Saturday, 7 July 2012

A little something for myself

I'm usually so busy trying to keep both my Etsy and my own webshop stocked that I forget that I took up lampworking as a relaxing hobby!  Making something for myself, just for the heck of it has become a rare occurrence, so over the past few weeks, on and off, I've been working on a little project for myself.  It's something that I've had in mind for a good while...

Here's the result!

Rainbow Necklace

I'm really pleased with it :)

Now I know what you're thinking; it shouldn't have taken me so long to put together something with relatively simple beads.  You see, I'm obsessive about colour and order.  The beads had to be made in exactly the right shades, ensuring a smooth gradient through the spectrum.  Then there's the size - for this to turn out the way I'd pictured it, the beads had to be a uniform size... but I've never been great with sizing beads.  It's why I don't make many sets - I usually have to make twice as many beads as end up in the finished set, just to get consistent sizes!

I thought that this project might give me a chance to practice and gradually get the hang of evenly-sized beads but try as I might, it just wouldn't happen.  I knew I'd have to give in and use a bead roller.  I do prefer shaping glass by hand (well, not exactly "by hand" - that'd hurt!  You know what I mean :) ) but in this case I realised it wasn't going to happen.

Boy am I glad I did give in!  After taking some advice from a friend, I bought a bead roller from Howaco Glass (who offer a very friendly, personal and quick service), waited a few days for it to arrive, sat and looked at it for a couple more days (I often do this with a new piece of kit... like I'm letting it settle in before bothering it) and finally gave it a go.

The result was I made my necklace in two days with only one attempt per colour!  Each bead is about 16.5mm in diameter and 9.5mm hole-to-hole.

I now have lots of similar ideas branching from this one.  I'm currently working on an etched version as well as other necklaces, bracelets and bead sets in similar gradient style but limited to "palettes" (hot reds and oranges, cool greens and blues, etc.).  I'm going to try different sizes and shapes too.

The positive side-effect of making this piece is that I've started having ideas again just as "beadmaker's block" was setting in. 

Now I just have to work out what to do with all the beads I made before I invested in the bead roller...

ALL the beads!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Pricing puzzler

My question:  How do you price a bead like this?

Rainbow Kaleidoscope

I'd joked that I was going to name it "Two And A Half Hours And A Burnt Hand" which pretty much sums up what it took to make this piece.  Anyone familiar with my work knows I'm a bit partial to rainbows... in this case, I decided to use *all* the colours; the result was that it took 2½ hours to carefully melt the layers whilst making sure the disc didn't melt down or become too wibbly.  At the end, I was so tired that I became careless and forgot that the end of glass rod that's fresh out of the flame is HOT!

Top view;  keeping the disc thin and straight whilst
melting down each layer was particularly tricky!

My problem is that now I've made a bead with which I'm rather chuffed, how do I price it in such a way that I'm covering not only my time but the skill involved in making it?  I don't intend to charge extra for the burn as that was my own silly fault ;)

Advice and suggestions appreciated...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A new line for a new (glass) year

This week, I finally manage to make it to the workshop for the first time this year and I chose to start with something new - interchangeable ring toppers. I was pretty pleased with my first attempts:

My first ring toppers

And here's the second batch (one has already sold to a lovely person :) ):

Second batch of ring toppers

If you don't know about interchangeable jewellery systems, this is how they work:

Ring with interchangeable topper

The great thing is that you only have to buy one ring base (pendants and cufflinks are available too) and you can switch the topper to suit your outfit!

Bases are available from Little Castle Designs (sterling silver or stainless steel) and from by george (sterling silver only and the ring bases here are adjustable).

Watch my Etsy shop for new topper designs.