The Brazil FIFA World Cup has created such a fever in Belgium – a Mexican wave of loud cheer bursts from almost every lounge window, followed by trailing car horns, and then celebrated in style with yummy Belgian beers at every local bar!

So of course, my atelier is ‘vibing’ with the locals and I could not resist pulling some rods from the canisters to suit the cheers!

Brazil colours and some tools of the trade

Brazil colours and some tools of the trade

On this occasion, I introduced a new glass supplier to my standard Effetre murano glass palette; a lush Reichenbach transparent green. It may have been my imagination, but it did feel a little harder to melt than my Effetre rods, but this characteristic gave me the advantage of sculpting with more ease.

Brazil beads basking in sunshine with their Brazil goddess

Brazil beads basking in sunshine with their Brazil goddess

I didn’t mix the Effetre and Reichenbach glass up too much, even though they have the same COE. Minimising the risk of too much glass stress is a vital skill if you don’t wish your art pieces to crack or break during, or post, production!

Brazil beads up close

Brazil beads up close

And since this experiment included testing my new 4mm (1/6β€³) mandrels, I threaded some of the Brazil beads onto my new “Pandora” style bracelet πŸ™‚

Brazil glass beads on "Pandora" style bracelet

Brazil glass beads on “Pandora” style bracelet

This particular bracelet has a magnetic clasp and is supposed to be designed to carry the weight of glass beads, but time will tell when I start the ‘wearability test’! If the bracelet fails, then I simply change the product and/or the supplier. There are many bracelet suppliers to choose from and many choices on metals to suit any budget. Personally, I would balance the budget of the bracelet with that of the beads, i.e. expensive glass beads should be partnered with a secure solid bracelet and clasp.

"Pandora" style magentic clasp fitting

“Pandora” style magentic clasp fitting

The bracelet shown here is not a precious metal but they are Effetre glass beads, which I made small, light and annealed (minimises cracks and breakages)… I will also add a rubber stopper bead at the end in case the clasp accidentally opened.

All jewellery has its risks, no matter what the brand, so using clever little ideas such as rubber stoppers and safety chains can minimise any tears!Β  If the chain snaps and the glass beads fall to the floor, they may be fine so long as they were annealed. I have dropped my glass beads (not for fun!) and they have survived.

However, if you are going to pay Β£30 for one glass bead then I’d advise you to make sure it has been annealed and that all the materials are authentic, i.e. if it states “Murano” glass, it should be Murano glass, not CiM glass for example. There are many lampwork glass manufacturers and each have their own glass palettes and prices πŸ™‚ As my articles describe, there are differences between them all! Troll even makes this distinction in one of its own articles.

There is much similarity in the glass beads offered by Pandora, Biagi, Chamilia and Troll. Aside from the heavy brand stamping on the metal (on all but the Troll products) – a trait in marketing I find displeasing to the eye! – I also find the designs quite ‘template’, somewhat uniform. A few of the Troll beads have caught my eye, so I won’t be too critical here πŸ™‚ That said, Β£30 for one lampwork bead is far from my budget!

Effetre glass rods used: The opaques – Pastel White (#1204), Light Lemon Yellow (#1404) and; the transparents – Mosaic Blue #1059, Dark Emerald #1030, Violet Light (#1041), Blue Ink (#1058), Yellow (#1008) , as well as Clear Special (#1006).

Reichenbach glass rods used: Iris Green (#L4010T)

Stock-taking & labeling glass supplies

Stock-taking new glass rod bundles, in the garden...

Stock-taking new glass rod bundles, in the garden…

Just before my June holidays, I purchased a large batch of glass rods. I didn’t have time to unwrap, catalogue, label and clean them until my return, but luckily when the time came Belgium was having a wonderful heatwave to work ‘al fresco’!

My little business process for this activity is pretty straightforward πŸ™‚ I have my order checklist to ensure I receive the right colours, amounts, etc. (not that I need to check as Glassworks.be is so wonderful!) and I record the number of rods of each colour code and the width of the rods (these can vary from 2-3 mm to 7-8 mm).

I have a special catalogue to log all my purchases and usages (this also helps me to maintain optimum supplies – would be a nightmare to run out of clear glass or bead release!).

I handwrite little labels which I tape onto the ends of each rod. This vital task ensures I choose the right colours for a project during the design phase, and later becomes a necessity when working at the torch!

Labelling new glass rods, ready for use in the atelier

Labeling new glass rods, ready for use in the atelier

Just picking up the wrong white hue, for example, could mess up a whole project (I’m thinking Anise White #1208 versus Pastel White #1204, or Dark Ivory #1276 versus Opal Yellow #1266 …)

Then there is glass that is one colour when room temperature but actually changes to another when flamed. Only the labels will really confirm you have the right rod in your hand if you have any doubts!

Cataloguing glass and studying with FloppyBunny...

Cataloguing glass and studying with FloppyBunny…

And so FloppyBunny and I chillout in the garden, working real hard with the job at hand πŸ˜‰
The atelier is in full view of the sunnier ‘office desk’… always an inspiration to look at, inside and out!

Eye-spy with my little eye, something beginning with "A"

Eye-spy with my little eye, something beginning with “A”

Garden visitor with a peculiar nose!

Garden visitor with a peculiar nose!

And no ‘al fresco’ pursuit would be complete without a visitor or two!

Many creatures dropped by, but this one really caught my eye!

What a beautiful nose!!

... side profile!

… side profile!

Originally published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014 at 20:50 in Atelier, Inspiration

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