Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tip of the week

This is my BFF, Perry. And, no, I am not a sad, lonely, phsycotic beadmaker (although I am something of a quiet loner, the neighbors all say). It's a paring knife - hence 'Perry'- and when it comes to lampworking, I've found few tools of better value and greater usefullness . Perry is one of those things I wish I'd known about right off the bat and regret all the wasted time we spent apart.

He's not a 'trade secret'. Most lampworker's have a trusty little knife that they use on a regular basis, but it's not something you think about when you first start out. I didn't figure it out until at least 2 years into this adventure, so I thought I'd share this knowledge with anyone out there who doesn't already know.
If you do already know, move along, there's nothing here to see.

I picked Perry up at the Goodwill (for God's sake, don't tell my daughter I referred to the Goodwill in my blog. She'll, like, totally die of humiliation). He used to travel around with us in our travel trailer (back before the travel trailer was crashed and ruined in an ironic twist of fate that I won't go into here). He's small but powerful, incredibly sharp,very pointy and, best of all, I paid about 25 cents for him.

He and I have been collaborating at the torch for about 2 years now and have spent much quality time together. He's truly my most fab BFF.
Here are some of the things he and I have made together.

Perfect for cutting seashell spirals and adding ruffle-edge elements

Impossible to make this bead without Perry. Essential for cutting spiral lines and utilizing Michael Barley's (freaking genius, that guy!!!) 'baleen' technique

No optic molds for me. No way, never make it easy. Every indent and petal is hand-cut.
Perfect for a poke in the eye,drawing down the brow, shaping a beak, or making feathers.

Again with the 'baleen'. Pretty, ain't it?

I'd heard that there's a new tutorial out there, teaching this internal, stacked spiral technique. Perry and I have been doing it for years and I didn't realize it was such a big secret. I should have written it down, I guess. Oh well, it's really not about the money...

These are just a few of things we've made. There really are an endless variety of tools that you can buy, try and then stack back on the shelf, but I think simple things are best. Sure, there are a dozen different tools I could accumulate that would probably end with the same results - and probably much faster, too. But I like doing things this way. It makes me feel more connected to my work - less like a production robot and more like a true artisan.

Which brings up a commercial I saw on TV that's been annoying the hell out of me.

What's 'artisan bread', supposed to be anyway?


Createology said...

What a wonderful tip and thank you for sharing it. You and your bff Perry are fabulous together. I don't know anything about lampwork except that I am afraid of fire and pressurized anything so I don't think I shall be trying this but you are brilliant and generous. Happy creating...

Mermaid Glass said...

Thanks! I, too, was terrified of exploding bottles of oxygen and propane and becoming a 'developing story' on the evening news. I still am!

Rebecca said...

oh, gosh, it's really nice to hear another lampworker say they are afraid of their tanks-I have visions of my garage exploding into a ball of flames and being the headline on the evening news- "Arlington woman blows self up in propane tank disaster..." or something like that...

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