Friday, 30 October 2009

Quick peek!

Here's a quick peak at some of the hearts I've been working on this week, I'm hoping to get some of these little ones listed plus some more now I've got the hang of them.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Have a Heart!

Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
I’ve been practising with making some new glass hearts in my freshly revamped workshop. It’s strange how more relaxed I already feel there, I’ve given myself more room although at the expense of a rather useful table – but in hindsight the table was mostly piled high with junk and ‘dunno where else to put it’ items that we all seem to have. I still haven’t painted the walls either! That might be a job to do over xmas I think, even though I’ve been saying that for past 8 years since we moved in.

The only downsides are that my kiln is no longer in arms reach, so will have to move that, and I don’t have a space to photograph in now. I will have to return to a space in the kitchen I’ve used before. I also have two boxes of findings I need to find a new home for – so really I’m nowhere near finished!

The glass hearts were really nice to make, I felt less rushed and so took more time over making them, and as they have a nice open area I felt I could really explore some of the tricks and colours that boro has to offer. It seemed really odd that I’ve been working with it for a while now but this was the first time I felt I was really getting the benefit of the colours and effects that boro can produce. Of course some were a bit wonky, the nicest one cracked, and what I thought would be a nice pink colour is a naff shade of puce, but that was more than offset by the wonderful metallic/pearlescent ‘unobtainium’ colours and lustre. Shame I haven’t been able to take pictures to show you yet!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Workshop Revamp

I’ve not posted much recently, but this weekend I’ve started a small revamp of the workshop to allow me more space to work. One of the critical things was installing new ventilation as the old system (opening window and dangling a hose out of it) wasn’t very good or efficient. ! One of the reasons for improving this is a safety issue as a lot of the boro I use has high levels of heavy metals in them, and I really don’t want to breathe them in.

After some hole cutting and loft clambering I managed to get the extractor running, so at the same time I made some new splash backs from some aluminium sheet I rescued some years ago from a printers clearout, and backed them with some ceramic insulating wool just in case it gets too hot. The only thing I didn’t do was paint the wall which still have the same paper and paint as when we moved in years ago. Maybe that’ll be my Christmas project!

Lots more to do yet, I am not sure where everything is going to go yet as I’ve had to sacrifice a useful table, but I hope I can get everything in!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Shaving the old fashioned way!

shaving brush
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
The shaving saga continues! I’ve now finally listed in my Folksy shop some shaving brushes to go with the razors I’ve been making!

This created some interesting problems to resolve, I’d have got some underway sooner if it wasn’t for the sudden DOH! realisation when I made the first prototypes. I basically made a larger elongated marble with one flatted edge to secure to the brush, forgetting that the top of the brush has to be flat too to allow the brush to be stood up when wet! DOH! The alternative was making a stand to go with it, but then that’s a whole new headache for another day. The downside is that flattening distorts the design a little, so I’ve put lots of dichroic into these to give a real sparkle to the shaving experience! On the outside I’m getting the hang of the real value of using boro colours as I’m getting better and bringing out some of the metallic effects of this wonderful (and sometimes frustrating!) glass.

The only brush blanks I can find so far are Badger hair, I wanted to also offer a synthetic alternative but it seems wet shaving using a brush is a dying art and they aren’t made. In fact the badger ones are discontinued as well, and from the dust on the boxes looks like they were made a long time ago! I have to admit I do use an electric razor in the mornings - when I’ve not had enough coffee to be able to find my elbow the idea of putting a sharp blade to my face seems like asking for trouble! However when I have more time or am going out special I do drag out a manual razor and get a ‘proper’ shave; I figured there must be blokes like me who do this and would like something to make the whole experience a little more ‘special’ when I devised the idea. It certainly evokes a by-gone age of elegance when people took time and trouble to do things like this well, of old barber shops and men with handlebar moustaches – or is that just me? I certainly remember my Dad having an old brush that was worn nearly down to a stump before he got himself an electric razor – which I recall then always broke a few months later and he then spent most of his mornings trying to clean or get to work! Sometimes the old fashioned ways really are better!

Monday, 5 October 2009

One for the chaps!

This has provided me with some unexpected technical challenges, but I can reveal part of a new project I’ve been working on – stuff for blokes! Apparently we chaps are rather difficult to buy for, and so when I came across these razors it seemed worth having ago at making them ‘a bit more interesting.’

I could have made my life easier by making several different long beads and putting them together, but decided against it. I figured that having more joins would increase the risk of water and grot getting inside the handle. No one wants to shave with a razor with mould and algae growing in it! Also aesthetically I thought it would be nicer having the colours flowing together as much as possible.

The thickness of the core and length of these created surprising headaches! Keeping a single bead over 75mm long from cracking was interesting, often one end would crack whilst working at the other end! I lost a few from the bead release breaking- that always seems to happen when I get a really good colour going! Then cleaning out a bead that long was fun, using special bead cleaner, files, I even tried toilet cleaner at one point! Small bends in the mandrel added a new dimension of fun too…

Finally I managed to get a two listed on the Folksy, who were doing a ‘men’s gift’ special, and was selected for their ‘top picks!’ Within a hour someone had snapped up one of the razor too! Makes all my secret squirrel plotting and work feel worthwhile.

I will certainly make some more of these now I’ve figured out the techniques, I also have some more items to add to this range, one that is going to be very much a blokes item too! I am told that the razors may fit the Venus razor cartridges, so I might even manage some for the Ladies too. If you’re a regular on my Flickr stream or Facebook page you’ll see I’ve also been adding my marbles to wine bottle stoppers, I hope to be listing some soon, and making more. The past few months I’ve had so many interruptions and setbacks it’s nice to get so it’s so nice to be finally listing some new and exciting stuff, I hope this will be the first of many new ideas!