I have a soft spot for leopards and tigers. My sister loves cheetahs. Is it our South Africa blood I wonder? We are spoilt with many opportunities to view game at close range and Africa is a place that definitely is “in one’s blood”.
So, it was natural that I would be attracted to trying “tiger” beads. They are not complicated to make and I always find it so exciting when I open the kiln the next morning, to see how they have come out after the overnight annealing session. (Annealing removes any stress which has built up in the beads during the melting of the glass onto the mandrels and forming and decorating the bead.)
The beads are made with amber glass; a hand pulled twisty of black and white; silvered ivory stringer which is ivory glass around which one has wrapped pure silver, heated and pulled it out into a very thin rod in the flame and lastly a good quality clear glass to encase the bead.
The other day I made 6 of them and they all turned out quite different. The ivory stringer reacts with the other glass and ends up a bit like curdled cream. Its impossible to make two that are exactly the same.
In December we were doing a show at one of the hotels and a guest asked me if I could make a camel bracelet for her sister. We saw a bead I had made on one of the key rings and said “Its similar to that”. Well, I searched the internet and found, to my surprise, that there are quite a few different looking camel markings! Basically black white and caramel but the spots are different sizes and different patterns. I chose the most simple, which, luckily was similar to the keyring bead and she was thrilled. Her sister also love the bracelet. I really enjoy this type of challenge and find that it stimulates one’s creativity.
I have designed and made quite a few necklace, earing and bracelet sets to go with wedding outfits too. Its a great feeling when the client arrives to see what one has come up with and goes “Oh, I love it, its beautiful”. I find that they appreciate the time and effort which goes into flame working and the attention to detail and our high standard which we like to maintain.
Do you have a favorite animal? If you are a lamp worker reading this, have you made any beads representing it?
Well today was taken up with some orders for special beads, but tomorrow I shall be trying to get the better of Gaia and hopefully it will torment me no more. (See yesterday’s blog).
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