Wednesday 22 February 2012

Glass Butterflies

I thought I would try out another tutorial.  Did a little google search and came up with these...

They looked easy enough so washed some glass, fired up the torch and sat down.

The first two I did with opaque bodies, this didn't blend well into the wings in my opinion, it made them just look "smudged", plus according to the tutorial you just melted the wings in, this seemed to leave them lumpy and uneven, so  I adapted and gave them a squish flat before separating into two wings.

After that I moved onto transparent glass for the bodies, this blended so much better into the wings.

By adding a sparkly czech crystal bead for a head and wiring up on a pin, it made a quick, yet effective, pendant.

I would have made loads more, but the oxygen ran out.  Waiting for delivery of a new tank now  :)

Monday 20 February 2012

Tiger Beads

Each time I fire up my torch and go to my shed, I seem to produce similar beads. I seem to be stuck in a style rut and need to break it.

When I am at Higham Hall, teaching basic glass beadmaking, I always take four Lampworking books with me for the students to borrow, but I have to admit I have only ever flicked through them myself, so often the students will come to me with a page open saying how lovely a bead looks.

So, this time I brought the books home with me, and promised myself I would try out some of the tutorials.

The bead I fancied trying first was the Tiger bead from "Passing The Flame", by Corina Tettinger.

I made myself promise not to pick up any other glass, or frit, or tools, than the ones needed to make this particular bead.  I didn't even take my usual glass of wine with me !!

I pulled some stringers, made some twisties, dipped my mandrels and off I went.

I didn't have one of the glasses suggested - Dark Amber - so I made a few with 'Dark Topaz' and some more with 'Straw'  This was the only variation I made.

Of course this morning I was chomping at the bit to get to the kiln.  But when I did I was quite chuffed with the results.

Dark Topaz based beads.

Straw based beads.

And a Straw based focal bead.

Wonder what I shall try next.....

Monday 6 February 2012

My Rag Rug Inspiration.

Isn't it funny where your inspiration comes from?  Sometimes it can be just spotting something in your day to day life, other times it can be a need of something you would like to own, and others it can be a memory.

The rug making I have been doing comes from a memory of long ago.

This is my dearly departed maternal Grandfather.  Nelson Llewellyn Bray.

I don't have many memories unfortunately as he died when I was about 12.  But I do remember he was an avid gardener and rain, hail or shine he could be found pottering in the garden or in his shed.  (His shed had the most wonderful earthy smell, a cross between old wood and rusty steel mixed with potting compost)

When he was indoors he always sat in a chair near the fireplace with his feet up on the wall.  When he drank his tea it was always poured into his saucer and slurped from there.  He never gave one single kiss when you said goodbye, it was a cluster of 4 or 5 - the cluster kiss was what I remember most.

Then there was the rug making.  Winter he would be sitting in the window of the bungalow he shared with my Gran and Uncle Bob with a piece of sacking on a frame.  He would happily sit and prod, and us Grandchildren would stand by his side and watch.  We would never get to cut the rags, or have a go at prodding, but we were happy to watch.

My Mother, Vera, remembers having to cut up the rags when she was young, and getting "rag-sick" from the dust.  Perhaps that's why we never got the job.

When I was about 8 years old I got presented with this...

The rug my Grandfather made especially for me.  All the Grandkids got one, all different.

Mine is now in the attic, carefully stored in clear plastic.  It was starting to fall apart and I couldn't bare to have to throw it away, so I decided to hide it away for safe-keeping.  It is around 36 years old now.

So, I am proud now to have resurrected this craft within my family.  Both myself and my Mother are now rug-making and enjoying it thoroughly.

My rugs so far...

The first one I made was made from lots and lots of recycled fabrics, I wanted to know how each fabric worked while being 'prodded'. I found wool blend was difficult as the prodder went right through the fabric, velvet was beautiful as it shimmered, t-shirt was the easiest to work with.

The next one was made entirely from t-shirts.  30 in total.  Makes a good bath mat  :)

And this one was made from the lovely shimmery velvet, it's so soft and luxurious, and a dream to tread upon.

I'm thinking Denim next.......  watch this space.