Saturday, 7 July 2012

A little something for myself

I'm usually so busy trying to keep both my Etsy and my own webshop stocked that I forget that I took up lampworking as a relaxing hobby!  Making something for myself, just for the heck of it has become a rare occurrence, so over the past few weeks, on and off, I've been working on a little project for myself.  It's something that I've had in mind for a good while...

Here's the result!

Rainbow Necklace

I'm really pleased with it :)

Now I know what you're thinking; it shouldn't have taken me so long to put together something with relatively simple beads.  You see, I'm obsessive about colour and order.  The beads had to be made in exactly the right shades, ensuring a smooth gradient through the spectrum.  Then there's the size - for this to turn out the way I'd pictured it, the beads had to be a uniform size... but I've never been great with sizing beads.  It's why I don't make many sets - I usually have to make twice as many beads as end up in the finished set, just to get consistent sizes!

I thought that this project might give me a chance to practice and gradually get the hang of evenly-sized beads but try as I might, it just wouldn't happen.  I knew I'd have to give in and use a bead roller.  I do prefer shaping glass by hand (well, not exactly "by hand" - that'd hurt!  You know what I mean :) ) but in this case I realised it wasn't going to happen.

Boy am I glad I did give in!  After taking some advice from a friend, I bought a bead roller from Howaco Glass (who offer a very friendly, personal and quick service), waited a few days for it to arrive, sat and looked at it for a couple more days (I often do this with a new piece of kit... like I'm letting it settle in before bothering it) and finally gave it a go.

The result was I made my necklace in two days with only one attempt per colour!  Each bead is about 16.5mm in diameter and 9.5mm hole-to-hole.

I now have lots of similar ideas branching from this one.  I'm currently working on an etched version as well as other necklaces, bracelets and bead sets in similar gradient style but limited to "palettes" (hot reds and oranges, cool greens and blues, etc.).  I'm going to try different sizes and shapes too.

The positive side-effect of making this piece is that I've started having ideas again just as "beadmaker's block" was setting in. 

Now I just have to work out what to do with all the beads I made before I invested in the bead roller...

ALL the beads!

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