Elvis is in my Fish Tank…

SO, woke at stupid o’clock again today.  You would think that with it being darker in the mornings that I would be able to stay asleep for at least an extra hour or two!  Well, there was nothing else for it but to write a blog…

I still have a few weeks to wait until I can move into my new studio but I know that when I get there, I will have to take a few days off to get organised and set all of my equipment up.  I will need to make some counters, install my two Nortel burners and make sure there is room for my Hot Head (no, not me…well yes actually, me too but the Hot Head is a propane only torch!), install the ventilation system and display my work – so, I have been slaving over a hot torch more or less non stop for the past couple of weeks!  Are you ready?

To start with, a few little sets.  Those of you that know me understand that for me, making more than three beads the same is the equivalent of slow Chinese water torture BUT, having plugged myself in to a very loud dose of Muse Showbiz (to drown out the sound of my own singing), I managed a few sets and even enjoyed making them! 😉

The last two sets were made using blown shards.  This is when you use glass blowing techniques to blow a glass bubble, then you smash it all to bits (hahahaha).  The great thing about shards is that the most interesting patterns can be made by understanding what reacts with what!

Next, a bit of fun 🙂  Whenever walking in the woods with the kids, I would tell a story whilst getting them to investigate the surroundings.  The fairies, pixies and elves live in the woods but so does the wicked witch.  The game was to identify which house belonged to who 😉  Below are two pixie houses – they have windows because pixies are notorious spies – they keep an eye on the witches spies.  The next two are fairy houses, whilst the last one is a witch’s spy house 🙂

More fun but playing with technique rather than shape this time!  Meet Little Miss Muffet’s spider with two legs missing – we think the cat in the last picture got at her 😉 ,  and Charlotte, or Charlotte Warlotte as we call her, is a very willful bundle of two year old cuteness!  Her new word is ‘no’ 😉

Now for some serious beads.  My fish tank uses up a lot of my spare time, in that I sit there watching the antics of the inhabitants – they have very distinct personalities.  Elvis is an inquisitive and talkative Angel fish, Tinkerbell you have already met.  SHe likes to rearrange the tank furniture and we have a group of naughty little Balloon Mollies who insist on a show of fish porn from time to time!

On Monday, in a little fit of madness, I threw out a challenge on my Facebook page *  https://www.facebook.com/turnerrowedesigns   (Gah!  you may need to copy and paste the link to your browser) for people to suggest what they would like me to make that day.  A moonlit scene, with a tree was suggested, so I set about it!

Different sides of the same bead.  This is how I made it. *For people with flame-working experience only!*

I used 104 COE but it would no doubt work equally well for others.  I also used a Mega Minor but other duel fuel torches will suffice – with pateince, this could be done on a HH too.

You will need, clear; opaque dark green; opaque dark blue; pale green transparent frit; white enamel; opaque white; opaque dark brown stringer and Reichenbach siver brown stringer.

First make a small wind of clear on your dipped mandrel (2.4mm advised).  I do this to give a stiff base, especially if using a very ‘runny’ colour.  Next I wind dark opaque green on what will be the bottom half of the bead and dark opaque blue on what will be the top half.  Melt it in – it doesn’t matter if the demarcation isn’t straight, in fact it looks better if it isn’t!  You can shape at this point – this bead is about 3cms – I used a lentil masher.  Next, heat the green portion and dip in a little light green transparent frit (remember to do both sides!) and melt in.  Heat the blue portion of bead and to whichever side you want your tree to be, dip onto a little pile of enamel, gently melt in and repeat. For the moon, on the opposite side to the enamel ‘cloud’, place one dot of white to the side, marver in, melt again so it’s flush with the bead. Then you will need to encase the whole bead in clear.  I did this by melting a large gather, placing it on the bead surface and pushing it to cover each side, add more to the sides, taking care not to let the opaque colours bleed. Finally, make the tree with the brown and silver brown stringers (melt enough so it will not ‘pop off’ but don’t melt it in as we want it to be raised).  Use the dark green to dot randomly on the tree branches and then using a reduction flame, reduce to bring out the shiny silver on the tree.  Place in the kiln immediately and wait an interminably long time for your bead to anneal!   Let me know if you make one, I would love to see it! 🙂

So to wrap up (I think it might be time for breakfast!), I have had this design in my head for an age but was waiting for just the right bead to come out of the kiln!  I am undecided as to whether I will part with it or not 😉

And I can’t go without showing you these 🙂

And finally Boudica!  I am in love with black etched glass 🙂

And remember, don’t live in the past, or you may miss what today has to offer… love each other and be kind to yourself.  Big hugs, mwah! 😉