Let fire inspire

Captivated by the magic of working with glass, Rebecca Weddell creates beautiful and unique lampwork beads and offers a range of beadmaking courses.

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Hokey cokey...

This week I've been very busy making beads, sorting beads and putting beads into pairs, trios, sets and collections in preparation for my trip to Merstham on Sunday for the inaugural East Surrey Bead Fair!

I'm really excited about it - so much so, I've been doing the cokey soaky. Or do I mean the hokey cokey? Let me explain......

Some types of glass that I use - namely the colours pigmented with copper oxide (especially opaque turquoise) - can take on a gunmetal sheen in the kiln. This effect is often desirable, but in my case, more often than not, I want my turquoise to be turquoise!

So what can be done to turn this...

So what can be done to turn this...

...into this?

...into this?

The answer is - of course - the cokey-soaky! I nipped across to East Hoathly Village Stores to get a bottle of good ol' Coca Cola, poured a good slug of it into a bowl, added the beads I wanted to re-turquoise-ise, and popped it onto the top of the kiln so that it became nice and warm. I find it's more effective for this job when it's warm rather than cold.

I expect that if I were to drink* the stuff though, I'd prefer ice and a slice!

*which I don't.

Here's the soup bowl in all its cokey soaky hokey cokey glory. You can see a little of the gunmetal effect around some of the bead holes.

Here's the soup bowl in all its cokey soaky hokey cokey glory. You can see a little of the gunmetal effect around some of the bead holes.

Colour on colour

I love to play around with colour combinations, and - especially recently - I have been making a lot of beads out of opaque glass decorated with stringerwork in transparent glass.

The depth created by layering a coloured window over an opaque base colour is fabulous - for instance, transparent dots that are melted smooth over an opaque base resemble deep 'pools' of colour - but there is the additional appeal of a new colour being created! Transparent green over blue creates a lovely kingfisher colour, and green over green becomes, well, even greener. Much fun can be had by putting glass on glass.

It doesn't always work, though. I've recently taken delivery of a new shade of transparent purple which I thought I'd team with some opaque turquoise. I have several reactive purples which look just glorious layered over opaque turquoise - but this non-reactive one just didn't 'pop'. It's created a much duller effect akin to what would be produced if I mixed turquoise watercolour paint with purple watercolour paint - it's a sort of muddy purplish elephant grey. Not hideous, but at the same time not altogether desirable.

Compare the purple-on-turquoise, though, with the teal-on-turquoise. Now that's just a gorgeous combination!

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Transparents can give other transparents an extra touch of va-va-voom, too! The beads below are transparent green - the plain one is just one shade of pale emerald, and dotted one has a core of bright acid green which has been encased in the same pale emerald. Now that is GREEN in a much bigger way!

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The Workshop, 8 Village Works, London Road, East Hoathly
Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6QA
01825 840638

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