Monday, September 13, 2010

New Beads

I think the thing that I like best about lampworking is that it is a never ending journey.  I am continually evolving and changing and my work reflects that.  The skill level required to make really outstanding beads is so very high that there will always be things that I am just absolutely incapable of doing, but that I can always strive towards.

Lately I have been thinking about stringer work.  Once upon a time, I would have told you that there was absolutley no need for those teeny tiny stringers - fat was the way to go.  I learned how to pull nice, thick, even stringers.  But time passes and we change - with these new beads I am pulling these little flimsy stringers that require a whole new set of skills to use.

Recently I purchased a tutorial on stringers from JC Herrell (  It has some wonderful tips and was by donation.  I sent a little something and she was kind enough to mail me a thank you note - now that is class!  Her tips helped to reaffirm a few things, give me some new ideas, but more importantly just the courage to go ahead and try some stuff.

Some of my new Ottoman beads with large holes have been made using some of her tips.  I do have to say that after a time of working on a new style of bead I feel as if I begin to repeat myself.  I love to play "what if", what if I change the base colour to x?  What if I add an extra series of dots here or there.  But after about 50 or so beads in a given style, I guess I just get a little bored and I begin to get ready for a change.

I started to play with putting very thin stringers horizontally down long beads and using minimal decoration in an art deco/roaring twenties sort of feel.
I am not thrilled with this bead - you can hardly see that inside those black dots are red dots - in real life it is not much better than the photo.

My second attempt took into consideration that perhaps one would want to wear the bead horizontally.
I am starting to like them now.  That was the end of day one with my art deco beads.  I had a chance to see them the next day and was able to find quite a few hours for my torch yesterday.

This is the result:

My day began with the pink one and stretching out the dots - you all know I love to do a little raking!  Then I think I made the ivory one with the red and white dots.  Next came another ivory one, again that has just got to be my favourite colour and I am not sure I will ever get enough of it.  Then came the grey one - just how many dots can I get onto one bead and then lastly was the green one.

I am enjoying this new direction and my stringer work will only get better as time goes on.  I also made one with a very large hole in grey as well - it turned out fairly nice.

So, where did the idea actually come from  . . .  I ponder such things.  I am a big fan of Andrea Graham's felt work - she makes some amazing pods out of felt and I can sort of feel those in here.  I also am reminded of the Roaring Twenties, but I cannot really tell you why.  Perhaps it is  best to leave the feeling up to you - you can feel whatever you like and share it with me.  I love to hear what people say about the Ottoman beads - everyone has something just a little different that they remind them of.

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