Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm in Floral Heaven!

I was walking back home after dropping my children off for school and saw these beautiful flowers in one of my neighbours gardens.

Having a camera phone does have it's advantages! Anyway, my little brain started whirring and I thought "That would make a lovely floral bead!" I came home, made a cup of tea and walked up to my shed/studio/shed to see what glass I had.

As I haven't made a sucessful floral bead before I though I would keep the first one quite simple.  The first thing to do is to make lots of stringer in the desired colours.  So I pulled some white, blue, periwinkle, green and transparent turquoise stringers.  I found some clear glass rods, green frit, put on the radio and set to work.  Here is the result....

It took a long time to make but I was so pleased with the result!  The last time I attempted a floral bead I just ended up with random blobs of colour all merged into one mess inside the bead.  It was a hidious sight which I made worse when I tried to encase the bead.  That one ended up straight in the flower bed so I can't show you how far I have come since then.  I have learnt from speaking to fellow lampworkers what my mistake was and how to stop all the colours from bleeding into one another.

The trick is lots of encasing! This bead was made as follows..... I made a small barrel of clear and rolled it in green frit.  Then I covered the frit with a thin layer of clear.  I added my green stringer to mimic leaves and encased this in clear.  Next I randomly placed tiny dots for the flower petals in sets of three.  I melted them in and added transparent dots on top of the previous ones to give the petals some depth.  This bit is quite tricky....  I spot heated each set of dots and plunged a pick in the center to create a tiny hole and then covered each flower with a blob of clear.  This is to trap a bubble of air in the flower.  The final stage was to add another layer of clear to the whole bead.  Round it up in the flame and place in the kiln.  Success at last!

This spurred me on to try making a set of beads with purple flowers.  My original idea! Yipee! I get to use CIM Lapis AGAIN!.... I am slightly obsessed with this colour at the moment.  It is such a lovely glass to work with and gives you a really deep, rich purple.  I also decided to make some green cane that looked more like a leaf.  This was a little more time consuming because I had to stripe black stringer onto a green glass rod, cover it in clear and then pull it into a stringer.  Here is the result.....

However, as usual I want to run before I can walk.  I am never satisfied unless I am stretching my abilities to their maximum.  "How about adding multiple layers of flowers?" I thought to myself...... even more encasing, and heat control!  A challenge .... but I did it!

If you look very closely, you can just see the little blue flowers beneath the purple ones.  They look like the ghosts of flowers peeking through....

Still I feel I could stretch myself further.  My mission for this week is to add stamens to my flowers.  This will mean making more cane, experimenting and a bit trial and error.  I look forward to posting the results soon.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Practice makes Perfect - Implosion Beads 1

I remember the first time I tried to make an implosion bead back in 2007.  I was sat in the porch at a workmate using my trusty Hot Head torch and it was freezing outside.  The Postman came and handed me the mail whilst I was making a bead ... probably thinking..."What on earth is that crazy woman doing?".

I hadn't been making beads for very long but typically I wanted to run before I could walk.  I had seen pictures of these beads, researched how to make them and was desperate to have a go.  I did and this was the result....

It was a bit elongated, not really what I was hoping for but all in all not bad for a first attempt! I was nearly there...I just needed to practice.

Not long after making this bead I had my third child so any thoughts of implosion beads were quickly replaced with thoughts of getting a good nights sleep and changing nappies. 

Time passed .... then one day I had the urge to make a dragon on a bead.  I spent a good hour deciding on colours and preparing elaborate stringers but no matter how hard I tried it wouldn't work.  My dragon ended up looking like a blob on the bead ..... nasty!  So, I had all these stringers and no dragon bead!  Then like a lightning bolt I was struck by an idea ..... why not try an implosion bead with the left over stringer? 

I did and the rest is history as they say .... also I knew Beads & Beyond Magazine were holding a competition and I wanted to enter but couldn't think of a suitable entry .... until now! 

I spent the whole summer practicing my technique and have a whole summer's worth of beads as proof!  Every morning I would open the kiln and analyse the beads ..... the internal structure, the colours, encasing ... what I needed to do to improve the beads.

The result - one of the winning set of beads!

Inspired mainly by flowers I continue to improve my technique and have so many ideas for more implosion beads.  But I know in order to get the results I want I need to practice .... practice .... practice .... and eventually I will get there!

Hydrangea Beads By Sarah Bunney
Sarah xx

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Launch of my new website -

Hooray! Hooray!

After many months of subtle hinting, then bigger hints....a little moaning and mega nagging! My lovely, adorable, wonderful and totally AMAZING Husband...Mr B... has finished my website.....


There are still a few things I have to do (he likes to remind me ...smugly) like finish my tutorials but the main thing is I HAVE MY NEW WEBSITE....FINALLY....ONLINE....

Hooray! Hooray!

I can officially say I am a HAPPY BUNNEY!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Junk Mail Inspiration

My son hands me the mail. One letter addressed to me and about five leaflets about things I neither want nor care about.  Still, curiosity, boredom and the need to read everything in front of me overpowers my ability to throw them in the recycling and I stumble across this picture...

Mmmm, I muse...I like the colours, do I have the glass?

So I trot off to my shed/studio/shed to look for the colours.  I have decided the base colour should be a light colour maybe Ivory.  Now there are two kinds of Ivory.  Light and Dark.  Dark Ivory is quite reactive and known for it's spreading effects and I don't want this for these beads so I select Light Ivory.  It is smoother, less reactive and will give me a good result.

Next colour...Effetre Avocado.  I haven't used this colour before so I don't know how this glass reacts.  It is not a colour I would normally choose so I must have bought it for something in particular, although I can't remember what. So, let's try it!

Now I need a fresh bright colour for contrast and to liven things up a bit.  Easy.....Effetre Lime Green.  I use this quite often.  It is quite stable and gives good results.  Lovely!

I make a batch of beads using only these three colours.  I start with Ivory as the base colour, then Ivory with Lime dots, Ivory with Lime and Avocado dots, Ivory with Lime Stripes and so on.....  Then I experiment using Avocado as the base colour.

When the kiln is full of my new little creations, I leave the beads to soak overnight.

Inspection Day!

Not bad.... I really do like the colour combinations.  One of the problems making glass beads is that you never really know what is going to be waiting for you when you open the kiln door.  There have been many occasions where I have spent half a day making what I think are colourful creations only to find the colours look awful together after they have been in the kiln.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings......

Onto the next the beads......  I can't help it but I always find this to be the dull part of making beads.  I put on a good film (to stop me from falling asleep), get out the Dremel and very carefully remove the bead release from within each bead.  Then I give the beads another clean, dry them and get them ready to photograph.

Photographing glass beads is another blog altogether so I will leave it there for now.

Here are the final beads......

I definitely chose the Light Ivory but in some of the beads I can see a distinct fuzzyness around the edges (part of the spreading effect I mentioned with Dark Ivory) of some of the Avocado dots.  This is another strange thing about Ivory...there does seem to be gradations between the Light and Dark Ivory......I will save this for another blog!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A nice clean shed/studio/shed.

Partly due to a lack of inspiration and because it was so cold in my shed/studio/shed this morning, I decided to have a little spring clean.  I am far too ashamed to put any .. before photos ... up as it was a total mess.....I am hoping that a tidy work space will lead to a tidy mind that will be exploding with inspiration for some new creations....well I can hope at least....

Sarah xx

Friday, February 10, 2012


It is nearly that time of year again and I have been busy in my shed/studio/shed making hearts and waiting for my lovely husband to finish my new website.......