Following on from last year's Craft Pimp Forum challenge to make 52 things in 52 weeks, I have challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone, expand my horizons and make 52 different types or styles of bead in 52 weeks. Perhaps not one a week, perhaps not 52 brilliant things, but '52 in 52'. Or more!
So, eyes down, look in, here we go!
I'm starting off with an easy task - I've not been near my torch for weeks and, unlike riding a bicycle, you can get out of the habit of making something that will end up the shape you were originally thinking of. No doubt I will revisit themes as I go through the year, but by week 52, I hope to be able to look back and see some improvement.
#1 - fine silver wire and silver ivory stringer
Silver ivory stringer is dark ivory glass, melted, rolled on fine silver leaf or sheet, burnished on the molten blob of glass so it doesn't burn away too easily in the flame, melted in, then pulled into a very thin rod of glass. The effect, when wrapped on to glass is the dark webbing pattern you see above. It has to be fine silver - which is 99.9% silver - sterling silver just won't work. There is a chemical reaction between the chemicals in the ivory glass and the fine silver. I think it works with other glass but have until now not bothered to find out - perhaps I will in 2014?
The I have combined the silvered ivory stringer (often referred to as SIS) with fine silver wire, which will melt in the flame to give silver dots and a tracery design. I also rather like it left as wraps of silver, but melted sufficiently that they won't fall off the beads!
The ivory beads above have been etched to give a sand-washed appearance. There is one bead, bottom centre, that has a less dark SIS appearance - that's because I grabbed the wrong stringer from the pot, that one is Palladium ivory stringer - I acquired a book of Palladium leaf at some stage and it wasn't labelled - I use it far more sparingly now, it's 5 times the price of silver!
The gorgeous blue beads above, must get more of that glass, have a little silver ivory stringer but the effect is far less dramatic. There are also 2 reactive frit decorated beads - a day without frit is like a day without sunshine, I've fond of both.
The third set below, another pretty colour, also have some silver ivory stringer and again fine silver wire decoration. And 2 beads wrapped with fine silver leaf - I had hoped for a better effect, but suspect it is the colour of the glass making the silver coming through. I might revisit this idea. But then bright silver in glass reminds me of cheap Indian beads, so I might not.
Set #2 - Faux boro effect - below
Having never worked with borosilicate glass I've no idea why or how. Perhaps that's something else for 2014.
For these I used iris gold reactive frit, with straw yellow glass, wrapped on various colours of glass bases then encased in crystal clear glass. I've made these before and they came out very blue, this time they are quite green, except for one (not shown here) that came out very pink, on amber coloured base.
I'm told it is all down to the batch of straw yellow glass, the brand, the mix, the day of the week iris glass so will also try this again with another brand of iris gold glass and see what effect I get then. But I quite like them.
All these will shortly be available to buy through either Ebay or Etsy
2 down, 50 or more to go!