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New Lampwork Series

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Online and in my personal life, I've been hanging out with fiber people. Fiber people are a bit different than glass or jewelry or clay people. Their internal 'kewl' alarm beeps for different things. Some like clean lines that are void of all color. Then there are those who like lots of color in many different shapes and patterns.

BTW, each 'type' of artist has their own lingo and way about them. They spend time with fellow artists of their own medium. So they talk the same talk...but I've found that most of them like kewl buttons. What it is about buttons? Yeah, I make kewl glass buttons...maybe that's why they are nice to me. :-) (that was a joke)

The below picture is a first in a series of lampwork beads. Again, they look much better in person than in the pic...the stars and moon aren't in alignment this week. I think you can get the idea. I'm beginning to think it's not the alignment but how much coffee I've had that determines the quality of the photography.

Those fiber artists that deal in the concept of ‘more is better’ have inspired the series. It reminds of being overwhelmed in a fabric store…in a good way. Like having sensory overload of color.

I haven’t decided what to call the series yet. If you have any ideas, let me know. Take your time. This series is going to take a while. Each bead is very detailed and takes a while at the torch to complete. So to complete a set, it doesn’t happen overnight. The kiln fairy isn’t that kind to me, she makes me work for a living.

Ok..I'm off for a haircut and a visit to the eye doc.

Have a happy creative day!


Muse Sterling Necklace

Sunday, October 29, 2006
The below is one of my fabricated sterling jewelry pieces. The 'MUSE' has been stamped but not oxidized. The cab is Lapis and the sterling beads are bench made. It does look much better in person than in the picture. I'm still having issues with the photography (again). The glare seems to be the problem.

The below is a bracelet done in the same style. Lots of sterling and stamping.
I'm got the kiln full already, I got up a bit too early. I have to admit, these are the kewlest beads that I've made for a while. Ok back to the to finish that set. I hear them calling my name.

Have a happy creative day!


Blogger sick again

Saturday, October 28, 2006
I've been trying to post pictures of the shard beads and Blogger has been rejecting them. Oh well, maybe later.

Lampwork Beads with Shards

The above is a lampwork bead strand that was made with shards. What I like about shards is that is seems to 'stretch' the cane, making interesting colors and patterns. The beads seems to go better with natural stones, there by making unique jewelry.

Have a wonderful weekend...I'm off to the studio.


How to blow shards for lampwork beads

Friday, October 27, 2006
The below is a pictorial on how to blow shards. Shards are used on lampwork beads in various ways. I like them much better than frit because it doesn’t pit my beads. Many times if you use different COEs on a bead, pitting or incompatibility occurs. By using the shards in the same COE, it greatly decreases those issues.

The below is the second pic in the series...this is show heating the stainless steel hole tube. I heat the edge so that the glass will stick. This is done without any bead release.

The below is the first pic in the series. Lay out cane and some sort of fire proof container. Something that is large enough to hold about the size of your fist.

More pictures

The below is a hollow glob of glass. The side walls are supposed to be much more equal. I had to stop several times because of the picture taking so these aren't as equal as they should be.

The below is were I'm trying to even up and re-heat the glob. By doing this I'm closing off the end of the glob. Much like I would if I was building a hollow vessel. By slight tilting the stainless tube down, the heat moves more evenly. It does it with this size of tubing, some of the others don't. This is more of a testing of seeing what works for you and your tools that you are using.

More pictures

The below is the beginning phase of blowing the vessel that will be made into a shards. The glob of glass is hollow, a bit more rounded, and has been evenly heated. The end has been closed via heat…take the tip of the flame and round out the end of the glob. Always keep is moving or it will implode on you. The gently blow into the stainless tube, while keeping the glob in the flame. One you get it to a point about the size of a small key lime, finish blowing it into about the size of a lemon or larger if you can. The larger the size the thinner the walls.

Don’t inhale, if you do…you will get a blast of about 1500 degree heat into your lungs. That will make for a very, very bad day and a trip to the ER.

Remember the tin cans that I first showed in pic #2? Well after you are done blowing the vessel, then gently drop it into the can.

The below is the finished product, these are shards that are then re-heated and applied to a lampwork bead. They can also be made into frit or twisties.

The cane that I used was turquoise, opal yellow, Lauscha lt lavender, uranium yellow, and a bubblegum pink. There are several reasons why I used this combo. They are all opaque, very soft, and spread well. The opal yellow will react with the turquoise too. Since I was taking pictures during this process, I went with the softer glasses. It was easier to heat and re-heat.

If you are going to use opaque, use all opaque. The same with transparent. The reason being is heating and the look of the shard pieces on the lampwork beads. For example, blue transparents are much more stiff than many of the transparent and transparent are much stiffer than opaque. So it is hard to keep even heating. The walls become unequal and you will easily blow out a side. Also if you layer opaque and transparent, you risk getting mud colors instead of unique patterns.

Tomorrow I will post several beads that are all shard beads but all different looking.

Same bat time and same bat place...


Free Beadwork Patterns

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The above is a cat face beading pattern that I designed. I posted some free beadwork patterns.

Here's the direct URL:



Black and White

Black and white lampwork beads with enamel. These have a modern yet flirty attitude. I think that they will make up into a very interesting jewelry set.

This is the only set that I got cleaned this morning...the rest are still in the soaking water. It was one of the rare days that I spent all day on the torch. I made beads until I ran out of mandrels. I had the make the above set last because of the enamel that I used. Normally you can lay beads on top of each other in the kiln. Not with enamel beads. They are sticky and seem to leave marks if they touch each other.

I'm expecting a fun-filled day at the dentist...yippy, what a hellve' way to spend my day. I've got to get a crown fitting which includes a root canal.

Have a happy creative day!


New Jewelry, Cabs, and Lampwork

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
It’s been rather cool weather for Austin the last couple of days. I’m been amazed that it’s been in the 70’s and lovin’ every minute of it. This is the weather that makes me feel alive. The screen door is open in the studio, all the windows are open, and the sunshine just pours in.

The below is some cabs that my hubby cut for me. They are Ocean Jasper, wonderful colors in these. He’s working on some greens now. So I will play with those as well. I’ve just never seen these colors before. I’m torn between setting them in sterling and doing a large beaded piece. They scream bead embroidery to me. Maybe a collar? Who knows, they are now sitting on my desk patiently waiting my decision.

Here's another color experiment. I liked the focal but I didn't like the small strand very well.

The below are more lampwork experiments. They are etched and have a stone like appearance. I was also playing with pictures...they do look much better in person. I'm not sure that I like my new-bright idea of using dark back grounds.

Here's a new piece of jewelry...yeah, another experiment. The pendant ring was hand fabricated by me. Of course I did the lampwork.

The necklace is light and every comfortable to wear. Most of my jewelry pieces are large and bold. Which is ok for some of the time but not for everyday wear. I dress mostly in jeans so I know that I'm looking for less dramatic pieces and more low key pieces.
Here's another experiment. I hand forged the pendant hanger and the lampwork is from my Ocean Currents series. Then it's topped off with some olive Greek leather. I didn't take pics of the back, but the clasp was made by me as well.
The below is a handmade chain with one of the hand fabricated pendants I've been experimenting with. The chain is heavy enough by itself so I've been working on designs for pendants that are light yet have visual texture to it. These just scream to be oxidized. Which I will do pretty soon. If I'm patience in the process, normally I can turn sterling in different metallic hues instead of plain ol' black. Liver of Sulfur has a range of hues...blues, pinkie iris, and some interesting purples. It just takes time and keeping the solution at an even temp. The only issues with LoS is that I do it outside. It smells's toxic...and it oxides the sterling in the room I'm working in. So in other words, it's a PITA to work with but it's worth it because of the end result.

I haven't really working with metal much for almost three years. I've been working with glass only. The last couple of weeks, I've been spending some time re-learning the medium. There was a time that I could make silver sing, I can't now. Hopefully, I will have the time to devote to metal again. I have missed it and glass just isn't doing it for me any more. As time goes one, I think I will move more into a mix.

There's a book, Designing with Motifs and Borders, by Jan Messent. What a wonderful book for anyone that does design it beading, jewelry, or fiber. I've very impressed with her work.

Well...I'm hear my studio calling me...

Have a creative day!


New Jewelry

Sunday, October 22, 2006
Fun is the theme of the below necklace....

It's just been a mad house around the studio...but it's been fun. I've been mostly working at the torch on silver. The below are a few of pieces of jewelry that hasn't been all metal.

Hopefully this week, I will get some more pictures of the silver pieces and do an update to my website. Actually...I have nothing up in the jewelry area of my website except for chain maille. I've just been too busy to get the photography and the write ups done.

The last couple of days, I've spent a huge amount of time at a torch. Either it's been lampwork beads or silver. I did get some forging done and also blew shards for glass work. I used to use a lot of frit in my glass work...not as much any more. I have found that I get much prettier patterns and less pitting by using shards from the same COE of the glass I'm using. I just finished a strand, which are still in the kiln, that I will take pictures of. It's not a great example because there isn't a marked contrast in the colors that I used.

Well I hear my studio calling me....

Have a creative day!!!


Dragonhead Pendants in Beadwork

Thursday, October 19, 2006
I’m been listening to Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance trilogy...AGAIN. I just finished Eragon, and am currently listening to Eldest. It’s the land of imagination…of dragons, magic, evil kings, dwarves, elves, and the perils of living in such a land. I listen to many books on audio while I work and run errands. I don't have a chance to read much any more; ah the good ol' days when I wasn't self-employed...that brings back memories of leisure.

When the Eldest first came out, I designed a beadwork pattern of a dragon. During all my appointments and various times that I’ve been in ‘waiting’ situations this week, I finally finished up the dragonhead pendants.

I enjoyed making them, now I have to figure out what to do with them. They are very light in weight. I haven't decided to use metal, lampwork accents, beadwork, or what yet to do a necklace. There is a timeline to this design dilemma; the movie Eragon is due out on December 15th. So my motivation is to design one for me.

I’ve also got the dragonhead beadwork pattern on my Mac. So when I get that pulled to the PC, I will post a free pattern.

Today, I'm off to the studio all day. No appointments, no errands, no disturbances! It's acually amazing what I can get done when I'm left alone in the studio for eight hours. I've only got a couple errands to take care of this evening.

Have a happy creative day!!!!


Jade Necklace

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Every once in a while, I make a piece of jewelry for myself. The above is one of those. The jade was tumbled to a smooth satin finish and then wire wrapped. I just liked that piece of jade so much I wasn't willing to sell it or cut it in to cabs. The color scheme (necklace) reminded me of fall, maybe that's the reason I couldn't part with it. It also has some of my favorite stones within the design.

As for the personal stuff...I'm in the mist of planning a few trips. Both to the Midwest to visit family and friends. We moved here to Austin on New Year's Day 2005. I haven't been back to visit very often.

The other wild and wonderful thing happenin' is that I'm spending huge amounts of money and time at a dental office. What a joy, I get to pay money to be in pain. :-) This is what happens when you get my age. Age does have it's merit though...I don't sweat the small stuff like I did when I was in my 20's. Since I'm nearing my 50's, I seem not to worry as much about the petty stuff. Life is short and sweet, enjoy what you can because it moves at a rapid pace.

I'm off to the studio, I have a handful of half done projects in various areas of the studio. That is my goal for today. Plus I've got a couple of group projects that I'm working on. All but one seems to be flowing rather well.

Have a happy creative day!


New Lampwork Fringe Bracelet

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Here's a new one. This one I really's not too much and just enough fringe. Plus it's light enough that you don't feel like you are wearing a bead store on your wrist.

Have a happy creative day!!


Sterling chain and frames...from the 'other' torch

Monday, October 16, 2006
I've been at the 'other' torch the last couple of days. The below are experiments to hang charms or lampwork beads from. These are large link chain that I've solder up from 16 guage wire, then tumbled for a shinny finish. The first two were done except adding the clasp and tumbling them. The second two were today's experiments.

Remember the hang bars from the last post? The below are the matching earings that I'm playing with.
Below are more experiments for charms or lampwork. There is also a bracelet that has potential too. I kinda like the fun little hang tag pendant. I will see how some of them work up into finished jewelry sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Have a happy creative day!


No Lampwork This Time - Hang Bar

Friday, October 13, 2006
The above is a new idea that I'm working with. For once, no lampwork new jewelry designs.

They are sterling silver hang bars for necklaces. I’m currently working on a group effort that is geared towards ‘charms’. The basic idea would be that these hang bars work much like a charm bracelet does. These are made of wire only, I didn't use any solder on them. They actually are very "Timex". They will take a licking and keep on ticking.

The above works for three charms in the front of a necklace. I’ve got several others on my bench that will accommodate 5-9 different charms…BUT the picture didn’t turn out. I guess the stars and moon are out of alignment today.

They can be used in several different way within jewelry designing. I can make them more curved so that I can used several within a necklace design or use one as focal point. I'm still working on these so I will post other pics as they turn out.

Here's a wire wrapped cab that I did...this is a huge honking pendant that is close to five inches. I made it before I got the sterling chain completed. That was kinda like putting the cart before the horse...oh well, I'll figure it out.

Off to start my day...I hear the studio call.

Have a wonderful weekend!


New Work

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The above pictures are new lampwork jewelry pieces that I played with yesterday. I'm 50/50 if I like the styles or not yet BUT it's a good beginning.

Have a happy creative day! I'm off to the studio....


What I've been my online monthy specials

Wednesday, October 11, 2006
What I've been doing the last couple of days is been playing with the camera again. The stars and moon must be in alignment because they are turning out better.

The below is the beginning of a new series that I'm working on.

The other thing I've been doing is updating my website.

This month’s specials are:
Pendants are 30% off
Designer Packs at 30% off
Plus new Lampwork SPECIALS!

The Czech Pressed Glass beads have been added to the Shoppe. So if you are interested, please take a peek. This will be an on going special, on a first come basis.

The direct online Shoppe is at:

Free shipping for all orders (US Only). $5.00 International shipping. Minimum Order $15.00.

I hope everyone is enjoying their fall season. We are still in the low 90’s and mid-80’s.

Have a happy creative day!


I'm busy as a cat in heat....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I was going to do a 'post pictures and run' but Blogger is feeling cranky today. I've been busy, busy, busy the last couple of days. I'm working on a czech pressed glass bead section on my website shoppe. No, I don't want to go into the 'czech pressed glass bead' business but I don't need a mass (1200 beads) of the same make, model, and color either. That's up and running, finally. That a PITA to photograph all those beads. I now have a healthy respect for anyone running an online business.

Then there is the specials I'll be running soon. I've already got the lampwork bead specials on my website up, if you want to take a peek. You can hop on...point your fuzzy mouse to, they are under 'Lampwork Specials' in the Shoppe. I'm also working on pendants as well. I will be running a special later this week on them.

Why you ask I'm doing all of this...I'm in the process of cleaning out my studio. I've got so much stuff in there, I can find anything. :-) I will be running specials monthly now. I found boxes of stuff that I didn't unpack from the last move in Feb. OMG...I have beads, handmade finding, lots of lampwork beads, lots of stone cabs, lots and lots of STUFF. I found stuff that I'm not sure either why I have it or I'm clueless of what it is. Plus I don't want to move it again.

So my OCD and packrat ways will hopefully help another. :-)

Ok...I'm off to the studio!'s RAINING in Austin today!!!!!!! This is exciting news, we haven't had rain for a while now.

Have a happy creative day!


Another Lampwork Strand

Saturday, October 07, 2006
The above is one of my favorite sets so far. Basic black beads with Thompson powders and red surface designs. The beads are much smaller than my norm.

The below is a picture of one of my water plants. Actually it's the root system. I'm off to the torch to day to see what this picture inspires.

Have a wonderful weekend!


New Lampwork Beads

Friday, October 06, 2006
Sorry that I haven't updated my blog recently. I've been busy as a cat in heat. I just have so much time and not enough hands to get everything done. It's that the way of the self-employed? One of these days, I'm going to actually make a decent living and then I can afford to hire a studio elf...ah, we can all have dreams.

Anyway, here's a couple of lampwork bead stands. The first one I put up on the website for sale and the second one is going to be made into a bracelet.

The below is what I've been spending mucho time doing. (BTW the two pics are just tips of the iceburg..I've got beads on several desks...on my dinning room table...even my silver bench.) I got several large orders of Czech Pressed Beads in so I've been figuring out if I need all this. I have to buy either in mass or half mass lots from my suppliers. For those that don't know how many beads to a mass...well it's 1200 beads. That's a lot of beads in one color and style. So I've been bagging them up to put them on my website for my customers.

Why do I need lots and lots of Czech Pressed Glass beads? Well, I'm working on lots and lots of garden bracelets. So if I ever dig myself out of the bead pile, I'll start working on those again.

Well I'm off to beady land...

Have a happy, creative day!


Lampwork Beads and Nature

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I’m back to fun stuff again. The color and color combos is a reason why I like lampwork so much.

Yesterday, I was having a discussion regarding what I call my ‘candy’ beads. I used to make fun of these beads even though I like making them. After much discussion and thought…I’m going to have to drop that label. A friend and I were discussion how the above bead set had no place in ‘real’ jewelry because you couldn’t find the hues or the DOTS in nature. I thought about it for a second and replied, "yes, you can."

The below is a picture that I took of my cactus. This reminds me of dot lampwork beads. So yes, dots to appear in nature. This is only one example...others are are on butterfly and moth wings. Still more are found on any animal or bug that has 'false eyes'. Dots can also be found in rock formations or as the center of a sunflower.
The colors within nature are varied and beautiful. I can't remember any color of a glass rod that I haven't seen in nature. The below pic of a sunset has both the mango and periwinkle hues in the above bead strand.
The below pic has the ink one of my favorite glass hues of violet.
This pic of lavender has the color scheme of many of my bead strands.

I could post picture after picture but I've already realized that my 'candy' beads are just color combos of nature that I'm drawn to. Mother Earth created the colors; the Italians just duplicated the hues in glass cane.

Have a 'colored by nature' day!