Here in London the weather has been unusually warm and the glass studio is exceptionally bright. It’s quite a joy to experience this! In Belgium I often relied on my daylight bulbs to illuminate the shadows so this is a refreshing change!

plenty of daylight in the studio... even the flame 'disappears' in the sun-rays!

plenty of daylight in the studio… even the flame ‘disappears’ in the sun-rays!

Over the past few weekends I’ve been ‘torching up’ some brightly coloured beads to compliment the forth-coming bikini-wear season – always nice to find some inspiration for things to come 🙂

My studio partner is a cat and he usually flops on the rug and makes an occasional meow at the oxy-con that eerily breathes in the background. But every now and then he seems overly curious to see it all close-up…

My regular studio guest!

My regular studio guest!

 

Mandrels prepped for torching the night before

Mandrels prepped for torching the night before

I decided to use Effetre glass rods on this occasion. The colour scheme planned is primarily candy red and white with shots of ocean blue hues. I tend to gaze my eyes over my complete rod selection and pick out colours to fit my thinking. It really is a matter of instinct and trusting the process of experimentation. There are so many variable factors in the lamp-working process too, from the chemistry in the glass, the oxygen and propane volumes, the kiln annealing, etc. This is not an art for those who need precision results post-execution!

And at least you’re guaranteed that your output will always be a ‘limited edition’, every single time!

4 simple colours for the first batch of bikini beads

4 simple colours for the first batch of bikini beads

I always do my safety checks first before igniting the torch and turning on the kiln…

…just as well because the open window is compromised before I really get going!

 

Hmm... safety check alert!

Hmm… safety check alert!

 

Hmm... wonder what that piece of orange string does...

Hmm… wonder what that piece of orange string does…

So after escorting my studio guest out of the window, three times, it is time to “flame on!” as Johnny Storm would say!

I always prepare some twisties and stringers from my glass rods before I start on my bead creation

I always prepare some twisties and stringers from my glass rods before I start on my bead creation

 

At the end of the afternoon, my first set of bikini beads start their annealing process.... a 9 hour process

At the end of the afternoon, my first set of bikini beads start their annealing process…. a 9 hour process

 

The next day, I put the mandrels and beads in water to soak

The next day, I put the mandrels and beads in water to soak

 

The beads are not looking too attractive in the soak process but they soon will be!

The beads are not looking too attractive in the soak process but they soon will be!

 

I repeated the above processes to create a second batch of beads, so I would have around 40 beads in total. Only two of them were not to my liking (I wasn’t keen on the effect produced by placing Red Carrot (Special) with Pastel White on transparent Violet Light).

Other than that, I am very pleased with the final set, which are now ready for a quick polish before stringing.

 

Sun-bathing already!

Sun-bathing already!

 

On closer inspection, a few interesting effects to observe using Effetre's 'Red Carrot (Special)' with 'Pastel White', and, Dark Periwinkle on transparent Violet Light

On closer inspection, a few interesting effects to observe using Effetre’s ‘Red Carrot (Special)’ with ‘Pastel White’, and, Dark Periwinkle on transparent Violet Light

The Red Carrot creates an intriguing red-orange ‘glow’ when placed on Pastel White. This can be fun when you are doing “dots”, placing one glass dot on top of another and repeating, as seen in the above photo. In some places there is also a chemical reaction that creates a very fine pale beige line, as seen in the red and white stripped bead (centre). This is what makes lamp-working so magic!

 

Effetre's Dark Periwinkle is a beautiful hue; appears warm and cool like a perfect ocean!

Effetre’s Dark Periwinkle is a beautiful hue; appears warm and cool like a perfect ocean!

For the above beads, I used Effetre opaques Red Carrot (Special) (#1424), Pastel White  (#1204) and Dark Periwinkle (#1222), and Effetre transparent Violet Light (#1041).

An experiment with Reichenbach ‘Mystic Orange’

Reichenbach's Mystic Orange offers both opaque and transparent finishes in flame

Reichenbach’s Mystic Orange offers both opaque and transparent finishes in flame

After one of the lampwork sessions I decided to experiment with Reichenbach’s ‘Mystic Orange’ (#L-502-O) to see how it torches.

It’s really fascinating to watch because it flip-flops between opaque and transparent depending on the length of time you allow it out of the flame and flash it back in again, changing the nature of the glass.

As shown in the photo, the top bead shown the transparency on the left-hand side and the rest of the bead is opaque. I find this quite beautiful!

Originally published: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 22:33 in Atelier, Inspiration

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