Monday, August 31, 2009

Gaffer Opals

Nothing makes a day brighter than when the knock on your door is the courier handing you a rather hefty box.
Better still when that hefty box contains 6kg (13.2lb) of Gaffer Opal Colours.

Still a few colours short of the complete range, sadly most of the colours I am short of are ones that I have never tried in a sample pack. Bugger that the one I want the most, Ivory, isn't there. I can still add a couple of the colours needed to complete my Gaffer Crayon Box bead set though.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Funday

Some misguided person decided that a trip to the beach was in order today. I wanted some driftwood, & had promised a certain 12 year old that we would go to the beach on Sunday.

Added incentive was some potential studio space up for lease that we wanted to look at.

So we went to the beach

I found my driftwood

Admired the view....

And marvelled at the wisdom of a certain 12 year old, who found a way to avoid the biting cold wind.

No leisurely walk along the beach this time, we simply weren't rugged up warm enough. Lesson learned; just because it is warm & sheltered at home doesn't mean that the same is true at the seaside.

A quick look at the space for lease & we realised that the letting agent had portrayed it somewhat differently, neglecting to mention that it was an upper level space & not on the street front.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Easiest Sale Ever

I didn't even get to list these pretties!
As good fortune would have it a lovely lady purchased a set on Etsy & asked if I had anything similar. I did.... & these were they.

Just thought they needed an airing here....

"Batik Thunder"


Underwater World

Spring is in the air, almost! You can smell it. Can you feel it?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another week - another Sunrise

I'm usually not up in time to see the sun rise, although I wish I were every day. I'm a night owl, not a morning person. But change is afoot it seems, I think I have witnessed more sunrises this month than I have in the last 5 years!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Request

Sometimes you forget who you biggest fans really are, those that see past the imperfections & just love your work because they think you are a clever 'Mum'.

Kids are so unconditional & see through such great eye's. Their idea of perfection isn't anything to do with symmetrical shapes, or perfect ends - their idea of perfection is because something was made for them with love, by someone they love.

Part of Gabriela's birthday request was for "one of your key beads please Mum".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Week Since I Posted

Just been laying low & taking some 'me' time. August is somewhat frantic with two girls having Birthdays (what was I thinking!!) & probably NOT the best time to give up smoking.

However there was no best time to start smoking in the first place ;o)
Giving up is lot harder than I anticipated this time time around. In my opinion quitting smoking is like dieting....when you are not on a diet, life just goes on & you dont really think about food. You eat when you feel hungry or at meal times.

Things change drastically when you go on a diet - all you think about is food. You read packets, work out what you are allowed, how much you are allowed, calories, kilojoules, fats whatever & of course you have to plan what you are going to have for every meal. It has always seemed to me that your life revolves around food so very much more when you are dieting than when you are not. Probably has a lot to do with why I haven't consciously dieted in many years.

Giving up smoking is the same. All I think about is NOT having a cigarette. I must say - it sucks.
I really think there should be some system that wipes the brain clean of any smoking associated memories & thoughts.
Either that or I should be stuck on a Tropical Island, with no phone, no shops, no kids, no responsibilities & just an endless supply of fresh fruit, glass & my torch. Yep, that would suit me just fine.

Whine over!

Instead of a sunrise (our days have gone to overcast & rainy custard this week) - I did manage to get a shot of a great sunset.

Actually I could live just watching sunrises & sunsets...on a tropical island with my fresh fruit & glass of course.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Problem With Bright Sunlight

Actually there isn't one - apart from when it comes to photography, particularly when it comes to photographing beads.
Specifically when it comes to photographing beads made with Gaffers Chalcedony.

I prefer not to tamper with or brighten my photo's. Something I learned some time back when a buyer complained that my colours were 'over saturated' was that you just aren't going to satisfy some people, no matter how colour correct your image is on your monitor.
I also learned that you can't even try explain to someone that it is their monitor that is displaying incorrectly, even when they mention the yellow in the bead which isn't apparent either in the bead itself or any of the photo's you have of it... not even if you refer them to the fact that the bead was listed as 'Ivory'.

Chalcedony is a whole new ball game both under studio lights & in the sunlight. If one of the colours in the glass looks right, then another will look wrong. When the blues show up well in a photo - the pinks don't & the opposite is also true.

In the sun from above - pretty good for the solid areas of pink/purple, but the blues aren't showing their true tones.

In the sun from in front & slightly above - the decent size area's of blue show correctly, the pink is a bit bright & the colours on the smaller beads just look washed out.

Out of direct sun (& the flash goes off). Blues appear correct, pinks look more purple, but at least the spacers don't look so insipid.

What is a girl to do?

Friday, August 07, 2009

My Box of Gaffer Crayons

This was an exercise in patience for me. No playing with reactions or gravity swirling & shaping of glass. I started 4 days ago & finally filled in the last 'gap' in the palette that I was able to fill today.

Quite simply I wanted a reference that showed exactly what colours the different Gaffer Opal's show when used in a bead.

Because Gaffer is a furnace glass, initially designed & formulated to be used by glass blowers, the colour charts show thinly blown shards of the super saturated colours.
This makes even the Opals appear as if they have some translucency, which they do when blown, but not in the more solid masses of glass which become a bead.

There was only one way to fix it..... I unearthed all the short ends I had left from an assortment pack of the gaffer opals & got to work on some small chunky disk beads.

This isn't even the full palette of Gaffer Opals. There are 15 colours missing.
But what a wonderful 'Box of Crayons' this far ;o)

My Beads Have Become Camera Shy

Nothing I could post in the way of beads here could possibly come anywhere near the beauty of Manuela's bead.

I have to say that it has elicited gasps of amazement from all that have seen it in person so far & a few of of those that have seen it are males! That has to give you some idea of it's stunning beauty in reality.

I have been doing more of the same, Chalcedony still creeps in at least once per torch session until before I know it I have a strand of beads in the lovely stuff that has to be sorted & listed.

There are large chunky disks, round beads, donut accent beads of an average size & the itty bitty beads that get called all sorts of things when they are being cleaned.

Here are some before sorting. You can see from these images a great example of the colour ranges it is capable of.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Truly Blessed

Every once in a while something will take your breath away. A wonderful sunrise, or sunset, an unexpected vista as you turn that corner in the road, a fabulous piece of art that just speaks to you.

Yesterday I had one of those moments.

It started about ten days earlier when I commented on Manuela Wutschke's blog. I've long been a fan of Manuela's wonderful work, she is a supremely talented glass artist, but had only recently started following her blog quietly & commenting occasionally. On this particular occasion Manuela was celebrating her & giving away one of her beads....oh my!!

I couldn't believe my eye's when Manuela left a comment on my blog that I had won one of her beads.

My bead arrived in yesterdays mail. I knew from the photo on Manuela's blog that it was going to be special, but nothing (not even Manuela's fabulous photography) prepared me for the reality of what I opened.
As I slowly unwrapped the outer packaging & saw the elegant & sophisticated box & 'Business card' (a mini work of art in itself) I just knew that what I was about to see was something extremely special. I was right - that first view of it literally took my breath away.

Sitting against it's black velvet background was a work of art. To call it a 'bead' doesn't seem to give it the credit it deserves, it appeared as a rare & precious gem - yet far more beautiful than any diamond or sapphire that I have seen.
The detail & depth in it, provided by the layers & layers of glass just drew me in & I realised I was holding my breath.

I eventually picked it up & looked at the other side (two works of art on one canvas). As I let it nestle in my hand, it imparted a distinct feeling of someone who is passionate about what they do with glass. There is no other way to describe it.

Needless to say that I still really can't believe that I am the owner of this bead (although the jewelry designs started popping into my head right away) - I just keep looking at it in awe.

I tried taking some photo's outside, in order to catch the way it glitters when the sun catches it but I haven't done it anywhere near the justice it deserves, the sun has made the colours look washed out. The best photo is on Manuela's blog - here.

A pale representation of the the sight that greeted me when I opened the box.

Not small! But the detail is amazingly fine & perfectly executed.

A slightly better representation of the colours.

Manuela is not only a supremely talented artist, she is also an absolute sweetheart.
Thanks a million Manuela :o)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


A little playing around with some Moretti Ivory glass. I am loving the way that recent batches get the look of crazing that is often seen on old glazes. The effect is exacerbated when combined with any of the silver glasses. It also varies depending on the amount of silver glass used & how long you work it for after decorating, which makes it quite controllable too.

I needed to get in some of practise with some stringer work, as I had been letting it slip lately in favour of playing with the previously unloved silver glass that I have now found a use for.

Monday, August 03, 2009


In an effort to get a slightly different, somehow more subdued reaction out of the Gaffer Chalcedony, I tried it over a G-189 "French Vanilla" base, rolled in some G-104 "Light Tobacco" frit first. Although I didn't quite get the effect I was expecting - I actually like the way they have turned out.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Miss 14 turned 15 today. I'm just blown away by wondering where the last 15 years have gone.
It seems that it was only days ago that the wee girl arrived ahead of time & in such a hurry. I suspect that was a precursor to letting me know just how fast the years were going to fly by.

Of course 15 is far too 'cool' to actually want to do anything much - so it was just a quiet family day. Well, it was quiet for us, because Michaela slept in for half of the day!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August Already!

My Spring countdown is going to officially begin! Only 30 more days - Yippeeeeee!
I have a lot of faith that a nice mild Spring is going to arrive on time. The last week has been bright, sunny & relatively mild so there is no reason not to have a believe it will be so.

To celebrate I have a surprise in store - I just need to get past a certain young girls 15th Birthday tomorrow.