Triple Drop Art Glass Earrings

January 21, 2021

starlight midnight blue, triple drop lampwork glass earrings

AKA Why I don't usually take commissions!

Just before Christmas I had a request for a commission, a pair of earrings with a drop of three beads. Now those of you who have been with me a while know that I don't take commissions at all because they send me into something of a spin. It's not so much that I am perfectionist although that is certainly true, it's more that I become possessed and literally can't stop until, well, until it's actually perfect - lol.

They weren't needed until mid January and I thought they would be a good project to distract me from too many Quality Street and crap tv over the festivities. I had a starting point for the design of the beads but it took me nearly a week to figure out which glass I needed to use. Then the madness really kicked in!

pile of over 50 sparkly, blue lampwork glass beads
It took four solid days of bead making to get anywhere close to what I wanted but the fifth day saw some decent beads come out of the kiln. The holes weren't quite big enough, no problem I thought, the dremel and a diamond drill bit will sort that right out. It was only when I went to put the earrings together that I realised the dremel had given each of my 6 beautiful beads tiny chips around the holes... sigh! Back to the studio this time with bigger mandrels for bigger holes. This time the beads were actually perfect.

Now, how to put the earrings together? I knew I wanted them to have some movement and initially tried several ways of wiring the beads with sterling silver wire but they were still too stiff. Then I had a lightbulb moment, I would use some fine sterling silver chain. The main problem with this was that the chain had to take the weight of 3 glass beads and would therefore need soldering. I tried submerging the beads in water while I soldered, I wrapped them in wet wadding, I covered them in some green goopy insulating shit that was unspeakably messy but the crackling sound of  it drying  sounded far too close to the sound of a glass bead cracking and my nerves couldn't take it any more. Just because I had a pile of over 50 beads didn't mean I had a replacement if I broke one. So I had to think again.
I came up with a rather obvious solution of soldering, and in fact cleaning and polishing, before I put the beads on - duh!

So here we have them, I have to say I am really thrilled with the way they turned out, as is their new owner. It was a really interesting exercise in problem solving and I learnt a ton, not least that I should write everything down because honestly, if I did that I could have made these in 2 maybe 3 days flat!

P.S. Please excuse the coffee shakes in the video, it was early and I needed to get them gift wrapped!

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