How to Make Odd Shaped Beads.

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At least, this is my version. It’s fun to layer different colors of transparent glass in odd, off balance ways and then press flat, letting the glass go where it may. This technique certainly works with opaque glass too, however, the layering of opaque colors will provide a more vivid, striated design, rather than a watery surface color.

First, lay down a light transparent color about 3/4″ long x 3/8″ diameter. I used clear because I like the stiffness of it and it also helps to water down subsequent colors.

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Next, wind or dot on on another transparent color, but don’t cover the whole surface of the clear. Use any method you’d like.

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Cover the rest of the bead with a complementary color that will blend in with the other colored transparent. You can overlap the first color or fill in between. Get creative! Melt the glass so the colors blend together.

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Next, take one of the transparent colors and place two large dots, one on the top and one at the bottom of the bead. If you don’t get enough on the first time, flatten the dot into a pad and add more of the same color on top of the first layer.

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Next, flatten both dots into pads in preparation for the next step.

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Place large dots of the other transparent color on top of the pads. I alternated colors is to keep the watery theme throughout the whole bead, not just the base portion.

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At this point, melt the entire bead until there are no sharp edges. Rounding up all corners and crevices, but not so much that it turns into a round bead.

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While it is hot enough to press, use parallel mashers or another method to press the glass flat.

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Be careful not to press too flat. The thinner the bead the less glass there is above and below the mandrel. The thinner the glass, the more chance that it could crack later. A general rule of thumb is to allow as much glass above the mandrel and below it, as the actual thickness of the mandrel.

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The surprise is what shape your beads end up being after you pressing. Experiment with different positions of the dots and the sizes as well as the different colors you layer as well as where you layer them. Soon you will be able to predict the resulting shape and you will learn a lot about what different colors of glass do together.

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Why do we Drive Ourselves Crazy?

How do you work? Do you force designs based on what you think people want? Do you follow your gut on what to make and then find the market for it later? Do you plan ahead, or do you ‘play’ and let creations come out as they will? If you make one thing that sells well, do you make more and more of it? Are you a ‘one-off-er’?

I’ve run through all of these scenarios and I do a little of all of them at different times. I have struggled with wondering what the buying public wants and really trying to fit into that mold but it never feels right. You’ve followed my struggles with trying to work on bright colors. While that was (still is) a great challenge for me and I learned a lot, it still doesn’t feel natural. But because of it, I can now incorporate brighter colors into my work. So, yay me on that.

lori greenberg glass lampwork beads

When it doesn’t feel natural, that same spirit isn’t in the work…it doesn’t sell as well. Yes, it sells but I don’t get the reaction that I get for my more earthy designs.

It’s funny to me that when something is selling well and getting a great reaction (my earthy, organic beads) and I feel good making them, I still push myself to do something that I think others want, rather than what is good for me and what works. What is THAT all about? That sounds like insanity, doesn’t it? Like personal flogging. I think I need a counselor.

Oh…and…I’ve been busy getting ready for Tucson (I’ll be at Best Bead Show) and haven’t been focused on selling from my bead site.  If you see anything on the blog that you like, it’s for sale!  The ones above are $45.  Just drop me an email with the date of the post and the one you like.

Monet Bead with a Twist or Two.

Here’s a Monet series bead done in non-Monet like colors. I like exploring the different colors within this technique because the results can be very surprising. This type of bright color work I can handle because it’s toned down with organic elements.

The Monet beads were a hit at the Gathering, especially in the large size. While I think I take pretty good photos, I think the depth of these just aren’t evident. I’d love to hear from those of you that traded wtih me for a Monet about how you think the pictures here compare to the real thing.