Sunday 27 March 2022

Silver Lava Ball Necklace and Bracelet Set

 At The Big Bead Show last year, I found a sting of lava balls which had been dipped in silver.  I loved the way the silver showed off all their holes and imperfections.  (Normally they would be black or very dark grey.)

I bought myself a string to play with and have finally got round to making a matching necklace and bracelet set for myself.  

They are inspired by a necklace and bracelet matching set of silver balls I was given from Tiffany & Co.

I'm very please with how they came out.  I've kept them simple so hopefully they will go with many outfits, the lava gives them the interest they need I think.  I just need a reason to leave the house and wear them!

Sunday 20 March 2022

Sea Spray Kumihimo Necklace

 When I went to The Big Bead Show last year, I found and bought a large pretty glazed bead.  I wasn't sure what I would do with it exactly, but I thought it might work nicely in the middle of a kumihimo necklace.

Having made the Sea Spray Kumihimo bracelet for my friend last year, I started to wonder if I could use the bead in the middle of a similar design, especially as the colours were very close.

I started with working out the design I wanted to use.  This had to take into account the fact I wasn't sure I'd have enough beads, and it would be hard to get replacements.

Once I had an idea of what I wanted to do, I started making it.  So far so good.  But then I got to the part where I added the bead and something went a bit wrong and I had to undo it and try again.  More issues.  So I gave up for a bit and it sat there half made for ages (weeks).

Finally, I didn't have anything more important to do and I decided to get it sorted.  I undid the bit that had gone wrong, and set everything up again, and started work.

This time it worked fine and I soon had a finished necklace.  I liked the colours and the design seemed to work and I was pretty happy, until I held it up with the bead in the middle and realised that one side was longer than the other!  


I had assumed that using the same number of beads would mean both sides came out the same size, and I guess if I'd been using uniform beads this would be the case, but the slightly larger green beads are all over the place size wise and I guess it pushed the pattern out.  If I'd measured it as I went I would have realised and stopped before it got too long.

 Lesson learnt.  Now to decide if I undo it a bit and fix, undo it completely and make it shorter or just leave it as is. 

Saturday 12 March 2022

Making More Glass Beads


Last year I went to West Dean Collage of Arts and Conservation and spent a day making glass beads.  I enjoyed it thoroughly but wasn't sure what to do next.


Then for Christmas and my birthday I received lots of gift vouchers for West Dean short courses (thank you everyone!), which kinda answered that question.  So I signed up for the two day Making Glass Beads workshop which builds on what I learnt last year.


Taught again by Sarah Downton, it was a great course, which let me practice what I learnt last year and then learn a whole bunch of new techniques.

I could definitely see an improvement.  And I made so many more beads having done it before and not being quite so worried.


I tried to use a different selection of colours this time, but I am drawn to the blues, and the pinks were actually quite hard to work with - the glass rod kept shattering when you introduced it to the flame. 


Because it was a two day course we got to see day one's beads on day two, which was brilliant - no waiting for them to be posted to us, and lovely to have something to take home.  However, we still had to wait for the day two beads to be posted out.  It's a nerve-racking wait, and when they arrived I felt a little disappointed to start with, I'd had high hopes.  But then I started to really look at them, and although none are perfect, I have learnt so much from them.

While last time I made plain transparent coloured beads, gravity beads, beads with spots (using other coloured rods and frit) and twists, this time I did all that, but also learnt how to encase my bead (adding a clear layer over my design), more spots and stripes, two tone beads, pressing and I added silver wire!

And I made more drops, but this time I was really playing with colour so they are very different from the last lot. 


It's interesting showing them to other people.  While I am very much in love with them, most people just glance at them and give them back.  Either they aren't interested in glass beads, or they have no idea the work that has gone into them and the magic of melting a rod of glass and turning it into a bead.

There are so many other things I want to try out.  Techniques and colour combinations.  Instagram is full of beads that I want to try and copy - to see how its done.  And my head is full of ideas. 


So again I'm left with the thought 'what now?'.  There is a three day improver course in the autumn.  Or do I splash the cash and buy the kit?  The problem is I can't tell if this is long term love or just lust.