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July 21, 2012 / prismcgirr


June was a funny month…not much happening, not much in the way of sales, or inspiration come to that!  Maybe the awful weather had something to do with it.  The one bright spot was Di East’s Birthday bash at Studio 19 and the course with Astrid Reidel that preceeded it.  I only managed the last day, but that was about making 3-D flower murrini, very taxing, but the results were quite beautiful.  Here it is on a modest little bead called Martha:


July is turning out to be a more productive month.  I’ve been asked by Diane Woodhall of the Soda Lime Times to write an article on silver glass for the August edition, which has been fun but quite challenging, and involved some more photography which has kept me busy.

Also I bit the bullet and went on a course with Claudia Trimbur-Pagel about precise stringer control, based on the assumption that as it was about one of my weak points it could do me nothing but good.  It was a great lesson and I feel I’ve benefited from it.  Here are some of my practice pieces, some of which were good enough to put up for sale:


And finally…the muse is back.  Here are three lentils,  with Ekho silver glass which I’ve just recently re-discovered.

…I was pleased with these and one sold immediately…….and the sun is coming back to Britain…, roll on Summer!

May 28, 2012 / prismcgirr

Treading Water

May has been a strange month…not much inspiration,  not much happening in my Etsy shop, and very unseasonal weather….until just now when the sun is suddenly behaving like it was June already!

I have been looking at new techniques….struggling with Kerri Fuhr’s excellent Dragonfly tutorial,

and going back to old styles that have been popular in the past.

Here are some of my dragonfly efforts, getting there, but I need to find a way of making them my own instead of just a copy

But with the sunshine came new inspiration.  I had some fine silver micro mesh that I was saving for a rainy day(!), and decided to have a go with it, using some of my favourite Clio, and what has become my must have clear glass, Double Helix Zephyr, I made this bead, which looks like a light bulb…..the aim was to give it a lot of depth and shine with all the detail in the middle, and the clear magnifying it all.  I left the chill marks, because they give a lovely shimmer to the clear glass. You could almost see the light bulb popping up in my head, like in a cartoon!

Luckily my workshop is quite cool and so while the rest of the country was sweltering in the heat, I went back to my torch and created some more of what I now call my ‘Illuminations’ series.

Next month I shall be going to Studio 19 for a day’s tuition with Astrid Reidel learning how to make 3-D flower murrini, and I think that will be just the right focal interest to add to these beads, so I’m looking forward to that.  In the meantime I’ve run out of silver mesh……seems a good excuse to buy more glass as well.   Shouldn’t really, I’ve got heaps, but then I may run a bit low on Zephyr soon……

April 26, 2012 / prismcgirr

Thrills and Frills

April seems to have been a frilly month for me.  And an exciting one too.  I survived the challenging experience of taking a stand at the Towcester Flame Off, admittedly with my fudge as well as my beads, …the fudge is always popular with beadmakers, but it was nerve wracking to display my wares at such a gathering of my peers!  I was placed next to Anouk Jasperse who turned out to be also quite apprehensive….she need not have woried, her beads are awesome!

Up till then I had been not listing much on my Etsy shop this month as I wanted to have a good stock of my best beads, and the theme throughout April has been frills or wings of various sorts.

Frilly Fritillary

This one is staying with me!

This one was bought by the landlady of the lovely B and B I stayed in at Towcester.

and this one is a bit silly!  Called ‘flatfish’, as it reminds me of a plaice.

Then the frills sort of developed into something more like wings!

Red Flower, Blue Angel

And then I had a break from silver glass,  and this is what developed:

There has definitely been some sort of evolutionary process going on here….no idea where it will end up, or if, like the dinosaurs, it will end here!

March 8, 2012 / prismcgirr

Poppies Galore!

I’ve been having fun lately with Astrid Reidel’s tutorial on murrini making with enamels, and have produced one that looks more like a poppy than anything else…..being red it adds a bright focal point to any bead, and I love them so much I’m adding them to just about everything I make at the moment!

You can find the tutorial in Astrid’s Etsy shop here:

They look good on my new silver leaf focals range, giving them a new, brighter focus. 

Also tried the smaller ones at the end of the pull on some sets.

Set of five tabular beads

Lately have revisited the Pinks, and with the addition of Effetre Ivory, my Clio beads are now dressed up with red poppies….and are very bright indeed…sunglasses at the ready.

Recent beads with poppies


Big Daddy of the Poppies

The really big one!

Roll on Summer!

February 22, 2012 / prismcgirr

Foiled Again!

My previous attempts with silver leaf have never been very successful and it has taken me till now to realise that you can’t actually melt it onto the glass….you have to melt the glass onto it!!  Otherwise it all disappears.

Interesting how some glass makes it then turn gold.  Encasing it with  the Reichenbach Soft Crystal that I like to use does this, while Effetre transparent Lilac and Baby Blue keep the silver colour.   Here are the results…..and for once the seven that went into the kiln came out  without cracks and perfectly saleable, which doesn’t always happen!

The first bead is actually using gold leaf….hard to tell the difference, although it was the devil to keep still.

February 9, 2012 / prismcgirr

New Colours from Silver Glass

I’ve been playing with two lesser known silver glasses this month…Psyche and Elektra, which give some unusual colours, specially when mixed with my favourite Clio, and also am still a bit stuck on the lovely Gaffer frit called Purpur.

This is Elektra,  giving vivid greens and yellows under encasement with Reichenbach Soft Crystal Clear, with purpur frit.


And here is the same treatment with Psyche, which is dark red in the rod, but turns blue and purple under encasement.


Here’s a mixture of Elektra with Clio over white, decorated with my murrini made with Multicolour Dark, not reduced, as reduction turns the frit copper coloured:

Tropical Flowers

And Clio with Psyche over white,


I called this one Circus because it’s so colourful and bright!

And finally my favourite which is just good old Clio over white , encased, with Psyche swirls top and bottom. This time the murrini is reduced.  I find I can reduce quite selectively by using a tiny flame, and then cleaning up the surrounding area with a pointy oxidising one.

Tahitian Sunset

I’m absolutely fascinated by the changeable nature of silver glass, and determined to explore the possibilities which I suspect are endless!  Just small changes in the state of the flame, and different  glasses used as a base can make such a difference to the result.

I think that is the attraction. I like to be able to see into the bead, through the bead, in different light, and always find something different.

January 17, 2012 / prismcgirr


So….during this month I have been building up new stock for my etsy shop, as my pre Christmas sale left it looking quite empty.

A batch of lentils, always a nice job for me, and I seem to have settled on the 36mm press as the ideal size.

Midnight Sky

Red and Green Apples

Lily Pads

Won’t bore you with any more, but they are all on my Flickr, link over to the right.

Big Hole Beads also needed :

Ruby Crown


Rasberry Sparkle

Fuschia Dreams

These have all now  sold, and I was rather sad to see that last one go, but it now belongs to a dear friend of mine.

In fact all but one of the beads I have sold this month so far have been big hole beads, and all the brightly coloured ones, so I need more, but am waiting for a delivery of my favourite silver glasses from America….should be here on Thursday!
That same dear friend has sent me some of the hard to get hold of Gaffer Purple Rose, Royal Purple and Purpur frits, and I’ve been having a play:



Drama Queen

Oh boy, still having so much fun…as they say’so much glass, so little time’, which actually is not true because I have plenty of time in January once my accounts have been done!

(and they have)