10.24.2018 - Rain, Boro, Rain, Rain, Rain....

Hi… I’ve been working on gently graduated sets of boro beads - nicely straight sided and smooth mirrored finish surfaces… I feel these are necessary components for a smooth contemporary feel… and I feel this is very possible for lampwork that looks like this. I’m typically not a boro gal… but every now and then I get the bug - and this week I had it.

I’ve held a set back and will assemble another bracelet this evening… and post a picture here for you to see… but I’m in a good place. One big difference working with boro (excuse me, “ONE OF the big differences”… ) is my usual inability to accurately predict the final color - as many of these colors actually change while they’re in the kiln. (That’s not so with the soft glass)… but I find that the more I work with it, the more I get to know what the colors, or combination of colors will do - and I find that very nice. : )

There is now a long list of favorites that I plan to order more of, as sometimes burning that last little nub of glass in your most favorite color, of the moment, can really be hard on the fingers!

In the 20+ years I’ve been making beads, I’ve taught as well… I happily will report to you that there seem to be two kinds of students. 1. The impatient one who insists on applying glass that’s not hot enough to the mandrel - then ends up cracking the release and is upset. 2. The one who’s so full of wonder & joy, and who is also patient to a fault. These are the easy ones - as I also have found this week that patience is a virtue… and Borosilicate melts slowly… I enjoyed the evolution of color and the trial of shaping such a stiff glass.

The payoff was that I’m happily going to do it again soon… smiles - Jill


10.17.2018 - Tall, thin, .... Texan Disk Necklace - (Update here tonight at 9pm EST)

Tall, thin, and Texan. I love disks - I feel like that’s my mantra at my support group… I just wish there were more ways to show these beauties off!! I’m working on it. I have these strong feelings about certain things glass related - (as my quest to remove the hole, or at least the visibility of it) and it dominates my creativity.

Last week I had the new version of the disk necklace… which lovingly lets the light to transmit through the glass and ‘allow’ the color. But until theres a nicer way to use these pretties with their broad plane of color facing forward… I’ll always be pursuing options.

Many of the prettiest color are so color dense - that unless they’re stretched very thin, or veiled over a lighter color - they get lost in the dark.

For years, I’ve played with a small footprint of glass and building tall, thin beads… below is a video I made that shows the process… enjoy.
smiles, Jill


8.1.2018 - ...and Why Not off mandrel?

so... we all have to start somewhere, right?? New endeavors - and just the discovery of how to do things by trial and error... have a seat and take a deep breath... because there is some serious ugly coming your way!

I had a request last week to replace a long loved pendant (by another artist) that had been dropped - and while I understand the desire to replace, I know whatever I make cannot 'replace it'.   So - I hope to introduce something that will make the broken pendant a fond memory and perhaps become the stepping stone to things wondrous.  As most of you know - I am pretty defined by the mandrel - although I'd prefer it not leave a hole.   I like the idea of off mandrel work - but the soft glass I use most often becomes rather drippy for my taste (*at least at this point of my working proficiently off mandrel*) - so - it's off to my Boro stash.

For you non-glassy people out there - Borosilicate is the generic name for the glass more commonly known as - Pyrex.  It melts at a higher temperature, is more forgiving while working,  and is annealed at a different schedule in the kiln.  PLUS... the colors can sometimes 'bloom' in the torch, OR are *hopefully* awakened by the hotter temperature cycles during the annealing process in the kiln.

These are MY (yes, I'm owning it) first tries... as we all have to start somewhere... right? Promise not to laugh??  Starting at top row left - that was the first, progressing to the right... then L to R on bottom...


my takeaway from this is... the swirling that happened at the last one on the right - bottom is something I definitely like and will keep... now - below are the next day's efforts... "the pretties"...


From my Boro journey, the discovery session also translated somewhat to my work in soft glass... and as I'm writing this - It occurs to me that along with not being wild about a mandrel hole.... I'm also not wild about the hanging loop of glass... which is likely the first thing to break... so, maybe one more session and I will endeavor to bury the hardware in the bead. for a cleaner sleeker look.  I am liking that!  Smiles, Jill


7.25.2018 - How small CAN you go??

Last week, the push was to go small on some pendants I was making - only to have others asking me to work bigger.  It's a genetic flaw - I've always worked rather small - and It takes some serious attention and effort to go larger.  I totally 'get' both sides, and will aim to fulfill everyone's wishes.

This morning, the first task of the day was to clean yesterday's kiln contents - which were mostly beads from my Jetstream sereis.  It amounted to a handful - literally - after 8 hours - only a handful.  BUT... these aren't any ordinary beads.  They're one holed pendant *actually maybe you'd call them charms*... with a small sterling bail epoxied in place.  I have many matching pair - perfect for earrings!


See, these beads are 10mm in diameter - and have three layers: silvered glass, fine silver wire, and an encasement layer.  I love all the detail they have - and I love that they're so nice and small.    

Small doesn't always equate 'less time & effort'... I remember years YEARS ago - Corina wrote about working small *yes, she is definitely someone who can pack a whole world inside a small bead!*.  She said that it often takes MORE time to make a small bead because of the delicate nature of smallness, the precision work of small components, and that while the end result is YES... small - it just takes more effort.  (Corina - obviously this isn't verbatum, apologies - but hopefully your general message does come through...?)


And to please the others - I've got some things in the kiln that should prove interesting... AKA, me working "not so small".  

7.18.2018 - Just Enough

It's summertime in Texas... and like much of the country - it's unmercifully hot.  So hot, in fact, that even the idea of wearing a necklace seems too hot.  (did I just say that?)...  I was photographing some items today - and in an unedited photo, felt that this embodied the sigh of relief I feel when I come inside to the air conditioning...   So minimalism is here again... just a hint of color - a hint of the unusual - and that's enough.  

I have a new small series coming out that is just that - a small swingy pendant that can be strung onto any light chain or cord and it's just enough. 

I've been toying with the idea of splashing some items around in the Facebook sales groups - and also - here... if I miss a week here and there - I'm trying to find my equilibrium... please bear with me.
Change is often difficult, as we ARE creatures of habit.


Thank you Louise for your wonderful insight - I agree with what you said, and am working to implement changes.    I am always open to suggestions for things you would like to see, or such - just send me an email.  Happy Wednesday - smiles, Jill