Monday, December 21, 2009

Playing with Double Helix Ekho (or any TE test batches) Shards

I wrote this reply to a question posted on the ISGB forum on how to use TE-317 shards from Double Helix, thought I would share this on my blog as well. This is just a basic intro . . . there are many other ways to play with shards that reduce, strike or both reduce and strike . . . experiment and enjoy!

• Make a base bead
• Pick up a piece of shard with your tweezers and wave one edge in and out of the tip of the flame to pre-warm
• Spot heat the base bead and attach the edge to the bead
• Wrap the shard around the bead
• Heat to adhere
• Warm the bead evenly to a dull glow
• Proceed to one of the following options

Option A
• Let the bead cool until the glow is gone (put it under the table to see the glow disappear)
• Adjust to a reducing flame by . . . 1) decreasing the propane/natural gas, 2) increasing the oxygen, or 3) decreasing the fuel AND increasing the oxygen
• Re-introduce the bead at the tip of the flame and watch the reduction appears

Option B
• Melt in the shards completely and reshape
• Heat the bead until the shards are white hot (hazy, almost droopy)
• Marver to reshape (do not put it back in the flame)
• Let the bead cool until the glow is gone (put it under the table to see the glow disappear)
• Re-introduce the bead at the tip of the flame and strike, the shards should be dark brown
• Let cool a wee bit and reheat
• Repeat cooling and heating (but not to extreme, just cool some and heat some) to see colors develop

Option C
Melt in the shards completely and reshape
• Heat the bead until the shards are white hot (hazy, almost droopy)
• Marver to reshape (do not put it back in the flame)
• Let the bead cool until the glow is gone (put it under the table to see the glow disappear)
• Re-introduce the bead at the tip of the flame and strike, the shards should be dark brown
• Let cool a wee bit and reduce as in Option A
• Back to neutral flame and encase with Clear (either the entire bead or just where there are shards applied), keeping the bead under the flame
• Melt in clear very slowly as not to lose the reduction effects

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Newest Series – Ginormous SS Capped and Cored Focals!

In yesterday's post, we shared how we came about making our own line of high-quality leather jewelry. Today, we want to show you the culprits - our capped and cored beads. All of our sterling silver cored beads fit the popular European style Pandora, Biagi and Troll bracelets but this series of ginormous capped and cored focals are definitely way too big for bracelets. These are to be strung on a thick chain . . . or one of our new leather necklaces.

Each one is made with various Double Helix silver glass, including many test and odd batches. The results are similar to our shimmering Pearlescent Series with colors ranging from golden hues, palest pinks and lavenders, rich purples and magentas to opal-like blues and greens. Please visit our Etsy store to see the latest!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leather Interchangeable Bracelets and Necklaces

We tried to purchase premium-quality interchangeable leather cord jewelry for our sterling silver cored (and capped) beads. When we couldn't find any that met our high standard, we decided the only way to offer such pieces was to make them ourselves.

We researched and tried various different sterling silver end caps, clasps and leather, and finally came up with this line of double-clasp, interchangeable necklaces and bracelets. These will fit any European-style beads with holes larger than 4mm diameter that are made for Pandora and Biagi chains. Our bracelets also come with six rubber stoppers so your beads won't all hang below your wrist.

These pieces were very popular at our jewelry show last month. We put together bracelets and necklaces with our signature silver cored Leaves Series beads, our metal clay discs in bronze and copper, and our silver cored silver glass spacers.

These interchangeable bracelets and necklaces are available now on our ArtFire and Etsy online stores.

How the Double-Clasp System Works

Open the end with the smaller clasp to add bead(s)

Use the end with the larger clasp to put the necklace/bracelet on and off so the bead(s) will not fall out

For Bracelets Only
The rubber stoppers should be placed along the entire length of the bracelet separating the beads evenly, especially if you don’t have beads to fill the entire bracelet.

We recommend placing a stopper at the beginning and at the end of the bracelet even if you do have enough beads to fill the entire bracelet.

To remove, make sure that you ease the rubber stopper OVER the end cap with your finger nails instead of trying to pull it and the end cap off together.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Are you tired of my enamel beads yet? ;)

Now that I am a wee bit more comfortable with working with enamels . . . I decided to use them with my favorite . . . silver glass! A good friend also suggested I should try different bead shapes, thus my going back to the more elegant bicone shapes.

These wonderful murrinis are by Renee Wiggins and John Rizzi.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Enamel Beads!

Still having fun playing with enamels. Hope to list some that are still available next week on our Etsy store!

Happy Holidays!

We apologize for the long absence! November was a very busy month for us - I (Hayley) taught a silver glass workshop with the Smoky Mountain Firecrackers in Tennessee, then we had the BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza) the second weekend in Oakland. That was followed immediately by a private jewelry show. Finally this coming weekend, I will be teaching another silver glass workshop at Arrow Springs.

Needless to say, our inventory is at its all-time low right now and our online stores are bare! After this weekend's workshop, we will be listing whatever is left! We promise!

My 2010 teaching schedule is up! I will be teaching at Arrow Springs again end of February, Holly Cooper and I will teach back to back at Playing with Fire in Rockland, Maine, end of May, I will be teaching at the Rochester Gathering end of July and at Blue Moon in Austin, Texas, mid November. Please see the right column of this blog for more information.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Playing with Enamel

I have wanted to play more with enamel and finally had a chance to this past weekend. These are just some test beads . . . still learning how the materials react. Now the big question: to etch or not to etch?

These remind me of Japanese brush paintings! ;-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pearlescent Series on Our Etsy Store!

We are offering a new series of smaller focals made with various Double Helix reducing silver glass – Ekho, Aurae, Triton, Psyche, Elektra, as well as many test and odd batches. The results are our shimmering Pearlescent Series on our Etsy store, enVisionSF. The mother-of-pearl of the beads in this series is simply breathtaking. We added special frit on some for extra sparkles and each was topped with Double Helix Aether Clear which magnifies the effects of the iridescent colors, depending on the bead of the series, it ranges from golden hues, palest pinks and lavenders, rich purples and magentas to opal-like blues and greens. We absolutely love the bling.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ekho and Aurae - a match made in heaven!

Upon returning from the ISGB Gathering, work (graphic design) has been very busy (which is a good indication that the economy is on its upswing!) We are almost ready to re-open our Etsy store . . . with these small "treasures." We call them treasures, not because we think that they are precious, but because the combination of Ekho and Aurae - Double Helix's AMAZING silver glass – allow us to create beads that sparkle like jewels!

Watch for them on our Etsy store soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beauties from the ISGB Gathering

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers Gathering is four-day conference with pre and/or post conference workshops. It is held annually at a difference venue in the United States. This year we all congregated in Miami and had a blast.

For four days, we had presentations/demonstrations by some of the top lampworkers in the world, shopped in person with suppliers we had only known via online presence, shopped or sold at the largest artisan lampworked glass show - the Bead Bazaar, and re-acquainted with old friends and met new ones.

The presentations were informative and inspiring. My favorites were those by Holly Cooper on her intricate stringer design, Libby Leuchtman on her glorious off-mandrel flower, Brad Pearson on his amazing masked patterns, Anne Cleo Dunsmore on her jaw-dropping fish, Kim Fields on her delightful toucan, and Akihiro Ohkama on his breathtaking Japanese murrinis floral bead made with Italian glass.

I came home with amazing additions to my personal collection. Here are just a few to share with you!

Holly Cooper is one of my most admired artists. Not only is she an incredible beadmaker, she is a very talented illustrator. In addition to selling her intricate glass beads at shows, she just opened two Etsy stores. Byzantina features her work inspired by ancient art and artifacts and Grafiko showcases lampworked glass beads that are bold and modern, inspired by ethnic patterns and early and mid-20th century design.

In addition to being a gifted lampworker, Libby Leuchtman is an amazing teacher. She is the Flameworking Director of Third Degree Glass Factory. Her presentation - on this gorgeous off-mandrel flower - was both informative and inspiring.

Ginny Hampton Schmidt has the best sense of colors! I have always loved her work and her style . . . after spending five days at the conference with her, I am honored to call her a good friend! Her delightful beads and jewelry may be found at her Etsy store, Ginnovations.

Kerri Fuhr was one of the presentors at last year's ISGB Gathering in Oakland demonstrating one of her dragonfly beads, which I won at the live auction and it's one of my most treasured pieces in my collection. With this spectacular raven, I now am the proud owner of two of Kerri's objets d'art! In addition to dragonflies and ravens, Kerri's tapestry, bumble bees, and horses are phenomenal as well. They are available on her Etsy store, KerriBeads.

I have been in awe of Anastasia ever since I started lampworking. She is one of the most talented, creative and innovative beadmakers ever. I had no idea that she was going to join us all the way from Germany. Seeing her work in person and talking to her about her source for inspiration are some of the highlights of my conference experience. Her stunning work can be found on eBay and in her Etsy store, Anastasia Beads.

Rebekah Higgins is a joy to be around. She is witty, funny and talented to boot! Her line of glass cabinet knobs will surely be the next hit in the home decor industry! Her Etsy store, Hob Knob Glass, is full of glorious goodies!

Lenora Gray's perfect pattern of dots is a sight to behold. Her silver capped, silver cored, big-hole beads are simply "wow!" I had the good fortune to share a table at the Gathering Bead Bazaar with Lenora and her beautiful beads and saw her many customers walk away thrilled! Her fully-stocked Etsy store, Lenoras Designs, will have you lingering for a while.

Traci Crabtree offers a different, yet just as beautiful, line of silver capped, silver cored, big-hole beads in her Etsy store, Beads by Traci. They are full of *bling* with sparkling dichroic and silver glass. We also had the opportunity to see some of her fantastic murrinis in person and have been telling her to launch her own line of custom coe 104 millefiori!

Pam Dugger is someone I turn to time and time again - her knowledge of glass and flameworking is simply astounding. Moreover, she is intelligent, talented, humorous, and most of all, generous and supportive. I have coveted her dragons for a long time and finally get to bring one home with me from Miami!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Something New for the ISGB Gathering!

Been busy preparing for the ISGB Gathering Conference and Bead Bazaar which will be in Miami this year.

Here are something new I will be bringing!

I especially love the tactile feel of these crevices between the silver glass stripes and twisties!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Double Helix Ekho – July 23!!!

Double Helix just announced the release official release date of its newest striking AND reducing glass, Ekho!!!! Can't you tell I am excited?!?

Here is the announcement:

"Ekho will be be released on July 23rd, 2009. We will have some at our booth at the ISGB Gathering in Miami, as well as on our website. Here is the official description and stock photo: 'Ekho reduces and strikes. She retains a pearlescent luster under encasement and strikes during the beadmaking process. For best results; work hot, cool, reduce and encase.' We hope you enjoy our new creation!"

Photo shows Ekho paddle that has been reduced and encased.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Ekho to Share!

We can't remember the last time when we were so addicted to a new glass . . . every time we went to the torch, Ekho was calling (lol!) . . . despite concerted effort to diversify, we can't seem to be able to put this new Double Helix striking and reducing silver glass down!!!

Here is one from Helen - you can't believe the range of sparkling colors she got . . . rich magentas, sapphire blues, peacock greens, golds, silvers, purples. This photograph barely shows the range.

More encased sets from me - depending on how you work this glass, you can vary the effects and they are repeatable! I know we sound like a broken record . . . but this is truly the ONLY silver glass that strikes to a rainbow of colors and reduces to an amazing mother-of-pearl iridescence all at the same time!

Waiting impatiently for its release . . . no word yet from Double Helix . . . hopefully soon!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Metal Clay

To say that Helen has been busy is an understatement! Most of use think that she has a rock factory going, lol! Here is the result of her "experiment" using Hadar's Metal Clay in both bronze and copper.

When my friend, Aja of Wandering Spirit Designs, decided to take a one-day workshop with Hadar, she wanted to learn all about hinges. Her first project was a tile bracelet and I decided to make one too. Side by side we started and I finally finished mine:

A few things I learned in this process:
• use an extruder for the tubing
• use a mini mitre jig and jeweler saw to cut the hinges
• use a low-speed bench top drill to assure all the holes are uniform
• use thinner wire for the hinges - 20 ga instead of 18 ga - so it balls up easier
• use sheet metal (I think it's 24 ga) for the clasp

I have learned a LOT but not sure if I will be making another one anytime soon! ;-)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Double Helix Newest Silver Glass - Ekho

It's official! TE-265, the Double Helix test batch we wrote about last month, will be released as its regular production glass under the new name Ekho!

We may sound like a broken record for we wrote these words before . . . There isn't anything in the current market quite like Ekho. It both strikes and reduces - and the result is glorious iridescence in hues of the entire color spectrum! From golden hues, palest pinks and lavenders, rich purples and magentas, to opal-like blues and greens, AND it retains the mother-of-pearl opalescence under encasement. In addition, you can also use it as a purely striking glass OR a purely reducing glass. It's that versatile!

Now all we are waiting for is the official release date!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ginormous Beads for Serving Set

My good friend, Sheryll, got married last week! When I told her that I would make the handles for her cake serving set if she didn't have time, I never thought to ask how large the holes needed to be. Imagine my surprise when the beadable knife and spatula arrives and the steel rod required 3/16" mandrel . . . and the beads almost 4" long!

All my 3/16" mandrels are only 12" long! At 4" long and 5/8" thick, those monsters emit a LOT of heat, and so does the thick mandrel. I made three beads and two of them turned out "good enough" ...especially since cake cutting was done outdoors after dark! ;-)

Here is a quick pix of the set:

Here is one of when they were in use!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gorgeous Patina on Hadar's Clay!

We would love to share with you our latest pieces using Hadar's Metal Clay in bronze (not to be confused with Rio's BronzClay which doesn't have the same wonderful working characteristics)! Hadar's clay is so easy to work with and look at the gorgeous patina we got!!!