Well, hello again. Got the specials-stuff out of the way (sometimes I have to admit that I ponder the beauty of having one big set on ebay versus spending hours and hours just taking pictures, writing descriptions, wrapping, running to the post office (thank God for Sheri!!) - instead of just sending out one nice little prettily wrapped up package.... but then again, in reality, I would be missing all the fun I am having. Though the next week I will have to focus on actually MAKING some beads....). Okay, I am lost already, what did I want to write about? Ah, yes, a few of the things that add the glitz and glimmer to our beads (of course, there is WAY more, but that would be close to writing a BOOK, and I had this thought of a "Spotlight on All that Glitters" in my head for years. As soon as I will have figured out how to clone myself, or do without sleep, or a social life....we'll talk! Till then, a little tech-blurb here and there is all you'll get from me for now. So, what really IS the stuff in the picture I emailed you this morning? Lets look at it from left to right:
Cubic Zirconia - fine silver wire - encased goldstone stringer - NEW: golstone band/tape, copper mesh and NEW: fine silver micro-mesh.
Let's talk about a few of these items. Often times in beadmakings, it seems that it is ONE person who does or uses something for the first time. It catches on very slowly, and usually the person who gets "publicly" associated with it is not necessarily the person who did something first, but either a) most creatively or b) the person had the most "visibility" or c) the person talked about it the most....I am not saying that any of the people I mention by name necessarily fall under any of these categories, but I'm just saying because someone is most well known for something, that they always "invented" it....sometimes there is some poor "dude" in history who came up with a brilliant idea, and never gets a nickel worth of recognition for it. Life ain't fair. Anyway - when it comes to CZ, the most prominent beadmaker using these is probably Kim Miles
, she even has a little tutorial on her website, and the supplier she uses to buy the CZ. I was bored one night and tried to see whether I could find cheaper CZs anywhere else on the internet, and I couldn't. They are about $ 30 for 1000, but be prepared to be somewhat disappointed when you get the first package - 1000 CZs looks like nothing, and you pick up the little package and go "WHAAAAAT?", because you think they must have made a mistake. And who knows, they MIGHT, but who is going to sit down and try to count 1000 2mm CZs? I am famous (to myself) for doing lots of crazy things to waste my time, but thanks to either Common Sense of Seroquel, I haven't gone THERE yet. (The round jar holds 500 CZs of a higher grade of the ones Kim uses, but to be honest, I don't think it makes a difference in the beads, so, if you want to try it, by all means stick with the AA Kim recommends).
One little suggestion I would like to ADD here beyond Kim's tutorial is the way to apply the CZ's to the bead. If you read the tutoria, Kim says she picks up the CZs with a pair of tweezers and pushes them into the bead. She either has a magic pair of tweezers, supersteady hands or macro-vision, but when I try to pick up a CZ with my (very delicate and expensive!) tweezers, I drop 4 out of 5 CZs, before I have one that not only STAYS between the tweezers, but also faces the right way, with the pointed end of the CZ toward the bead. Instead, I am using a cool little trick which I learned from a wonderful beadmaker in Hawaii, my friend Calvin Orr
He told me to take the blunt end of a mandrel (if you make your own, the one with the "stamp" at the end), dip it in a tiny bit of Elmer's Glue, then pick up a CZ (I lick my finger and then just randomly put the finger in the jar of CZs, and the one(s) that sticks is there with the pointy end in my skin - so I can touch the flat side with the Elmer's Beglued mandrel - I make sure that it's straight on top of the mandrel, which I stick into my rice-bowl that usually holds the mandrel - and I let it dry for half an hour or so. This is what it looks like:
Once you've got this far, it's really easy to apply, just heat the spot of the bead (eg. the center of a to-be-poked flower), and push the CZ into place. The glue melts off immediately, and you've got a nice clean CZ, without the headache. If you are working on a more random, "organic" design where it doesn't exactly matter WHERE the CZ is places, you can also place the CZ on a marver (flat side down), heat up the bead and push the heated spot down onto the marver. very simple, and you can even apply clusters of CZs, which looks like in a star- or space-design....
Okay, those are done....the next thing is fine silver wire - I haven't seen anyone do anything new with that (including myself) - but it's easy to do - wrap the wire around the warm bead...heat - and you have a "belt" of little silver dots....if you want a more precise application, heat the spot where you want the silver dot to be, push the wire into the hotspot (outside of the flame!) - then put the bead back into the flame to burn the wire off. But this kind of stuff is boring for people who don't make beads, especially when there are no pictures to go with it...so I move on to the COOL NEW stuff:
Goldstone band. Here is the skinny (according to Mike Frantz, so, if it turns out not to be true, don't blame ME!) - last time Mike was in Murano (where he visits Vetrofond and Effetre), he got offered this bundle of goldstone band by his old friend Luigi (who does all kinds of businesses...he cells his blown Venetian Beads at big American Beadshows, and he rents his aunts appartments to students and glass people who visit Murano...) - so I can see those two guys (on Luigi's little motorboat, bobbing up and down in the Canal as the Vaporetto is going be). Luigi is wearing this little coat, and he opens one half, whispering at Mike " Hey, Michele, wanna buy some of THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS?", like the guy on Sesame Street....and home comes our little Mikey, with millions of Lira (oh, sorry, a few Euro) worth of stuff he doesn't even know what it will DO. Lucky for him, it does NOTHING - meaning - whatever you do with it, it looks just the way it looks ! Goldstone for Dummies! Pati Walton loved it, Corina loves it - and I haven't seen anybody else really use it because a) nobodoy knows about it or b) it's not for sale yet????? but knowing Mike, it's somewhere there in the catalog, and if he can only get his website back to work, lots of beadmakers will be happy with Goldstone band that looks good wether you encase it or use it right smack-dam on the surface of a bead! A life in beadyland is good.
NOW, we are finally coming to the stuff EVERYBODY seems to be using these days: SILVER MESH (I am ignoring the copper mesh....it's been around for a long time, and we all know that Jill Symons
is a master at doing anything with copper....so, cut some, put it on a bead, encase it, be happy....or something like that....)
Now, the silver mesh is a different story. Not because it's a different story, but, well, it's a different story. Does that make any sense? It's MY story, like "Miss Corina and the eternal longing to try silver mesh".
The first beadmaker I saw using silver mesh in glass beads was Andrea Guarino. Those beads were ivory, rolled in different enamels, with a spiral stamped indentation and a little "patch" of little silver dots...I asked Andrea how she did that silver part, and ever the generous beadmaker, she said "Oh, THAT is fine silver mesh I get at Rio Grande". This was some time in spring, and ever since I thought, Will Smith like "Whoa, I've GOT to get me some of THIS"....but I never did, for whatever reason. But lately the use of silvermesh has become "rampant" on eBay, well-known and less well-known beadmakers offer whole sets of beads wrapped entirely in silver mesh and encased, and every time I see one of those sets I think "geee, the silver in those sets must have cost a fortune....". Well, it might not be a fortune, but cheap it is not.
Rio Grande (and I haven't found silver mesh at any of the other silver suppliers I know of) offers two sizes: super-fine and fine. I ordered 2 bags of the super-fine (which I used in some of the princess frog beads), which looks good in small beads, but the mesh is VERY tiny, and now I want to order some of the wider mesh and play with that.
Here are order numbers and prices for the stuff (Rio Grande catalog from August 2005-August 2006 - oups, my catalog is pretty old, but I still paid the same prices...plus a fortune for shipping, considering that it doesn't really way that much):
page 41. Fine Silver Micro-Mesh
Fine 100-101 $ 16 (4 little 6 cm x 6 cm sheets)
Medium 100-103 $ 25 (same, 4 sheets)
Just in case you havent' looked at the frog page...a few pictures of the mesh-in-action beads:
For "Ruby" I took a strip of mesh (about 3 mm wide), placed it on a marver, heated the encased red barrel in the core of this beads REALLY HOT and rolled it over the silver mesh.... you can't heat the silver itself, or it will melt immediately, since it is so fine...
But the effect of melting the mesh once it has been applied to the bead is very interesting as well: For Elizabeth I cut a square piece of the above mentioned goldstone band, melted it in, heated the goldstone and placed a small square of silver mesh in the center of the goldstone (with tweezers, but the mesh is stiff, so you have to marver it onto the bead in some way).. then I melted the mesh (on purpose, I HOPE, but I can't remember)...and encased it....
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little guided tour through the jungle of glitzandglimmer....and I will archive this somewhere on my website, probably in the "Tales from the torch" section......have a wonderful weekend, corina.
I didn't have any of those cool spiky bone-beads, I don't even know what that shape bead is called....but the "tales from the torch" worthy bead is the one with the silver-plum "frame"...(the other side doesn't have a frame, but a row of silver plum dots on one side). The "window-bead" design is pure Jen, I have actually seen a few of these on ebay or other beadmaker's website, so I don't know whether all these people copied Jen's idea - ohmy, this is a topic I won't get into....anyway, when I met Jen at Frantz I was totally fascinated by this "window" idea - which is a great way to rescue an otherwise bland bead. I don't know how other people DESIGN their beads, I usually have an idea, but sometimes it doesn't look the way it was in my head - and then it's perfect to have a "rescue remedy" - and the window frame is definitely a perfect way to turn a bla-bead into a "yeah-bead"....