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Frog globes for Geno



5 or 6 years ago my boyfriend Geno (who sadly passed away in 2016) tried to give me ideas for beads (I'm sure you have someone like in your family, usually in a younger generation, going like "Hey Grandma, can you make me a bead that looks like an iphone.....") The problem with these "outsider ideas" is that they often don't know what is technically possible and what's not. 

So, when Geno asked me to make an "encased frog" I immediately brushed him off. "you can't do that". "Why not?" "Because you are going to melt and distort the frog".


But he kept bugging me, and after about 2 years I finally sat down to prove to him that encasing a frog was impossible. Only - turned out it wasn't! I heated the frog very carefully and "dabbed" on small but very hot blobs of clear....and it looked great. 


But the cool thing about this "story" is that trying to do something I deemed impossible opened up a whole new universe of beads  - without Geno and his stupid encased frog I would have never made Quark beads - or Ocean beads, both types of beads are based on encasing something that is raised - and not melting it into oblivion.


Still, encasing the frog remains fairly difficult, because the frog is made with Pea Green, which is SOFTER than the effetre clear I used.


Sometimes you can improve the odds of success by adjusting the "Elements" you are dealing with: Effetre Pea Green is one of the softest opaque colors there is, so to make the frog a little less "vulnerable" to distorting you choose a stiffer color green - like most of the opaque Messy Colors tend to be stiffer than their Effetre counterpart, as well as some of the Ornela colors (I used Ornela light olive for 3 of the 4 frogs)...As for the clear, the softer the clear, the easier it will flow into the "crevasses" of the frog - while I used Effetre clear for these beads, I would have preferred "Lauscha soft" (a formula that was made for hot head users and flows beautifully), but I didn't have any in my studio.


One more problem with encased frogs (and I guess other encased beads) is the MAGNIFICATION effet of the clear encasing layer. The more clear you have above something, the more it magnifies. Just imagine looking at your face in the mirror, "looking good girl" - and then do the same looking through a magnifying glass. You will immediately throw out any porerefining and wrinke reducing cream you ever spent a ridiculous amount of money on. Some things look just fine with your bare eyes, but if you magnify it it exaggerates every little flaw. And the biggest problem when making itty-bitty frogs is to make the eyes not only the same size, but also in the same position AND the same "degree" of being melted in. I tiny bit of difference looks HUGE when encased.

You can see in all 4 frogs that there is a small issue, but I learned to live with it. That and the pores and the wrinkles.

And every time I make a "blob-encased" bead I say "Thank you Geno for not giving up bugging me".


Now go and make that iphone bead....



"Orrbs" is what I call a beadshape that other tool manufacturers call "straight sided lentil" or "button". But the ORIGIN of this shape is actually quite interesting, and the expression "Orrb" is not a misspelling of the "spherical shape", but it's an "homage" to the Hawaiian beadmaker CALVIN ORR. He was, as far as I know, the first American beadmaker to create beads with handmade flower Murrini in them (my apologies, I couldn't find any picture online, he must have quit making them, which is sad, they were stunning.)

I was so impressed by his beads that I talked him into giving me a private class at his studio in Oahu (ah, the hardship)....this was maybe 13-15 years ago. When I was at his studio he kind of "cheekily" showed me a press he fashioned out of two Arrow Springs Button Molds: 

That was the year I "invented" the Corina-beadpress, and he told me almost apologetically the he could not afford buying one of mine so he made his own using the button molds, one on the bottom and one on top. I was so thrilled with the shape he got with his homemade press that I asked him whether he would mind if I would include that into my "repertoire"....which he didnt mind at all. So the name ORRB is a thank you to a beautiful person and talented beadmaker.....

While this is my personal favorite shape (It solves the problem of the mandrel indentation that you get with lentil beads) - I hardly ever sell these presses (I have 3 diameters), because I think people don't understand why the presses look like they have 3 identical indentations (other toolmanufacturers have something like "small - medium - large" in one press.....I don't want to get into detail, but if you're interested you can read more in my "Tool shop"...


Heartattack Stringerwork


coming soon