Seconds out, round one!

October 27, 2009

I have been thinking about what I write here and I have been trying really hard to tread lightly and not piss anyone off but you know what? I have been burned by others who are always happy to take my money from me for sub-standard products and services for too long now, the gloves are off and I'm coming out punching....

Currently I am waiting for some new clear glass to come in....
I am so sick of spending hours (and I do mean hours) on a complex floral focal and then fighting with the clear glass when I come to encase. This is a subject about which I could rant for England and will now proceed to do so, you have been warned....

Why can't anyone make good compatible soft clear glass that is actually clear? I'm not talking about handpulled here but the clear glass that is produced in bulk. I have tried it all, I have cleaned it with various fluids and ungents that were never meant for cleaning glass, I have peeled and pulled enourmous rods as wide as tree trunks, I have put it through the dishwasher, I have danced with it naked in the pale moonlight with my tongue sticking out, facing east and I have tried the "armpit swipe" with that special brand of cleanser beadmaker sweat. I swear I have rods from pretty much every batch of sodding clear glass that was ever pulled with one exception....Aether clear from Double Helix. Now I am usually on the ball and can, after years of practice, snag new glass as it comes out but this one passed me by, sharp intake of breath....shock horror......I know.... not only did I miss a new glass but apparently the BEST clear glass to hit the scene in years,
Actually I will tell you precisely what I was thinking another day because I remember it quite clearly.
So now while I wait to see when Aether will be available again and how it squares up against the rest of the competiton, Diamond clear by Precision is my "go to" clear. D.C. has not been without it's problems but imho it's the best one out there for what I need. I can case a bead and it comes out clear, who woulda thunk?

I do think that some of problems with some of the other clear glasses may be down to the way we work, but for me, if I work hot and fast I need a clear that works hot and fast without burning, bubbling or scumming. I think it is obvious that we don't mind paying for good clear either, I know I am happy to pay premium price but only for premium glass. What seems to have happened is the price of clear has risen but the quality is still patchy at best, not useable at worst. It is very telling that when a "good" batch hits the market is sells out stupid fast.

This is not a big problem with borosilicate or Bullseye or Satake so why is it with the 104's

I am pleased that Double Helix are taking their time with Aether, it suggests quality control that is somewhat lacking in some of the mass produced clears and I am looking forward to trying it, I have heard great things about it. I do think Precision take a great deal of care with Diamond Clear but these are handpulled, I want more....

I actually want different clears, not just one or two. I want a range of reliable compatible clears for different processes, one to encase silver so it stays silver, one that is really soft and runny, one that is stiffer, one that is optically perfect. I use glass in different ways to acheive different effects and I want clear glasses to compliment that. What sort of money making opportunity is being passed by here?

As a parting thought...I started making beads in 2002 and really the Italian glass was the only one readily available, I simply don't remember there being a problem with the clear, maybe my standards have changed but I don't think so.

Come on, someone pick this up and run with it, we have the money to make it worth your while.....

This wouldn't look the same with scummy clear!

Also in LampworkJewels

Bead Soup 7

January 23, 2013

I am on the horns of a dilemma... The sign ups for the 7th Bead Soup blog are fast approaching and I really, really want to take part again. I absolutely loved the last one, if you remember I was paired with Elaine Robitaille of Too Aquarius who sent me a package of her spectacular polymer clay beads. I loved working out how to use them and I only got slightly stressed about posting my final piece. I also loved visiting the blogs of the other particpants and seeing their bead soup ingredients, reading about their inspiration and process to their final pieces.

Selection of purple flower polymer clay beads
My delicious soup from last year

I am somewhat over subscribed at the moment...
I have several Facebook Groups which I signed up for in a flurry of new year enthusiasm but it's looking less and less likely that I have time for.
I am commited to my once a month blog circle, which doesn't sound much but I really try to take time over writing, reading and commenting on it.
I am already doing the Art Jewelry Earring challenge.
I have an exciting e-course starting in the next week or so
My mothers house is due to exchange and complete over the next 4-6 weeks, which means I have all sorts of packing and organising shenanagins to sort out.
not to mention various teams and forums that I am active in
and mostly not forgetting
I want to make some beads, I really want to make some beads and there just aren't enough hours in the day.

So I think that I need to scale it down a bit and work out what I can sensibly achieve. I am still undecided but it is looking unlikely that I will sign up for Bead Soup 7 however just because I can't doesn't mean you shouldn't. Lori is accepting all applicants this time with 3 different reveal dates so click on over to Bead Soup 7 and check it out. Sign ups are from 25-27th January that is just four days away so mark your diaries.

Oh and don't be surprised if I suddenly show up over there having had a last minute attack of the sod it, I just fancy a bowl of soup.

Purple floral polymer clay necklace
Soup is served

Earring Challenge Weeks 1 & 2

January 20, 2013

I recently signed up for the Art Jewelry Elements blog Earring Challenge to make one pair of earrings every week for a whole year, the earrings have to feature at least one artisan component. Every two weeks there will be a reveal with some of the earrings being featured on the AJE blog. There is also a Pinterest board which is looking fantastic already with challenge participants.

Both my first and second pair feature gorgeous polymer clay beads by Elaine Robitaille of Too Aquarius. Elaine and I were partners in the Bead Soup challenge last year and I have been waiting for an opportunity to use these wonderful beads since last autumn.

Week 2/52

My first pair are Flower Fairy Earrings with Elaine's flower beads, gemstone beads and Swarovski lilac opal crystal beads wire wrapped with Bali silver headpins.

Flower Fairy Earrings

Flower Fairy Earrings

Week 1/52

My second pair with some of Elaine's daisy beads are simply wire wrapped with copper and copper beads. I wanted to make something simple but with lots of movement. I have to tell you it was a real test of my wire working skills as I am not used to working with copper wire or light weight polymer clay beads. Also I didn't have any copper ear wires so I made these myself. I clearly need to practice working with copper as it is much softer than sterling silver. I really enjoyed making these earrings and I'm looking forward to experimenting and practising my skills on my next pair.

Copper Earrings

Copper Earrings
Check out some of the other blog hop participants below there are some wonderful earrings out there.

New Beginnings

January 17, 2013

I love the start of the year, a clean slate bursting with the of possibility of adventure.The start of this year finds me deep in family stuff. My 76 year old mother has sold her house and we are currently packing up the last 48 years of her life and all that goes with it. Layers of the lives of the people who lived there are being trawled through and sorted out. Tons of crap punctuated with bright sparkling jewels of memories, photographs, books, the occasional treasure which has lain forgotten about for decades, it's an emotional roller coaster, heart breaking at times.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to be leaving the scene of your entire life for nearly 50 years. The memories and ghosts of the people you loved most and other, bit part players you were rather less fond of. I do know mum, although sad, is really looking forward to finding somewhere smaller, easier to keep and cosy, her new beginning.

It's not just mum leaving, it's me too. When the removal van pulls away from the house where I lived from the age of 3 I will be leaving behind the house I left for school every morning waving to mum through a gap in the trees, the house where I experienced the highs and lows of being a teenager, the house I first I left for a bedsit in Dulwich at 19, the house where I set off for my wedding at 24, the house where my father and brother both passed away. It is a place packed with so many of my memories I know I will be overwhelmed with sadness.

On the other side of that though I can already see a gleaming new path, liberated from lifelong fears and expectations. It feels as if I really am throwing out the old to bring in the new by exposing things that have laid under dust for years and actually deciding I don't want or need them.

My new beginning is a big one it involves business plans, travel plans, new beads, new jewelry, lots of things I dreamt about for years. Finally, as Howard Jones once sang, I will be able to throw off my mental chains and I am beyond excited as to where it's going to take me!

This post is part of a "New Beginnings" blog circle, if you would like to step this way and follow the link the next blog is by Jean Wagner - New Beginnings