Friday, April 28, 2006

Time to start outlining

The main canvas is now done ~





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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dichroic seed beads


Giverny

The dichroic seed beads that I ordered came yesterday. I've begun to sprinkle them sparingly throughout the neckpiece. A photo like this can't really capture their fire ~ they shift colors as the piece moves. All you can really see here are white dots...believe me, they are much more beautiful in person.

But man! are they ever pricey :-)



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Progress on "Giverny"


Giverny

Giverny is beginning to look like an impressionistic painting, although it's hard to tell from a close-up shot like this.



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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tammy has a new book out!



My friend Tammy Powley has a new book out, available at
Amazon.com. It's the third in a series that she's been working on for Quarry Books. The first two books are beautiful, so I'm betting this one will be too!



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Monday, April 24, 2006

"Remembrance" necklace for retirement


Remembrance necklaces

This was commissioned for a retiring art teacher who's leaving for Florida. Can you guess what her favorite hobby is? :-)



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Thursday, April 20, 2006

New neckpiece in progress

My newest bead-embroidered neckpiece is using one of Monet's paintings of his garden at Giverny as the background:





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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Call for entries...

Time is almost (but not quite!) up for submitting mixed media jewelry entries for Tammy Powley's newest book, appropriately titled Making Mixed Media Jewelry.

Come on everyone! Lots of you out there make wonderful stuff. Give it a try!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Monet's Garden



Monet's Garden

I saw a bracelet recently that used a link style very similar to this. It struck me that it would make a really nice necklace with the delicate colors and the movement of the peridot dangles.



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Friday, April 14, 2006

Les Chats



Les Chats

I love Steinlen's cat posters!



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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another piece will be home soon



Another how-to article that I wrote for Jewelry Crafts is now being scheduled, and the piece should be coming home soon! This is a crocheted necklace, with pearls, seed beads, and other rosy-pink beads. As soon as it arrives, I'll place it on my website.

It's funny ~ I've been very productive the last few months, but you almost wouldn't know it, because so many of the pieces have been going out for articles. There's such a lag-time with publishing, so that during these months, I haven't had any large pieces to add to the site :-)



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Monday, April 10, 2006

All new lampworked glass pendants



Bead Gallery

In my continuing effort to spring clean all the major sections of my website, I've added all new pendants made from my lampworked glass beads. I don't usually set out specifically to make a pendant. I just end up with beads that cry out for it!



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Friday, April 07, 2006

Lampworking FAQ's


Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is "lampworking"?
Glass beads are often formed by a process known as lampworking, or flameworking. Rods of colored glass are heated in the flame of a torch and are wrapped around a metal mandrel. Multiple colors may be added to achieve different visual effects, and the molten glass may also be manipulated by the artist with graphite and tungsten tools. After the artist is satisfied with the bead's final form, it is annealed in a kiln to prevent shattering. Additional kiln firings may be needed in order to fuse additional elements or paints, or the glass may be chemically treated in other ways.

2. What's the best way to learn lampworking?
It's probably best to take an introductory class or learn from a practicing friend~~there are a lot of mistakes that you can avoid by having a qualified teacher walk you through the steps the first few times. But it's not always possible to find a local class, although they are certainly becoming more widely available. It is possible to teach yourself through reading some of the sources listed below (#3), and through trial and error.

3. What should I read?
Start with Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins. Despite a few technical inaccuracies (discussed below under #5, annealing), this is one of the best how to books, and certainly one of the most inspirational. Yes!! You can do it!

Also take a look at Brian Kerkvliet's fine articles that he generously reprints on his website. Gossamer Glass.

You should also take a look at the About.Com family of websites. The Jewelry Making site has articles and discussions pertaining to lampworking.

4. What do I need to get started?
My choice is to buy Moretti or Effetre glass rods, because they have a relatively low melt point and a wide color pallette, but this is just personal. You need a torch that will fit either a propylene gas container, or a propane/oxygen system. Propylene is cheaper, but eventually most (not all) glass artists move on to propane/oxygen since it burns hotter. You will definitely need a propane/oxygen system if you want to work with borosilicate (pyrex) glass instead of Moretti.

As soon as you decide that it's not a passing fancy, buy a ton of glass! Use the type of glass and the equipment that will allow you to do what interests you and not what someone else tells you is the "best" to have. Best for whom? learn the substance from all of the classes you take and the books you read, but don't be locked in by anybody else's style.

You will also need a kiln. It's the only way to anneal beads properly so that they won't break somewhere down the line. A kiln is an expensive piece of equipment, but many can also be used for fusing (which uses up your leftover scraps!).

5. How do I anneal my beads?
Annealing can only be done in a kiln. I know that a few of the bead-making books say otherwise, but they are incorrect on this. All that a fiber blanket or vermiculite does is slow down the cooling process. True annealing keeps the glass at a constant temperature (for Moretti, around 950-980 degrees F) for a length of time that is proportionate to the size of the beads. Small beads really only need to "soak" at this temperature for 20 minutes or so. A bead up to an inch in diameter needs to soak for 30 minutes to an hour. I prefer to err on the side of longer. Then the temp must be ramped down s-l-o-w-l-y to around 750 degrees. At that point the kiln can be turned off, or at least turned down more rapidly. I usually lower the temp to 750 over the course of an hour. A little overkill perhaps with smaller beads, but the time and patience required goes up as the bead size increases.

The reason for annealing is the physical properties of the glass. Since glass cools from the outside in, the molecules in the central core are still moving around (even though they're no longer molten) long after the outer surface has cooled and hardened. The temperatures listed above have been calculated based on the glass COE (coefficient of expansion) to allow the molecular movement to slowly halt all at the same time, reducing the surface stress. That's why non-annealed beads will eventually crack, even if not right away.


Suppliers and Other Links
Recommended Books

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Today's the day!

And here's the wonderful crew who came to my house last year:


I get to re-live the fantasy one more time :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

HGTV tomorrow!

In my time zone, on the East Coast, it airs at noon and 5 pm. Here's the link, one last time!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My first article in Jewelry Crafts Magazine!

I stopped at the post office today to ship some packages and check my box, and there it was! The lastest issue of Jewelry Crafts with the first article that I sent. It had instructions for creating a very simple project, one designed to hold your glasses for you instead of you having to hook them over your collar.



I mentioned a couple weeks ago that my magnifier had come back home. Well, that piece is featured in the article as well, as an example of what else you can do with this very simple idea.


Magnifier

Yippee!!




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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How fun is this?

Another of the bracelets I made yesterday:


Bracelets



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Monday, April 03, 2006

An armful of new bracelets


New bracelets

I made a whole batch of new bracelets from the lampwork beads that came out of my kiln last week. Many have toggle clasps, and some use lobster claws. Colorful and fun!



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Count down begins again!


Optical pendants

This Friday, my segments on HGTV will be repeated. I'll be demonstrating how to make the optical lens pendants and how to do a bead-embroidered heritage necklace.



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