Posts Tagged ‘lampworking’

I got a new toy!!  Well, I’ve had it for a couple of months now – so technically it’s not “new” new but I haven’t told anyone about it yet, so I guess it officially qualifies as New!

Anyway……we have a friend who is a boilermaker by trade – that means he can weld!!  Amongst other things…he he. Hubby went round to visit one afternoon and I asked him to see if Pedro had any pieces of scrap metal laying around because I wanted to see if I could fashion a frit crusher out of it.  It would have been a very basic model – probably not even with a “base” as such because I don’t have any welding gear (lots of soldering stuff, just no welding..).

Maybe I’d better explain what a “frit crusher” is to those of you who are scratching their heads right now saying “What the….???”.

A frit crusher is a device consisting of a hollow piece of pipe (preferably with a base so the glass is contained inside)  and another piece of pipe (also with a base) that fits inside it. Now you put pieces of glass rods etc inside the larger pipe then you whack the living daylights out of it with the smaller pipe and it crushes all the glass into various size pieces – which we in the know (wink, wink) call “frit”.  The frit is then used to decorate lampwork beads.  It’s great stuff – you’ll just have to trust me on that.

No idea???  Look at the pics – they tell a better story than me…much less confusing.  She’s a “Big Mama”!  There’s a big can of butane gas next to it as well as a rod of glass – just for comparison.

I just wanted some info on how to make one and some offcuts of pipe that were maybe just laying around but lo and behold……a couple of hours later when hubby came home – my brand new awesomely, fabulously efficient, super-dooper frit crusher got plonked on my work desk!!!  Compliments of Pedro!!  Yay – Go Pedro!!!! Thank you Pedro!! How awesome is that!  Hubby said it took him about 5 minutes to make……that’s what happens when you know what you’re doing.  Probably would have taken me 5 hours to work it out……

I have some more projects that require a skill level slightly higher than that of soldering.

I think I may need welding lessons.


Frit Crusher

Pedro's Frit Crusher


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Can’t be!  Not March already!!  What is happening to the year?  Going too fast, I say.  I see more grey hairs every day – lucky I’m blonde and no-one else can see them hey!

My Nana used to say that when you’re young you can’t wait to be older, then when you’re older, you wish you were young again.  No truer words were spoken.  My son – who for the record – now towers over me by a good 6 inches (14 yrs old, size 11 shoe, 12 kilos wringing wet – well maybe slightly heavier than 12 kilos he he) – keeps saying “I can’t wait for…..(blah, blah, such & such)” and I tell him not to keep wishing his life away!  Now, how’s that for my Mum talking!  I can clearly remember her saying that to us kids and now here I am saying it to mine!  Seems like the same old stuff just keeps on getting said to each generation.

Anyway not too much to bliggity-blog about – except it’s MARCH! Already!  And that I’m going to ANASTASIA’S class in Brisbane in May!!  YAY!!!  Check out some of her stuff here:   http://www.anastasiabeads.com/beads.htm  Just cut and paste into your browser).  This is what I will be learning – well not all of it….  It will be totally awesome!  And I get to “play” with fab glass artists too.  The best bit is that you can talk about glass and beads and lampworking until you’re all blue in the face and about to explode and nobody gets tired of it!  Unlike certain people around here that get that faraway “I’m-not-really-listening-anymore-‘cos-it’s-not-my-pet-thing-and-you’ve-been-talking-non-stop-for-like-hours-and-can-we-please-talk-about-something-else-now-and-Beige……I-think-I’ll-paint-the-ceiling-beige” look in their eyes (but you know they still love you anyway!).  Anyway….that’s a couple of months away yet – although, the way the year is flashing by, before I know it –  I will be telling you guys all about how amazing it was!

More news – I have taken most of my stuff off  Etsy and Artfire for the moment.  I am in the process of taking photos of new beads and marking down the older ones ready for a fresh new start. Also – NEWSFLASH!! – I am reducing shipping costs so that it will be cheaper for anyone wanting to purchase beads. So keep checking back as there will be new stuff often!

On a sadder and more sombre note:-  my prayers and sincere condolences go out to all those affected by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.  It has been heartbreaking to watch the suffering, devastating and loss of life on the telly – I can only imagine the terror you all felt when the quake hit.  It has also been heartwarming to see you all pull together as a community – rescuer’s putting other people’s welfare ahead of their own safety, people helping complete strangers in their hour of need.  Now the re-building of lives, buildings, businesses, livelihoods etc begins…..

That’s it from me – best I be going to edit all these pics and get busy listing!  Have a good one!





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Well – I surely must! Obviously I have had a previous blunt trauma injury to the skull or I would not be heating the kiln and lighting my torch in preparation for a session of melting glass blobs into beady things.

What on earth is she going on about….you ask??

While our American friends have probably had another 24 ft of snow fall overnight (ok, slight exaggeration..) and are freezing their little butt-butts off, I am so hot that I am melting into a pathetic little puddle. In my studio room it is almost 32 deg C and 80% humidity! At 10.30 in the morning!!  Oh what I would give for some snow!!!!!!!!!

Not so bad really, you might say, it’s been hotter.

Yep. Agreed. It has. But with my kiln and torch blasting away, my little room gets to about 45 deg C. That’s 113 deg F. Don’t tell me that’s not stinkin’ hot! Now add 80% humidity on top.

My torch is still on. So is my kiln. The glass is beckoning. Beads, here I come….

Now tell me I DON’T need my head read!!

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Yep, I’m sure I have LWOCD!

Never heard of it, you say…. New disease maybe?

Well, you might be off the hook.  Only certain people get it.

Only those who are transfixed by the melting of glass over a hot flame to make various beads, baubles, marbles, sculptures, bits pieces, etc………….like me……get LWOCD

It’s title – translated – is:-  LampWorker’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (and I mean absolutely no disrespect for those among us who suffer from the actual medical form of OCD – which is very distressing, to say the least).

I can’t seem to “walk” past an internet lampworking supplies shop without being compelled to spend money there.  I mean, it’s not like I NEED any more glass, frit, foils, wire, murrini, cubic zirconias, shards, glass, tools, tutorials, glass, copper, presses, bead release, glass, mandrels, powder….did I mention – glass!!!!  I don’t need any more – I have enough glass to make 3 million beads – and that’s only the soft glass, don’t get me started on the boro (that I haven’t even touched yet!!!).

And then I have to build storage to house all the stuff!  More time, more money…groan…

And I know I’m not alone with this disorder.  Yes..all you other lampworkers out there know I am talking about you guys!

There’s only one thing for it!

Blow up the computer so I can’t shop online anymore.

Yep. Can’t see any way round it.

No email. No blog. No Facebook.  No checking out what every other lampworker in the universe is up to and drooling over the incredible eye candy they have to offer. No reading what my fave bloggers in the world are up to.

People!!  Can you imagine how much work I’d get done!!!!!

A decision has to be made. And quickly!

But wait…I’m sweating, running a fever at the thought of not being “electronically abled and internet deprived”!  Are you sure I won’t stop breathing if I don’t check my email???  Or Facebook???  (Not that I write lots of stuff on FB – but I like to KNOW what’s going on with everybody else!!!!)

I’m not sure I can do this.

Maybe I was a bit hasty.

Here we go..changing my mind..ever so slightly..

Nope! Can’t do it!

Oh no – I’ll have to go to Plan B.

I was trying to avoid this but….I can see no way out!

That’s it, get the scissors!

Time to cut up hubby’s credit card!

He he

Have a good one!!!

Cheers – Sandy

Footnote:-   Actually it’s funny really, I rely so much on the internet for stuff but I absolutely loathe and detest mobile phones and could quite happily go for months without even turning mine on…….go figure????

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Yep.  That’s what I reckon anyway.  I can’t help but wonder if there is just ONE original idea left in the entire world.  Sure, there are new twists on old ideas.  Probably enough of a twist to make the old idea look new.  So in this world of lampworking where we are all trying to come up with “new” and “original” ideas, how many of us can really say we thought of “our idea” first.

So then we have the issue of “copying” someone else’s work.  What constitutes a “copy”?  I take a risk here…delving into this incredibly sensitive and emotive subject – of which everyone has an opinion (including me) and the opinions vary greatly and loudly!   I mean, take dots for an example – who owns them? Can anyone “own” a dot? Or stripes? Or birds?  Or frogs?  Or leaves?  Or angels?  Or owls? Or peyote stitch, or , or…..the list is endless.  Some people say that copying another’s work is the greatest form of appreciation…..I say to copy another person’s work exactly – is just plain rude…mostly (Why mostly??  Hang on, I’m getting to that bit…).  Now having said that, have I ever copied another artist’s work exactly (or tried to)?  Yes, I have (on the odd occasion)…but I would never dream of selling them and profiteering from it.  So what do I do with them?? The beads sit in my beautiful  glass bowl on my lampworking table as my personal tribute to that artist and as an inspiration to me (usually tells me that I suck at that style and I should stick to what I know I can do…..lol).

So when is it ok to copy, if ever?  My thoughts are that if you sell a tutorial – either online or in printed form – the person who buys the tutorial has purchased the right to make and sell the subject matter within, whether it be beads, murrini, jewellery, knitted jumpers, soap, tomato sauce – you name it – by selling the “recipe” I believe permission has been granted to reproduce the goods within for whatever purpose the purchaser sees fit.  Whilst my personal belief is that the person buying the tute should usually change colours and “tweak” things a bit to create their own style, if they choose to use the exact same colours etc as the instructions and offer it for sale, then would that be wrong?  Most authors of a tute would suggest that you change “something” when you sell what you make.  I have seen a couple of tutes where the author expressly says that this information is for your own personal use and items made from it must not be put up for sale.  In this case, you should respect that.  If you’re not happy with it – don’t buy the tute.   Most tutorials that I purchase – such as the one I used for my cupcake beads and also eye cane – give permission from the author for you to sell whatever you make as a result from the tute.

I also gain so much inspiration from looking at the colours that other lampies use together!  Some people just have the most amazing sense of colour.  So is it “copying” when you see an amazing colour combo together and you do it too? No, I reckon nobody’s got dibs on colour combos – good luck to whoever gets it right!

So – it’s not ok to copy another’s work and sell it unless you have permission either from the tutorial you purchased or because you have personally asked the artist.  It’s preferable not to copy exactly, even if you have purchased a tute.  It also really ticks artists off when they see their lovely original designs showing up in mass produced inferior beads from nations that do that sort of thing (none of which have permission by the way!).   By all means, take inspiration by how someone else uses colour to create magic, how beads are grouped together, the placement of dots and stripes, the use of charms, mixed media, different types of clasps etc.  Sometimes we feel we need to copy a little bit to get our own creative juices churning over but dare to be different, create your own style and shine in your own light – whatever you’re creating.

Now, I’ve had quite a few “original” ideas of my own, you know.  Problem is, someone else has had the same “original” idea too.  I’ve been all excited because I’ve come up with this screamer of an idea, wrote it all down in my journal, made a “prototype”, thought I was finally gonna take the world by storm…..then, in amongst my frequent late night internet trawling for various forms of eye candy…..there it is.  Staring down at me from my monitor.  MY IDEA!!!  Except, that it’s now an idea that belongs to someone else.  Fair dinkum pricks your bubble….   So…I’m not gonna look at the internet any more.  Nope.  Gonna go and make some beads….hopefully some “original” ones!!  (Right after I finish looking at  Manuela Wutschke’s awesome beads….on the internet….he he…)

Have a great day!!  Chat again soon….

PS:  Even the subject of this blog is not new or original!  Someone, many in fact, somewhere has covered this topic before – most probably in greater depth and much better than I could ever address it. Now I have added my 1.5 cents to it…for what it’s worth…

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Hello fellow Bloggers – this is my very first post here!  I have been blogging on my website but I am running out of space and can’t seem to upload pics so I decided I would ramble on in this space and see how that goes.  If you would like a bit more background to some of my posts,  feel free to nip along to my website and fill in a few gaps.  You can find it here:-     http://www.sandypandybeads.com/pages/MyBlog.htm         Well I hope you find my ramblings a little interesting,  sometimes funny, maybe sometimes a little sad……feel free to leave a comment…..

I just had my very first sale on ETSY!!  YAY!!!!!!  Very exciting – I am truly amazed that anyone notices my lil’ ol’ listings when there must be a good couple of million people selling beads there.  Anyway, thank you to the lovely customer who bought my bead – I hope that you love it lots and be assured that much TLC went into the making of it.

I have been trying very hard to keep new listings happening on my website on a regular basis. My resolve is this:   every bead and item of jewellery or bookmark or keychain (or whatever) that is to be listed on the website will be listed before I reward myself by lighting my torch and trying out some of the new bead ideas I have been busily scratching down in my journal for the last couple of months.  I really have to restrain myself from adding yet more beads to the pile that already needs something done to them.  I also reckon that once my head is cleared of the backlog of beads to list, I will have a clear run – creatively speaking….

We’ve come back from Brisbane and Keith Urban’s concert………Best hubby, best son and best mum (that’s me!) are getting ready to hook up our camper trailer and head up north to a place called Eungella (pronounced ‘yungella’) which is near Mackay about 3.5 hours drive from where we live.  We were supposed to leave the day after we came home from Brisbane but our camper was not quite fixed from when we had our accident at Easter time in 2009 (now that’s yet another story – oh ok, here goes…..quickly……picture this…..camping, isolated national park 8 hours drive from home,  no-one else around,  ominous black sky, big rains are coming, …..axle smashes on trailer  –  sooo scary – hubby saves trailer smashing into car and  from crashing into bush due to excellent 4wding skills, no phone or UHF radio coverage,  leave dead trailer by side of road, drive to nearest town 100km away, arrange for towing – bill for towing $2000, lucky we have insurance! – continue home, hit kangaroo – no damage luckily to us or the roo – get home very very late, next day arrange for trailer to be recovered and repaired – again,  lucky  we have insurance!)…..

Anyway, we had a few things left to do to the trailer before we could go.  Just little things like….wire up the electric brakes and tail-lights, plumb the new under body water tank, pack it full of our gear, etc…not much….just everything!  So, we left a day later than planned.  The area we went to had no facilities – no shower, toilet etc – which is perfectly fine, we are seasoned bush campers and come prepared with all our own gear.  I might just inform everyone at this point, that moi does not “rough” it when we go camping.  There is no sleeping bag under the stars or a rough bit of canvas strung in a tree, no squatting in the long grass hoping to goodness that the thing  tickling your bum doesn’t have half inch fangs  that belongs to one of the world’s deadliest slithering, scaly creatures – a species which just happens to reside in the nearby bush. Oh no! – we have the Taj Mahal and we like the comforts of home such as a nice warm comfy bed, comfy chairs to park ourselves with a good book, proper stove for nutritional meals, hot showers and if not a flushing dunny, then at least a dunny chair so all that “squatting” can be avoided!  Now, you might ask “Why do they go camping if they’re not going to do things a bit ‘roughly'”.  Well, the answer is this:  I am far too old to be sleeping on the cold ground with creatures crawling all over me!  This is the Aussie bush – we have lots of crawly things here!  We like to enjoy ourselves when we go camping and being comfortable helps me not be grumpy!  (BTW – For those of you not familiar with a “dunny” chair, just ask me and I’ll fill you in on all the gory details…LOL)

Well we camped next to a beautiful creek with running water – it was gorgeous.  There are platypus not far from where we were but they are very shy creatures and come out early in the morning (did I mention that I don’t “do” mornings?) or late afternoon. We never actually saw any, but there was evidence of them having been there.  The campground was deserted when we arrived but over the next couple of days, several families set up camp around us.  One such family was mum, dad, 2 pre-teen boys and a gorgeous little fox terrier dog called Picasso.  One boy was close to our son’s age and they got on famously!  They went swimming together, shared Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Darwin Awards II, III & IV and droned on for hours about Dr Who and Star Wars.  Mum – whose name is May – is an artist  (now do you understand how the dog got its name?) and it was so lovely to chat about arty things to someone whose eyes don’t glaze over 20 seconds after you mention the “B” word!  (That’s “beads” by the way….LOL).    We had the most glorious week away, read a couple of books, swam in the cool, fresh water, counted the falling stars at night – had a great time, basically recharged some seriously worn out batteries.

The time came to pack up the Taj Mahal and all the gear and head down the mountain, so we said our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch with our new friends.  We had not long gotten down the mountain when the rain started and it just got heavier the closer we got to home.  But it was a great holiday – apart from getting stung several times by the  ferocious and  nasty jumping ants – boy, they are huge!! About an inch long and a massive stinger in their butt which is soooo painful when they hook you.  They are actually in our book of Australia’s Deadliest Creatures – I kid you not!  My son identified them straight away, I thought he was kidding….should have known better than to question his knowledge on  dangerous creatures – and we’re looking forward to more camping soon. I took my camera out to get some pics of the goannas that often traipsed through our campsite, but the batteries died and we were miles from any shops that sold them – so sorry, no piccies.

Next time I will tell you all about my trip to Sydney and the AC/DC concert – yes I got piccies!!  Now it’s time for bed – hope you got a chuckle from my ramblings….Catch you later!

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