Thursday, July 2, 2009

Please, Be Kind to the Glass Virgin...Well, "Almost" Virgin

^^^ Big hole bead with layer of Chalcedony and swipe or two of clear Gaffer on top
Please, be kind to the virgin :) You will see bubbles. You will see murky colors. You will see whopsided big hole bead. Be kind. I'm almost a virgin at encasing, using reactive glass, and making big hole beads.
Heehee, I said "almost a virgin." Kind of sounds like something a crooked politician might say, doesn't it?
Ahem. Back to the glass. I do believe the lampworkers can be divided into two camps-- those who encase, and those who don't encase. In my case, I don't encase because I don't have patience. Zip. Nada. None. Encasing requires practice, practice, practice. It requires being patient enough to let the layer of glass you are encasing cool off just enough so that the molten clear glass you are spreading across it doesn't muck it up. Encasing is not for the faint of heart, I made very minimal attempts as a beginner, and I now avoid it like the plague. Fairly early in my lampworking obsession/compulsion, I discovered that I like to sculpt and that I like to write with stringer. Pshaw, who needs to work on encasing when you've got sculpting and stringer work to keep you happily occupied? Hence my description of myself as an encasing virgin, LOL.
Reactive glass is another part of lampworking that I have avoided to a large extent. Again, the excuse is my favored sculpting obsession. I like to work BIG, and it seems a waste to use up lots of reactive glass on a sculpture when dark ivory does the trick so well and in such a classical-looking manner. I know from experience that building up a base of plain (ie relatively inexpensive) color glass and then coating it with the more expensive color does not work well for me. It tends to dampen the gracefulness of my sculptures, almost as if the second layer of glass is smothering the figure trying to come out of the ivory underneath it. Oh, thanks to the generosity of glass peeps, I have tried a bit of raku (before I sucked it up with the shop vac) and little pieces of other pretty-pretty glass. . .see? "Almost virgin."
Big hole beads are another one of those really cool trends that had escaped my notice until Nancy Larkin sent me a beautiful handful of big hole beads. Oooooooh, now that is some pretty! I went to the hardware, bought some 5/8" steel rod, came home, and made myself some big mandrels. . . and actually made three or four extremely crooked big hole beads. That was a few months ago, right before I packed away the torch. "Almost" virgin strikes again :)
So, toodles for now. The "almost" glass virgin has things to do. Wish the to-do list included torch time today!


Ellen said...

Ang - congrats on the big holed bead. I started making them (to fit Pandora; can't remember the size) and it was harder than I thought but I'm having fun.
Encasing? I suck at it and always have. Haven't gotten much better over the past 11 years so I don't even try anymore.

BEADNIK (petra.janssen) said...

Congrats --- on your defloration ... :)

I'm glad you didn't become a nun and truly hope you go ahead with encasing. The color of your big holed bead is beautiful ... wonderful purple hues.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

OH WOW ANg... virgin or not this CHERRY is STUNNINGLY beautiful... I LOVE the colors. Well done my friend, very well done.

rosebud101 said...

Ang, I love that bhb! I think you did a great job! Keep up the great work, and I am soooooooo glad you are back at the torch.

Deb said...

Wohooo - now you are rocking that Chalcedony! That is prettiful!

I kind of like the pinks & purples that you get when it is encased - but I suck BIG TIME at encasing, & to be quite honest like you it is something I have never felt the desire to learn.

Of course the stash I have of gaffer clear has kind of put the pressure on in that I now have no excuse. Bugger!

All my BHB's are wonky excuse is that I run out of thumb to roll those big ass mandrels along ;o)

Sharon Driscoll said...

Hey There Girlfriend! So glad you are torching again - but I get it too. Once in a while I walk away...the piles disapate and I think maybe I should just be "normal". Then I get pissed off in a couple of days and wonder who gets to determine what's normal. Your BHB is great...keep going. Chalcedony is the bomb and so are you, and those Gaffer girls : - ).

Nancy said...

Angelina, I was trying out a new search engine and wanted to see if I came up and I found my name here!!:) Thanks for making my day:) I'm glad you like the beads!


angelinabeadalina said...

:) :) :) Big smiles on my face every time I read a comment! It's fun!

Ellen, I agree, the BHB's are harder to do than I imagined they would be! You're right about them being fun, though!

LOL, PEtra, guess I won't be able to completely give myself to the Order of Non-Encasing. I look at your beads and am in awe! Envious, too, so I guess I might have to do a little more practice, practice, practice with the clear stuff :)

Hey, Elaine, THANK YOU :)
You, too, Mallory :)

Ya gotta try that clear some, Deb! Especially with all the colors you've gotten out of the Chalcedony...I can picture the Firebird beads right now! I watched my cousin Tasha play with some Chalcedony frit and do some encasing yesterday. I do hope she brought the beadies to work with her today so I can catch her on her lunch hour and have a peek! The encasing was a spectacular magnifier of all those colors.

LOL, Sharon! Normal is just gonna have to be what we want it to be! You're right. It's nice for a day or two, but after that everything feels a little off kilter.

Nancy, those beads are incredible! Not to mention my very own personalized bead cap! You certainly made my day, so turnabout is good :)

Deb said...

ROFL Ang I have tried the clear.
Worse still I have tried it on the chalcedony.

I'm getting to be quite good at encasing - who'd have thunk it would be easier to learn with 96coe than 104?
I just cant encase the Chalcedony. I manage to make it look like crap.
I do have one teeny tiny bead that looks ok though....maybe I will show it day ;o)

Laurie Whitney - Mermaid Glass said...

So pretty! I love the softness of the colors.
I encase all the time and on organic-style beads I don't mind the bubbles at all. I think sometimes it adds a little something to the design.
Anyway, so glad you've had a chance to step back up to the torch. Have fun!