Monday, July 11, 2016

Silver wire wrapped bracelet with spirals, crystals and handmade dichroic glass beads in purple and blue

One of the most challenging things that's come up in making glass pieces is learning to control the exact colors of the dichroic glass. "Dichroic" means two (or more)-colored, so each firing in the kiln yields a surprise for me. The Candy Apple red glass I purchased turns orange, while the light blue glass looks more magenta.

Then there's the tie-dyed glass I have where any portion of the sheet can turn any color. It's always an adventure!

When I'm experimenting and just creating pieces as I go along, I don't worry too much about the final glass shades. The dichros are so pretty, it doesn't really matter -- and I enjoy being surprised. However, a customer recently asked me to make her a glass jewelry set with very specific colors in the pendant, earrings and bracelet. She actually drew a graphic for me showing where she wanted each color to be in the design.

This meant I had to get my butt in gear and actually figure out how to get exact hues in the glass. My answer? Test strips.

We use test strips in enameling, where we'll fire a color on top of plain copper, copper with a white base, copper with a clear base, etc. The thing with fine glass powder, though, is that it's usually at least somewhat close to the shade it'll yield. You can be pretty certain that purple powder will turn into purple enamel. It might not be the exact shade you want, but it'll at least be in the correct family. You won't end up with pink or yellow glass... unless you're applying the powder to silver or gold foil, which is a whole other story...

Anyway, I decided to fire small pieces of glass so I could determine each shade. In the end, I created dozens of these tiny cabochons. I didn't want to waste them, especially since they took time to make. My solution is to turn these into links for bracelets and necklaces.

The first bracelet I created was this purple and blue piece:

The links are pretty small, so I added a silver spiral and a couple of matching crystals. I love my blues and purples... my friend and music partner, Judy, would say it's because I'm an Aquarian, LOL.

I have dozens more of these links, in all different sizes. I'm using some to make a necklace, which I'll post soon. And I "found" my colors! The woman's jewelry set is coming along nicely and should be completed this week. I'll have photos soon, though you can sneak a peak on my Instagram page.

In other news, my first wire wrapping class is tomorrow morning. I'm a little nervous. I've been so looking forward to this and hope it goes well. Wish me luck!

You can check out the rest of my handmade wire wrapped and dichroic glass jewelry at Naomi's Designs, MayaGirl Creations and Glass By Naomi.

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