Saturday, 31 January 2009

Does my Nose look big in this?

I realised I need to sort out a better 'filter' to use with the boro, so popped into a tool shop today where I had a choice. Proper welding goggles for £9.45, or a larger bit of filter for £4. Normally in this situation I would go for the cheapest option, bodge something, it wouldn't work, and then have to get the more expensive bit instead. So I buy the goggles, only problem I find is my nose doesn't somehow fit properly to it, it's really tight and uncomfortable. Maybe that's deliberate to help cut out fumes? So nervously I tried cutting some away with a scalpal (plastic off the goggles that is, not my nose!) Fits a little better, before I couldn't see 'down' which is no good since I am staring down on a flame! Still not much better though, and I'm going to have to find some foam rubber now to pad where there is sharp line now. I may well take the lens off and bolt it in front of my torch instead... just like I would have down with the £4 filter!

Finally got to meet up with Lisa at Iseestars and Cathy at from the East Anglia Etsy Team and had a chance to chat in real life! I am sure we will have a few more people for the next meet up.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Boro Boro!

boro flower drops
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
Another long day ding anything but glass! I've been working from home on some 'day job' stuff which has become very tedious. I just want to go and play glass! (Stamps foot!)
What has made it worse is I have two lots of very exciting glass to play with! I have some Northstar reactive glass that I swapped over at Frit Happens for a tool I don't use. It's been a while since I've used this sort of glass, it can be tricky but if I can pull it off there are loads of lovely colours that can come out of an apparently clear or beige coloured rod.
The other really exciting one is a few rods of coloured Boro (borosilicate - basically Pyrex!) I've been playing with clear for sometime to get a feel for it, but the colours are something else. Each colour acts differently, there is so much chemistry involved! I managed to get a hours play tonight, and the colours are amazing, although one bead did break in half, but it was a good try out. I still ended up going back to old favourites and did a couple of flower implosions - it's great not to have them crack near the end and not to have all stray bubbles in them I get with soft glass. I think there will be alot more of these to come!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Cinderella Stays Home

Tomorrow I return to the single life again, as ‘The Boss’ returns to Cambridge to continue her studies as a mature student, (which I always thought sounds better than being a normal student, like mature cheese is better?) and is on a great high with 70%+ scores which is fantastic, plus there is interest in turning one of her 5minute screenplays into a film!
This does mean my weekends stay fairly free to sit at my torch and be unsociable; I can play music loud with occasional breaks for tea, tomato soup and Dave (although after seeing the same episode of Top Gear four times I probably need to find another channel!) Of course the downside is coping with two crazed cats alone, all the household chores in the evenings, as well as the lack of company.
It’s also coming up to the time for fairs, but I doubt the pennies and time will allow this year to go to many of them. The big one is Flame Off in April, but my weary bank account and work schedule probably won’t allow for that this year. A pity, as it would be good to catch up with old and new friends, and learn some new techniques.

However, it’s not as grim and lonely as it sounds! This weekend I shall not be miserable stay-at-home Cinders, as I am popping down to Colchester to meet up with some local Etsy’ers from East Anglia. I am not sure how many we shall be, but it’ll be great to bounce some ideas around and meet people from other craft disciplines. Doubtless new friends will be made!
Also I have been ‘virtually’ meeting a lot of people on line recently, I feel like I’ve made more new friends and acquaintances in the past few Etsy & Folksy months than in the past five years in the village! There is a great community out there, and I’ve had a few swaps going on recently as I trade out some bits of kit I don’t/can’t use. I am eagerly awaiting a pack of Northstar which I swapped for torch-top marver that I couldn’t get on with. It was only after I said yes to the swap that I went to look at he colours ----ooooo---- some lovely looking ones there, should be fun to play with! Almost tempting to stay in this weekend after all; who say’s Cinders doesn’t have any fun?!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Time for Bed yet?

It's been a mad few days in which I seem to have hardly been near my torch, on line, or in fact anything of much use at all! However I did have a lovely suprise from Kate over at Sublime Beads who sent me one of her amazing Goddess beads, stunning work! I was going to take a picie but it's been so overcast the ten minutes I get to do it and I can't seem to get a decent picture of anything!
I did manage a picture of this flower bead for etsy, although it doesn't really do justice to it. I'm starting to think I should do a video so I can move these things around to show the detail! Of course common sense would say to start making big beads again instead, so I can take a better picture, but where's the fun in that? Instead I've been wondering about doing this technique using stringers (very thin glass canes) to do micro-implosion beads..... humm, now that's something else to play with.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Germany Orange, Essex Purple

I’ve been playing with a glass from German maker Reichenbach, with mixed success. They do an ‘iris’ colour which changes colours as it’s heated and cooled, and if you can judge it right you are ‘supposed’ to be able to get lots of different colours out of a very unappealing beige rod.
After initially getting some nice colour reactions I got a lot of cracking so left this until recently when I picked them up again. For some reason I got it into my head they were a reducing colour (needs oxygen reduced flame.) So instead of interesting Raku style beads, I ended up with black hematite look beads instead!
I came across a post on Frit Happens about this glass so picked it up again, saw my mistake and returned to colourful beads. Only problem is, I’ve gone off this style a little now! Before consigning them to the back of the glass rack I tried etching some and loved the effect, seems to soften it, and looks great over deep transparent purple. Also tried some trails over pale Lavender, etched that and found it looks better without etching! What I really should be doing is sorting out a better photo session as I seem to spend ages trying to get a few blurred photos, not playing with temperamental glass!
(Front two in picture etch frosted)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Ah, as I sit down to do one thing, I end up doing something else! I forgot about the buttons and started making these ‘ghost’ implosion beads/drops/pendants. They copy and old glass paperweight technique of including colours into glass then getting the hot glass to drop around the outside. Difficult to describe, and tricky to do, as I realised last night as I found twenty or so early failures laying in a box. I’ve been finding them more fun in coloured glass, and the nice thing about the these transluscent inclusions is you don’t always see the flower until it’s against skin or moves and then it’s suddenly there! I’ve done some in solid colours too, but not nearly so much fun.
Of course last night’s was a little too exciting, I found a couple of rods of very pale transparent blue (like the Bombay Saffire Gin bottles) and tried a few like these. I’d just made a really lovely (if I say so myself) flourish on the loop, very ornate, when the punty (glassmakers name for a rod which holds the glass, often made of glass as well) broke and the red hot bead dropped!Well a quick bounce off my lap was ok, but it rolled under the bench, I can still move fast! Down on my hands pulling the propane hose out of the way whilst it quiety scorched into the floorboards! Managed to retrieve it but that flourish was ruinned (and the floorboard!)

Mirror Blog

For those who want to read more this is a new mirror blog of one over on, and I will start re-posting here as well - a bit odd being in two places at the same time, but I started blogs over here so seems good to come back!