bead caps

2012 Pismo Bead Invitational

Something I’ve been working on to send to the Pismo Fine Art Glass Gallery in Denver, Co for the 2012 Bead Invitational.
Lawdy, but I’ve been procrastinating- have you seen some of the amazing work at this gallery?! I finally just bit the bullet and decided to send in what I was going to in the first place. I did decide to fire some more Bronzclay beadcaps since I was running low and got some great colors on a few of them. So here’s to pulling up my bootstraps and hoping for the best.
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A Happy Accident

My first try w/ Fast fire Bronzclay seems to be a success. To be completely honest, this is my second firing of this load since I accidentally used the acid-washed carbon rather than the coconut shell. Also bumping up the firing temp to 1545 rather than 1525 seemed to help, too.
The colors were quite a surprise! I figured they would be dull and maybe slightly gold-toned. The first ones out of the firing pan (the 8 bead caps near the 5 o’clock position) were not too colorful, but still have some interesting patterns on them. It wasn’t until I swirled my stainless steel hemostat around in the medium trying to fish some out -with my respirator on- that I noticed a flash of color change. The bright orange was a complete shock since I’ve never gotten such vivid color from the coconut shell carbon. Another thing that seemed to help was almost fishing it out and then re-submerging it in the carbon. That’s how I got some of the raku looking pieces. The far left are the ones that were on the very bottom and so they stayed in the longest. In case anyone is interested- I fired at full ramp to 1545* holding for two hours. I had my pan up on kiln posts, and the lid was not fully covering the container. After it was done firing, I removed the kiln lid around 1300* and left the pan- still covered w/ the lid- in the kiln until the temp read ~230-250. Can’t remember the exact number now, should’ve written it down. After removing it carefully from the kiln, I searched for my hemostats and started digging for the bead caps soon after. Et voilà!

Beads and 100 Followers :)

This past week has been a whirlwind of travel, meeting new people, and trying to get ready for the show next month. Just noticed that I have 100 Followers for this blog!- thanks for your interest and here’s to showing you work that continues to grab your attention. Met up w/ some wonderful beady people over the weekend and look forward to our next Carolina Firefiend meeting. One member generously let me borrow her Jim Moore press since my Impress Bead Liner was too slim to fit my big beads inside to core and cap. (these three beads above are a few I’ve done so far, before running out of bead caps) Another is going to tumble etch some of my hollows to see how it compares to my usual acid etch method.
Thank goodness my wonderful cousin is nearby and willing to babysit my little man, making it possible for me to go to these meetings.

Slow Progress

I feel like the tortoise instead of the hare trying to get my inventory built up for my first show next month. But I suppose since the tortoise won in the end, this sort of progress is good. My Etsy shop will be lacking in love and new items since most everything will be going w/ me to Oakland.

After making these and falling in love it reminded me of a friend saying she could never work in an animal shelter since she’d fall in love w/ all the animals and want to bring them home. My beads have metaphorically morphed into cute animals that I don’t want to let go, lol. But just like at the animal shelter, these beads need good homes, too. 🙂

One possible reason I may not want to let them go is due to the amount of work invested into each one. The beadcaps are made by me as is the bead and then they’re cored after all the prepping is done on the tubing. At least an hour’s time is put into each bead- this isn’t including the times in the kiln for annealing the bead and firing the bronzclay.
Now I’m just waiting on more sterling and copper tubing to come in the mail so I can get more made. Ordered from Metalliferous and they were super nice and had awesome prices!
I’ve been field testing a smaller peg w/ my Impress Bead Liner and it’s mucho easier adding bead caps instead of trying to just core the bead. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just me. Doing beads like this also makes me think sterling tubing is a little more ‘elastic’, I guess you could say, than copper. Or maybe I just need to compensate and cut the copper slightly shorter. Anyhoo, it’s still a work in progress, but I’m so glad to be able to make this style that has been stewing in my mind for a while now.
Let’s just hope they do well at the show..

More Work

Another BIG focal that has been cored w/ bead caps in Bronzclay. I had to grind on my Impress Bead Liner to get it to fit, lol. After about 30 minutes of futzing around and learning about carbide grinders, it finally fit *snugly* into the press.
The sterling silver cored big hole bead is up on Etsy. Love the colors! I’m crazy about the blue and mustard look together.

Extreme Busy-ness

I’ve been absent due to extreme busy-ness, lol. I have around 70 hollows for the show in November and think I need to triple that amount. If they don’t sell, I’ll have plenty of stuff to put up in my Etsy shop. Speaking of Etsy, I just listed the trio set and finished a special order for a customer.

What I’m most excited about is my large hollow focal that I cored. The colors don’t show nearly as well here as they do in person. I’ve realized that I’m horrible at photographing jewelry, lol. The pendant is 1-1/8″ x 1-1/4″ or 28.5x32mm. The bead caps are Bronzclay and for me, the rustic/organic look is really jivin’ with me, but I’m not sure if my (potential) customers would feel the same.

Coring my Beads

It was so fun getting to try the different presses available for big hole beads. My very first try was the cobalt blue w/ the bead cap on the Impress Bead Liner by Dave Fousek. Hayley was sweet enough to give me some sterling bead caps to try on my beads. The rounded look of the tubing appeals to me.

I learned how important the length of tubing is since I ruined a couple beads by ripping the metal. Could be I used to much force btwn turns, too.
My favorite is the copper capped ivory bhb, the different metals compliment the bead so well. Sadie gave me the wonderful bead caps on that bead- all these nice bead caps make me feel like trying to make my own in metal clay…hmm.
The pretty green bead is one of Hayley’s that she let me use as a test bead.

The Jim Moore press was very nice, although you’re not able to get that nice rounded look in the tubing. And my favorite part on his press is the plastic die that helps push the tubing flush w/ the glass which makes the bead look so nice and professional looking.
Right now it’s out of my price range since I couldn’t justify spending over 300 dollars for something I may not use all the time.

Dave’s Impress is very economical the different size pegs aren’t as expensive as Jim’s. Of course it’s all a matter of perspective- if you always get the best tools for your money, then Jim’s would probably be your best bet. Since I’m just starting out w/ coring beads, I figured Dave’s is a great start and eventually I hope to buy Jim Moore’s press if I continue to core my glass beads.

I noticed Hayley and Sadie ended up using BOTH presses during coring on a lot of their beads. If they wanted the rolled look, they’d use Dave’s and finish up on Jim’s using the plastic dies to get the tubing super flush w/ the bead. Ahh, if only we could combine the two and make the perfect bead liner..

Now I’m waiting *impatiently* for my Impress Bead Liner to come in the mail so I can play!

P.S. I would recommend Dave’s Deburring Tool regardless of which press you have since it saved us SO much time in prepping the tubing!