02 December 2010

thursday radar

Been in observation mode much of the day ... this is what's popped up on my radar with some musical interludes.

Firstly, it's been an Incredible String Band kind of day ... maybe because the cloudy and cold makes me think of what England must be like this time of year.  My ISB Pandora station has had some perfect tunes.  Hard to beat Steeleye Span's Calling On Song.

This morning I was struck by all the little treasures that surround me while I work  ~  bowls and dishes filled with bits and pieces and gems and nuggets ...

The black and white dish  ~ tumbled quartz, bone fragments and glass from North Beach in PT along with two carved bone tiles from an antique store all resting in a little black clay pinch pot dish, the edges brushed with pmc slip and over-fired which makes the slip crawl and curl into little mercurial balls...

A tiny Japanese dish filled with the recently extracted gems from my silver scrap pile.  I love this image.  I may have to blow it up and hang it on my wall somewhere ...
And then there's the assortment of cast glass beads from Ghana, the other source of my inspiration for attempting my own versions.  Like Andrew mentioned in his comment, sticks are forced through the molten glass to make the holes - hence the 'blown out' ends on many of them.

My own glass experiments have been informative, but less than wonderful.  One problem I've had is the glass sticking to the paperclay.  So I thought I'd refire the beads that were kind of interesting and see if I could get the edges to smooth out.  I made little cups around each bead to keep them from sticking to the kiln shelf.  You might notice the ragged look of the shelf - a long ago remnant from particularly unsuccessful enamel mixed with pmc experiments.  Then, fingers crossed, I chucked them in the kiln ...

Nothing much happened - it appears I needed to fire higher and longer.  The Roman glass experiment was equally informative and less than perfect.  The tops ended up a lovely mottled green albeit with some spikey bits ... 

The crusty parts of the crushed glass settled to the bottoms and sides and look like bread dough - sort of an unpleasant look for a bead, well, at least they're not to my liking.  One of them was okay, the other two, not so nice ...

Yesterday I bought some kiln wash/bead release that I'm hoping will help with the sticking problem and I'm holding off on any more experiments since my Rio Grande order will be here this afternoon  - ten colors that make up five pounds of glass ... delicious anticipation, no?

Ahhhhh, another musical interlude.  Being the tenacious sort that I am, I heard this cut on said Pandora station and have been trying for hours to find it on-line so's I could embed it here.  All normal efforts failed, it was nowhere that I could find, so I bought and downloaded the album, then uploaded the track to a playlist sight and created a widget for you to enjoy herewith.  Hope you like it ... I do.  Goodness, I can be ever so silly and driven and, well, tenacious.  Sweeney's Men, Dreams For Me ...

Another treasure showed up super quick fast fast - over the weekend I dove into a rather large splurge and ordered two litres of freshly pressed, unfiltered Tuscan olive oil from one of my favorite on-line catalogs, Toast , one to keep and one to share.  Amazingly, they arrived today.  Must get some good crusty bread and do some dipping ... ohhh and some freshly chopped rosemary from my little bush that's currently huddled under a protective plastic covering.

Nick Drake seems like a nice finish for now ... well Nick Drake and one more image ~ a fine treasure indeed, my Little Zoe Bit all curled up in a toasty ball ...

Well, Nick Drake and a couple others inspired by the String Band ...

Rightio ... back to work for this little peep.
and with vast amounts of gratitude for the treasures in my life ...
blessings - kvk


  1. I hope that the new experiments turn out well! I look forward to seeing how they'll develop! I'm curious if investment plaster would work better? I can't remember what those ring mandrel blanks were made of for PMC rings. You'd form your ring around them and fire and then when you were done, you dipped it in water and everything would dissolve. I'll do some digging of my own and report back if I find anything of use. You've got me itching to experiment!

  2. Oh and I love Nick Drake! You've inspired me to take a break from my Tracy Chapman binge and have a Nick Drake interlude.

  3. Howdy Andrew - I'm trying to use the paperclay for its malleability. Plaster and investment would be the traditional mold material, but it's messy and a slurry instead of clay-like. Stay tuned. And yeah, I'm a huge Nick Drake fan.

  4. Kathy,
    This summer at Bead and Button Susan Lenart's sister did a class on casting glass. Gail Lannum took the class.

  5. Thanks Wendy! From what I've been reading I'm thinking this new glass is going to work more to my liking. It's amazing how little info I've been able to find on casting 'beads' - lots on slumping and fusing and every other thing, but not much on beads. I figure if folks in Ghana can do it with seriously lo-tech tools, I can certainly figure it out.

  6. wow, i LOVE the crusty look! you're definitely on the right track, and the bead release is gonna make a big 'ol difference. in general i'd say a little higher and a little (lot?) longer. that hold time and temp. is so important... xoxo


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