The last few days have been very exciting! πŸ™‚
I set myself a challenge to design a Burlesque-ish glass choker, and maybe some earrings, for a forth-coming Valentine’s party. I had already contemplated on what colours I’d like to wear, themed around a beautiful grey corset I’d bought for New Year’s Eve (but not worn as it had arrived too late to wear!). So in January, I had already started putting the costume components together, i.e. corset, skirt, heels, feathers, ribbons, etc.

Choosing glass rods for the costume

Laying the items out like a colour board, I picked out some Effetre Murano glass rods from my selection, choosing colours that I felt harmonised the overall costume, which contains hues of grey, black, dark metallic copper-gold, a selection of mid to deep pinks and a shock of amber orange here and there.

Close up of glass rods

Of course, using the cold glass rods in this manner is experimental, since glass chemistry changes in the flame and so can the colours. Many many variables at play, so it’s better to not take it too seriously when colour matching like this, but it’s a good place to start!

This is one good reason we create a batch of test beads before commitment!

We also have to consider design too: the design of the beads and the design of the choker, as well as their impact to the overall design of the costume.

I put together ideas for the lampwork techniques I’d like to try out, and colours I want to put together, and different sizes (typical for a neck adornment), unusual pattern formations, etc. I write these on a Post-It note and put it next to my torch!

On this occasion, I also ordered some Rubino Oro. This is the queen of the pinks and reds, and priced accordingly too! One of the metals used to create this precious beauty is real gold particles, so this makes it extra special and extra pink!Β I must show Gabi these colours… πŸ˜‰

Bead in the making!

At the workbench, I lay out the glass rodsΒ  (as shown above), and make sure my tools andΒ  pre-prepared mandrels are nearby. I run through my atelier safety checks for the torch and the kiln, and when ready I pop on the didymium glasses and off we go for the next few hours pulling stringers and making beads!

… some time later!…

Annealed and out of the kiln, then cleaned and bead holes cold-worked, the beads are ready for observations! πŸ™‚

First batch of beads… now ready to be assessed for colour, design, harmony…

Effetre glass rods used in this project: opaques Pink (#1261), Light Pink (#1260) and Pastel White (#1204), and, transparents Pale Amber (#1012), Grey (#1048), Clear Special (#1006) and Pink (#1068). And of course, Rubino Oro (#1456) andΒ Pink Medium (#1376, alabaster range).

Lampworked beads ready for the clasps and cords to be fitted!

Rubino Oro

A ‘known’ behaviour of the glass colour Rubino Oro… see the dark threads?

One ‘known’ peculiarity with Rubino Oro is shown here on the right. This glass can react to the propane level in the flame, i.e usually too much propane (known as a ‘reduced flame’), and the chemistry results in dark threads or spots, usually grey or black. This can even happen in a neutral flame… so be careful!

This ‘effect’ can be a nice aspect of the design, but of course, if this was not intended then the torch valves can be adjusted to bring more oxygen into the flame and the dark spotting should disappear – if this doesn’t work, then it can be plucked off while still molten using some tweezers.

Obviously this could ruin a design (or enhance it!) but that’s all part of the fun of lampworking πŸ™‚ In this bead, I actually don’t mind the effect… it looks like a plant of sorts… πŸ™‚

Several observations noted for Alabaster Pink Medium, Rubino Oro and Pale Amber

I experimented with an alabaster glass rod for the first time (rightmost bead) – this glass ‘shocks’ very easily when warming the rod up at the flame end (so small pieces of glass spit out across the workbench!). I learned to really take it slow with this one, and it’s worth it because I love the creamy softness of the results.

The Pale Amber glass is beautiful too and very easy to work with in the flame. As a transparent, it works great in layers with other colours. Pale Amber was used in each bead in this photo, demonstrating its versatility!

The Rubino Oro in the leftmost bead was applied via an encased stringer I created for the purpose – encasing is the technique for applying clear glass over another glass colour, used in this case to protect the Rubino Oro from dark spotting!

And here, using a few test beads of Deep Yellow (#1408) with the other colours, I created some earrings! Very easy, very quick!

Glass beads and antique gold findings to create the earrings

And sometimes, standing at the flame, you have to ‘break out’ of the creativity trance and do something completely different, just for a moment or two! I enjoy making these funny beads, so here are two more for the collection. Sadly, after cleaning, one of the beads broke (perhaps too much pressure from my Dremel on a very thin section)! I glued it back together just for the photo πŸ™‚

Couldn’t resist a few more Mickey Mouse hearts! Sadly, one ‘ear’ broke off during cleaning (glued back on!) :-/

More beads to come for this Valentine’s project!

Originally published: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 at 21:44 in Atelier, Inspiration


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4 Responses to “Designing glass jewelry for costumes”

  1. Coach M says:

    That funny behaviour of the Rubino Oro looks like those prehistoric insects caught up in amber!

    Nice custardy yellow on the earrings … Very grown-up, Bunny πŸ˜‰

    • Yes! You’re right! I was trying to think of what it reminded me of, and that’s it…
      Hmmm… but is that attractive??
      Though “Insect trapped in glass bead” does make for an interesting headline!
      And yes, after reviewing these test beads I thought the yellow too intense for the choker – but quite nice for the earrings πŸ™‚

  2. Jude says:

    Wonderful work ma soeur – how lovely it will be for you to wear your own glass choker πŸ˜‰

    I too thought of a prehistoric mosquito in that one pic haha – I liked it xx

  3. Mick says:

    . . . and a bit like moss agate.


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