Archives for April 2016

Lampwork Bead Trunk Show

Lampwork beads

I will be having a trunk show of my lampworked beads on May 1 – 2.  Here is a preview of a few…..

Join me on Facebook at on Artisans Glass Open Market

Crocheting…. again

crocheting a bracelet

Crocheting with beads – a new bracelet

This crochet bracelet has 16 beads in a round and is crocheted using a single crochet stitch.  This pattern is the same as the one in the Chimayo stripe bracelet- just different colors and 16 beads around instead of 21.  I noticed that the stripe didn’t twist around as much…. so I made it a little longer and strung it on memory wire and added lampwork beads on the ends.  And I’m loving it.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Glass Cabochons

Cabochon – what is it?

A cabochon, from the Middle French word caboche (meaning “head”), is a gemstone which has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. The resulting form is usually an ellipsed dome with a flat bottom.  The procedure is to cut a slab of rough rock with a slab saw, and next to stencil a shape from a template. The slab is then trimmed to near the marked line using a diamond blade saw—called a trim saw ad then ground down with diamond saws.  The art of cutting stones is called lapidary.

Glass Cabochons

If you follow my work in glass, you know that I make my glass beads by a process called lampworking or flame working. You wind hot glass on a stainless steel mandrel in a torch resulting in a glass form with a hole – hence a bead.  I also like to make glass cabochons – glass pieces that are not beads because there is no hole and are reminiscent of cut gemstones.  So how do you work in the flame to get that shape?  The technique is called “off mandrel”  where you manipulate the glass directly in the flame with just the rods of glass.  I make some of my cabochons with the off mandrel technique.  I also use special mandrels made specifically for cabochon forming.

cabochon mandrel photo

Some finished glass cabochons

glass cabochons

Jewelry using cabochons

So why do I want glass cabochons?  Even though bead jewelry is wonderful on it’s own, sometimes I like to set stones in silver.  And to distinguish my pieces I like to make glass cabochons which express my story. Along with classic metalsmithing techniques the resulting piece is unique.

glass cabochon rings

Rings with glass cabochons – plus a beautiful natural amber ring (got the amber in Poland)

creating the desert in glass and metal

Chimayo weaving

Chimayo History

Weaving was practiced by the Pueblo and Navajo Indians of North America, but the introduction of sheep to the area by the Spaniards in 1700 transformed their art of weaving.  Even after weaving diminished one settlement kept up the tradition and now Chimayo blankets have become known all over the civilized world.

Chimayó’s weavers rely on locally available wool and cotton yarns. The wool is gathered from Churro sheep,

Churro sheep

whose undyed wools display a stunning variation of ecru, cream, brown and black. Many natural plant dyes are used to expand the color palette to include the desert hues of the New Mexico landscape and sky.

I recently saw a Chimayo “striped” blanket in the Pendelton catalog – which I love.

chimayo blanket

And it became inspiration for a crochet bracelet that I just finished.  This crochet bracelet is made with size 11/0 seed beads and some Swarovski crystal.  I finished it with a lampwork bead from my Desert Bloom series.

Chimayo inspired bracelet

creating the desert in glass and metal