Two very exciting new items this week – which to talk about first?
Ok – the Rhombus beads! The Rhombus bead is a larger than usual 2-hole bead – designed by Lena Gillespie for the Canadian manufacturer and wholesaler – John Bead. It is a a parallelogram with opposite equal acute angles and opposite equal obtuse angles, and four equal sides. They fit together like puzzle pieces and because they are a larger size – they work up quickly. They are fun to play with!
And, of course, my burning question is … can you make a stretchy bracelet out of them? Why yes – yes you can. 😉
And, of course – they come in a whole whack of colours for your beading pleasure.
On to the dragons!
Here be dragons
After some feedback from you, dear friends, we have decided to try offering some of the One of a Kind lampwork beads that we normally sell on consignment in-store only. These are made by local artists, some of them right in our own lampwork studio (which – we have classes and studio space for rent, in case you want to dive right in and make lampwork beads yourself.)
So today – we’d like to introduce you to the lampwork dragons of Ms Dwyn Tomlinson – known as DragonJools.
Bio: Dwyn Tomlinson has two passions, and a million consuming fascinations. One passion is glass – and dragons are one of the consuming fascinations. She says that dragons might be an passion – except that she hasn’t found a live one yet. Until that day – she will have to make do with making images of dragons. These sculptural lampwork beads come from her own personal vision of dragons – inspired largely by the so-called “Western” style of dragon, but with less of the “rampaging the countryside and eating all of the villagers” thing going on. This series of “sea dragons” are inspired by real life Seahorses and Leafy Sea Dragons. We think you will agree – her dragons are whimsical, playful, earthy, and ethereal.
What is Lampwork? Lampwork is an ancient artform – the craft of making glass beads (and small sculptures) by melting glass in a 2000 degree flame, one pencil-thin rod of glass at a time. The glass is melted and wound like molasses onto a stainless steel rod (mandrel) that has be pre-dipped into a ceramic slurry, that will fire in the flame, and later be drilled out of the glass.
With a base of glass thus made, layers are built up, using different colours of glass in patterns to create the designs that make up the bead. Care must always be made to use glass that is “compatible” with each other, so that the bead remains intact and does not crack. Once the bead has been shaped and formed to the artist’s satisfaction – it is placed, still glowing hot, into a kiln, and cooled slowly overnight to room temperature. Then it must be pulled off the mandrel, the ceramic core drilled out (cleaned) and then any additional processing might be done, such as acid etching or sandblasting.
These particular beads – and much of the art beads that you see – are made with so-called “soft glass” – which is a soda-lime based glass that comes in a wonderful selection of colours – but is very prone to thermal shock. This means that the artist constantly has to be aware of keeping the bead at an overall temperature between 1000 and 1400 degrees F. Too hot, and the bead will start to droop and lose it’s shape, but if it gets too cool, and then is rapidly heated, it will crack. Much of what the artist has to learn has to do with managing this characteristic.
If you’d like to see this process – here are a couple of videos
Real time – making a simple bead – about 5 mins
Making a more complex bead with flowers inside, sped up – about 7 min video showing a 30 minute bead.
As with our other Ooak offerings – we hope that you enjoy these, and remember – each one is unique and has it’s own character, and so, if you like it, don’t linger.
Can’t find what you are looking for? Feel free to just email us and ask!
Never forget the Manager’s Specials – over 600 specially selected items on sale – with savings up to 70% off!
Ready to go big or go home? Don’t forget our Full Packs and Designer Packs, so you can experiment and design big! Whether you are assembling kits or making the spectacular item of a life-time – we have better deals on bigger quantities!