Monday, May 18, 2009

Hello out there

Well, everyone here has "recovered" from the earthquake. As far as I can tell there was no real damage, but lots of people felt it. Virginia has had earthquakes in the past, but usually no one is aware of them. Does that even count? My sister, who lives in Cali now, says you don't feel the smaller ones if you are up and about, usually only if you are sleeping. Guess what? Last night she felt the one that was about two hours away, in L.A. She said it was quite noticeable.

But it's time to talk art, so whenever I need inspiration, I get out my book by Linda Peterson, How To Make Beads from Polymer Clay. I have been working on some of her carnival type beads. This post was going to be about making canes, but I got involved in something else, which is just as interesting.

Here is a shot of my version of what Linda calls carnival beads, which use canes and other techniques.

They are bright and cheerful and will make a cute necklace as is, but I also love the look of encased beads. I have done lampworking (with glass rods and a flame) in the past, but not to worry, you can duplicate that look using UTEE. If you dip your bead into Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel that has been melted in a electric glue pot, it gives a similar look. I have been using this technique for several years and I never tire of it. This shot shows what some of the beads looked like after I dipped them in the melted UTEE.

Dipping beads in UTEE is not an exact science, you have to develop your own style. The process can be a bit time consuming, holding the bead on a tooth pick and dipping it and slowly twirling the tooth pick. One of the advantages is that if you aren't happy with the result, you just hold your bead on a toothpick and remelt the UTEE with your embossing gun and try again. When the beads cool (in about 30 seconds) they are ready to use.

Here is a shot of both types. Which do you like better?

It's amazing that the same kind of beads can look so different. Here is a close up of two of the beads...

If you are interested in seeing a video using a similar technique, check this out.

Well, that's it for today. Who knows what I'll be up to in the next few days. We'll just have to see what inspires me. Take care and be creative!


Crafty Gal Linda said...

Oh Susan, these are gorgeous! I would love to buy some of these beads from you. Please let me know how we can go about it. :) I personally like them with the Utee. Just lovely.

Kristen Hermanny said...

I like them dipped! These are so cool. I felt an earthquake in Wisconsin once, it was just a tremor, but it was weird.

i saw a quote this weekend that made me think of you, and I will try to word it exactly.

Women have been wearing jewelry as a form of creative expression since the creation of woman. (not exact, but you get the idea)

Hugz, love, and have a GREAT day!!!

Angela Recada said...

I love the colors! Using UTEE is a great idea - I just recently bought some, along with a melting pot and a heat gun. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the info!

As for the beads, I like them both ways. I love the bold colors and all the texture of the ones before UTEE, and the glassy look of the ones you dipped in UTEE. Each is beautiful in its own way!

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Pretty darn cool!
I like all of them and the shiny ones sure do look a lot like glass!

Tina said...


Sea Gypsy said...

I love both! They are so colorful and fun!

lagirl said...

I love the bright color combinations. Really pretty!

I looked for info on the earthquake and it didn't even make the news here. Bummer!
Stay safe.

Tricia said...

hi susan! :)
i think the dipped ones the best-if i had to pick. they are all pretty wonderful! you know, you really have such a fun blog-i never know what cool thing i am going to find here, what neat creative thing you will have been doing and you do them all so well!
hope you a having a beautiful sunshiney day.
p.s let me know if you have some time one day to meet up for tea. i would love to get together!
p.s.s. the earthquake woke up me and my husband but olivia and her sleepover guest slept on through! :)

Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

These are soooo cool!!!! I can't decide which ones I like better because they look great both ways!

marni said...

They all reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...yum!

Didn't feel the earthquake...coworker did, but not I. Felt one in New Mexico was kinda cool but scary at the same time. Like a roller coaster.

How's June 20th at Hollins? I'll be sending out an email.

Anamir said...

Your beads are just lovelly. Interesting work and fantastic color combination. Congratulations.