12.13.2017 - Make That Mandrel Hole Disappear!


Pure uninterrupted color, clarity and sparkle... no, I'm not talking about a diamond... but I've often called this type of earring the "New Diamond Stud"!  The go-with-everything, lightweight, droplet that moves with you and doesn't tire you out. (doesn't weigh much).

As usually happens when the weather cools, my inner silversmith emerges... and this time it was to make custom findings for my earrings.  Long ago my friend Jane had said that I should eventually fabricate my own findings - thus giving my work a OOAK uniqueness.  I've been making ear wires & headpins for years, but no decorative parts for the earrings.  I'm quite pleased with these - and will bring more out soon.  (waiting on a delivery of silver sheet!!!)


It's interesting the process I use to make these beads means I'm balancing a gather of glass on a tiny rondelle that's 1mm x 3mm D, it brings to mind that quote of balancing a dollop of honey on a toothpick.  To add insult to injury - I make two beads to a mandrel so that they pair match... I find that I hold my breath as I'm working on the second one - hoping I remember to flash it in the flame - so as not to thermal shock the first one!  

The one thing I did want to mention is that the clarity & viscocity of the glass is key.  You all know that I work mostly with Lauscha because it can tolerate the heat and not scum or boil, and this glass also tends to be a stiffer glass to work with - often people say they like it for sculptural work as it doesn't move so readily as the Italian glass.  This is so evident in these beads.   


I have always been a proponent of lose-the-hole mentality... and of late have been working to eliminate all signs of it on a transparent (non-off mandrel) pendant... but need to modify some of my tools to achieve this. WORKING ON IT!  as always, smiles - Jill

When I start working - on a new direction, I usually like to work in multiples - below are the pairs (all wired up as matching pairs, as they were made as a matching set) Here are three color groups  I have, while the photo below that shows them shortly after I cleaned them - strung on a wire...
I will sell the beads solo or made into a finished product.