The first critter bead I made was a penguin. I had happened upon the Bead Envy website by Emma Green, and lo and behold - there was a lampwork penguin tutorial. I had not planned on making critter beads. My grand plan was to create beautiful, sophisticated beads for jewelry. But when I saw this tutorial for Plop the Penguin I knew I had to give it a try. Emma's tutorial is wonderful - it explains in full detail what to do and in what order - which is very important with sculptural beads. A penguin bead was bigger than anything I had made up until then, and at first I had some trouble keeping the entire bead hot. Sadly, some of my penguins lost a wing or two. But that first penguin I made, which resembled a penguin enough for my kids to recognize it, was all it took. I was hooked. I made penguin after penguin, with distorted heads and broken wings and eyeballs that melted together. But I didn't care - to me, they were the most fun I'd had at the torch yet. So I moved on to Emma's Cow Head Tutorial. The cow head was much trickier for me, but I kept at it. I was so grateful to have these steps outlined so beautifully and easily for me. My penguin and cow beads don't look like they used to, but they also don't look like Emma's. I took her instruction, and as they say on American Idol, "made it my own" - which is how it should be.
If you are a lampworker who would like to give critter beads a try, I highly recommend the tutorials on Bead Envy. If you are a collector of critter beads, I urge you to check out Emma's creations ~ they're just wonderful!
I would love to write a bead tutorial. I'm thinking about doing one for turtles, because I think those would be a good place to start for the aspiring critter bead artists (I know you're out there!). My turtle beads are basic, round beads with layered spots - just add the face, feet, toes and tail and voila! It's a turtle.
Penguin in a Pom Pom Hat - see how they've evolved? They even wear hats now!
I'd love to hear from lampworkers - do you use tutorials? Have you tried a critter bead tutorial? Would a turtle tutorial (a turtle toot) be something you'd be interested in?