Sunday, 12 March 2017

Beads from Around the Globe

March's bead was made by Sarah Hornik of Tel Aviv, Israel.  Sarah has been making beads since 2005 and she is known for her use of colour, pattern and unique shapes.  Her beads have an organic quality to the design with the addition of bright colours.  You can find Sarah mostly on Facebook where she posts new work for sale.  She also has a website.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Equipment - Glass

One of the most essential elements necessary for lampwork glass bead making is of course glass.  Glass is basically a mix of sand, alkali's, lime, colouring agents and other odds and ends that gets melted.  The ratio of these chemicals give glass its characteristics.  If you really want to know the technical ins and outs of glass, click here to read more.

I use COE104 glass manufactured by Effetre Murano or CiM (Creation is Messy).  Not all glass is created equal and the "COE" describes the coefficient of expansion, or more simply put, the measurement of expansion and contraction of glass at given temperatures.  Glass with differing COE cannot be used together because they expand and contract at different rates which would cause guaranteed breakage of the final product.  The exception to this rule is the use of furnace glass (usually COE 96) that contains lead which makes the glass a little more flexible.  In saying that orange and yellow furnace glass doesn't contain lead so will cause cracking.  So yes there is a lot of chemistry involved in working with glass and it pays to familiarise yourself with the basics so your creations don't have disastrous outcomes.

Some of my glass rods.  Each rod is about 33cm long and the width of a pencil.


A little about glass colour

Metal compounds are used to colour glass.  For example emerald green glass contains chromium, tin and arsenic.  Cadmium, selenium and sulphur will produce varying shades of orange and red - cadmium itself will produce yellow glass.  Ruby pink glass is made with lead, tin and gold which explains why it is the most expensive glass to buy.

Then there are reactive glasses which have a high silver content and produce amazing effects and colours when worked in different flame chemistry.  This will be another post in due course.  Wikipedia has an informative write up on glass chemistry.

Flame chemistry and colour mixing also has interesting effects on the characteristic of certain glass colours.  This will be explored in future posts.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Beads from Around the Globe - February

February's bead is a gorgeous floral by Ayako Hattori of Nagoya, Japan.  When I look into this bead I imagine a winter garden with snowflakes falling among the flowers.  Ayako uses a very soft glass to create delicate floral beads, marbles and pendants.  There is a realistic quality to the tiny little flowers embedded in each bead.  You can visit Ayako's Etsy store here.