Lampworking day #16, the great orange slip.

I think the above picture pretty much says it all.

Total lampworking success last night after I finally got to it.  I'll just let you look at the pics.  :)

(I set these pics to autoadjust exposure cause they were a little dark)

I am super happy with these!  Can't wait to make some more.  :)

On another note, the beads I annealed yesterday look exactly the same.  I put them up to a polarizer lense and they still look the same to me.  Wtf!

Lampworking day #14 and #16. Some beads, and the kiln.

I've skipped some days... as you can tell.  Each day skipped is a day I've done nothing.  Last night I had a great excuse though. 

...You can deny me all you want on Facebook, little boy.  But this is my blog.  :P

Anyway after friday's cleaning up the studio and yesterday's madness, then becoming the creator of the studio... today the kiln is actually on. 

I cannot even begin to explain the trauma which encompasses creating this studio.  My dad is a tough, tough cookie.  There was yelling, hair pulling, threats were made, there were tears.  Eventually we decided to go our separate ways.  I went up to my room to cool off and watched some TV and picked up a mess I've had in there for about a month (yay).  Later he came in to tell me he was going to run an errand so I took advantage of that opportunity and went to the studio.  I studied the kiln's manual some more... and then I started constructing the thing to hold my beads while in the kiln. 

...Then my dad showed up.  He helped me get a bead off a mandrel; we talked a bit about the kiln and how to use it, and as I was getting ready to get started,

he said,"don't put all your nice beads in". 

And I listened, just in case he was right. 

Then we set the program, and turned on the kiln. 

And it began.  I've been sitting by it for a few hours now... watching the temperature every now and then... Everything seems normal so far.  I'm a little excited and also a little scared.  After an hour had passed my dad said... "what kind of wire did you use for the stand?"  ...and now I'm terrified it's going to melt and everything's going to be a disaster.  The wire is what we use in construction for tying rebar and stuff... it's very malleable... does that mean it's going to die in the kiln?  I really doubt it but now my dad's concerned me.  I'm going to post yet again on LE to ask what people use in their kilns for batch annealing.  I am so annoying on there; asking a million questions... but I think it's a really great way to learn! 

Ask the experts?  Duh.

On a different note, these are the beads from friday, day 14: 

I made this one from more recycled murrini and then I put some clear blue over it to pretend like it's a pretty bead. 

I really wanted to make a crinkled bead so I made this one.  That's the one my dad got off the mandrel.  It took some DW40, I'm not going to lie. 

I really like it but I wish the gray had been encased better, gotta learn how to do that.

And... here I am.  hanging out with the kiln.  I think I'm off to make some beads.  I'll post about the new beads and kiln progress tonight or tomorrow.  Wish me luck, y'all.

Lampworking day #11 and #12. THE KILN.

I got the kiln! 

I got it yesterday.  Yesterday was such a crazy day though, that I didn't have time to even finish reading through the kiln's manual. 

Today, was also a crazy day.  I finally got to see the LOST finale (I won't comment or spoil it, I promise.) which took my entire afternoon and then I had some wonderful family time with my parents, and now my eyes are doing that dry thing. ...I really really really wanted to start my kiln and batch anneal my beads. But I won't do it for a few reasons:

  1. The batch annealing cycle takes 7:40 hours

  2. I do not intend on babysitting the kiln for that long

  3. I can't look at the manual without my eyes closing automatically

  4. The batch annealing cycle takes almost 8 hours

  5. I still haven't learned how to program the kiln

  6. The batch annealing cycle takes almost 8 hours
SO, for those 6 reasons... I will batch anneal on SUNDAY. 

Tomorrow is Thursday and I will make some beads even if it costs me a relationship with a friend or family member.  On Friday I will also try to make some beads, and then Saturday is my brother's high school graduation, so I'm not allowed to use the studio for anything other than decorating it nicely to make it look like an empty room (my mom is the art studio DESTROYER) because we're having a small party/reunion.  On Sunday my dad and I will attempt to recreate the studio and hopefully ...I will anneal some fucking beads. 

Here's some info on my kiln...

This is what it looks like:
The thing about the kiln though is that it doesn't have a small opening for the mandrels to stick out.  So I need to buy this door separately: 
I know.  Why didn't I just buy this kiln?  Well...  The first kiln pictured literally fell from heaven, onto my wallet.  (which it crushed) 

...but seriously.  I need that kiln door.  Pray for my wallet, friends.  Please. 

Also pray for my sanity, and the fact that I need to find a timely fashion in which to anneal my beads that don't even exist yet. 

Lampworking day #10. Only research.

Sorry I don't really mean to turn this blog into a Twitter kind of update page.  But I did intend to write daily. 

No beads today.  I took a nap this afternoon because I was really tired, and I had the intention of getting up and making some beads afterwards.  When I woke up I had dinner... and then I came back to my computer to do some research before heading to the torch. it's 11:00PM and my eyes are starting to close by themselves and I can't stop yawning.  :(  Certainly not good torch energy so I'd rather not waste my time or yours tonight. 

About yesterday's beads, I'm still super excited and can't get over them.  Here they are again: 

And also because I don't like to leave a post without a picture!  Anyway out of the 12 beads I made, one of them cracked this morning RIP and one still hasn't come off the mandrel.  Both of them are/were the same cream color with red line and purple/yellow dots like above.  I probably could've taken the last one off the mandrel (biggest one I made yesterday) but seriously my hands are still sore from yesterday and I've hardly got the strength.  Tomorrow I'll try to get that one off with some assistance.  :)  I seriously love having assistance.

About the kiln - I contacted a lady that has one and hasn't used it for the two years she's had it!  It sounds like it's about small (kind of like this one, but only by the sounds of it, as I haven't seen it) and hopefully she'll give it to me for a good price!  I'm seriously hoping here.  I had a dream last night that she told me it would be $3,000.00!  FML.  But yeah I've been waiting for what seems like forever (I think since last Wednesday or Thursday?!) because she "hasn't had time to look for the receipt" and doesn't know how much to sell it for!  Please hurry up, lady.  My beadmaking business is on the line.  lol ... ok not my "business", but my sanity!  hahaha  yeah.  If anyone reads this and has resources and is interested in helping out, please do!  I need a kiln BADLY.  And I'm NOT willing to pay $3,000.00 - for the record!  OR $2,999.99 - for that matter!

Cheers.  See you tomorrow.  If PAOLA GOMEZ or LOST don't get in the way, I'll have some beads to show for myself.  :)

I love you, so much, for reading. 

Lampwork day #9: total dedication.

Today, like last Sunday, I woke up bright and early and really eager to get started.  These were the first beads of the day.

I tried to put my awful murrini in them and also keep using my newfound knowledge of making "fine round beads."  This practice taught me to make the "fine round bead" shape FIRST and then go on with adding murrini and covering in clear.  The second bead as you can see shows how the murrini stretched when the bead took the round form.  I will look into how to make the clears less cloudy this week.  (Though I don't even know what for as I am already running out of clear!)

Then I also tried this dotty design...

There are the three beads on mandrels in case they cracked or something. 
But they didn't!

Up to that point these are all the beads I'd made in chronological order from first to last.  Noteworthy to mention that these are all the beads I'd made that hadn't cracked and split. 
This picture was taken around 4:00PM.  ...This is probably around the time the madness started. 

I decided the blue didn't look very well in this combination so I replaced it with an off-white color.  I loved the results so I made EIGHT BEADS!  (In the pictures you will see six because there are two I still haven't taken off the mandrels)

Check out the texture this weird off-white glass gets!  ...I really like it.  It kind of looked like that on the rod too. 

I love the kind of vintagy look they have. 

Oh, look at those dimples!  What a champ, I am!  hahaha

Then I made this little spaceship for my brother :)

He didn't think it was quite as adorable as I thought it was, but it's ok.  He isn't warm like that.  But I accept him.  lol. 

...So, today was really successful!  I'm really proud of myself!  Oh and also I was able to take most of these beads off the mandrels without help, so that means I'm pretty close to figuring out this bead release issue.  A lot of progress in a week!  I can't wait to see what I'll be up to in the next few days.  (can you?)

Lampworking day #8. On making "fine round beads" and taking beads off the mandrel.

I spent 5 (FIVE) hours today just sitting in front of my computer reading about making beads.  One thing that I saw that I really liked was this tutorial which basically explains why and how to make a "fine round bead".  Also I read a bunch of stuff about mandrel release and decided to fix the problem with my bead release.  I obtained three results when I finally got to torching:

1.  I used the horrible murrini from yesterday to make this bead and ended up with the most awful color bead ever... With a pretty nice shape.  And which came off the mandrel... without much of a struggle!  (please note the keyword *much*)

I snapped these shots in case the bead didn't come off the mandrel, like some of the previous ones. 

Check out the swirls!  I know I shouldn't give this away, but they were totally accidental!  hehehe

(Also snapped these shots in case the bead would break while taking the release out)
Anyway the story with the bead release is that I significantly watered it down accidentally.  Then I tried two things:  I did two of these beads with two coats of the watered down bead release and one of them with only one coat.  This was one with two coats. 

Finished product!  Despite the horrible colors, so proud!  My dad used the word "beautiful"!  :)

2.  Made this bead with the intention of making it with dimples like the previous one, which evidently didn't work out.  I also wanted this bead for a spacer in case I ended up liking the color (I hated the color at first  but now I kind of like it)

(I like watching them change colors as they cool) 

Unfortunately the dimple didn't quite work out and I still haven't been able to take it off the mandrel!  (This was the bead with one coat of bead-release)  :(  Also I think it might crack because there's a suspicious little line in one of the corners. 

3. I made a FINE ROUND BEAD.

I seriously did.  And the dimples are amazing.  But guess what...

Yep!  Totally cracked.  FML.  Even with the previous success with similar bead-release technique... I refuse to take it off the mandrel just yet.  Any chance annealing fixes cracked beads?  According to what I understand it shouldn't... but I wish it diddddd!

Oh and also I attempted taking the murrini beads off their mandrels... with terrible luck. 


(please note that in the following parragraph when I say "I" what I really mean is "we")

Well I tried nearly EVERYTHING and I could NOT get them off.  I'm soooo pissed.  I put them in the freezer.  I put them in hot water.  I held the mandrel with pliers.  I held the bead with inner tube.  I did everything but smash it on the countertop.  These beads are still on their respective mandrels.  AUXILIOOOOO!!!


Every now and then I'll post links to share the knowledge.  (Or so that I can find it later on!)

This link has a BUNCH of tutorials!!!

Lampwork day #7, another murrini failure...

I am seriously doubting doing anything with beads, because even as I should practice, I don't want to practice thinking my beads are going to break.  Until I get a kiln, I'm hesitant of making any beads. 

So I've been thinking more and more about murrini.  Here's the thing about murrini... my cutter is either bad or my murrini is bad.  I'm more inclined to think it's my murrini.  Mainly that if it isn't perfectly round it's harder to cut.  Is this right?  Because it chips, right?

Well.  At least I got the stretching part a little better... Here's the thing.  I had the round thing in mind from the very start, so I kept using my squashing tool... Then it got so hot... that it burnt me. 

So then I set that aside and kept working.  ...I kept trying to round off with the marvering paddle but then it started getting droopy and melting and stuff.  I really need to learn to paint the murrini more patiently.  Finally I gave up and rushed to finish; thinking... fuck it.  :(

I'm thinking of not even cutting these up.  Maybe I'll try to use this as a twisty or something for a bead in the future.  :(  So sad. 

Sad like this:    :( 

Thanks for reading...