Gather round ye fine folks, and listen to a delightful tale of
~ The Origin of the Blue Fairy Beads ~
(also known as "another one of Andrea's brilliant ideas...)
Okay, so, just to spice things up a little, and probably because I have a seriously bad habit of thinking I can learn to do anything - (well, anything except ironing that is...) I've decided I should expand my jewelry creativity and learn how ~ to make my own beads. ~
So I hunted down a great little lampworking class with a very patient and wonderful teacher and actually managed to learned a thing or two about lampworking.
Lampworking for those of you in the "un-known", is the process of melting long glass rods of glass over an open (and freekin') hot flame - and then winding tiny strands of molten glass onto a continuously turning mandrel. It is a process that is both terrifying and fascinating - always wondering if I will be able leave the table with fingers and hair intact - as well as being able to successfully produce one tiny, yet beautiful bead. Oh, and one more thing - the successful lampworker must also be flexible and rigid - needing to marry ambidexterity, with superhuman concentration, and nerves of steel. (Eh... shrugging my shoulders...it comes with practice.)
Needless to say - I was hooked immediately. And after hours of practicing, and reading, studying and burning, singeing and swearing - I am much less terrified of setting myself and the whole house aflame and way more eager to see the results of my "creative endeavors."
I am happy to report to date - that I still have all ten fingers (and toes), and only occasionally sport a mildly singed hairdo and clothing. But the troubles are well worth it. For in the end, I also manage to produce a new collection of beautiful hand made beads!
I'm pretty sure you will love these little beauties as much as I do.
So here is your chance to get yourself a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art. Some are being sold loose - for those of you who collect beads or want to fashion them into your own unique jewelry, and some - I just couldn't help but finishing just for you.
Oh yes! All beads are kiln annealed for beauty and durability and made with only the finest materials, including but not limited to Moretti or Effetre glass, crystal, and sterling silver findings.
~Above are the glass canes that I use and melt over the torch to make beads. I usually use Moretti soft glass (coe 104) and at times use 96coe glass and assortment of frits from Valerie Cox. I am careful not to mix glasses as the coe's are different, and therefore not compatible.
~Above, the blue Paragon kiln - EZbeader - with digital controller - it's great!
~I use a Nortel Minor Torch - and some tools and workstation....
~Another of the glass canes -
~The Propane tank, and Oxygen Concentrator - and ventilator hood - also, is a window that is opened for fresh air supply. The pad site for the propane tank is being built outside the window - once done the tank will be moved there. UPDATE: tank is outside & secure!
And don't let the neatness fool you. I'll admit it's organized - but it's hardly ever this straightened up - usually there are stringers and notes, and rods laying all over the table. I caught these pictures just after I had rearranged the room...
I also give private Lampwork lessons in my home hourly or in four week sessions - If you're interested in playing with some molten glass - just let me know! Please check our class pages for more details.
I hope you enjoyed the little tour - and hope to see you in the shop soon! ~Andrea