Friday, July 31, 2009

Something to Wake Up to

What a spectacular show Mother Nature put on for the last morning of July, almost as if she was saying "not far to go now". To follow it up she also provided us with a warm mild day, one of those days that you just smile your way through because it's so good to be alive.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something from the Maille of the House

Allan aka The Mailleman has been busy working on a wee project for himself. Can you guess what it is going to be?

I'm impressed, these rings are quite small, only 4mm (5/32") diameter in fact, and there are many of them...many many!
Did I mention they are small & that I don't know how he can see what he's doing because every time I peek over his shoulder all I see is blurry small things.

It's really quite wonderful to think where the art of linking rings, in order to form wearable items that were often protective, originated.
For that matter it is interesting to stop & think what purposes it is still being used for in providing protective items for divers, chefs & butchers. I wonder what other form of practical wear has endured, unchanged to a large extent, for this long.

While we are chattering on about old things... I rather like this.
A good insight into the English language, most of which I grew up with.

On Quoting Shakespeare

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me'', you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is farther to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare;
if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare;
even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness' sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.

Bernard Levin

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carnival Twist

I'm not entirely sure whether I ruined a perfectly good bead or quietly started heading in a new direction.
I've always enjoyed the twists & raised dots on others beads, but I feel that I dont get it quite right when I attempt it.

And I thought my dots were evenly melted in s-i-g-h.
Guess who had the wrong Didy's on - the ones without her magnifying lenses.
Can you say 'stoopid'?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

'Student' Update

She did good! Actually she did EXCELLENT.
Mandy's first lot of 'self paced' beads! Just a couple of pointers from me this time & off she went - determined to practice getting a round bead with dimpled ends & quite content to just use one colour.....for a while at least.

She not only managed dimpled ends & round beads very nicely, but also encased two beads pretty near perfectly.
The two deep purple beads, on the right and just about the three Nile Green beads are actually Medium Purple Transparent over Periwinkle.

I'm askeered!

I'm All Ready

willing & able for day two spent with a student. I'm even well organized....

...for goodness sake, even my marvers are labelled!

A fly by post, as she will be here in 10 minutes. I'll update later :o)

Monday, July 27, 2009

On A Roll

& loving what I'm discovering about this "non bling" silver glass.

Desert Dawn

Desert Denim

Twilight Desert

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lacking A Lap To Sit In

Hercules decides that the next best thing is the freshly laundered & folded work pants that normally cover the lap he sits in!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lose Those Expectations!

You could be amazed at what comes of it.

Desert Sunset Accent Beads
Desert Sunset

Think about it, as lampwork bead artists we often get sucked into the latest new release of glass. We see the pre releases of the paddles used to show us the colours & effects that can be achieved & our minds run amok with ideas & the potential of the colours that call us personally.

Perhaps while visiting the forums we stumble across images from certain artists that can make the glass sing an aria like that of a Prima Donna.

This is particularly true of the silver glasses for a lot of us. We are teased lured & tempted by their mystical, ethereal qualities & before you know it we have spent far more than we intended on the latest test batch or oddlot.

Some of them work for us & produce fantastic results instantly, & others don't. Some of them produce results that are dependant on what heat your torch setup is capable of generating, or a certain flame atmosphere & others are largely dependent on patience & skill.
Some are just very expensive (US$100.00 per pound) mistakes...or so you think at the time.

I made one of those 'mistakes' early last year. I was pretty much burned out by trying to work the silver glasses with no real appreciation of different flame atmospheres, & a lack of confidence in my ability to get anywhere near the results that others did anyway. When a new batch of oddlots came up I snapped up a few that were different to the blue-green lustre effects & raku with attitude glasses that had previously been predominant.
I played with them a few times, kind of got a colour similar to the paddle out of one test batch, but couldn't repeat the result, so I then put them aside in disgust.

You see it was all about expectation. I'd seen sample paddles that appealed & expected that I would get those results, of course conveniently forgetting that a paddle is created in a vastly different way to a bead & that, in some instances, a paddle will produce results that beads wont.

Petrified Desert Accent Beads
Petrified Desert

I recently looked at theses glasses in a new way, through new eyes.
Knowing what I was capable of achieving with the glasses I had purchased, & putting all expectations of getting them to look as they do in the paddles, I wondered how they would lend themselves to something more simple & earthy than the shimmer & shine normally associated with the silver glasses. I imagined them without the shine & looking more like natural stones & semi precious gems - perhaps even partially etched. With that in mind I went to the torch & played.

My "Desert" series of accent beads was born.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Heatwave in Christchurch

Good grief a 16 degree Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) day in the middle of winter here is almost a positive heatwave.

Actually it was rather lovely (& has been so most of this week). It's nice to feel the sun on ones skin & not be rugged up in high neck clothes for a change.
OK - so it wasn't exactly t shirt weather, but it was just what I needed to put a bit of a spring in my step.

I guess that is one of the things I do like about this city, we can have a frost in the morning - but the day will be clear & bright with no heavy oppressive cloud.

The sun was enough to remind me to take the camera for a walk with me last week, I must remember to do so more often & perhaps photograph more than just the park ;o)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Had an 'Oopsy'

slipped with the packing blade. Ouch!

Of course I'm not going to admit that at the time I had glanced away & was getting lippy with the mailleman.
I'm also not going to whine about why is it that on the rare occasion that I injure myself there never any bandages or band aides in the house.

And I am certainly NOT going to mention that it's my mandrel rolling finger & I cant torch...because then I would have no excuse at all for not catching up on updating my website & Etsy.

Nuff said ;o)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Last Day of the School Holidays

I have to say that these school holidays have been an absolute dream. Mostly peaceful, apart from a few sibling altercations, & no entertainment asked for or required.
The teenager has been off doing her own thing & the pre teen aka Ms Gabriela has discovered a series of books.

She got "Twilight" out of the library & read it the week or so prior to the holidays starting.
Discovering that the second book had a waiting list & that she was number 57 on it (& over the course of 4 days she only moved up to position 56) she graciously helped around the house in an effort to earn enough to buy "New Moon" when it was on special at the beginning of the first week of the holidays. How was I to know that she would devour 608 pages, in between doing other things, within a week?

Week One

Her fix for that was to get her Dad to buy her the third in the saga, "Eclipse".

Week Two

Of course the clothing & the position has varied - marginally. But this pretty much sums up what it has been like at our place for the last 14 days.
Peaceful.....quiet....& the cheapest school holidays ever!

Then again she has almost finished the 672 pages of this one...& there is another yet to go!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chalcedony Unplugged

Unaulteradted & unedited. No wonder I love this stuff!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Think I'm Falling In Love

with tumble etching!
What fabulous soft satiny results. Just right for some of the more muted colours that I seem drawn too. This set I left tumbling just long enough to knock some of the shine off, without leaving a completely matte finish. I think the effect suits the warm earthy tones of ochre, ivory & brown.

Aramac Ramble

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Did The Earth Move For you?

There I was last night, quietly minding my own business & making beads out in my Garagio (flash name for my garage based studio), when all of a sudden the earth started moving for me....or rather under me.

It was a somewhat surreal feeling, not that it's the first earthquake I have ever felt by a long shot. The fact that I was the only one in this house that felt it left me somewhat bemused!! Perhaps it was because I sit at a very level work area with my elbows resting on the table & my feet on the floor that made me more aware...who knows!

If you can imagine being completely focussed on a ball of molten glass held in a hot flame you might understand the thought process.

A subconscious awareness of movement & the thought
"hmmm, if I'm feeling this vague, I must need more coffee"....a split second before the realization of
"well heck, I'm actually moving & gently swaying, yet sitting still" which of course was closely followed by
"oh bloody hell - earthquake (how cool)".
Of course the next thought was the responsible adult thought of "I suppose I really should put this bead down & turn everything off", right as I continued to add another dollop or two of glass.

At this point I was wondering why no one inside had yelled out anything, & decided that at any second I was going to hear the crash of something falling down or such so, complete with molten bead in hand, I went across the garage, into the lounge & pretty much blurted out "can you guys feel this?".

Blank looks greet me from both the 11 year old sitting on the couch & the Mailleman standing at the bench in the kitchen.

Them: "Feel what?"

Me: "ummm - the Earthquake"

Mailleman: "no, didn't feel a thing"
11 Year Old: "Oh that will be why the blinds were swinging before"

At that point I may have rolled my eye's, & quietly given up on my!

I snuck back out to my work area & as I sat down realised that it was still going but in the throes of tailing off!

As I said perhaps it was just because of the way I was sitting....then again I have felt quakes that others haven't when I have been sitting at the computer.
Of course it all happened in a very short time & no beads were harmed in the shaking.

OK, so this is not the most beautiful bead I've ever made - but it survived some time out of the flame before being quickly finished off, & it's probably unique in as much as it was made during a New Zealand earthquake.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yesterday Morning

saw our lowest temperature so far this winter. I didn't feel it - safely tucked inside a nice warm house (& probably a nice warm bed at the time this image was taken).

However there is always an upside to everything - even bitterly cold winter mornings when it reaches a low of -4 degress celcius.

This image was on the front of this mornings Press. Sometimes (it seems not very often these days) - I love what this city can offer.
I can almost feel a bead coming on.....

Below is part of the description as to what caused this wonderful effect.

As surface temperatures fell to below minus 4 degrees Celsius in many parts of the city, the cold air played tricks even on the air several hundred metres up. In the photograph, a gentle westerly drift draining off the Southern Alps is blowing plumes of smoke and steam from left to right, where they are largely trapped under an inversion layer, above which the air temperature rises.

However, the plume at the right is hot enough and rising quickly enough to break through the inversion.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ang, Mallory & Sharon

this might just be the next best thing to taking a flight with Air New Zealand!
I think I could be quite good at body about you ladies? ;o)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tabs In Chalcedony

I have so much to photograph that it's just not funny!
The thing is I don't feel like photographing anything. Actually I dont feel much like doing anything at all.....except melting more glass.

Chalcedony Tabs
A bit of playing with a different shape in Chalcedony ;o)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Do You Love a Man in Uniform?

I do ;o)

A recent Air New Zealand commercial has some up in arms. OK - so all the 'uniforms' on the staff are body painted....

Personally I've been happily grinning away every time this commercial comes on & wondering why I wasn't travelling that day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Do You Get When You Combine

chocolate & child labour on a Friday night......

Oh yes! A whole delicious bunch of melt in the mouth goodness made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Ms Gabriela made cupcakes & of course I helped eat them. They were delicious!!
Of course I should have saved one to take to work with me today for my morning tea!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Tribute to Tribal

Just in case you didn't know that I have a bit of a thing for it.....

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Before Beads

there was sewing. Because of sewing there was patchwork & quilting. One of the patchwork patterns I purchased & never completed, featured a fertility deity that had, for many years, fascinated me - Kokopelli.
Goodness only knows why a fertility deity fascinated me, as it is not a department I have ever had any problems in & one would think that I would run as fast as I could in the opposite direction if ever I saw one!!

Anyway, with my love of all things tribal & ethnic, it should come as little surprise that I always dreamed of one day being able to put Kokopelli on a bead. Last night I made my first attempt....

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Easy Fix for the Winter Blues #3

Retail therapy!

Some new tools arrived today. Now to any self respecting flameworker, tools are second only to glass - or maybe glass is second only to tools. Who cares which way around it is anyway, since they go hand in hand.
To be honest I have been restrained on the tools front, I only own four brass presses & one shaper tool. I use the shaper the most.
However, for me anyway, the Chalcedony seems to react better with the graphite shapers than it does with brass. Given that my current obsession seems to be chalcedony it was a no brainer that I spend my 'tool allowance' (read; my birthday present to me) on some graphite tools that I have been eyeing up for some time.

They arrived from the USA this in this mornings post. Two wonderful graphite shapers from Donna Felkner of CGBeads.

Yesterday saw a shopping trip to buy Ms Gabriela a book to read during the holidays. A quick side trip into the shoe store to update her Chuck Taylor's saw Mum come out with a pair of boots.
OK I admit it, that sucker for shoes thing still lives on. I was drawn to the toe shape. What can I say!
I really, really don't like the rounded or chunky square toe shape on most of the boots around, & normally I find that anything that attracts my attention inevitably has a price tag that has a couple of zero's after the first number... and anything that has a couple of zero's after the first number I can't bring myself to wear to the torch.
This time I just wanted something that I could put on in the morning & wear to the torch, no heels or fancy stuff.

Ahh well they filled pretty much every criteria, flat, nice tapered & chiselled toe,& they are black.
I'm not sure whether I should be proud or dismayed that I actually own a non leather pair of boots now.
Then again, at $27.99 who gives a rats patootie!lol

Oh, and in the "Presentation is Everything" department, this weeks award goes to Donna for her tool packaging! This just has to be the prettiest presentation I have ever encountered when buying tools.

Monday, July 06, 2009

An Official day - A week Late

It had been my intention to declare a certain day in late June official "World - Orange Day".


Quite simply because I think each colour should have an official day dedicated to it & in the case of orange it should be every day!
Actually, it was really because celebrating orange seemed so much more fun tham celebrating a birthday.

It was also inspired by the fabulous birthday gift that my dear friend Mallory sent me the week before the dreaded day.

Mallory went shopping for something orange or something tribal at the Bead & Button show. The clever lady managed to come up with both in this fabulous Bernadette Fuentes "Ancient Nomad" bead. Aren't I just spoiled rotten?
I think I may have squealed when I opened it, Mallory will remember as we were chatting on Skype at the time. I'd told her that her parcel had arrived & I wanted to wait until we were chatting top open it. How is that for restraint?

ancient nomad in orange
Of course it goes without saying that she teased me mercilessly about whether what she had bough was going to be orange enough or tribal enough. She will keep.

I wanted to have this wee dude all strung & ready to wear on my birthday, but looking at my supplies I didn't really have the findings I needed to create what I envisioned, so I decided to wait & do it properly a little later.

One of 'Those' Moments

When you realise that Sunday's blog post went up under Saturdays date.
So much for starting the new week with good intentions.

I'll leave you with this beaded key. I tried one dipped so that the beads could move on it rather than be fixed in one position.
Hopefully the next week is going to give me a bit of time to list the backlog of beads & keys that have been taking a holiday on my desk.

g109 chalcedony and denim blue
Denim Blue & Chalcedony Key

Saturday, July 04, 2009

And Then It Was July!

Wow I can't believe that my last blog entry was June 26th!
Time is flying by with supersonic speed these days & I don't like it at all.
I don't like it especially when I realise that another annual increase in age event is about to happen. Hence my silence over the last week.

For me each birthday is a time of very mixed feelings. It has nothing & everything to do with the numbers.
In many ways I wish I could go back to it being as it was when I was a child, when it was simply a birthday & a time to celebrate.

That aside, the last week has been busy & exciting.

My first 'Introduction to Lampwork Bead Making" student was on Tuesday. In a cunningly designed bit of planning on my part it happened to be the day after my birthday, therefore allowing me the joy of being rather too preoccupied about it & whether I was fully prepared & had everything ready for it, to focus too much on the fact that Monday was actually another birthday.
Clever of me eh?

The day went well - exceptionally well in fact. I had the most amazingly wonderful student in Mandy.
We started with a coffee & some sticky bun in a relaxed atmosphere, while I went through through the basics about glass & the safety issues associated with lampwork.
Next it was out to the studio where I gave her her class kit, then demonstrated few things about glass before moving on to stringers. Attentive, eager & having already displayed a great understanding of the process Mandy was ready to have a turn at the torch. She quickly picked up the process of pulling stringers, so after that it was time to demo the process of making an actual bead.

Apart from a quick lunch break & a couple of further mini demo's from me, Mandy was still at the torch 5 hours later! She was a fabulous student & produced some outstanding beads.
I just sat at my torch & pulled stringers, that way Mandy didn't feel as if I was watching over her shoulder, yet I could still see & was there in a split second if needed.

After not having taught an adult for over 20 years I was apprehensive about doing so. Now, of course I want to do this all the time.
It is such a thrill watching the amazement displayed when they produce their first bead or those 'aha' moments on another's face.

It has taken me all week to come back down to earth. I would love to have at least two days set aside for classes each week.

Of course then I would have to upgrade everything. One can only take so many hours of listening to the roar of a hot head....

And just so there is something to look at here .....

Another set of beads using the one of the GafferGirls frit blends & some of that stringer I pulled.

Who'd have thought that I'd ever make 'sets'.