Monday, April 29, 2013

Monthly Make - April

Ok a tiara can be quite a fiddly item to make so this month I am going to balance this with a very simple challenge.  This month I used my old lampwork beads to create a unique (because every one of my lampwork beads is unique) piece of wall art!
This is very easy to create.  All you need is a box frame and lots of your old unused beads.  You can be as creative as you like, colour coordinate your beads, add a beautiful watercolour background, use striking frames in colour contrast to the beads .....the list is endless!

If you don't work with beads you could use buttons, cotton reels, dried flowers, springs, nuts and bolts,  ... there are so many possibilities.  You could turn this simple idea into a work of art and I would love to see your interpretations.
Sarah xx

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Sea - La Mer!

Usually at this time of year and particularly during the summer we take our children off to the local beach in the evening for a fish and chip supper.  We all sit together in a long line on a bench eating our warm, tasty chips and watching the sun set   It is lovely.  Afterwards, my husband and I can walk along the beach hand in hand (just like we used to....ahhhh) with our children running around us laughing and having fun. 
I get a great deal of inspiration from our trips to the beach and usually it because of something my children have discovered.  Especially in rock pools.  Who knows what treasures and strange creatures you can find within the water?
This bead set was inspired by one of those trips.  We found lots of different types of seaweed in different colours, some slimy, some bulbous and some dried out by the sun.  We also looked at the distortions produced when looking through water.  A similar effect when you add bubbles of glass onto the surface of a bead.  It is simple but great fun, especially for little children who find everything absolutely amazing.
This bead set also represents freedom from the constraints of perfection.  I have to be extremely precise when I am making implosion beads and if I were to constantly maintain this I think my head would explode. So, these bead sets are a welcome break where I can free my creativity and allow the glass to flow where it chooses.
This bead set is available in my shop on Etsy.  If you click on a photograph a link will take you straight there.  Thank you for reading my blog and sharing my world of beads.
Sarah xx

Monday, April 15, 2013

Speckled Blue Blossom.

My speckled blue blossom beads remind me of blue speckled eggs!  I love the way the light passes through these beads highlighting all the different colours within the glass.  I made these beads as part of my Monday Glass Challenge : Something Blue!  These challenges are great because they help to stop those moments of artistic block by challenging my brain to think of new ideas.  
This set of beads were made using a lentil press.  I started my making a oblong shaped bead in transparent glass and then I rolled the bead in mixture of frit and pixie dust (sparkle, sparkle).  For those of you new to lampworking .. frit is basically ground up chippings (I suppose/my interpretation) of glass.  There are frit blend experts out there that mix different concoctions of glass to produce some beautiful blends.  You can create some wonderful effects using frit.

There is a real sparkle to these beads and I only wish the camera could capture this.  They really are very pretty beads. I call this style of  beads by blossom beads because all the mixtures of colours within the frit look like tiny blossom petals.

Are you a lampwork artist that uses frit blends in your beads?  What are your favourite blends/mixes?  Do you make your own? 

Sarah xx

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Amber Shock!

It was one of my friend's 40th birthday last weekend and I wanted to make her something special.  It is a very special birthday after all!  I am always admiring her hair because she is very lucky to be able to dye it fantastic colours.  Usually amber/red/orange colours.  When I think of her, this is the first thing that springs to mind.  The colour amber.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what to make her and what colours to use.  Then I remembered this lampwork bead set.  I made these beads last year and was about to re-list them but changed my mind because they had all the right combination of colours .... lots of amber to bring out the colour of her hair, a contrasting colour of vibrant teal and ivory to tone the bright colours down a little ..... not too much though .... 
As you can see from this photograph I had an interesting set of beads to work with.  Different shapes, styles and colours.  The trick is how to put all of these together to make a beautiful piece of jewellery.  What did I do?  I am going to tell you right now ......

I had a search through all of my jewellery making materials as you can see from the photograph above.  I wanted the main theme of the necklace to be centered around the colour amber (My friends hair colour) with accent and contrasting colours of teal and ivory.  So, I needed thread, seed beads and extra lampwork beads to match.

I started with the largest lampwork bead.  This is going to act as the focus of my necklace (the centerpiece).  I have placed a plain teal coloured bead either side of my focal bead.  The teal colour will help to bring out the colours within this bead.  Either side of these beads I have placed a couple of decorated lampwork beads and finished this group off with a couple of clear amber coloured beads.

I decided to double strand these beads (you will see why in a minute).  I used an equal length of olive and brown tigertail.  I placed the beads in the center of the two stands and built my necklace from this point.


I needed a method to keep my beads in place, which is one of the reason I used two strands of tigertail.  I placed an emerald coloured seed bead onto the olive tigertail and a brown coloured seed bead onto the brown tigertail.  To lock these in place I then placed a brown seed bead through both strands of tigertail.

As you can see from the photograph, the seed beads make a pretty cluster either side of the lampwork beads and have the effect of locking the beads in place so they don't move up and down the strands of tigertail. 

I built the necklace up from this central point.  Making sure I added the same amount of beads to each side.  I should also mention that to keep the lampwork beads in place I placed the rest of the seed beads though both strands of tigertail. 

I continued to build up the necklace and used the seed beads to lock my lampwork beads in place.  I made a couple more clusters using the decorated lampwork beads separated by seed beads until the necklace was of the desired length.  I made a long necklace because my friend is tall and very slim and I thought it would look great on her.  A great deal of thought goes into my designs especially when I am designing a peice of jewellery or making a bead for someone in particular.
I couldn't decide at first if I was going to use a lobster clasp or a toggle clasp.  I decided on the toggle in the end because it suited the style of the necklace. 
I was so carried away with finishing the necklace that I didn't take any photographs of this part of the process .... sorry!  But, I have explained this in more detail in another blog post - Making your own jewellery!
Lovingly finished with a toggle clasp!  But, what does the finished necklace look like?

I wanted to show you how you can take a set of my lampwork beads, combine them with other materials to create a beautiful piece of jewellery.  I also hope this blog post inspires you to start making jewellery, even if it is for yourself.  It is a lovely hobby and it gives you the opportunity to make your own unique jewellery.  Items that no-one else will be wearing and that people will compliment every time you wear it.

So, to finish ... what would you make with this set of beads?  If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will already know that I am a lampwork artist and make all of the lampwork beads featured in my blog posts.  I make them all using my own hands in my studio.  All of my beads are made to a very high standard.  They are all kiln annealed to ensure long lasting life and durability.  I also clean the beads thoroughly to remove all traced of bead release.  If you would like to see more of my work then you are most welcome to visit my shop on Etsy - Beadscrumptious on Etsy!
Sarah xx

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Elise - Lampwork Glass Beads.

I am finally having a summer moment, even though the weather is still freezing cold and showing no sign of spring!  Here we have bright, hot pink and turquoise to brighten up any jewellery design.  It is a great colour combination that could form the basis of a beautiful piece of jewellery or "wearable art". 

 How did I make these beads? .... for any future lampworkers out there .....

Glass Used :

Effetre Dark Turquoise 591236
Effetre Teal 591056
Effetre Soft White 591208
CIM Heffalump 511645
CIM Cranberry Pink

Ok, I used Dark Turquoise and Heffalump as the base colours.  I then added a strip of Cranberry Pink on top of the Heffalump and a strip of Teal on top of the Dark Turquoise.  I melted the transparent glass into the base bead to create the effect you can see in the photograph.  The white glass was used to create the pretty little flowers that you can see on each bead.

Creating the flowers is very easy .... Add three blobs (very technical term) of white in a triangle on the surface of each strip.  Melt these in.  Then push a sharp pointy tool (another technical term) into the centre of each flower (gently).  Re-heat the flowers and the bead carefully to maintain the shape of the bead and to ensure the hole that you created closes over.  You should be left with a pretty little flower.

I will add pictures to this blog post next time I make a bead with little white flowers.  It is true, a picture paints a thousend words but I hope that this will be ok for now.

This is a very pretty set of lampwork beads ... but then I would say that and do quite often.  But I was seriously contemplating keeping this set of beads for myself (and will probably make myself a set next week). The colours are rich, vibrant and full of promise that we will have a beautiful summer in Britain this year!

I would also like to mention that whilst I was writing this post I had an audience of three stray chickens .... quite surreal and slightly wierd as they were not mine!  They just decided to wander up to my garden and sit with me in my shed/studio/shed all afternoon.  They are now wandering across the field to their real home for the night ....

Sarah xx

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

English Country Garden!

Quite by chance I stumbled upon making a floral bead with flowers that look like a Pansy.  It would be dishonest of me to say I had planned to make these flowers because it isn't true.  It was one of those moments (I have many of these) where I thought "I wonder what would happen if I ..... " and the result was a floral bead of Pansy petals.

These beads are composed of many layers to give the flowers some interest and depth.  I started by creating a central core of clear glass that was wrapped in frit and pixie dust.  The dust gives the beads an inner sparkle.  On top of this layer I added a swirling layer of cane to mimic the swirling foliage around the flowers.  I covered this in another layer of glass and created the petals on top.  When the petals were all melted into the glass and the trapped bubble created in the centre I then encased the whole bead in clear glass.

I know I harp on a bit about the pucker around the bead hole but all of my beads have a beautiful dimple surrounding the bead hole and the encasing layer of glass flows all the way to the beading hole.  I spend a great amount of time ensuring the glass is a smooth continuous layer to the centre of the bead hole. 

I needed a garden in which my flowers could grow .... so I made one of signature floral implosion beads.  From this viewpoint the bead looks as though it is full of dense foliage and a mixture of grass. 

This bead set can be found in my shop on Etsy - Beadscrumptious

Sarah xx