Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Koala Conundrum

My daughter loves koala bears. Can you blame her? They're so cute and cuddly-looking. So, having a mom that's a lampwork critter bead artist, she naturally has asked me to make her a koala bead. But after looking up images of these bears online, I just couldn't figure out how to make their tiny arms and feet. Plus, I wasn't much good at making regular bear beads, so the exotic koala seemed much trickier. I was defeated before I even tried. Great attitude, I know.

Some time went by, and I'm browsing through Etsy and I come upon this Plumpie Koala:

Is that not the cutest koala bear you've ever seen? It's from BirdonWireStudio on Etsy, where there are lots more adorable little needle-felted friends to keep him company. I kept going back to look at the koala, and soon I realized that I was making the koala bead too difficult. It didn't need arms and legs. It could just be the koala head and belly, just like Plumpie.

So here is what I came up with:

And then I couldn't take it anymore, and I purchased a mini needle-felted koala and a panda bear to keep it company. Right now they're hanging out on my computer, but I do plan on giving the koala to one daughter and the panda to the other - just waiting for the right moment.

Aren't they sweet? I love being inspired by other artists in different mediums. Needle-felting is something I had not heard of before Etsy. But Abigail, the artist who made these little darlings, explains the process so well in her Etsy profile.

For more of Abigail's needle-felted creations, head on over to BirdonWireStudio ~ you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Glass Realization

When I'm interviewed for blog features, there is usually a question about my art background. Up until I started lampworking, I didn't have a background in art, so that is basically how I answer. But I recently realized that I do have a background in glass. It's a bit of a stretch, but it's there.

This blue neon cat was a gift from my dad to my mom. We're obviously a cat family. But my dad has always had a thing for neon lights. He has quite a collection. When a local business would close up shop, he'd often ask to buy their sign. Once as kids, I remember hiding from my sister under a bed and I heard a crack. Turns out there was a neon sign under the bed and I'd just snapped part of it off. We grew up around neon. So back when I was in junior high and a friend and I decided to enter our school's science fair, we naturally chose neon as our topic. It wound up being more of a science display rather than an experiment, but it sure drew attention. We called our project: Neon. It's a Gas! I think that was my dad's idea. For research, my dad took me and my friend to a glass shop, where we got to watch the process of neon-sign making. From the bending of the glass to the installation of the gas, we saw it all. Then, and this is the important part, we were allowed to bend some of the glass tubes in the torch. I really had forgotten about this until recently. That would be my first experience with a torch and glass. I think I've suppressed it until now, maybe because I did something somewhat unthinkable (more like stupid) that day. I remember being cold in the neon sign warehouse. So at one point I held the hot tube of glass up near my nose to warm it. Whoops. I accidentally touched it to my nose. The blister and scab that formed were there for a good week to remind me of my dumb move. On the bright side, I've never held a hot bead that close to my face, so I guess I've matured.

So there you have it. I've dug deep into my past (without the help of a therapist) and realized that my love of glass has always been there.

This blue kitty bead, that my husband bought for me from Dorset Hill Beads and that I adore, reminds me of the blue kitty neon sign. So now I've come full circle.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Murrini Monday - Looky What I won!

It's been a whole year since Lori and Kim started making and selling their wonderful murrini together, and they're celebrating by having a huge giveaway! Each day they draw a name from all of their customers, and that lucky winner gets to pick out a blend of murrini. Last week they picked my name, and this is what I chose:

It's a great blend of blue and green murrini, and it features little blue fishies and orange starfish. But then I saw that Lori and Kim put some new blends up on their site, and one had little orange fishies in it. So you know what I did . . .

I snapped up Koi Pond murrini, too! Now I have to figure out what to put those little fishies on - turtle shells? Cat bellies? I can't wait to see them in person!

Check out Lori and Kim for their other new blends and their grab bag sale! Buy three blends and get a grab bag of their murrini for free! Happy Anniversary, Lori and Kim!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fields of Flowers

Flowers from the Fire Divas!
They start as Sprouts, pushing up through the soil, like this organic bead by Janel of JanelDudleyBeads.

The next thing you know, they're blooming all over the place!

Grape Vine can be found in Lea's shop, LAJewelryDesigns ~ wouldn't it look sweet winding its way around your wrist?

Everything's coming up roses over at Lutrick, and this Rose Hollow bead by Lara is proof.

What a summery statement this ring makes! This Popping Daisy Ring by Eileen is blooming only at DorsetHillBeads.

The perfect floral accessory, this sweet Audrey Lampwork Button by Holly at HollysFollyGlass will make your knit items stand out.

Look what's blooming over at glassbead! Blue Flowers on Green would sure look sweet in your next jewelry design.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Murrini Monday

I am so in love with murrini, it's becoming ridiculous. Sometimes I just take it out and admire it. I marvel at how very small and detailed it can be. And I make plans for each and every piece I own. Sometimes I carry out those plans, and other times I file them away for later.

I recently received some murrini from Mallory at rosebud101. One of the bags contained "reactive" glass murrini. I wasn't sure what that was and I told Mallory I would do some research. She urged me not to do research, and to just play with it and see what happens. So what did I do? I waited. I thought this reactive glass would require a big plan, and I didn't want to mess it up. The murrini was white and what looked like gray on the outside. I couldn't figure it out.

I finally took a chance and made a black pup. Then I added some of that reactive murrini and voila! The part I thought was gray was silvered ivory! Little bits of silver shone on the bead and the silvered ivory crackled on the doggie's coat. I loved it!

Black dog with reactive murrini.

Then I had to try it again. This time I made a kitty cat with an ivory base:

More crackling on the bead. Judging by the kitty's reaction, this murrini is a hit. The murrini I used for this bead is on the left.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bead Experiments

I've been experimenting with my beads lately. Much to their chagrin, I've been moving their bead holes around and changing their shapes. The turtles are rolling their eyes at me, because I've been concentrating on them lately.

This is Rawlins, my first reversible turtle. This side shows his raised heart murrini.

I made him a little flatter than my usual round-shelled turtles, so he would lie flat if he was hanging from a chain.

And here is Rawlins' other side, melted in murrini.

Melvin the murrini-topped turtle seems to be rolling his eyes at me. But if he could see how fabulous the murrini on top of his shell looks, he'd thank me.

I've made a few turtles like this before, with the bead hole running sideways through the shell. That way I could better feature a slice of loriandkim murrini on top. This bead and the next are bigger than the ones I've done in the past, so I can fit larger murrini slices on top.

Boone the blue turtle is showing off a really detailed murrini slice. His shell also has raku frit melted in.

Boone looks as if he's a little uncomfortable with all the shell decor. But he'll get used to it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fire Divas are Hot!

As you may know already, I'm part of a wonderful group of lampworkers called the Fire Divas.We all sell our handmade lampwork beads on Etsy, ArtFire or ebay, or a combination of all three. This group is always evolving and changing, and we've added some wonderful new members recently. For a complete list of our members, head on over to the Fire Divas Blog, where you'll find all sorts of good glassy stuff - from the bead of the day (always on special!), to the weekly gossip and our Diva of the Month. There's always glass eye candy to check out - through our personal blogs and our flickr pages as well.

So if you want to see more of this:

Head on over to our blog, or search Fire Divas Team on Etsy or ArtFire for more gorgeous glass.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Play on Words Lampwork Challenge

I was "chatting" with some of my lampwork friends a few weeks ago on Facebook. We were talking about names we give beads. So one of my friends thought it would be fun to give everyone the same name or title for a bead, and then we'd all make the bead how we interpret the word. We started a group on Facebook called Play on Words Lampwork Challenge, and we already have over 100 members! You don't have to be a lampworker to join, so some members are our customers/lampwork enthusiasts. We randomly choose a different word each week for our challenge and we have a thread in our discussions about new ideas for words.

Now I'll get you up to date on what we've been doing. The first word, chosen by Alison of glassali on Etsy, was WHOOSH. By the way, the whole thing was Alison's idea. :)

Whoosh! Was that Super Turtle whizzing by?

The next word was SINISTER (chosen by Katy from Canada). Who is more sinister than Simon Bar Sinister?

Next was TUTTI-FRUTTI (my idea). So I went right to the source of tutti-frutti ice cream - the tutti-frutti cow.

And our most recent word was BREAKFAST. Now here's a well-rounded meal of coffee and a donut.

Our next word is AMUSING, and we're hoping the participants send their amusing beads to Beads of Courage. Wouldn't that be sweet? If you'd like to join the group on Facebook, head over HERE. We'd love to have you! Plus, you can then look at all the wonderful creations the other participants have posted. What I love about this is it's getting us all to stretch our creativity in different directions. I'm having a lot of fun creating, as well as checking out what everyone else comes up with. Join us!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010