Monday, February 16, 2009

Teal Gold Leaf Beads

This weekend I worked on 23K gold leaf-wrapped transparent beads in pairs for earrings which I'll deliver to the gallery this week. I thought you might like to see the process. Sorry the pics are a little blurry- just had to try to snap them quickly and get the beads back in the heat before they got too cold.




The first picture shows I've already made the first bead of the pair and have wrapped the teal transparent core of the second bead onto the mandrel. The glass goes on a little blobby and you have to spin it around evenly so centrifugal force will let it pull into a ball shape.

The second photo shows a wonky saturn ring of colorless transparent glass I've wrapped around the teal core. I could make the whole bead out of the teal, but the light wouldn't travel through it as efficiently, and the bead wouldn't look so pretty, imho.

The third photo shows the clear glass melted in and back into a ball shape around the teal core. At the left of the photo you can see the stainless steel of the mandrel extending beyond the gray bead-release coating. Bead release is a liquid ceramic coating you must put on the mandrel prior to adding the hot glass. The mandrel has to be a similar temp to the glass, or the molten glass will not stick. Also, the mandrel must be coated in bead release or the glass will permanently wed the stainless steel and instead of a bead, you will have a swizzle stick. I use a little routing tool to clean the bead release from the shaft of the bead. I do this underwater, as the bead release in powder form is a carcinogen which hangs around your lungs for-evah.


The final image is of the gold leaf wrapped onto the bead, having been slightly burnished with a graphite marver (a little paddle thingie). The metal on the bead must be gold of a high karat or the metal will just turn black and schmutzy with the heat, or will disappear altogether. You can kind of see at the top of the bead that the colored core is still molten and that deep red lava color. This is a lot more fun to watch than may be conveyed in photographs.



When these beads are out of the kiln tomorrow after annealing, I'll go over the foil-wrapped beads with a little scrubby thing so they won't have any little foil edges sticking out. Will try to remember to show you the finished pair of earrings for which I made these beads.

9 comments:

Farmgirl said...

What might work better for getting the process, is a video camera, if you have one. Just set it up pointed at the area of your torch and let it run...

Have I mentioned that I'm fascinated with glass work? LOL

Christina LMT said...

Amazing! Even with the description and information you provide on the process, I still say it's magic!

phlegmfatale said...

Farmgirl - I don't have a video camera, actually, but that's not a bad idea. I think it's really interesting to watch, but I have it on good authority that I'm wired funny

Christina - I'm glad you're enjoying seeing these kinds of posts. I'm going to be doing more and more beadwork, and I hope this stuff doesn't get boring.

Miz Minka said...

"...I hope this stuff doesn't get boring."

Never!!! :) Hope you can get yourself a video camera one of these days, I'd love to watch the entire process. "Phlegmmy's Flaming Glass Bead Tutorials", next week on YouTube. ;)

phlegmfatale said...

Miz Minka - you are most kind, dearie. :)

Vinogirl said...

You are so talented.

Buck said...

I'm with Miz Minka. I'm a process kinda guy and I REALLY enjoy seeing how things work or are made. Thanks for these posts, Phlegmmy.

Oh... you do good work, too! ;-)

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Phlegmmy, most digital cameras have a video function.

As for the beads, you really do have a talent for manipulating flaming hot balls. Heh.

Old NFO said...

Interesting post and educational too! Thanks!