I would like to set the stage a little before I start showing any of my current designs. I mentioned in my introduction that a lot of my work uses twisted cane (lovingly called twisties), so I want to show my archiving system. This also is a work in progress, but it is still a critical part of my design process.
Oddly enough, this detailed record keeping allows me to be spontaneous – or impulsive when working on a new bead.
First of all, I keep a notebook by my workbench, just a spiral bound book – nothing fancy. I write down whatever I am doing. Right then. Not at the end of my work time, and most definitely not tomorrow. I forget details, such as the exact color / brand of glasses that I used or did I encase the whole thing in clear. Those can be very important when trying to duplicate something. As an aside, my personal feeling that one of the steps in becoming an accomplished artisan is not only creating great pieces, but being able to duplicate it. I am getting there!
Currently, I give each twistie a code number based on the date and then a letter based the order that it was made. So, for example, the first twistie made on March 23, 2007 would be 070323A, and the second would be 070323B. This is great for my sample cards that I’ll show shortly and also for a shorthand method of keeping track of what twistie I used in any given bead. I write down the twisties that I use in any given bead in my notebook.
Some time later (I can usually remember which twistie goes with the colors that I have written down), I make the sample card. I snip off a piece of the twistie and glue it onto a 3×5 index card and write the colors down. I could just use the index number to look in my notebook, but that would take longer. I like looking at the sample and seeing the names of the colors right there. The notebook is mostly a fail-safe to prevent me from forgetting what I did. I usually try and note the manufacturer of the glass and ID numbers, but since I am familiar with the colors, I do get sloppy and just use color names.
Finally, if a bead happens to turn out spectacular, I know what colors work together. If something turns out not too great, I know not to do that again.
The spontaneous part comes in when I look over my collection and think that the yellow in one bead might look nice with the purple in a different bead, I know exactly what colors to try. This way, I can experiment quicker. Hey, it might not work, but that is another day’s problem. How fun is that?
Rosemarie Hanus is a glass artist who writes from her studio in Bath Township, Ohio. Her website is www.spawnofflame.com because her name is hard to spell.