers". Besided, penguins make not only great winter beads to sell, but also she can market them as Christmas tree ornaments. Holiday marketing will be an entirely different blog post.

So watch for more of Fiona's penguins. She told me she has a Devil Penguin in the works.
And visit my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com. I will be posting my version of a penguin bead a little later today. Mine is wearing ear muffs, a bow tie and a cumberbund. You can't dress up too much if you're a penguin, because black and white go with everything.

See you tomorrow for the video blog and fun contest....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ask StudioMarcy ~ Online Coaching #1 Bird Today and Penguins Tomorrow

Meet Fiona from
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in the UK. Her bead website is www.sterlingdesigns.co.uk . She's my first online student and for someone who has been working on a Hot Head torch for 9 months and hasn't ever done a sculptural bead. I must say, she sure makes it look easy. I'm so happy to be working with her.

Fiona has made three beads, so today we'll work with her very first sculptural bird (ever!) and tomorrow we'll chat about her next two ~ which are penguins. This is your chance to try a penguin and then compare it to what we discuss tomorrow.


Fiona is left handed and holds the 1/16th mandrel in her left hand and her glass rod in her right. I'm sure that's fine, but it was an interesting point to me. Usually our dominant hand is the one that creates the details with the glass, while our less dominant hand turns the mandrel.

So let's look at this cute little blackbird. In one of Fiona's earlier conversations with me, she mentioned that she was happy with the bigger body and smaller head with the hole running through both. She liked the beak okay, but she said, "the wings defeat me". So here was my first email coaching that I sent back to her:

"Wings are like painting on commas with a thick stringer, depending on the size of your bead. I heat a gather of glass, make the connection at the main point where the wings will connect and then with one swoop, make a slightly curved wing with that hot glass. the rest of the body is relatively cool, so it doesn't come along for the ride. You might look here for an example, http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=10458319
You can see where I pressed down at the widest part and then pulled up into a point. I used a striped cane, so I would have some contrast between the bird body and the wings. The easiest way to do it is having enough glass in your hot gather for a big swish."

As you all can see, Fiona used a two donut shape approach to her bird body. One larger donut shape for the body and then a smaller one on top. I think it's cute and chubby this way. Next time, Fiona might want to consider adding another large dot on the lower back side to give it a little more bird booty shape in the back. I tend to add more glass in the back for back feathers. You need to decide what shape you want the tail to take. If you're doing a small tail, I add on more glass in a small "smile" shape and lay on a couple layers of it. Then I heat up just that glass, and use my pliers to shape it into extended tail feathers. Because it's a mass that is warm, you can pull it out a bit too, to give it more shape.

Make sure you know where your face will be, as this type of bead usually has a front, whether you plan it or not. Sometimes it just looks better when you inspect it.

Now for the face. It looks like Fiona used the same color as the beak and feet for the eyes. I understand that blackbirds have yellow eyes, but perhaps you might consider using a slightly lighter yellow next time for more contrast. I think your beak is great for the first time. Sometimes people make them rather pointed like in real life, but then it's harder for you to wear, as you don't want it too sharp and poking you. You might have it stand out a little more horizontally next time if you prefer that look. If it's hard to do, then try making one large dot and let it cool a bit then reheat the tip and pull it out with your yellow rod and hold it in place until it cools and you can gently break off the tip of the rod. Then flame heat the beak just a touch to get any remaining glass marks off of it.

Because we're chatting about more birds tomorrow, Fiona's penguins, we'll just touch on the feet for a minute. You have a couple of options here. I think that these are great for a first try. It's hard figuring out where you want to place them, (on the bottom directly under the eyes is a great way to "spot" where to put them). But perhaps you might have wanted to make them a larger dot, gently flatten them a bit with your marver from the bottom and either use your scissors to cut them a little or tweezers to give them a little more shape like bird feet. These are wonderful for the first try.

For those of you who want to try a bird and keep it even easier. Perhaps you might want to try this method.


Marcy's Simple Bird Tutorial

1. Make a good sized donut shaped bead. This will be the body of the bird.
2. Make a medium sized dot on the top shoulder of the bead (this will be the head)
3. Make another medium sized dot on the top shoulder directly on the opposite side of the bead and that mass of glass will become the tail.
4. While keeping the bead warm, add two simple black dot eyes on the head. If you are using a dark base bead, then you want to do a first tiny layer of white, and gently marver that down, so it's round and gets chilled into shape. After it's set, you can add the dark black mini dots on top of it. Keep the black pupils small.
5. Flip the bead over to the tail and warm up just that dot. Gently squish that glass with your pliers or tweezers first in the middle and then on either side of the first squish. As you squish, lift or drop the tail a bit in the direction that you want. Often I lift it up and pull it out a bit.
6. Still keeping your bird warm, make a medium gather of a coordinating glass rod color and make that comma motion that I mentioned on body of the bird where the wing would go. I always work on my less dominant side first. So when you repeat it on your "easier" side, you can match it up and feel more coordinated while doing it.
7. Add two dots of "feet" color under the body towards the front. Gently flatten them so they just peek out and give the hint that they exist, but aren't a major focal point on it.
8. Now the beak. Take your beak color- often I use a contrasting neutral- brown, ivory or black, and place a dot in the center part of the head. I let it sink in well and then reheat and gently pull it out with a small stringer of the same color. I gently pull the stringer off and reheat just the very point to get it in the right.
• • • • • • • • • • • •

Check back tomorrow for Fiona's penguins. You'll be amazed at her progress between the first and the second one. And please, leave some comments for Fiona. I think she deserves huge kudos for volunteering to be the first one coached and for her fabulous first sculptural bead.

And to see both of my easy online tutorials together, I have made a simple bird sitting on a cactus bead. It's here: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=34983


Monday, September 15, 2008

Okay, I Heard You...Here's My Peach Crisp Recipe and An Update on My Next Online Coaching Blog Post

Before we get into the Peach Crisp Recipe, I wanted to let you know that my first online coaching student, Fiona from Great Britain, has completed her beads and sent the photos to me. So that means  tomorrow my first online coaching blog will appear.  I'm excited.  You'd never know that this is her first try.  She did wonderfully
••••••••••••••••••••••
I have had more than a few requests for my peach dessert recipe. And because it's PDY, (pretty darn yummy), I decided to include it in today's post. Tomorrow we'll get back to glass, but for today, just think peachy thoughts.
(Here is a photo of my frozen peach stash in my freezer.)

I feel a little like that guy in Forest Gump, but instead of talking about all the shrimp dishes, I'm thinking, peach margaritas, peach crisp, peach pie, peach ice cream...you know what I mean.

Here is a modified recipe from Colorado Collage Cookbook- one of my faves.
And these are my peaches from the Western Slope of Colorado. I've blogged about them already and adore them. The have the fragrance, juiciness and flavor that I haven't found anywhere else, and I live in Georgia- the Peach State.

The original recipe includes a mixture of plums and peaches, but because my family loves peaches so much, we substitute more peaches for the plums. You could use a mixture of fruits though- apples, plums, etc. would all work. Don't forget to add a little more liquid if you use apples. (We're partial to a touch of Gran Marnier or Amaretto, when more liquid is needed) And if I don't have tapioca, then I substitute flour. It's needed to thicken the abundant juices.

Plum Creek Peach Crisp (10-12 servings)
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
1/2 C chilled stick of butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 tsp plus pinch of salt, divided
10-12 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2" wedges (about 8.5 cups)
1/2 C sugar
2 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Vanilla ice cream

In a food processor, combine flour, brown sugar, butter pieces, orange zest and 1/4 tsp salt. Pulse until it becomes small clumps. Cover and chill. Can make the day before.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease 11x 7x 2 inch pan or 2 quart baking pan. Spoon peaches mixture into prepared dish and top with flour mixture. Bake until fruit is tender and topping is brown and crisp. 45-60 minutes. Cool slightly and spoon into deep serving bowls. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

I wish I could include a photo of the dessert, but I have to say that whenever I make this, it goes rather quickly. So use your imagination.

If you have a great recipe, whether for peaches or something else, please feel free to add it in the comments section. Why not?



The Better To See You With, My Dear











I often get asked how I can get so many little details onto my lampwork glass beads. When many of my beads average under an inch tall, I guess I can see it from that perspective. But in one of my earliest classes , Kate Fowle Meleney offered this tip.


Use the press-on magnified reader lenses inside your protective safety glasses.

This is the brand that I have found online and use. Here is a url for them. http://www.stickonbifocals.com/custom.em?pid=196896 I use higher magnification than what I would normally use. My readers are typically 1.5 magnifiers. Darn, it's hard being old!. I chose 2.5 magnification, but I see this site offers them even higher at 3.0 magnification. The pricing is very reasonable- the lens themselves are around $15 and then there's shipping on top of that. They last a long time.

Please be warned, that these take quite a bit of getting used to. It makes you a little crazy at first. I put mine at the very bottom of my protective glasses, (I wear old school rose didymiums), and then when I want to see something at a distance, I just peer over the top of them as my glasses slightly slide down my nose from being too loose. I am sure there are other ways to solve this problem, but this method works well for me. And of course my other rule of thumb is to have great lighting. My sweet husband and nephew installed some strong track lighting in my studio. That is even more important than the additional magnification.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Better Scents in the Studio
















Good smells put me in a good mood. I know all of us have different tastes in what smells good. My particular choices tend to center around fresh baking. A little pumpkin pie, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla mixed with other scents, bring a smile to my face every time I'm around them. I can't wait until it gets cold outside, and then I switch to holiday pines and really feel the spirit.

And probably by now, you're wondering, how does this relate to glass? Well, stay with me, I'll show you how it does in its own way.

Today's tip is something that I do. I use soy melts, similar to the ones pictured above, in my studio. I have a kiln with a bead door, so my kiln is essentially front loading. The top of my firebrick kiln (AF-99) is always warm and just hanging out, wishing that it could be of use too. So I put my soy melts inside of a small pyrex heat proof bowl and then place that on top of my warm kiln. They scent the room and make it smell delicious. I like that I don't have one more flame lit in the studio for a candle. (Please note: just one at a time is plenty so there's no chance of spills and only while you're in the studio. Safety is always important.)

These photos are for MULLED CIDER Dye Free Soy Break Away Tart Bar - 3oz and 4 PUMPKIN SOUFFLE Dye Free Soy Blend Wax Muffin Melts / Tarts - 4oz courtesy of etsy shop, TenDigitCreations also from Georgia. You can find these at http:www.tendigitcreations.etsy.com or other similar shops on etsy too.

Let me know if you have some favorite etsy shops for these types of melts and what scents have you tried that you like? I'm always open to finding more sources of delicious smells.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beaders Showcase, Have You Joined Yet?


Have you checked out Beaders Showcase yet?
http://www.BeadersShowcase.com
(You can click on the photo to enlarge the view.)

I joined last week. It is one of the growing websites that mixes all kinds beads, beadmakers, bead stringers, and everyone else in between.

This type of website to me is very helpful. I like to see what everyone is making. (and admire it) But not just to think it's pretty, but also because it also shows me trends in what jewelry makers are doing and gives me inspiration for some of my beads that I make. This website also has a lot of international members. Seeing what is done in other countries broadens my knowledge base, but also is just plain old fascinating to me too.

And who can resist a website that features video tutorials? Oh my, I'll be in heaven. For as much as I love the written word, to me, I love seeing how something is done. I hope a lot of people add more to the website's library.

Here's a screenshot of half of the home page to give you an idea of what they're about. This global website is not about marketing your work. It's about showcasing what you have and sharing with others. It's run by Jeff Pritchard and his wife, and the members even have an area for voting for planned changes. So you have a say in its direction too. Stop by for a visit and check it out.

Happy weekend to you,
Marcy

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ask Studio Marcy...Online Coaching Now Taking Requests


I woke up this morning thinking about all the lovely responses I received from offering a free mini tutorial earlier this week. Thanks everyone for your kind words.

So my natural progression both from being happy from hearing that, is to wonder what else can I do that will be nice for the lampwork community?

It came to me... Online Coaching.

I am a lampwork teacher. I love it. Helping beadmakers achieve what they want to do and then seeing their smiles afterward really makes me excited. There's nothing like it.

I can share my 8 years of glass experience and we can all learn from this. I know that there are lots of lampworkers out here in cyber land who don't have the luxury of classes being taught in their hometowns. (That's one of the things I love about Atlanta- we get great teachers here!)

So here's how I'd like to set this up:
a. I will do this twice a month - every other week to start. We'll see how it goes.
b. Hopefully, this will be a semi interactive situation. Where someone will offer one of their beads as an example and I'll both post their photo and comments and then provide suggestions that might include tips, techniques, color suggestions, etc. in a kind and supportive manner so it is a group learning experience.
c. And the readers who are following this, may offer their opinions also as long as they are in a kind and supportive manner. (I moderate all posts, so only those types of posts will be allowed)
d. I'd like to try to keep this to the sculptural area, to encourage more people to try it.
e. Now the nitty gritty.
1. Email me through my blog contact form on- www.StudioMarcy.com. You can send a photo, 72 dpi and no larger than 1000 x 1000. I can't choose everyone, but I'll try to find the photos which provide a great learning experience for everyone viewing it. I will respond to everyone though. Please include the word "Coach" in the subject line. Also tell me what you would like to know, your website or etsy shop name if you'd like, (hey, additional pr is always good), what kind of torch you use, glass type, and any other back ground info or pertinent info you'd like to tell me.
2. If you are chosen, your name will be placed in a hat for a quarterly drawing for one of my beads.

And I would be remiss if I didn't pop in a plug for my teaching gigs. As I mentioned, I love teaching. If you or your group would like to learn more about sculptural glass beadmaking in person, I'm an empty nester and love to travel. Please contact me for my class syllabus and other info at
www.StudioMarcy.com

Please share this opportunity with others. Blog it, post it in forums, or where ever we can get volunteers to try this concept. Now let's get this party started! Who will be first?
Cheers,
Marcy

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Artistic Conundrum- Copyright vs Have I Changed It Enough To Be Safe and Still Get the Essence


Wow, that's the longest title, I've ever written. But let me explain.

I do a lot of customer requests, but I will not make copies of something that is copyrighted or someone else's work. Very simple and a rule I don't break.

There's always a "however" out there. I've had a request from a customer to make a Mighty Mouse style bead. She had a dear friend, a policeman who died from cancer, who used to call himself Mighty Mouse and she'd like some beads to commemorate him.

Needless to say, I told her I can't make them like that, but what are some different angles we could use to have an essence of Mighty Mouse, but still make it a different bead that is special to his memory? We have decided on a police hat, a face change and his police number on the chest, but I think there need to be considerable other changes before I feel comfortable with it.

I know it's mostly artists and artisans who read this blog, so please tell me what you think. How would you change this image to keep the essence and yet make it different enough? I'd love to hear your ideas and opinions.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cactus... Inspiration and Free Tutorial




















Inspiration always comes from funny places. Sometimes it's as simple as something that is staring you in the face.

When my son came home from college, he brought two cactus with him. One of them was this one pictured. He added the mustache, which is a family joke.

This inspired me to make some of my own cactus in brighter colors that I prefer as you can see. These don't hurt like the original ones when you touch them, and they even require LESS watering. This one is available in my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15088842

If you'd like to make a cactus of your own, here's a quick tutorial.
104 COE Soft Glass Needed:
Pea green (opaque)
Transparent Grass Green
CIM Gelly Pink
Transparent Pink - any one (not sure which one I used)
1/16th mandrel, pliers, marver and of course, torch and kiln

The main stem is your base bead. Lay on the pea green in a modified barrel shape. Make it as long as you want. I usually keep mine under an inch. I want to keep it a little larger at the base and slightly taper off towards the top. On purpose, I don't want it to be exactly even and sometimes we need to change old habits of perfect symmetry.

To build the "arms", I heat up a gather of of the pea green (better for it to be a little too much than too little). Then I heat up the place on the base cactus where I want to place it. Hot glass to hot glass melds and connects much better than if one side isn't pre-heated. I hold both pieces of glass together for a second for them to connect and place that section in the edge of the flame to make sure that is totally joined. Then I slowly hold the gather rod at a perpendicular position and barely pull out and then change the angle so the arm becomes an "L" shape. I flame cut the end of the glass slightly tapering it at the time. Repeat for the other arms that you choose to add. Remember, this piece needs to be thought of as a pendant, so you need to have at least one side, where it will lay well against the body.

Now to add the needles. As you can see, they are simple dots laid down in vertical lines along the cactus. I like to start with one line on a totally open side, and then work around the cactus.

Finally the flowers are ready to be added. I make base medium sized dots- kind of like a basic flower petal shape in the opaque pink. I like 5 dots, because it's an uneven amount and when you're going around the mandrel, you can make it with that number, as long as they're large enough. On top of the opaque dots, I add bits of the transparent pink to add a little depth. Then I take my pliers and squish them out to petal shapes. Just twist and turn them a bit to make them look the way you want.

Hope you enjoy making this cactus and that you have as much fun with sculptural beads as I do. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. You can post here, or convo me through my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com

I would love to do a follow up on this Cactus How-To. After you make your cactus, please send me a photo of it, so I can post it here to show others.

Marcy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Start Your Day Off Right ~ With a 30% Off Lampwork SALE


The Etsy Glass Artists (EGA) group that I belong to is having a quick sale starting today and going through Thursday, September 9, 10 & 11.
Participating shops will be offering 30% off select items in their shops ~ see see each shop's Announcement for their specific offerings! Use the code FFG (Fall For Glass) in your notes to buyer upon check out so you can get the 30% discount. A great deal and a great time to get started on that holiday shopping list

Of course I want you to stop by my shop first- and don't forget, free shipping for orders over $40 after your 30% discount.

http://studiomarcy.etsy.com

And here are the other wonderful participating glass artists in my Etsy Glass Artist Group...
http://willowglass.etsy.com
http://liskidder.etsy.com
http://glasscat.etsy.com
http://psodesign.etsy.com
http://susanlambert.etsy.com
http://chickadeebeads.etsy.com
http://prizmatic.etsy.com
http://mycabincreations.etsy.com
http://paulasstressart.etsy.com
http://monkeyblues.etsy.com
http://jewelrybynatsuko.etsy.com
http://sandree.etsy.com
http://susansheehan.etsy.com
http://LeahPellegrini.etsy.com
http://groovyglassgirl.etsy.com
http://wendylee.etsy.com
http://jochris12.etsy.com
http://popko.etsy.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

Colorado Slim Cooks Out


Here's a photo that makes me smile. It's Colorado Slim and his charcoal Weber grill. I'm not sure, but it could be buffalo burgers with cheddar that he's grilling.

What I really wanted to talk about today is glass assemblages. Where more than one bead is combined to make a vignette. Technically, an assemblage is a 3D piece of art that is made with found objects. I just find mine on my bead racks.

I didn't make these beads to go together. As most of you know, I see something, remember something, or just have an idea pop into my head and then make a bead. Colorado Slim came from a few sources. When my son was little, he liked a Deputy Dan book. Slim is a lot slimmer than Dan, but has his influence of a scruffy look. The red Weber grill was one that I won years ago when I worked for a corporation in marketing. And I liked how these two beads look together as an assemblage. This type of combination works well when you're putting together a postcard for marketing your work or a small ad. It makes your work more memorable and adds a touch of whimsy. (Colorado Slim is available in my etsy shop- http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7906349 )

Later this week, I'll post a small tutorial for making your own simple stands for multiple beads. I make them so they can hold a couple beads upright in one place. These are good for assemblages or just for your photography.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Birds And Linguini Are Somewhat Related


Truly, I know that my lampwork glass bird beads have no resemblance to real life. Yet, I am always influenced by the abundant birds in my yard. I love them. One of my neighbors came over to visit one afternoon and she looked out my window and said it reminded her of Cinderella's garden with all the little birds and animals. (Most of you know about my too abundant squirrels) and there are chipmunks and other critters like possums, and racoons at night. I have two types of woodpeckers, some cardinal families, chickadees, bluebirds, mourning doves and lots of other types too.

Here's a shot of an assertive little ruby throated hummingbird who likes to chase away the other hummingbirds that come to my feeder. The feeder is attached directly onto my window, so I get to see them very clearly and at a very close range.

Next to the hummingbird is one of my whimsical birds. This one's name is Linguini and she's related to Stromboli and another Italian bird relative who live in a far away country. (Deb, we're not sure where Stromboli ever landed anyhow, are we?) This particular strain of bird doesn't quite have their directions figured out, but they're working on it.

For you beadmakers who are reading this, Linguini was made with coral #420 on a 1/16th mandrel. You can see stacked dots making up her "faux hawk" Stacked dots in a larger size and cooled and then slighted reheated to be pulled and shaped, are how I made his beak too. I like the unexpected necklace that she's wearing. (It's made out of Italian glass, of course!)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And on a slightly different note, I'm working out a new format for this blog. I'd like to include a weekly tips and tricks, perhaps a tutorial every so often and more how-to's and info relating to the glass world. I'm not sure that telling you about yesterday's peach cobbler baking, (which was yummy) and my life, is as interesting as learning a little bit more about our glass world. I haven't decided where exactly I'm going to go with it, but maybe bring in a few more glass beadmakers and some of their thoughts and tips might be fun too. If you have ideas of what you'd like to see, please let me know.

Until then... take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Marcy

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Meet Skamp


I wanted you to meet Skamp, who was a recent custom ordered bead through my etsy shop.

I am currently working on four fur friends for a customer in Hawaii and have one other pup to photograph too.

Custom pet glass portraits are a lot of fun. I ask for good photos front and side at least of your pet, and any size requirements, special markings, etc. Then I go to work and make these small interpretations, which can be worn as jewelry pendants, used as holiday ornaments, or little sculptures to hang out where ever you want.

Besides pets, I've also done children, grandchildren and some pretty funny requests- from penguins wearing blue viking helmets, to cats wearing a pirate patch...I love them all.
Visit my etsy shop to see more of my work, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com

Friday, September 5, 2008

New Wonderful Website for Glass Fusers and Us Too!

A few years ago, I found http://www.glassfacts.info, which is a website dedicated to "a daily dose of glass art knowledge". I love it and still go back to read and learn more about glass.

Now, the founder of that site, Paul Tarlow, of Helios Kiln Glass Studio has started another website which looks to be equally interesting and noteworthy, http://www.fusedglass.org.

I've added a shot of his online glass tools, because these pot drops have always interested me. It seems like a great way to use up some of our shorties and stubbies of leftover rods. (if anyone does this already, please post and tell us about it1)

He also has a forum, glossary, reviews, art glass news and lots of other areas for information. I love some of the definitions and use similar ones when explaining during classes .

For the final kicker, if you join his site and post, you get your name in a hat for a drawing for 10 lbs of free Bullseye Frit. (Feel free to send it to me, if you don't use it- I'll trade you out for some glass and/or beads.) Hope you get a chance to check it out. The drawing entries end late Sunday night, so do it soon. www.fusedglass.org

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sure Happy It's Thursday


Tonight I'm joining some other artists and crafters at a local gallery for an evening show.  This is my first time there and of course there's always a bit of apprehension.  It's geared toward a young, hip crowd and for those of you who know me, I'm neither.   Yet, they selected me from the applicants, so perhaps my art is part of the right mix.

The Atlanta gallery is on a cool block of old brick shops with uneven wood floors filled with vintage clothes and home decorations, and even a bakery with cowboy cupcakes in the window.  Yep, they are frosted with cowboys on top.  Of course they'd be great inspiration.  I'll check them out again  and ask first if they mind me doing that.  

So if you see cupcakes with funky western decorations on top in my etsy store, you know the behind the scenes story.  This is in line with some I've already done like an octopus draped over a cupcake.

But meanwhile, I'd better go heat up my kiln and get going.  I have custom orders for 4 darling dogs and perhaps an order of sushi.  Days aren't dull around here.




Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bringing Home the Bacon

What are some of your favorite foods?

I've been translating food into glass beads for awhile now and in a very unscientific survey, I've noticed that bacon, well... brings home the bacon.

It's one of my best sellers in that category. I know that pies and cupcakes and even fried eggs do well too. Some veggies seem to be popular as well as snack foods. And just for the record, no one has requested a custom order for stew. Go figure.

What are your favorite foods that you feel should be interpreted in glass and why? Do you have childhood memories of it, or perhaps it's something that reminds you of one of your kids?
Maybe it's just a food that you think would look cute on a necklace. Let me know.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beam Me Up Scottie


There's something about Scottie dogs that just make me smile.  I think it's their energy and cute appearances.  Meet Angus, who currently resides in my etsy shop.  He's based on a friend's previous "Sherlock", who used to love kicking a soccer ball around in their back yard.  It always amazed me how those short little legs could move that quickly.

The title of this post also relates to Dragon-Con being in Atlanta this past weekend.  We were lucky enough to see some of the costumed attendees walking around yesterday.  I love when people just get crazy with imagination.

Here's wishing you a happy September and new memories to make you smile.

Marcy

Ode to American Gothic


Are there some famous paintings that make you smile? American Gothic by Grant Wood is one of those for me. It touches me as it shows the seriousness of survival and yet at the same time makes me smile and wonder if I ever could have survived in the era.

One of the joys of being a glass artist, is following one's whims at times. This is one of them. I thought it would be a blast to interpret this dour couple's portrait in my whimsical style and as bobbleheads. The incongruity of the subject matter and the bobblehead style totally amuses me.

So keep watching for more odes to famous art pieces or people. I just love melting glass and forming it into pieces to make both you and me grin.

Marcy
ps You can see the listing here... http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14682790

Meeting Hayley of enVisionsf

When I was in California earlier this month, I was lucky to meet Hayley a beadmaker and graphic artist from San Francisco. Hayley is a bundle of energy mixed with lots of talent, love of life and I immediately knew she was someone that I'd want to hang out with. (and the rest of the group too)

You can find enVisonsf glass at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5196435 .

Stop by and enjoy.

Elvis Has Entered the Building?


Elvis has entered the building? Well, this Elvis impersonator has entered my Etsy shop at least. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14606866

His real name is Erwin Fescue and he plays the small clubs and lounges, but he's always aspired to be an Elvis impersonator in Vegas.

I demonstrated a similar Elvis Bobblehead for our International Society of Glass Beadmakers recently in California at our annual conference. Elvis is actually two beads connected with a spring, so he can bobble or even be worn on an interchangeable pendant.

And here's the rest of the story.
Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about being filmed making these two beads. I had not only had to make the two beads in under an hour, but I had to make him with expertise and not flub anything. I had prepared pretty carefully, by practicing at home. Well the morning of the taping, I thought about those close ups of my hands being filmed and how dry they looked. I didn't want lizard skin on film, so I used some of the hotel hand lotion in my room. Big mistake! Oh the lotion worked well, but perhaps a little too much. My hands were really slippery.

For those of you who aren't beadmakers reading this blog, we make our beads on steel mandrels which are about the thickness of those bamboo skewers that you use for making fruit shish kabobs. My beads are sculptural and not symmetrical like most beads, so the heavy part always "pulls" a bit as we continuously rotate them in circles to keep the molten glass in place. (your basic centrifugal force). Dang, I wasn't sure what to do about my uber-slippery hands.

So I started washing them... a lot. I would have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive behavior, if you didn't know me. They were still slippery. After more scrubbing with hot water, I finally knew what to do. I took my nail polish remover and wiped them down to get any remaining lotion off of them. It dried them out. I was prepared to use our bead release, which is really drying if that other option hadn't worked.

Luckily, my hands looked okay after all I put them through, I didn't flub the filming and I learned a lesson, which I'm passing on to you.

New Torch Testing Yesterday


Yesterday, I got to try out a new Japanese lampwork glass torch at a friend's house. It's the picture above. Now flameworkers will understand me here if I say, there is no focus on the flame. It's the all over bushy, around 3" wide and shoots straight up, which makes it look like it's better for roasting marshmallows, than melting glass. And for non glass making people, that means that when I want to heat just one little nook or cranny- like just the bunny's ear, so her arm doesn't get too warm and melt, I can't do that with this torch. It's definitely more of a challenge. But I like challenges!

The Kinari glass is somewhere around 128 COE too. Satake brand works similarly. The higher the number of the COE (CoEfficiency of Expansion), the softer the glass when molten. So this one just mushes really nicely, but poses more difficulty for sculptural beads. It sure is beautiful though.

After I get my beads back, I'll be happy to share photos with you. In fact, I'll be checking out this torch sometime and perhaps even buying one and some of the glass to go with it. The glass has beautiful colors and looks a little different from the Italian, so it might be fun every once in a while to play with it.

You Meet The Nicest People On Etsy


You meet the nicest people on Etsy. My longtime customer and friend, Debbie Gilroy (of DG Designs) is now selling on Etsy. She has been a customer of mine for quite a while and over time, we've become friends.

Well, I sure was excited when Debbie and her husband came through Georgia on their annual vacation and they came by my house for a visit. We finally got to meet!

Debbie and husband are both delightful people. It felt like we had known each other forever, and what fun it was to see each other after all the emails we've traded over time.

Here is a link to a necklace that Debbie made with some of my lampwork, so you can see her pretty work. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14319214

Thanks Debbie for taking the time to go out of your way to stop by for a visit. It meant a lot to me and I treasure our friendship.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Is Over



I know Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Local swimming pools close, kids are back in school and for beadmakers, if they aren't already making them, the start of Halloween beadmaking time.

Although I've had requests already for them, I'm still holding on to summer just a bit. I love it. The sounds of the cicadas, the lightning bugs, and the best part- children's voices carrying through the neighborhood.

So hats off to summer...and onward. New seasons, more change and by the way, who says we have to give up seashells and mermaids when autumn begins, anyhow?