Cracked inspiration: When failure turns to opportunity.

Failure happens. I try to make it a part of my process. I often let my failures sit in front of me so I can see them… both figuratively and literally.


On occasion, I literally place my glass failures right in front of me while I work. Instead of dunking a failed bead in the tap jar I let it sit out on my bench to cool and break apart. I leave the broken glass attempts there for a few days or a few weeks so I can glance at and think about them. This allows me remember why the failure happened and prompts me to keep thinking about the various ways to prevent it from happening again. Then, after my ego heals, I no longer feel insulted by the broken bits of glass in front of me. I find that I’ve come to better understand the technical lessons of the failure and then I can start to remember what stoked me about the design or effect I was playing with when the technical issue occurred and halted my progress. That’s when I can resume my adventure down that particular path, if at all. (Some paths weren’t meant to be traveled for very long, I find.)

wmc070608a1.jpgOr sometimes I take it in a whole new direction all together. This was a failure. I was planning on taking this bead into an exaggerated drop shape and drawing a few lines with the Effetre color dark silver plum. I started by making the disk shape you see and then adding a few Double Helix Kronos 2 dots. I then cooled the bead until it lost all its glow, introduced it into a small reduction flame to develop the Kronos color and then began to place the clear dots on the Kronos. The clear dots will trap the color I developed in the Kronos 2 so I can work the bead into a final shape with lots of heat and I won’t have to worry about loosing the hazy blue colors. But I didn’t get that far. I consciously kept the bead out of the flame while applying the clear but I pushed it too far. The bead got too cool and as I approached the bead with the white-hot clear rod to apply the last couple of dots, the bead cracked and a big chunk came right off. I knew exactly what had happened as soon as it happened. But I loved how the Kronos was glitter-ing away under the clear dots so I left it out on the bench to think about. It sat there, in front of my torch, for about a week.

kronos glass beadsOne day, when I sat down to work, my mind drew a blank. My eyes wandered and landed on my chunk of Kronos failure.I decided to do something to show off that effect of big clear dots on my favorite morphing blue.I made a round bead covered with dots and then decided that a tube and a wheel shape with big honkin’ dots were need to round out the concept. And so the failed exaggerated egg inspired an egg-less trio. That’s how it goes sometimes.

double helix kronos dot beads

JC Herrell blogs from her home studio in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She maintains a personal blog at See more from JC at




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: