Monday, December 1, 2014

Birds - more birds - really having too much fun here

I have been experimenting with the birdies.
I thought well, what if I try to make a fancy Ottoman bead and turn it into a birdie.
I tried and this is the result.
Ottoman Style Birdie

and here she is from above
You can see the patterning better from above.  She is a cute birdie, but it took forever to make the layered and raked portion for the plumage.  Then I lose and/or distort most of it leaving only a small portion showing.  In the end I really think this little gal may really truly be one of a kind, as I think I am unlikely to try this again.

I have also been thinking about different patterning for the plumage.  This time I made really plain plumage and decorated it with a layered flower.  I like how this little gal turned out.

I am certainly still having fun with the birdies, but I am missing my beads too.  Planning to work out getting two torches available in the studio - the big debate it a Y connection or quick connects.  I am sure either will suffice in the end.  Then I can have my Minor back and still use the Bobcat to make birdies.       

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Birdie Saga Continues

So it seems I am still addicted to making birdies.
I have been tossing around some other ideas, but mostly I am making birdies.
Truthfully, life has been pretty busy and there has not been  much time for my torch lately.

There members of the flock were created in the last few weeks.
I am really enjoying the evolution of my birdies.  There have gotten so much better and now I am able to play with some embellishments.

First up are the blue birds of happiness.

Blue Birds of Happiness - October 2014
After these were created I had a small epiphany - what if I could separate the wings?  Flying birdies.

The results are not the prettiest of my birdies - but there are certainly possibilities if the wings can be separated from the body.

The Flyers - October 2014

And the last bunch - Birdies with hats.  I think they turned out pretty cute.  The long necked one is not quite as steady on her feet as I would wish her to be - she will have a wee leg adjustment next time I am on the torch - that should fix her up.
Birdies with hats - October 2014

Earlier this week I made a wee birdie with a flower on her back - she needs legs and annealing before getting her picture taken.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stevi Belle and her wonderful lady beads

When I first started making beads there were many beadmakers out there whose work I thought was "all that".   Stevi Belle's work was top of my list.  She hails from the western part of the USA - not someplace I was going to very often almost 15 years ago.  I have always drooled over her beads and recently began a quest for one.  Recently my quest has paid off.

Stevi has not made beads in many years.  She moved onto other creative pursuits.  But I think that this lady bead has really stood the test of time. 

Stevi Belle Beads
 I did not realize until recently that she created her beads on a copper core that became part of the bead.  This allowed the glass to be quite thin. 
Top view of the Stevi Belle lady bead
I am fascinated by this process as I am by the lady beads.

In fact I found another one online - a beautiful red lady called Isadora who is on her way to me now.

How can a girl resist. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Catching my Breath

Life has been a whirlwind lately.

I taught two back to back classes in Calgary, at Tiffany House

Wow!  I cannot say enough nice things about Irina Laird, Tiffany House, her family, the hospitality and all my students.  Well, I could complain about the weather.  It was September 10th - really too early for snow don't you think?  Well, it had been snowing for about three days at that point, the poor trees still had all their leaves.  The snow had frozen and then more snow arrived.  There were leaves and branches all over the place.  I don't seem to have any pictures of the snow or damage but this is my friend Angie's back yard the morning I arrived. 

Angie and Irina managed to make it to the airport to pick me up.  The snow ended as I arrived that afternoon.

All of my students were amazing.  I had a great time teaching. 

I arrived home and began getting ready for my next adventure - this time Glass Stock East.

Now Glass Stock is unlike anything I have ever participated in, except maybe summer camp.  It really felt like a really short, grown up sort of summer camp.

We had a hat contest.
We had a pajama contest.
These home made Canadian jammies won me a first prize!  Whoo Hoo for me - I received a Flow magazine and about half a pound of silver glass (Tag and Double Helix).  I think I was pretty brave to put these on, then torch in them and  now to share this picture with the world! 

I loved Glass Stock - I taught three classes.  I took three classes.  I played all the games and even snuck off to the ocean!  The ocean! 
Jodie McDougall teaching at Glass Stock.

Horse with No Name came to Glass Stock East
Horseshoe crab on the beach

Deb Crowley making the most amazing dichro fishie!
 Glass Stock was a total blast.  I am already planning on attending next year.  I so enjoyed meeting all the folks at Carlisle Glass and all the attendees. 

I am home for just a couple of weeks then heading off to Ottawa for their annual glass bead show.  The adventures continue.

I have been so busy that there was not official September photo - perhaps this week I can get one taken of some of the month's birdies.  Not too many beads were created in September.  Birds - oh so many birds.  I am still rather obsessed but having fun with them. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Official August Photo

August has mostly been about birds.  But at the start of the month, I was plodding along mostly as I had done before.

I found this cool site Design Seeds

I printed out the image and chose glass colours that went with it.

I made a few beads. 
But there seems to have been a turning point this month.
I began to make birds.
At first I thought I would go back to my August colours, but then one day I grabbed them and made a bird.  This is one of those Uglies - she is really not so pretty.  But here she is posing with the rest of her family. 

I am heading to Calgary next week to teach at Tiffany House.  Really excited!  Two 2-day classes.  We will have tons of fun. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Late August 2014 - Still working on Birdies

Well, I made a commitment to myself to really try and get these someplace.  At this point I am not sure where this is even going.  Feeling frustrated.  A nasty ear infection (swimmer's ear or an infection of the canal) has got me down and in pain with little concentration.  But enough of my complaining.  I am going to share this bunch of ugly birdies.  Most of them qualify as ugly.  One is so bad I did not even take the poor things picture.  Not all of them even make it to becoming an entire bird.  I have a wee dish or birdie bits.  Not sure what will become of them, but at least they are annealled.

Here are some pictures of the latest bunch.

Here are a couple more pictures.  The little questioning birdie lost a toe, but I am going to give the poor fella new feet.  He really does look rather cute.  And the pair are some of the better looking of the bunch.  I am still committed to this project. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

More August Birdies

Could they wear shoes?
Sounded simple - not so simple.
I worked on shoes alone.  Tricky, but I was fairly pleased with the results.  But the effort and skill level needed to create a shoe is one thing - the idea of trying to do that one the end of a leg with a bird attached was something else.

Here are the shoes I made.

I did try one little bird with shoes.  They are more like slippers.  I am not so pleased with either of these dudes.  I think I can do better.  I am thinking that I could make shoes on legs and then attach finished shoes to bird leg.  We shall see - no promises as to when that may happen though. 

I worked on feet and think I have come up with a design that I like how they look and how they function.  Nail polish on toes is really cute and I can't resist.

I am getting better at making the birds.  They have grown since the first batch - this group is much taller than the earlier birds.

I am enjoying this creative process so much.  Feeling a bit birdie addicted, but it is not affecting the rest of my life just yet, so I am not signing up for a twelve-step program right now.  Perhaps in the future I may need some help ;)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Birdies of Early August 2014

Birdies - today I had an epiphany - could they wear shoes?  Why not?
That will be in the next batch.

So, how it is working is that I am getting the hang of it and being able to keep the little guy warm and then when he is mostly done (save for the bottoms of legs and feet) he can go into the kiln.  This way there are birds in different stages of completeness in my studio - not sure if that is good or bad.  Once they get their feet then they must be re-annealled slowly!

This is the latest batch that I took out of the kiln today

I am still seeing lots of  room for improvement, but it is also fun to watch the progression.
The next batch are still feetless, but they will have to wait until tomorrow night or perhaps Wednesday to have feet created.

Here are a few closeups:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Handles on Beads

Well now, that is an idea - put the handles on an actual bead.

Scary it is.  You spend all that time on a bead and then run the risk of messing it all up.

So, these two beads have handles created in different fashions.

This first green bead had two dots placed for the top and bottom of the handles.  Then a series of dots were added, slowly building a bridge.  Once the bridge was formed I used tweezers to squish and adjust my handles.  A fussy, time consuming method that seems less risky.

This August bead was done differently.
I made one dot which marked the top of the handle.  Then I got a large gather of glass good and hot and added to my now glowing hot dot (the handle needs a really good connection or the glass won't be strong).  I admit I tore off my first attempt.  But I still need some practice on just how hot and when to pull etc etc.  So many variables and so little time!

My next challenge is feet - and the rest of the bird too.
I am having fun with the birdies, but I see much - MUCH - room for improvement.
Here is a selection of the recent additions to my flock. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Official July Group Photo

Sometimes I consciously choose colours for a month.
Other times it just worked out that way.
At the Bead and Button show this year I traded with a beadmaking friend.  I received the most beautiful owl bead and she requested a green Bakbuk bead in exchange.  I did not have any with me, so greens it was for July.

Greens can be tricky.  Not all of them really want to stand up to the heat and manipulation I put the glass through while maintaining nice clean lines.  It is all about those clean lines for me.

Here is the official photo of my Green Month of July, 2014.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Already August!

Just where does the time go?
July flew by.  I celebrated my 50th birthday by teaching at Corning!  I got cake twice!  As always, I had the most amazing time at Corning.  It is a magical place. 

There are some things that you must fight to achieve in taming this glass.  Some things just do not come easy.  Currently, I am part way through conquering the following:
Feet - as in birdie feet
Triangle beads - just when you think the next one will go as easy as the last one - think again!  That is one elusive bead.
Handles - as in handles for vessels - having the guts to actually try to stretch out a handle in one fell swoop after spending how long making that bead?  I must be crazy.

Some of these are plain old lousy!  If I do say so myself.  I made a couple of tester beads in this new glass I got - 263 Mou - can't say I am enamored with this colour.  It reacts with ivory, but really strongly so it won't work on fancy beads, but it was great to practice with.  I am a big fan of the practice bead.  Try it.  Do it again.  Tweek it.  I will overcome - like the little engine that could! 

I am determined.  Determined to have the guts to throw that large gather on the rim of my glass and gently stretch it out into a beautiful handle! 

I did make a bead today - a fancy one - and did just that. 
I am looking forward to looking in the kiln - it will be ready in just a few hours!

Birds - I am somewhat obsessed with birds.  Lots of styles to try.  Feet may be the death of me.  But, that determination again.  I recently purchased a GTT Bobcat - Bob and I are going to conquer feet together.  Wish us luck. 

In the background you can see one of the pieces Christa Westbrook and I made recently at Corning.  It is not fully functional, as it jumped off it's punty and got tossed in a kiln.  We learned so much though.  I am hoping to get back there soon to play again. 

My third challenge is triangle beads.  This is one the beads in Corina's book.  It is an old style of bead that can be so amazing.  But it is an elusive little so and so.  I keep thinking, oh I have you and then nope!  There are a bunch of nopes in this bunch.

Lots of challenges and lots of fun.

Took some photos of the July beads - Green this month.  I will share them real soon. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

May and June 2014

I am not a really good blogger.  I have been busy making beads and teaching.
This has been a wonderful year.

June was Bead and Button - I love that show.  This year I was honoured to be their Commemorative Artist.  In the end, I made 265 commemorative beads.

Loved seeing the show catalogue! 

The pin this year totally reflected the bead pattern.  You would not believe the number of people who mentioned that they never realized that the pin reflected the bead. 

Bead and Button has also created a really cool photo backdrop that is the pin, which is the bead.
I made lots of beads in May - a very productive month.
June got busy.  Bead and Button ordered more beads so that kept me busy and I spent a lot of time prepping for a six day class at Corning.  This is the official June picture, a motley crew.