Archives for March 2014

Necklace – a new design

collage of a new necklace design

Fresh Design From the Studio

I have been in design mode lately.  I have made some new lampworked beads in the Painted Desert series.  And I  have been busy creating some new jewelry with those beads.  Today I am showing you this new necklace design.

You can see the inspiration in the upper left hand corner of the photo – three lovely barrel cacti sitting right in front of my studio.  The beads came first of course.  They are hollow.  And they are a little smaller measuring just about 3/4 of an inch.  I learned to make hollow beads back in 2001 on a regular mandrel by building up the sides of the beads and capturing some air which expands when heated.  But I was so eager to learn other techniques that I moved on quickly to other things.  More recently I took a class with Jari Sheese at the Bead and Button Show.  And I also purchased some wonderful “puffy mandrels”  which makes blowing the hollow bead a little easier.  Another Jeri (Jeri Warhaftig) designed these great mandrels.  Anyway, Jari makes some awesome beads and that inspired me to begin making hollow beads again.  I have made “cactus” beads a lot and usually decorate them with raised dots.  But this time I wanted to practice my stringer control so I “striped” on some silvered glass instead of dots.  I really got in the rhythm and made lots of these little beads.

Of course, I love to design jewelry using my glass beads.  And since I am having a trunk show Saturday at On the Edge Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, I wanted to create something new with these beads.  I get a lot of catalogs in the mail and see that large circle silver chain jewelry seems to be trendy right now.   I didn’t want the large link handmade chain to go all the way around ; I wanted it long; and I had to figure out how to place the beads.  I’m not sure how it came to me, but instead of soldered rings I coiled the balled wire and slipped the beads on that wire before attaching the next coil.  I found some awesome pyrite chain at the Tucson gem and Jewelry Shows so I finished the design with an endless length of that chain.  See the picture of it up close in the upper right.  I am very happy with the results.  You can see I am modeling it in the photo too.  It makes a great layering piece.

Now I just need to name it……  that is always so hard.   Feel free to leave me some suggestions.

creating the desert in glass and metal


Brittlebush Blooms

picture of a brittlebush blooms, tucson, AZ

Springtime is here in Tucson and we are beginning to see out plants bloom.  I feel so blessed to live here.

The brittlebush is a common shrub here in Tucson.  It is a member of the sunflower family.  And it is blooming right now.   The resin that is collected from these plants can be used as a glue.  The O’odham used it to hold the points on arrows.  And Spanish monks discovered that the resin when burned created a highly fragrant incense.  It is even said that cowboys used the stem as a toothbrush – no need for toothpaste!

The blooms are quite pretty.  And I have included yellow blooms on many of my desert bloom lampworked beads.  Also, some of my hollow beads are inspired from the color…  like this one

Lampworked Beads, yellow blooms

creating the desert in glass and metal

Busy in the Studio

I’m getting ready for a trunk show in Scottsdale, AZ at On the Edge Gallery.  It will be on Saturday March 22, 2014 from 10 – 5pm.  So I have been putting in lots of hours in the studio…..  making the lampworked beads, and then creating some new jewelry.  I thought I would give you a sneak peak of some new items.  First off the bead….

picture of a lampworked beadI have made them flat for bracelets; round for earrings, and several other shapes too.  These beads have been tumbled and have a wonderful matte finish.  I have switched to tumbling the beads to produce this finish and have discovered that it takes about 24 hours with 1000 grit medium to achieve this luscious finish.  It is definitely worth the time.

I really wasn’t sure what the inspiration was for these beads.  Of course a lot of lampwork artists use the frit that is on the bead.  It turns some wonderful colors.  Then when I was walking from the studio to the house this afternoon I saw it.  Love the colors of this desert ornamental grass and they must have been lurking in my subconscious when I sat down at the torch and pulled out the raku frit.

picture of a desert ornamental grassAnd of course here are the finished bracelets….

picture of new bracelets


I have used some wonderful finds from the gem show too. The round bead is a tiger eye bead with a mystic coating.  The colors in person on those beads are exquisite.  The stick pearls were actually purchased 2 years ago and there is a lovely little rhinestone vintage bead as well as some copper beads.  The clasps are bronze and the design is perfect.  The toggle needs to be inserted sideways and then turns 90 degrees when worn… and cannot fall off.

Thanks for looking.