Saturday, 30 April 2011

Rings 'n' things

Venturing away from the conventional bead has been an enormous challenge for me after 6 years of making beads with holes!

The push to move forward I have to say came from my partner David who having come through a degree in Glass Blowing has a very different approach to my work than me who came to glass bead making 6 years ago after a career in childcare and bringing up babies!! ….  No forward planning push or drive other than to just melt glass.

Nothing wrong with that at all, but I have really enjoyed pushing myself beyond the bead and having for the first time to work out a technique for myself.

Challenging is most definitely what it has been. ‘Take the Harlequin Beads that step further, I know you can do it ‘! ‘Yeah right “

But I did it and it worked! 

The failure rate for someone that likes a full kiln of beautiful successful beads at the end of the day has been massive. The despondency, lack of motivation, and infuriation the failures have provoked has on occasions been hard to take J

The process started on the end of a 2mm mandrel. This worked just fine but inevitably meant a lot of glass needed to be ground away before the cab could be set.

First Cabs ...

So we developed our first cab mandrel, at the moment in just one size, but it has made the process easier.  Each one still comes out differently shape wise, and David still grinds away a lot of the design to achieve the correct shape for setting. but the process is easier than working on the end of a mandrel.

Finding colors that work together and that can take the heat of having the clear glass pulled down over the top of the design, keeping their definition and neat clean lines (which of course I have to have J) has and is an ongoing source of despair. That’s why there’s a lot of purple as it works brilliantly for impact.

The last stage is the most crucial and it’s this stage that can put half an hour’s work effortlessly into the water jar L. Pulling the clear glass over the design without any of it bleeding through the surface is the hardest part and the point at which I shed a few tears!

Once a successful cab comes to fruition David grinds it to achieve the perfect shape for setting.

From this ...

To this ...

So now the fun begins, under Georges expert eye David had a crash course in ring design!  Having never worked with silver (other than the silver coring) he has amazed me with the results. His attention to detail and his strive for extreme perfectionism (at times infuriating) has really paid off. The rings are a real credit to him and a perfect unison of work from us both.

So ‘come on then’ I hear you say, ‘you keep showing pictures are you actually going to sell them, or keep them all for yourself J’ and ‘will you be selling the cabs on their own?’

We have taken along time over it, and that’s partly because we have had annoying time constraints but ultimately we really wanted to get it right.

We have decided after many hours of discussion that the cabs initially for the first few weeks will be available through the web site as rings only, and then in a few weeks time we will offer the cabs on their own or as a ring depending on what is required.

The cabs and rings are now available on my website 


Di said...

and it has been worth every minute and every tear - the cabs still have Mango Manda written all over them and David's attention to detail provides the final flourish. I am a huge fan

Julie ... Lush! said...

Yet more stunningly fabulous work from the best couple in the biz!

Jo said...

Absolutely beautiful! I can't wait until the cabs are available for sale! It's great to see the process too.