Careful with the Caffeine

new beads 2/07

This is the insanity which I’ve been working on lately. Just for perspective, I think they ended up at about 1/2 inch in diameter. So I really did have to watch the coffee. Doing this kind of work, you really develop tricks for steadiness and precision of placement. This is one reason that I work very close to my torch, so my elbows can be braced against the work bench. I work through the pattern of dots in a specific order to get the placement just right, and some of the more difficult placements need to happen on the end of an exhale. And I realized that it’s been a long time since I made very many beads, especially ones this detailed, because I had some sore forearm muscles this week. Not carpel tunnel, just certain odd muscles letting me know that I clearly don’t use them with this kind of grip and motion too often. I think that these will become simple single bead pendants, on a chain or rubber cord.

color experiments close-up


These are some of the preparatory experiments I did to decide on some new color combinations to use. My obsessive side always comes out when it comes to color, wanting to use every possible combination. I use these experiments as a warm-up, before moving on to more complicated precise patterns. But I also like to try every arrangement of colors because a bead is so small that little changes in detail can give very different effects.

color experiments

This is the whole series of warm up experiments. It was hard to get the colors to come out perfectly, but this is pretty close. I wanted to play with a palette centered around a soft grey and a sort of Wedgewood blue. I started with one palette of six colors, rotating them through the arrangement, varying the color of the background, then switching one new color in and repeating the process. I strung them temporarily in order of creation, from the outside of the spiral in. So no two beads shown are alike, but all are related to the beads strung next to them. Yes, I not only love color, I love patterns too. Yes, I am a bit obsessive, but I think that you have to be to make beads.

Leave a comment


  1. oh wow. At first I thought the top beads were to stay bumpy that way -but then I saw the other photos. I know nothing about this process -it’s so interesting. So do you “glue” on the little bumps with the torch and then torch the whole thing?
    They’re beautiful.

  2. Martha,
    Your first impression was correct, the beads in the first image stay bumpy. I melted in the dots on the other ones to get a better look at the colors, and your guess about the method is correct. I’m meaning to do more writing about the specifics of the glass technique, maybe even a separate page with some basics. Thanks for the feedback!


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