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Thursday, January 6, 2005Subtle Stripes

Finally "revealed" - the SECRET OF THE SUBTLE STRIPES....

So, this is how I made these (and so far I have not yet found any other colors that look as nice...maybe YOU can experiment and let me know!)

1. make a tiny (!!!!!) donut shaped bead in light or dark ivory (look of the bead will be slightly different)

2. add 4 large dots of INK BLUE. make sure that there is still ivory visible between the dots. The larger these dots, the prettier the result - because with smaller dots too much of the ivory core will show. Also, if you use DARK ivory for your core, the ivory may bleed onto the encasing layer if there is too much left of it!

3. in the interval between the ink blue dots, add 4 large dots in light or dark aqua (again, the result will be different!) - make sure that the aqua OVERLAPS the ink blue on both sides of the dot, as seen in bead number 3 below.

4. Melt the dots flush with the surface (a small bead could already be done at this point, but a layer of encasing accentuates the colors and the effect, because it pulls the dots outwards into "stripes")

5. Encase! (there will always be a core of ivory showing, which is why I always sell these beads WITH the sterling silver beadcaps!

 

Saturday, March 19, 2004Cracking Beads

 

 

Q: Last year I took a class and worked on a hot head torch but it took too long and got cold too fast. So this year I invested in a minor burner and bought your 2nd edition book. I've been practicing but obviously not enough. I can't for the life of me seem to make a round bead anymore. I try to work in the middle to upper portion of the flame and I've looked at your book to compare the way a neutral flame should look, and mine looks similar. This week I tried making encased beads. Almost all of them cracked through the middle. I live in South Carolina and it does get fairly cold in the winter and my torch is in the garage, but none of the beads cracked this winter (they weren't encased though). Now that it's warmer out (70s) my beads are cracking. I don't have a kiln. I use the fiber blankets. Any ideas or suggestions? Also, realistically, how much time needs to be spent at the torch to really become proficient at this?

hmm, as for the round bead - that is something I could only answer after watching you. the cracking might be the difference in temperature of the torches - the hothead is very cool, and in a way you are almost "flame annealing" your bead while making it - the minor burner is a lot hotter - so the difference in temperature between before and after, so to speak, is greater. Spend a little bit more time "wafting" the bead in and out of the flame before putting it into the fiber blanket. Then, as your next investment, get a kiln. As for the time it takes - that completely depends on the person - some get it right away, others take a little longer - don't get discouraged though! as long as you are enjoying the process, it's fine. And take a class if possible - that might make a difference!

Friday, February 25, 2004Black & White

 

 

Q: "I have the hardest time w/ black and white as a combo. For the life of me I can't make a black and white twistie, that doesn't bleed and purple out on me. If I try intense black, it still isn't right... I love black/white zebra beads, but can't seem to do it. Is there a trick?

 

The trick with the black and white twistie (as I used it in the "Carrie" set currently on ebay, and in variation in the bracelet I made for myself, pictured above) is to EMBEDD the black! Black only bleads if it is used in a thin layer, like a dot or a stringer....but not if there is a solit mass of it. And, of course it makes a HUGE difference if you use Vetrofond black instead of Moretti

 

1. Make a square pancake with Vetrofond black (if you need more info, Passing The Flame shows how to get to this point, in the chapter on complex twisted cane!)

 

2. In "Murrini-strokes", paint on white glass, without covering the EDGES of the black pancake

3. Cover both sides of the black, leaving the edges exposed. The amount of black you leave exposed determines the thickness of the black line in the twisty. If you add an equal amount of white to both sides, the twisty will appear "regular", if you have more white on one side of the pancake, one of the white stripes will be wider - which can be nice, depending on the design you are planning to make

4. Punty up with a second black rod, heat the pancake part in the flame, make sure not to heat any part of the back punty-rods.

5. Once your gather is glowing red, take it out of the flame, pull apart slightly, wait 4-5 seconds, until most of the outer glow is gone (the "skin" forms) - then twist quickly, left hand towards you, right hand away from you (reversed for left-handers) - good luck!

 

this is very easy to make: wrap two separate stringer lines around the belly of a bead, make sure they are raised, but bonded to the surface of the bead. Then gently heat one spot between both lines, and with tweezers or needle nose pliers, push the stringer together, so they meet....repeat around the bead...place dots on top of the crossing point, or not....

Friday, February 20, 2004Oxybox vs. OG-15 for Boro

 

 

Q: I have your DVD and I see that you use an Oxybox generator. I started a thread on WC! "Airsep's Oxybox vs. OG-15" in Technical. Someone mentioned that you had an Oxybox and now use a concentrator, is that true? The main reason I want the generator is so I can work small to medium size borosilicate beads and sculpture, and I will continue to use soft glass mostly. Oxygen refills are very expensive where I am, $22, not including delivery fee! I am a little concerned about total cost too, since I'm in Florida, the Oxybox will ship from NY, shipping cost will be reasonable. The OG-15 costs about $1900 not including shipping, is the Oxybox less expensive? Do you know of any comparisons in performance of both generators? Another thing I'm wondering, would the output of two concentrators be better than one generator? Thank you for any information you can give, it is appreciated very much! I will call both companies this week, gather up as much info as I can before I make my choice.

My answer is probably not going to satisfy you much - I really don't know what the difference between the oxybox and the OG-15 is, until a short while ago I didn't even know that there were different models. I bought whatever BTES had for sale, and I paid about $ 2000. I use it every day, I am very happy with it - but for me it did not work for boro! I tried it, after taking a class with Laurie Copeland - and after about 5 minutes I ran out of "steam" - the pressure I got were not enough to run my lynx with it...it works just fine with the lynx or bobcat for softglass, but for working with boro, I went back to the bottled oxygen..one reason I am not working with boro currently. I will hand the question over to other beadmakers and will post their replies, as far as using a generator for boro. I am only using the concentrators for visitors to my studio, but I don't think that 2 concentrators hooked together equal one generator....good luck with your search!

Friday, January 23, 2004Fond of Vetrofond

 

 

Q: I have a question about a product called Vetrofond, it's a 104 COE glass that I get from a supplier in Texas. The clear is wonderful, very "pure", I'm going to be using their dark ivory and their black as well. Have you heard about this brand, and if so do you have any comments about it?

ah, obviously you are not an avid reader of my website, since I wrote extensively about Vetrofond a while ago. It is the same recipe as Moretti - just a different guy who used to work for Moretti and then split up. I agree with you, it's purer than Moretti - and 100 % compatible! The black is much better than Moretti black, it doesn't tend to blead out around the edges if used with white....and the ivory has some interesting effects that I have not yet fully explored.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004Layered Dots

 

 

Q: Hi Corina, Your fall special beads today are really lovely! My Dr. Corina question is specifically about the bead at the bottom center and how to layer dots to get them into an oval shape. I'm sure it's the placement of the glass to get them to move into that shape but I can't "see" that in my head. Got a prescription for that?

look at the instructions for making triangle beads in my book - now , LAYER several dots of different colors onto each of the 4 dots (in this bead I alternated 5 layers of opaque sage and dark rootbeer brown) - and they will pull into these ovals....

Monday, January 19, 2004Beads too small

 

 

Q: I'm reading your book and trying to make beads by it, but I have a basic problem; a) I can't get my beads to be anything but tiny. If I try to make them bigger thry go out of shape/ b) they always seem bigger in the flame and once they are out of the vermiculite they are tiny again. Can you help with some sort of math ratio ( lets say for a bead of x cm. you will need to wind y cm glass )

well, all you have to go by for beadmaking are your EYES...if they are too small, add more glass. You definitely want to use the winding method for making beads...If you want them to be bigger, lay down a larger footprint in the beginning...let's say about 1 cm wide...then add enough glass on top that you make a CYLINDER that is about as high as it is wide...and when you melt that into its final round shape, it should be a fairly good sized bead...or, if that is still too small, start out with 1.5 cm footprint. beads DO look a little bigger when they are warm, I am not sure whether that is an optical illusion, or whether they actually SHRINK when they are cold, but once you are aware of that, you might just start out making them a little bigger....also, if you are wearing reading glasses while making them, they will APPEAR bigger....

Monday, 01/05/2004 Design on Lentils

 

 

Q: After looking at your pictures I am wondering how to do the lentil beads with designs on them. Do you affix the design prior to placing in the stamp? Your designs are all so evenly spaced -- but I suppose if you put the design on after stamping the shape, the lentil would start to round out.

I finish all the designs first, the mashing is the last step - UNLESS I add flowers onto them....

12-26-2003 Cleaning Beads

 

 

Q: How exactly do you clean your beadholes? I've gotten the impression that you drill them, but is that with a regular drill and diamond burr bits? Or something else?

I use a diamond drill bit (I buy those at the regular glass suppliers) - and I put it into a cordless dremel tool. Then I hold it in a jar of water, and drill the bead from both sides. Each side I clean for about 10-15 seconds...long enough for the bead-release to disappear, but not so long that I actually drill the glass itself - that would wear out the diamond drill bit very fast.

12-10-2003 Flattened Petals

 

 

Q: How do you get your surface flowers to be equally flattened? I understand the dots would all have to be the same size and precisely placed, but the flattening puzzles me. There doesn't seem to be enough time to flatten them all at once and applying heat a second time unflattens any of them that had already been flattened. ???

actually, I DO flatten them all at once...you have to aim the flame at all 4 dots at the same time...then I flatten them with the brass stump shaper...I have to repeat the heating/flattening about 2-3 times before they are flat enough.... the most important thing is to heat only the dots - and not the surface of the bead underneath, otherwise the flattening with the stump shaper would push the bead out of round....so, heat quickly in the EDGE of the flame.

12-10-2003 Getting flowers to "pop"

 

 

Q: How do you get flowers to "pop" when using the same color as the base bead? I made a white core, encased in ink blue, made vines, then double blossom flowers. I tried the blossoms with a layer of white then ink blue, periwinkle and ink blue, and violet and ink blue. The flower just blends in with the base on everything I tried. I can't get the definition I am aiming for.

Well, in principle you want to use a contrasting color, or a lighter shade - other wise they WILL blend in, there is nothing you can do about that....So, in case of the ink blue base - I would make a white or light pink "base-petal" and then add a layer of dark transparent lavender, and then maybe add a small dot of ink blue on top of the lavender, towards the center of the petals.....

12-10-2003 Triangle shaped bead

 

 

Q: I have always wondered how you get that great triangle shape on some of your beads, I love the shape and can't master it.

Watch the

MOVIE

1. Make a disk bead on a medium sized mandrel:
2. Add glass in 3 places around the disk (I add this glass by "swiping" it down and back up, you have to watch the movie for that!)
3. Heat each flat side to a glow and straighten with a marver. do this one side at a time, making sure that only ONE side gets hot.
4. Straighten out the triangle with tweezers, again, one side at at time

12-10-2003 Raised Leaves

 

 

Q: How do you manage to make your raised leaves, such as those in the "Mary's Delight" set look so damn good? I have tried & tried to get my leaves to look that elegant, however, they nearly always end up looking like big blobs with a little 'cleft' in them where I hit them with the tool. I've tried raking the dot for the 'tip' and then flattening in the center, but I still can't manage to make a decent leaf to save my life! I'm sure it's a simple variation on what I'm doing, but I'm tearing my hair out in frustration trying to figure out how to make them look any good!!

well, I made my leaves differently - I don't start with a round dot, but I make a striped cane (like described in Passing The Flame) - but pull it slightly thicker than I would if I would use it as a vine in encased beads...I try to keep it about 2-3 mm thick. Then I melt the tip of this cane, and PUSH it onto the bead. The direction I push it into is the thinner end of the leaf.... the picture hopefully illustrates that

12-9-2003 Delicate Stringer Design

 

 

today's "tip for beadmakers" is this: if you want to make really delicate looking stringer design

make an "encased stringer" - by basically following the instructions for making rose-cane in Passing The Flame, but use much less glass and then pull it into a thin stringer. The raised stringer on the beads below is Moretti new violet encased with ink-blue....the base bead is ink-blue, so the outer layer of the stringer blends with the bead - and the stringer looks much thinner than it actually is!

12-08-2003 Star Burst Effect
 

Q: How do you make that star burst effect you have on a couple of those Inner Child beads?

A: It is a technique that Jan Harris (of the fantastic Milagritos Beads) is going to share in the new Spotlight: it's actually fairly simple, you just add a slice of commercial murrine onto a bead, smash it flat and cover it with clear.....and with a little bit of luck and the right murrine it will look similar to this

12-7-2003 Amazing Pink

 

 

Q: Cheryl wanted to know: how you got that amazing PINK in the 'Sex and the City' set you did this summer . . . I cannot find a good pink… I have the 'special' Gold Pink -- but that's not it -- YOUR pink is just brilliant . . . What is it?"

A: The bad news is: this IS made with Rubino Oro (Gold-pink), I just didn't use very much of it. The little "roses" are made with "standard rose cane" (as described in Passing The Flame ) - the other pink is just rubino stringer. The spacers were layers ("double encasing", as described in the 2nd edition) - a very small barrel of white as a core, a VERY THIN layer of rubino over that, then encased in Lauscha clear. the less Rubino you use, the nicer the color will be. The only points you have to pay attention to are: crank up your oxygen a tiny bit, rubino tends to reduce easily, which will get you a silver-grey scum. And, work on the cooler side (higher up in the flame) - in order not to burn the pigment out of the color. Also, when making the spacers, keep the white cold - if you apply the rubino when the white is too hot (when it's translucent) - the pink and the white glass will mix and that looks ugly...