The other day I had some time with the torch and my kiln. I decided to play first with making head pins - I love the ones I see other great artists make (like SueBeads) - so thought I'd give it a shot. I have a big bag of millefiori that I used for a couple of the pairs, and then used raku frit on the oblong ones.  The big one is two millefiori squished together.  The hardest part? Making them similarly sized.  I have no idea how to do that - other than making 1,000 head pins and then matching them :-)

Then I played more making hollow beads.  I need a lot more practice! The green one I forgot to put a second hole in - so let's call that a vessel bead instead of a traditional bead :-)

This last weekend I got to take an amazing class with Julie Couch.  My wonderful husband gave me the class as a Christmas gift (perhaps it was all the links I sent him??)

Julie. Is. Amazing.  And an extremely generous teacher.  And somehow she teaches in a way that clicks with me.  The class is all about hollow glass beads, which is my holy grail, the beads I most want to make.  She showed us a technique using stainless steel tubes, a rubber tube attachment, and tongs covered with fireproof material.  The glass was at The Glass Resort in Frederick, Maryland, and Tracey, who manages it, was a wonderful hostess. The set up there was really great:

Here is what I made during class:

And here is what I made on my own at home.  It's always hard to replicate what you learned on your home set up, and I am really happy with how these came out :-)

I've spent the last two days "cleaning my studio" which really meant I made a bunch of stuff because that's easier than figuring out where to put it all :-)  I have a great space in my house to be creative but often weeks and months go by without me doing anything - it's much better to have a deadline - so I plan to participate in as many ABS Challenges as possible this year.  I loved January's inspiration - oranges and greens and yellows make me happy.

Field of Flowers
Egon Schiele

Since I was "cleaning," I dug around my crazy big inventory of beads, and found a tin of beads I had enameled during a Barbara Lewis Painting with Fire class.  The orange was perfect.  Then I dug out some lamp work glass disks that I made in yellow with a little wrap of orange, and two funky green and silver beads bought on a trip to Paris, and some other tiny lamp work beads floating around my workspace. With the green glass beads finishing the necklace, it felt a bit heavy, so I added a silver component on one side to lighten things up.  I love how it came together!

You can see all the January (and previous month's entries) on Pinterest.

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