So the other day I got a very unexpected and exciting request. Could I make a complete present (some special beads and bracelet) for a 21st birthday. Of course I could I said, (but did I speak too soon because this turned out to be a particularly CUSTOMISED custom order!!)
I learned that the lady in question looking forward to her birthday, was an avid reptile enthusiast and has many, many different animals of all shapes, species and colours.
Could I make beads that represented some of her
animals? I didn't know, but I thought it would be a lot of fun trying...
So the adventure began...
First of all I got a CD of pictures passed to me in secret so that I could see what I was aiming for. I was a little apprehensive but....when I saw the wonderful patterns and colours I was blown away and I couldn't wait to start to see how close I could get to these in glass!
I spent a few days sussing out colours and textures:
Lots of questions whirled around my head. Some colours react better with each other than others so I did some 'test beads' to try out colour reactions. Also how would it be best to convey the very special textures on the lizards and snakes without distorting the patterns. To this end I got some great constructive criticism from friends and family. (My boys are my best (or worst?) critics. I can never decide which!!)
Once I'd had a little 'play' with them it was time to get down to it, so the torch was fired up and the session began. People didn't see much of me on that day, but I was really happy with what I put into the kiln and I was even happier with what came out!!
So may I introduce you to the beautiful menagerie. (I must say a big thank you to Abi who has given me permission to use her pictures of her wonderful babies.) In each case I have popped in a picture of the animal with a couple of views of the bead itself.
Well, Bubbles has to come first. I absolutely love this one. It is made with grey and an acid yellow in the core and then plenty of clear encasing and hints at texture with little bobbly bits of clear in a kind on randomised pattern.
Arya is lovely. She has a wonderful pattern and I wanted to do her justice. I used three colours and thinner encasing, so her texture would be nearer the surface.
Marbles has a really interested organic looking texture. There are lots of colours here and a kind of dusty appearance so I used some frit in the core, and mica in the encasing to try and bring that to life.
Here is Belle. What a stunner with her lovely grey/green background and red spots! I loved the way that the light grey colouring seems to sweep around her body diagonally but the reddy/brown is more randomly placed, so I tried to attempt the same on the surface decoration of the bead.
This one is called Pascal. How the light played on his body is really interesting. I'm not sure he is actually blue like this, but it really made a pretty bead. I did a bumpy version and a smooth to try out different ways.
With Scorpio, I tried to build a bit of that metallic shine that he has on his body to the side of the bead, but also create a nice contrast to some of the more 'busy' beads so that the bracelet as a whole had continuity
Celery is amazing. I wanted to try and bring in the lovely almost iridescent shine that his/her scales have. So I used an antique cream core, encased it and then added lovely pearlescent fairy dust on the surface.
Now a little bird told me that this little beauty is somewhat of a favourite with Abi, so this one had to be 'just right'. Of course, because I knew this, she ended up being the trickiest one!! I hope Abi feels that it reminds her enough of her lovely Lola!!
Seraphim has a beautiful burning orange colour, but the individual smooth scales give a great effect, I wanted to try to capture that so I ended up mixing orangey glass colours and using a golden colour glass to add the tiniest dots which I melted in to give the effect of scales.
10. Mack Snow
Now, Mack Snow is another one of my favourites. His pattern is such a gift!! I knew from the moment I saw him that he would look amazing. He has an ivory core with thick encasing of crystal clear with 4 sets of adjacent dots going around his circumference. I added clear bobbles again for that important texture.
Spock is so sweet. I would love to meet him in person someday.. I started with a silvered ivory base. The most important thing to get with this one was his minute little black irregularly shaped speckles. I love this bead too. I still have this one, so if no-one nabs him soon I might take him under my wing!!
And...last but not least one of the most beautiful ones of all. Stella has a striking pattern of bright sunshine yellow and black. I would love to meet her in person too. It was a definite one to include, because those colours look so stunning next to each other and the colour combination is very unusual in a bead.
A selection of the beads on a Trollbead bracelet with some silvers in between..
Well, here are some of the beads shown together on a silver Trollbead bracelet, so you can get the idea of what they look like together. I have added some silvers here as well to show how it might look with a bit of shine in between. I soooo enjoyed doing them. They were tricky, but very rewarding.
And here was the finished bracelet all complete the day before Abi's birthday. We decided on a rubber and sterling silver charm bracelet because it was more fitting with the theme of the beads. (Not so 'pretty pretty' as it were)...All the beads were cored securely with sterling rivets and there are two sterling silver stopper beads on it to help keep the glass in place. There is plenty of space for additional silver charm beads or glass.
I hope Abi sends me a picture in the months/years to come to show me how it's grown!!
That's it for now. Quite a lot of excitement in the studio recently, I better get on and make my next ones and stop writing otherwise I shall be behind!!!