Tag Archives: glass beads

A good day for beads

I never did get on the mailboat this morning. I played it safe and stayed home when I started feeling like I was coming down with some kind of bug. I slept and read for the morning and found some energy to work in the afternoon, turning a dumb day into a productive one.

It was easy to feel inspired with ideas when this package of beads from Leese Mahoney arrived in the mail.

I imagine combining some of the “earthy” rough textured beads with some of my own beach rock beads. I finished up a batch of drilling I had started last week, and waxed and buffed the beach rocks.

Holly Kellogg asked what the polymer clay swirl beads looked like after they were fired, so here are two photos for you, my buddy Holly!

Buffing the beach rocks with a muslin wheel got me wondering about buffing some of the polymer beads. I already had a clean (no polishing compound) buff for the rocks, why not try it on the translucent clay to see how it changed the appearance? The photos below are late afternoon shot, done in a hurry, but they show the difference between the un-buffed beads (top row) and the buffed beads (bottom row).


The copper beads I covered with translucent clay were among the most disappointing when I first fired them. After buffing them with a muslin wheel, I really like how they look. Especially the beads with a little white beneath the translucent salmon. When an experiment changes from something I would not bother to repeat, to something I can’t wait to explore further, that’s a good day.


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Glass class day 2

The first thing we checked were our beads from day one, fresh out of the kiln. Still on their mandrels.


The colored bits of glass, on the end of the mandrels, were how we kept track of our beads after they went into the kiln to anneal. Each one of us had an identifying color.

Holly’s and my beads from day one.

Holly and I also made some head pins. 

I would have loved one more day of class, but real life calls us back after we pick up our last batch of beads in the morning. Holly heads south, I head north. Bye bye Rockland.




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So much fun…

…that we played with fire all day and all night. I can see how people get addicted to this!  I’ve always liked handmade glass beads, but I now have an even greater appreciation for the skill it takes to make them. We learned safety stuff first, then had some great demos by  Ed and Virginia, started making stringers, and finally decided to take a break for lunch at 1:30. No one wanted to stop working. We came back from lunch, more demos, and then we started to make beads. No one wanted to break for dinner, but since the only pizza delivery in town was Domino’s, the four students headed across the street for Mexican food. Which we ate as fast as we could so we could get right back to the studio. Finally deciding to leave by 10….or so.

Ed and Virginia’s studio. Playing With Fire.

Holly lights her oxy/propane torch for the first time. “Don’t take my picture, I’m too scared!”

“Oh, okay. That wasn’t so bad. Now you can take it.”

Virginia demonstrates how to make stringers:

Making my first stringer:

Holly and I learn the hard way, not to pick up stringers too soon!

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Beads on my mind…

…since early December.

That’s when I bought these beads at the Island Arts Association holiday fair in Bar Harbor. They’re made by Linda and Ken Perrin from Atlantic Art Glass, in Ellsworth. (It’s so cool to know they have their groovy  hot shop in humble little Ellsworth, the crossroads of downeast Maine!)

I haven’t been in the studio for a couple weeks, but my little winter break is about to end. I keep thinking of how I would like to combine these with some of my own PMC beads. Today I got them out for a fresh look. And I left them out on my bench. To call me back to the studio.



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