Saturday, April 16, 2011

After a (not so short) break...

 Yeah, it's been a very long time.  I haven't been entirely away from my torch but I haven't been at it as much as I'd like.  The above set is the result of a couple weeks of doing a couple beads here and there.  The base glass for this is Creation is Messy's Canyon de Chelly, one of my absolute favorite glasses to use.  Not only does it play nice in the flame, but it does some pretty cool stuff with other colors and techniques.  It is a striking color that changes color depending on whether it's just heated and cooled or heated, cooled, and reheated.  And then there's the size of the base bead, which makes a difference.  It's easier to get it to do the neat stripey thing on a large bead than a small one.  Shaping the bead with metal seems to give better effects, so the rapid cooling and partial reheating is key, and sometimes after the color strikes it unstrikes again, but unpredictably.  It doesn't seem to change color in the annealer, which I really dig.  What you see going into the annealer is what you're going to get.

The earrings on the right were my first stab and combining CDC with Double Helix Psyche.  I don't know how evident it is in the picture but there is a reaction on the CDC where the silver laden Psyche touches it that doesn't occur with DH Triton or silvered ivory.  I call that neat.  The central beads contain only CDC and Psyche.  The border on the dark Psyche is the reaction from the CDC.  It has to be melted in and superheated.  Notice in the top photo and the vessel that it doesn't always do this.
With this bracelet I was going for balance and similarity between the glass and the dyed freshwater pearls  I used in the earrings, since the pearls were too small for the bracelet.  The glass I used on the spacers is Vetrofond plum.  It does this neat metallic thing similar to Effetre silver plum when treated the same way, that is allowed to air cool until the glow is gone and reheated gently in the top of my hot head flame, but stays more purple, so call it light silver plum.  Note the beads three beads in from the clasp.  The base glass is yellower because it didn't strike at all, being CiM Stoneground.  I couldn't remember whether I used Stoneground or CDC on the earrings and the lack of reaction on these beads reminded me.  Hey, this bracelet is for my own use and with the weight on the clasp it stays right side up so no one will see them anyway.
 I had so much fun making this vessel I'm keeping the pictures big and showing both sides, so there.  I used a 3/16 mandrel and built the end on the end of the mandrel again so it was a pain to clean, but with a solid color vessel and not planning to sell this I went for the stability of having two base beads to build from.  This meant I had two ends to keep warm but for every flower a tear.  I didn't melt the Psyche in all the way but I was loving the way the CDC was striking and I wanted to leave it the way it was.  I also hate the way the camera washes out the reduction effect of the Psyche, but trust me, it really is there.  The handles and rim are made from an actual rod of Effetre Lace Agate I have been hoarding.  On the smaller beads I used silvered ivory, but it wouldn't do for functional handles, since I can't really pull stringers that thick.
I have missed working glass.  There have been compensations, like losing 50 pounds through diet and time at the gymn.  I hope to continue losing about 20 pounds to get back to my "feel good" weight, but the signs of diabetes that scared me, the blood clot that sidelined me and the limitations that my excess weight caused on my mobility are gone.  I recently acheived a time on a mile "jogging" (more of a fast walk, really) that I haven't achieved since I was 15.  Now I have to try to incorporate the things that I really like doing with the things that I need to stay healthy.  I'll never achieve perfection, but all I ask for is a fighting go.  I may even post a new profile picture if I can find someone who knows how to work my camera.

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