Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Lampwork Bead Maker's Dalliance

OK, now that I've got your attention, what I meant was pertaining to my playtime with metal. Since I'm a glass bead maker who also makes jewelry, from time to time I have to drag myself away from the torch to make components to go in my finished pieces. I am by no means a 100% DIY gal, but I much prefer to make my own parts when I have the time and the skill. In the past this has been limited somewhat to PMC and wire work, including fusing fine silver (which I dearly love), but lately I've been drawn to other metals like brass and copper. I love the look of a nice, aged patina, and (shhh! don't tell) I've been coveting Missficklemedia's patina tutorial for a while now.

Part of it might be because of the company I keep - Cyndie Smith does wonderful, organic work with all kinds of great metals, and Mary Jane's creativity and affinity for many materials inspires me. The other cool thing is that metals like brass and copper are a lot less expensive than silver is these days (but if you're reading this blog you probably already knew that).

So, I've spent some time on a new playground, and thought I'd share my results. On the left is how the brass blanks look when you get them. Kind of boring and useless, huh? The rest are finished components - some embellished with fine silver bead caps and rings, and some just textured and dapped. I got the great color by heating the elements to red hot with my butane torch, then dropping them into liver of sulphur (I mix mine from dried chunks). Once I wiped off the patina on the raised parts with my polishing pads the texture was more pronounced and the finish was great. These have been tumbled as well. Some have been brushed with a brass wire brush as well.

Bead caps are a girl's best friend, and these made using brass discs, a metal punch, a texturing hammer, a dapping block, and liver of sulphur are just what I need. They'll look great when paired with a contrasting metal (e.g. silver) smaller cap and then cored for a finished look.

UFO component made by soldering two dapped and punched discs together.
A couple of large jump rings through the two discs and you're off on another jewelry adventure.

So there you have it. A quick summary of my day at the playground. Next time maybe I'll go down the slide too!


mairedodd said...

these are all so terrific - and i love the ufo... it is rewarding to make your own components... i think though that you have been down the really high swirly slide (at least it appears that way to me)... but i would love to see what you consider going down the slide too!
and cyndie's work is wonderful too -

Alice said...

I'm just getting into metal work--though my toes are just barely in the water. Finding time to give it my full attention is difficult, so for now I just dabble. Plus, my budge is just about shot for the year. I did purchase Missficklemedia's patina tutorial and can't wait to actually put it to use.

Your components are amazing! Thanks so much for the wonderful inspiration!!

MaCarroll Beads said...

Those are really cool! You make it look so easy that I think I will be trying this myself :O)

sharon said...

Great work, these all look yummy! Love alll the marks, texture and patinas!

TesoriTrovati said...

I so want to make more of my own components. I love the bead caps and have been dying to make my own. You are an inspiration!
Enjoy the day!

MoonRae said...

Love these components! Been eyeing a couple of those texture hammers myself.Thanks for sharing

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