…yesterday at Winters Work.
This was a commissioned piece. A request for a silver beach rock necklace with just a few beach stones added.
The piece below is one I started as soon as I drilled some of the English sea glass. I LOVE how well the colors combined with the flame worked green glass beads made by Sue Kennedy. I love it so much that as soon as I post this I’m going right to her Etsy site to see if she still has the other focal bead I’ve been eying! (Actually, it’s gone. I bought it before posting. Didn’t want to have any regrets.)
I am so happy with how the frostiness of this bead by Sue combines with the natural frosty finish of the hundred year old sea glass. I like the dichotomy of being able to combine something so old with something so new in a piece. ( I also like using the word dichotomy in reference to a necklace.)
There are two of Sue’s beads in this necklace. Can you spot the other one? Note to self: Time to make more PMC toggle clasps.
Mixing Keith O’Connor‘s raku beads with my own silver beads, I finally figured out what I wanted to do for my first necklace using some pieces of English sea glass that I spent the last few days drilling.
The whole time I was drilling I imagined combining these greens with freshwater pearls. I strung and restrung a series of combinations, but nothing seemed right. Surprisingly, a necklace of all sea glass seemed too “blah” this afternoon. I ended up going back to my asymmetric comfort zone, and included some of the ceramic beads I’ve had on hand.
I just love this sea glass and can’t wait to drill more and come up with more designs. I know I’ll find a way to use the pearls with it; today just wasn’t the day.
Today was the day to work out the bugs in my sea glass drilling technique. I knew I would have to go more slowly than on my first attempts. Unlike most of the rocks I drill, which are pretty hardy, glass does not like to be shocked. Even though I drilled slowly and lightly, one of the first pieces cracked this morning. I realized I was working in a cold basement, with glass submerged under cold water (to keep the drill bit cool) and I started to think it might be a good idea to try warmer water for my sea glass pieces. The warm water seemed to help a little. No more cracking, but progress was slow.
Bruce stopped in after his morning of painting buoys in his own shop. We talked about drilling, shocking glass, etc. He asked if I ever used oil as a coolant for the drill. He thought it would be a better lubricant than water. (He is always trying to help me find ways to be more productive, which I almost always appreciate.)
I tried drilling a batch of glass submerged in canola oil. I noticed several differences between the water and the oil. Water becomes cloudy right away while drilling, and I dump it out and refresh it with each rock I drill. The oil did not become as cloudy, and I was able to drill 4 or 5 pieces before having to dump it out and add fresh. In drilling glass, the drill bits lasted much longer with the oil than they did with the water.
I drill rocks and glass about 2/3 of the way through and then start drilling from the other side to meet up with the original hole. I’ve gotten pretty good at it with rocks, though it still is a kind of “blind” drilling. I never know if I’m quite lined up right, and sometimes I’m off. I had some unexpected help in this area when using oil and sea glass. As I poured oil on the pieces I had lined up, the glass became more transparent, yet the hole coming up from the bottom remained frosty. I could see the exact point I wanted to meet to complete the hole through the center of the piece of glass.
I had been worried about the glass cracking as the drill pushed through to the first hole, but I was able to see clearly just when I needed to slow down and “finesse” my way through.
I wish I could find glass like this from a simple walk on the beach. Thick, rounded, and well tumbled by sea and rocks; matching the size and shape of the beach rocks I love to collect. But, I might take 4 walks on the beach and only come up with one piece like this in either a white or sea foam green. Most of the glass around here is a spearmint green, or brown, and much thinner, and less well tumbled. None of the pieces in my necklace from yesterday have a smooth rounded shape, even though I’m still happy with how it came out.
Check out these beauties. I could look at them for hours.
Lucky for me there are collectors in England who have a chance to visit the beaches along the northeast coast, near where old (1800’s) glass bottle factories would collect glass waste at the end of the day and hurl it off the cliffs into the North Sea. Most of these pieces are at least 100 years old.
And they are the perfect size, shape and color for some new necklaces I have in mind.
Looks like I better order some fresh drill bits and get to work.