Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bead Recipe: Tidal Pools

I've always wanted to write a "Bead of the Month" column, but the reality is, I just couldn't jam another commitment into my schedule!

However, if I were to write a "Bead of the Month" column - this might be one of them.

I call this design "Tidal Pools" for the sandy texture and the rich blue pools.

Skill Level: Intrepid Beginner to Intermediate. The shape is unimportant, and can be asymmetrical and organic - good for beginners struggling with shape control.

Prerequisite: Know what a reduction flame is. Know how to make a twistie.

You will need

Glass Rods:
Effetre Light Ivory

Effetre Light Dark Sky Blue

Additional Supplies:
Goldstone frit, fairly small/fine
Silver foil
Some Twisties containing High Silver colours

Your favorite marver
Pair of mashers
Plus all the usual equipment to make beads (Mandrels, torch, kiln, glasses). I am presuming you already know how to make beads and know how to make them safely.

 I usually have left over twisties laying around - but if you don't and need to make some fresh - make some using high silver colours, such as Double Helix and TAG. You might alternate stripes of ivory and Terra, or Helios or Clio or Aura. (Avoid the black looking rods - or not, but the look will be quite different.)
Before turning on your torch, tear or cut your silver foil sheet in half or thirds. 

Start by making a base bead in ivory, make it longish, anywhere from 1 - 2 inches, as per your preferences and ability.

Build it up and shape it into a rough oval, footballish shape. The shape isn't too important to the bead, and you can go for an organic shape that will suit this better than an example of perfect Euclidean geometry.

Let it cool and stiffen a little, and apply silver foil to the right half of the bead. (Reverse for left handed flame workers.) Burnish it onto the glass (rub with the marver.)

Apply the flame to the foil and melt it in. While it is still hot and glowing, roll the side you just applied foil to in the gold stone frit. It's not necessary to apply it all the way up to the very edge of where the foil was - leave a buffer zone.

Apply your twistie to the edge, more or less, between the foiled and unfoiled half. Again, this doesn't need to be precise.

Melt the twistie in.

Add two or three large dots of the Light Dark sky blue, one on the unfoiled end of the bead, next to the twistie, and the other on the other side of the twistie, on the opposite side of the bead.

Melt these in partially - flattening them with a marver, but leaving them still raised.

Apply a large dollop of clear directly onto the Light Sky Blue, and marver to the edge of the dot. Then continue to melt them in.

Once the dots are melted in, get the bead evenly heated and ready to mash. If a nice piece of pattern has developed that you can see, you may wish to feature this on the front of the bead, but as a general rule, choose to mash so that the Light Sky Blue dots come out on the sides, not smack in the middle of the front and back.

Mash the bead, tweak the shape if necessary, and firepolish out the chill marks. Turn the flame down to a reducing flame and reduce to bring up the metallics in the twistie. Kiln and anneal as usual.


The layer of clear is what keeps the Light Dark Sky Blue bright - without it, it will reduce and react.

Correction: Dark Sky Blue.

The clear makes the blue look lighter, hence my memory error. Light Sky Blue comes out too light.