Friday, March 4, 2011

The Making of an Irish Pug

There are days when I'm at my torch making beads, and I'm on fire. Not literally, of course. But every little critter bead I make turns out how I want - the expression, the shape, the size, the personality - it all goes so smoothly. This isn't every day. Most days I come up with a few keepers and a few practice beads or wonky beads. And some days I shouldn't even light my torch at all. The day I made the little Irish Pug was probably one of those days. But I pushed on, and on, and on. Normally a pug, or even a pug in a shirt, would be an easier bead for me to make. I make pugs all the time and I get a kick out of dressing them up. I'd had this idea for an Irish Pug, featuring a wonderful little clover murrini from Lori and Kim, for a long time. I liked the play on words with Irish Pug and Irish Pub. Plus, pugs look good in green. So, without another thought, I lit my torch and started to make the bead.

I wound the green glass around the mandrel. Then I added ivory. I made the head and added the eyes and mouth. Then I realized I should have added the murrini to the green shirt before I put the head on. No worries, I thought confidently. I can still add it now. I flashed the murrini in the flame to warm it up, then heated the spot on the shirt where it would go. I placed the murrini in the hot spot on my bead and gave it a little push to make it stick. Only it didn't stick. It popped right off and dove into my messy glass piles on my table. Normally I'd have a back-up murrini at the ready, but this was my very last clover murrini. So I started moving around the rods of glass on my table, all the while trying to keep the bead in the flame so it wouldn't cool and crack. With my left hand I twirled the bead, and with my right hand I searched for that tiny piece of murrini. And then I found it. Oh happy day! The future of this bead was looking good again. I put the murrini off to the side and put my attention back on the bead. I had to reheat the pug's shirt in the spot where the murrini would go, so I turned the bead over in the flame and - pop! Half of it cracked right off. Apparently I hadn't kept the bead as warm as I'd thought. Into the water bowl it went.

RIP, Little Pug

But I was determined to make this bead at this torch session, so I grabbed another mandrel and started again. I put on the green, then the ivory. I even got the murrini centered nicely on the pug's shirt, so I was feeling good. Now on to the face. I grabbed a rod of black glass for the eyes and put down two big dots. Funny, it didn't look black on the bead. That's because it was dark transparent purple. In my frenzy to find the murrini, I'd moved all my glass around and mistook a rod of dark transparent purple for black. The murrini was already on the bead and it was my last clover, so I had to make the most of it. I heated up the face and pulled it off (don't worry, this is not painful to the pug). I re-did the head with more ivory, found my black glass and started adding the facial features once again. I did the eyes - black, then white, then dark topaz. When I was ready to put the eyeballs on, I picked up my black glass and heated it up. Just as my hand was moving the hot black glass to the tiny surface of the eye, my dog comes up behind me and makes this gross hacking sound, scaring the you-know-what out me. I made the eyeball . . . and then some. Ahhhhh! Pulling off one eye is nearly impossible to do without affecting the rest of the face. Somehow I pulled the extra black glass off (you can still see a tiny bit above the pug's right eye) and re-did the eye. I can't even remember how - I must have blocked it out. I added the the legs and tail and added ears and voila! An Irish Pug was born. Easy as pie.

1 comment:

  1. this is so cute! and i love that you've shown how you made it!