Friday, June 26, 2009

Fruity Frit

Working with these wonderful Gaffer Frit blends that were sent to me by Mona & the Gaffer girls was a bit of a revelation.
This 'so not pink girly type girl' headed straight for the pink/purple blends!.

What was it that appealed? Perhaps my subconscious was drawn to the fresh fruity colours that reminded me of high summer (in the dreaded depths of winter), of course this would have been aided by the names "First Bloom" & "Blush".
The results are luscious - you almost want to pop them into your mouth to see what they taste like!

Of course it was the perfect chance to practise some scrollwork in the wonderful gaffer opal colours that I seem to not use nearly as much as I should....

First Bloom Frit Blend, Chameleon base - G114 Purple Scroll work

Blush Frit blend, Clear base - G113 Heliotrope Scroll work

Mona & the Gaffer Girls make these frit blends (& 13 more!) themselves & they are very reasonably priced so check them out on the GafferUSA website.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nuggets of wisdom?

No - they are little nuggets of etched chalcedony.

I'm loving the way that the gaffer glasses etch. Soft & satiny, smooth & lovely to the touch.

This particular set of beads had no particular attention paid to striking the chalcedony itself, as I had decorated them with random bands of other colours, in an attempt to aim for a gemstone look.

Chalcedony G109 nuggets
"Rainbow Agates"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Progression of the Alabastron

The next torch session & I thought that the Alabastron should have a neck, so the first attempt got one. Then I thought why not take this a step further & put a pouring lip on them, so attempt number two got a neck & a lip.
Not wanting to spoil a good thing, along with the fact that I was pretty pleased with the scroll work but had left no space in which to place a handle without obscuring some of the design I left it without, while I built up the courage to attempt a handle.....aka 'instant hanging device.

Number three got a neck, a lip AND a handle.
Yes, ok - so it was in clear so I could fix it if I mucked up!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Easy Fix" for the Winter Blues #2

If your visualisation skills aren't working for Easy Fix #1 - there is always Easy Fix #2.

Put heater on in studio. Turn on the kiln, the oxycon, the torch & equipped with MPS player & coffee sit down at torch.
(The internal & external heat sources help the visualisation skills.)

Make beads in the most delicious shade of opaque blue glass on the market.....Gaffer Denim Blue (G-125).
Of course there are lashings of G-109 Chalcedony....are you surprised?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Easy Fix" for the Winter Blues #1

Pretend you are somewhere you want to be!

It's Sunday

Time to just chill out....

Take it easy

Relax & enjoy!
(nobody does this quite like Hercules, the resident dude!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chalcedony Alabastron

I wanted to call these Amphorae (I hope that is the plural of amphora!). But amphorae have handles & these don't, so technically these would be "Alabastron" or "Alabastra".
I made these back at the beginning of the month, after being inspired to actually try something "vessel like" (instead of just thinking about it) by the fabulous pieces shown by Donna Mehnert aka "Blackberrybeads" on the LE Forum.

Of course it was also a darn good excuse to practise my stringer control, exercise what I have learned about heat control by balancing the glass on the end of a mandrel &, it goes without saying that I though something ancient in style would lend itself well to further explorations with Chalcedony.

I suppose I should mention that I can't blow worth a tuppence, so hollows were out of the question & after ruining a perfectly good bead with my attempts to put handles on it way back , I have never been brave enough to try handles again. So this appealed.

These were the first few nights attempts. Right now I am working on changing the shapes & consistent design I don't have to rake the slightly misplaced stringer ;o)

The one on the top left was the first one - could you guess?

Given that I was focussed on keeping the shape & balancing the whole thing on the end of the mandrel & grabbed a stringer that was too thick for the size of the first vessel shape, I decided this was a good subject to test out how G-109 "Chalcedony" etches - so in for a bout of tumble etching it went.

Before Tumble Etching

After Tumble Etching

I like the way that Chalcedony etches. Tumble etching doesn't seem to get into the tight nooks & crannies so leaves small areas of shine, which offers a nice contrast more in keeping with how a vessel would wear & age.

I do want to thank a couple of people here. They displayed more confidence in my abilities, than I had myself! Their belief in me was what encouraged me to try.

AngelinaBeadalina the sweetheart who told me "You realise you could do that yourself" way back in April after I had drooled over her orange "Not so perfect, but perfectly irresistible" (which, by the way, is still perfect in my eye's Ang!).
More recently Hec of Seraphim Flameworks simply stated "You can do that" (factually enough for me to actually believe that I could) when I told him that is the sort of thing I would love to be able do.
Thank you, you two!

Friday, June 19, 2009

My baby boy is back in the country

My favourite youngest son arrived back in NZ yesterday after a 3 week stint away with the Army.
I knew he was going & to where, but was asked not to say here (does he even know how hard that was???).
Suffice to say he has just spent 3 weeks somewhere warmer than here! I can say the words islands, pacific, north east of Fiji & with darn bright blue skies & no winter wind!

He graciously (yeah right!) allowed me to show this photo of him on the top of the bridge of the Naval ship he travelled there on. Yes - I'm a good mother... I am envious of that too!
I can only drool over the photo of the beach though & am not allowed to show it as there is military equipment in it, & the military have rules involving that.
Inconsiderate military!
Do you realise this is a historical moment? I am actually doing what I have been my son!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Colour

Even though the sky is a clear & cloudless bright blue today, the wind is freezing & bites right into you.

I miss seeing the flowers in gardens as I walk down the street to get my daily latte.

Just to be clear this is the one that the mailleman doesn't make for me & I actually have to leave the house & get myself.....usually accompanied by something scrumptious from my local cafe Ri'stretto. Of course any edibles are shared via Skype with Ms Mallory.
She usually suggests the Carrot cake.

Of course now that I have mentione4d Carrot Cake - it should be no surprise that todays colour inspiration is orange...

Both of the images below are from Gaëlle's Picasa web Albums.
It wasn't just the orange that drew me in, it was the costuming & the masks (of course). For an absolute visual feast of both from the Carnaval Vénitiens de la Murette & Carnaval d'Annecy, carnivals in the Venetian style held every year in France her albums are a must visit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chalcedony Spacers

or as I prefer to call them "Accent Beads".
In this case they are space fillers, since I have just realised that I haven't posted all week!
I'm super pleased with how the colours came out in this smaller set, which until now I have found somewhat more challenging than getting the colours to pop on the bigger beads.

chalcedony accent beads

chalcedony spacers

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The tree's are bare

and I NEED some colour!

I love this image (& for the life of me can't recall where I found it ages ago), there is just something about it that makes me stop every time I come across it in my inspiration folder. Perhaps it is the wonderful contrast of the blue robes against the warmer tones of the background.

Besides - I want to be there! Bring on the camels!
Anywhere but winter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Chalcedony Jim, but not as we know it

I played - & I wasn't kidding when I responded to Mallory's comment in the post below.
I had tried to recreate the effect of pleated green & the wisps of misty gold using Chalcedony.

I'd figured that with the help of Gaffer's Lime Green Aventurine - I could almost get the effect I was looking for. I know only too well how that aventurine spreads...& spreads.....& spreads.
The first attempt I restrained it aby laying the clear on top of the Lime Green Aventurine stringers to early, preventing it spreading enough to get the effect I was looking for.

Of course I managed to strike the end of the bead to a brilliant purple - right when I was trying not to!

The second attempt however I used a chalcedony base, applied the Lime Aventurine (in very thin stringers form), encased the whole lot in clear & then just gravity shaped it along the mandrel. I managed to get closer to the effect I was looking for.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Inspiration (& creating a need)

Silly me! I should have known better than to click on that 'Events' newsletter that arrived in my inbox.

What caught my attention was this image....

Isn't it fabulous? I don't even like green or yellow that much, but this image just drew me in. Maybe it was the costuming - I am a sucker for anything to do with costuming of any sort, historical, theatrical, dance, stage & shows, cultural - you name it, if it involves fibre, fabrics & colour I love it.

Of course this just had to be the picture for the latest Cirque du Soleil show to visit New Zealand "Dralion", described as
"the fusion of ancient Chinese circus tradition and the avant-garde approach of Cirque du Soleil. The shows name is drawn from its two main symbols: the dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West. Dralion derives much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophy with its perpetual quest for harmony between humankind and nature."

I'd love to go, it's been years since I went to any type of show, but alas the Cirque du Soliel is only on in Auckland.

Never mind - that image has been enough to make me want to try the colours, somehow in a bead.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beads that have flown the coop

I have a few beads that are currently winging their way to the USA - their deadline to get there was yesterday.
I know I would have heard if they had, so I'm picking that they didn't make it in time.
I was rather thrilled with some of these beads - they were big (at over 50mm long) & nicely shaped.

Unfortunately I didn't have time for anything but the quickest of photo's before sending them on their way, let alone thinking to measure or name them.

Bead #1

Bead #2

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where DID that day go?

If there s one thing that seems consistent right now - it is the speed in which the weeks are seemingly flying by!
A full day devoted entirely to taking, editing & loading photographs to my website seem to have taken a toll on my torch time.

Actually I am rather relieved to have something to show here though, even if it is just to prove that I don't play with nothing but Gaffer Chalcedony each time I sit down to torch.

In the glass I got a while back was some of the CiM "Poi". I had mixed feelings about the results I had seen with this colour as I had also ordered Grape Ape & Plum. I mean how many shades of purple/grape/plums does one need?

I haven't worked the Poi up in a bigger bead yet, perhaps the results will be different. But for now I like the fact that it has a nice earthy tone to it - especially when the Double Helix glass, "Psyche" is used for decoration & fumes the Poi to some extent.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Playing

or, to be honest, finally getting the backlog photographed & listed.

You can tell by the names that while my head is in the stars - my body is pretending it's in the Greek Islands....

G109 Pavonis

G-109 Elasa
G-109 Alimia

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Antique Treadle Lathe

A not so well kept secret around here is that I am often not very 'girly' & have a decent collection of power tools, & another less than well kept secret is that I like 'old stuff'.

While visiting my cousin today to pick up some glass tools he had made for me, a question on my part led to an area of the workshop I hadn't been into for a while (it is not a small workshop & spans two buildings)....going through the door I was stopped in my tracks.

JP Antique Treadle Lathe

There sat an Antique Treadle Lathe. Of course I squealed....& ohhhhed.... & ahhhed... & made sounds that may have resembled "I want it".

In the Goodman Engineering workshop there are many wonderful pieces of modern machinery, both those that require vast amounts of skill & precision to operate & a big computer run thingamajig that takes a whole different skill set to run. At one time or another I have wanted them all.
But this piece is something really special! It is really quite beautiful - no doubt in part to do with being faithfully restored by my patient & talented cousin.

Antique Treadle Lathe

I was allowed to have a brief play & try out the treadle. Like the old sewing machines it is all in the timing (says she who managed to make it run backwards). For a few minutes I stood there & imagined the past, a past with no electricity ... & realised what a fabulous leg workout one could get on this machine!
Of course I also thought about the unlimited shape possibility's for speciality shaped mandrels....

Antique Treadle Lathe

This beauty is up for sale - if only I had the money.

Monday, June 08, 2009

What does one do when

the sun wont come to the party most days, the garage where my photo tent & lights are set up is freezing cold?

Well, ok maybe not freezing, but cold enough to make me want to stay in the study where it is nice & warm, therefore allowing the act of procrastination.

This one decides how to learn how to operate the remote capture function on her camera - via the computer.

Easy peasy!!
Step 1: Make a coffee.
Step 2: Move furniture in study around
Step 3: Nuke coffee which has become cold
Step 4: Move photo cube & lights inside & set up
Step 5: Throw coffee, which is cold again, down the sink
Step 6:Install Program that came with camera
Step 7: Go & buy latte at nice cafe down the road - instant coffee is dreadful anyway
Step 8: Play & marvel at how wonderful this is (& quietly wonder why I didn't do this before)!

The camera & cube set up.
I knew there was a use for that "Cool HTML book I've had for years!!"

The Desktop
Step 9: Marvel at how wonderful technology is & how fortunate I am to run a dual monitor system....actually I think 3 would be nice....

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gaffer Chalcedony #2 frit.

More beads made with Gaffer Chalcedony #2 frit.

Part of this wee group is already winging it's way to Mona & the Gaffer Girls at Gaffer Glass USA.

Gaffer G109 Chalcedony #2 frit
G-109 size 2 frit beads.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

After a long search

I finally (& inadvertently) find a backdrop that makes the chalcedony beads just pop!

Great colour & wonderful light absorption resulting in crystal clear eadges on the bead with no pesky reflection.

Of course the downside is that it sheds, is tempramental, knocks things over & moves right when you have everything set up & about to depress that shutter button.

I guess the search is still on ....

Friday, June 05, 2009

Do You Wig Wag?

My first attempt at a wig-wag (some call them switchback canes), the alternative to a twistie....& might I add a tad more difficult to achieve.

From where I'm looking - they can only get better ;o)
This is going to take some practise!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


For ages I have wanted to try putting some glass on keys. The only thing that stopped me was the feeling that I would be better put spending my time practising the basics.

For goodness sake, I was still struggling with getting nicely shaped, well centred beads on the bigger mandrels - what chance did I have of achieving anything remotely simialr on a key with protrusions getting in the way.

Having sourced some keys a few weeks back I finally made a start & it was much easier than I thought.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Trying to envisage what direction I am going in - right now it appears to be every which way but 'one'!

mostly chalcedony