You've probably seen the beads in this post before but I thought I'd finally tell you a bit about them. Back in March, I was lucky enough to attend a 2 day course with Kristina Logan. When I first started on my lampworking journey Kristina's work was some of the first I came across and at the time it left me virtually speechless marveling at her skill. As you can imagine when I heard she was coming to the UK I just had to be there.
Kristina is known as "the dot queen" as a lot of her work is made up of patterns comprising of a series of dots which in lampwork beads is not unusual but her precision in applying the dots is second to none. I was astounded to learn that she does them all with a whole rod of glass, as in a pencil thick rod. I pull the glass into much, much thinner rods that lampworkers call stringers, often less than a millimetre in diameter!
After watching intently it was our turn (there were 10 students altogether) to put into practise what Kristina had shown us. Below is a bead made using a technique of dragging the dots. Prior to this course I had struggled to do this without leaving behind a furrow deep enough to plant potato's in!
Kristina makes lots of beads with really big holes and sets them into her hand forged silver jewellery pieces. I was intrigued to watch how she applies the initial wrap of glass to the mandrel as it needs to be done in a smooth and controlled way in order to get the edges of the hole neat and tidy. She does this by heating the centre of the glass rod, folding it in two and at the fold attaching a second rod of glass so you are left with something resembling a tuning fork. This allows you to get a larger than normal gather of molten glass on the end and then it's a bit of a balancing act to wrap it around the mandrel in one go before it starts to get too cool. Although the back of this bead cracked while I was busy decorating the side you see, it is the bead I am most proud of to date.
I having been playing around in the studio today and if the kiln fairies are kind to me I should have another bead similar to this style to show you very soon ;-)