Monday, March 30, 2015

Free Lampwork Tutorial - Faux Aqua Terra Jasper

It's hard when I write for another blog to keep up with this one.  I published this tutorial a couple days ago on the AJE blog and thought you might want to see it here!

Waaaay back in the beginning of 2009, I saw a photo of a jasper called aqua terra!  I loved it.  I had to make it into lampwork beads!  This is a photo of the first set of Silvered Aqua Terra beads I sold on etsy in January 2009!

My first Aqua Terra beads on Etsy, Jan. 2009

I thought today I'd give you a tutorial of how to make your own, if you're a lampworker!

Materials Needed:

Rod of Light Ivory (Effetre)
Rod of Light Teal (Effetre)
Sheet of Silver Foil
Marver of your choice
Bead Press of your choice

First, cut your silver foil.  I cut the sheet in eighths.  This gives a nice portion of silver foil for an 18mm size bead.
Cut your silver sheet into eighths.

Next, get your bead press ready.  In this example, I am using a Zoozii's straight-sided lentil press, the middle 18mm size.
Get your bead press tool ready!

First, wind your footprint onto your coated mandrel.  Wind it on and hold it above your press, to make sure you are slightly smaller than the diameter of the well you are using.
Gather your glass on your prepared mandrel.
Check the fit of the glass in the well.

I usually roll the gather of glass in the well to make sure there's enough/not too much glass and to get the general shape of an olive. If you need to, add or take away glass.
Add more glass if needed.

Once you have enough glass, leaving enough room to add a little bit more, make your initial press.  Don't do it so hard that you break your bead release.
Check your glass in the well again.

You do not have to press your glass into the lentil shape if you think you have enough glass - if you aren't sure you can press the shape.
Press into your shape to make sure you have enough/not too much glass.

At this point, you can take your glass blob back to an olive shape, As you can see, I have my silver foil all ready and waiting for me!  Next, you want to slightly heat your glass and roll it in the silver foil, making sure to go all the way around the glass.
 Wrap your glass with a piece of silver foil.

Next, burnish in the foil.  Burnishing is rubbing the foil into the glass so it sticks very well.  You can do this with a tile, a marver, or your torch mounted marver.
Burnish the silver foil into the glass.

Then, you want to put your blob back in the flame, and you slightly melt off the silver foil.  This is what it looks like after you burnish and put the glass back in the flame.
Melt the silver foil into the glass at the top end of the flame.

Now, you want to add some squiggles of light teal.  As much or as little as you want, keeping in mind you are going to have to press the glass again and don't want to have too much.  You can always add more teal, it's harder at this point to take it away!
Add teal glass to silvered glass.

Melt in the teal and press the bead again in the bead press.  You can see from the photo below that you will have some chill marks (chill marks are the marks you get on your bead when you press it, and as the bead cools very quickly in the press, you get marks from the press).
Press your bead, check for chill marks.

Flame polish your bead to get rid of the chill marks.  If you flame polish too heavily and lose definition on your bead, you may want to heat, press again, and then flame polish again.
Flame polish bead, put in the kiln!

This is the finished bead!  Of course you can do these beads in many shapes, as I show below.

 Bicone-shaped aqua terra beads
 Lentil-shaped aqua terra beads
 Ribbed round-shaped aqua terra beads

You can visit my SueBeads etsy store to purchase these beads if you're not a lampworker! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Exploring Spiral Stitch and What's New, a repost from AJE

I thought I'd share this post with you here on my personal blog, in case you didn't get to see it on the AJE blog.

It's just been too cold to make beads in my basement, so I have been concentrating on making beaded ropes with spiral stitch.  In addition, I've been exploring texture within the spiral stitch rope and using different clasps.  I thought I'd show you some of my experimentation today!


The very first spiral stitch rope I worked on is in the larger photo - I used an awesome cab by Diana Ptaszynski, and the colors I used were perfect!  I then made spiral stitch ropes to go with my own ammonite cab, my own lampwork heart bead, and ceramic pendants by Diana and Lesley Watt. I love how they all turned out. They were all made using only size 11 beads in two colors, with the exception of the one I made with my lampwork heart - I used one single color on that rope, and although it's hard to see, the beads have a really great rainbow effect.

In this photo above, you can see what pattern you get when you use only size 11 seed beads.  This is pretty basic, easy to stitch up, and fun to do.  You can get a lot done in a short period of time!

I decided I wanted some more texture in my spiral ropes, so for the next two pendants (from White Clover Kiln) I used size 11s as the base row, and used a pattern of a 15, a 15, an 8, a 15 and a 15 for the spiral row.  I also used buttons for the closures this time, instead of toggle clasps. The first button was a sort of flower pewter design that matched the pendant, and the second button was an antiqued copper button that matches the color in the pendant perfectly!

 In the photo above, you can see the texture that the different size beads lend to the design.
These two photos are closeups of the pattern of beads and the texture.  You can achieve awesome looks with this pattern - imagine how many combinations of bead colors you could use!
I think right now, this is my favorite pattern for spiral stitch!

Finally, I used a base row of 8s and a spiral row of 4 11s in this example that was my CoM for February from Melissa Meman.  I love the colors I used, and I love the angelite I used to accent Melissa's wonderful copper clay pendant.  However, the stitch of using 8s and 11s is too loose for me; I maybe have a control issue, because I just can't stand the looseness of this pattern.
The spiral row just doesn't lay nicely on the 8s based on the pattern of three size 8 seed beads and four size 11 seed beads.  This pattern was learned from Jill Wiseman's Beaded Ropes book - I think it would be better if I hadn't followed the directions exactly and instead of going through three size 8 beads whenever I was stitching a new row, I should have gone through 4 size 8 beads.  I think that would have made the stitch tighter.  I'll try that if I ever do another rope in this pattern of beads.

Finally, I made some clasps and bead caps the other day, so I thought I'd show you a photo of them!  I was pretty happy with the way they turned out! These are the bead caps - I made them out of the cutout section of the clasps!  I textured them, punched the holes, dapped them, antiqued with liver of sulpher, and then tumbled for a couple of hours. I love the heft and richness!  I will be making more for sale in my etsy store.

I was clasp deficient, so I made some copper clasps.  I punched them out with my pepe disc cutter, punched the middles out, textured, dapped, antiqued and tumbled.  The toggle bars are made from FREE 12 gauge electrical wire I got from Jason from a job we were doing - I formed them, hammered the ends, antiqued and tumbled these as well.  I love how the hammered ends look.  Two sizes will also be available in my etsy shop too!
And finally, my next project - this clasp held an envelope together on a card Jason got me for Valentine's Day!  It's all the more special because we were in Sint Maarten when he gave it to me (Dutch side).
And here's the necklace I made with it! I used some of my favorite beads, turquoise teardrops, turquoise tubes and freshwater pearls, separated by silver beads.  I used two figure 8 connectors to connect it to the heart. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out! 

Thanks for stopping by today and seeing what I've been up to since I haven't been making glass beads.  Are you learning anything new?

Susan Kennedy
SueBeads Etsy Store
SueBeads Web Site
SueBeads Blog

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sint Maarten!!!!

Just so it's not ALL business, I thought I'd share some photos with you from my trip to Sint Maarten (Dutch side) with Jason.  We went over Valentine's Day to celebrate our 50th birthdays - his was in December, and mine's in May!

 My new favorite drink, a Guavaberry Colada, made with Guavaberry rum!  You can bet we picked some up in Phillipsburg to bring home!  This was the view on the beach everyday!
 We snorkeled in Anguilla, BWI and while I have snorkeled better areas, it still was fun!  Had the best Painkiller ever in a bar on Anguilla!
 The infinity pool view at our resort.  The pool was actually a little cold for me!
 In "downtown" Phillipsburg on our last full day there!  Had to do the tourist photo!
 How could your day be bad when it starts out like this????

 A gorgeous sunset at Maho Beach! 
We visited Fort Louis, on the French side - a long walk up a hill but a great view!

 Super-yachts and iguanas - what else could you want on a sightseeing tour?

At Orient Beach you can get an instant wedding!  NO - I did not. 


And I did NOT miss this weather!
This is more my style!!!!  Thanks for checking out my photos!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

AJE Component of the Month - Melissa Meman

It's that time again - time for the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month challenge. This time, it was Melissa Meman who provided us with some morsels to play with!  She makes awesome copper clay components.  This is the one I chose.

I knew I wanted to do bead weaving (again!!!) and I picked some awesome colors to go along with the copper - peacock blue and wisteria.

I did a spiral rope with size 8 peacock color beads and size 11 wisteria. I have to say, I don't like this method of using 3 8s as the base and 4 11s as the spiral - it's too loose for me.  I will write about this for my Tuesday post on AJE. 

I used some beautiful angelite faceted rounds I had as an accent to the necklace, with about an inch of spiral rope in between the trio of beads.  The color of this angelite is really amazing! 

As I was toggle clasp deficient, I decided to make some.  I punched 22 gauge copper sheet with my disc cutter, cut a hole in it, textured it, dapped it, filed the rough edges with sandpaper, antiqued it with LOS, and finally tumbled it for a couple of hours.  I LOVE how it turned out.  I used some 12 gauge FREE electrical scrap wire for the toggle part!  I hammered the ends to make them flat, and they turned out awesome as well!

I made a connector with copper wire, copper heishes and an angelite faceted bead.  I don't like the way it lays, so I ordered a bail.  It hasn't arrived yet, but when it does, I'll use the bail to hang the pendant. 

And this is the final product!  I like it, love the colors.  I hope you like it too!  Please check out what everyone else made, including our guests, by visiting their blogs!

AJE team: 


Guest Participants:



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bicone Shop Update!

I made a bunch of bicone beads last week, my new favorite shape - but didn't get to list them until now, cuz I've been working that paying job.  So tonight I had a major shop update and listed all of them - lots of bead pairs, and some bead sets.  Please take a look in the SueBeads etsy store to purchase!