The Body…and tentacles

For the love of Mike. I am so completely sidetracked from that creature thing I was working on. I did manage to make a body for it though.

cathy lybarger aardvark art creature beadAs you can see I dropped my original idea of a slug-type body in favor of this tear-drop shaped body with a belly. I think it works better with the head. It was also a hell of a lot easier to make than a slug body. I’m all for what’s easier.

I was pretty stumped about what to do for the arms and feet of this guy. Tentacles would look cool. They kept creeping into my head. Tentacles. Tentacles. Tentacles. Of course in order to make proper tentacles one has to use boro.

Boro has certain qualities that soft glass does not–mainly, you can form it into long, tapered shapes with no worries about thermal shock. Certain color combos look just like squishy sea life. It’s really the glass to use if you want to make an anemone or a squid…or just tentacles.

Combining both glasses in a sculpture isn’t really a problem as long you’re wiring it together (rather than joining them hot).

So anyway, I hauled out all my boro and reprogrammed the kiln and started making tentacles. Was I going to use them in the sculpture? Who knows? First I had to see what they were going to look like. I don’t know much about boro so I never know what I’m going to get when I make these. I make these formations by striping a rod of clear pyrex with four different colors, heating and twisting the colors, encasing them in clear and finally pulling them into a tapered shape. Here’s a picture of what came out.

boro tentacles cathy lybarger

It was at this point that I lost interest in working on the creature opting instead to work in boro and make things out of tentacles. This is how I like to work–bouncing around to whatever interests me. Hence, the large number of half-done projects sitting around the store. Doing things that are interesting is good for my brain. Thing is, if the new interest does not yeild a sellable product within a week or so I have to go back to the old thing–the soft glass fish and what not.

So the first thing I tried to make is a swizzle stick creature. I made these before, about 5 years ago (which was the last time I touched boro). Here are two of them. The one on the left is just a segment of one of my pre-made tentacles with lips, fins and an eyeball added.

cathy lybarger glass tentacle creatures

Cute! But not especially sellable, I don’t think. I need to figure out a way to make similar creatures and turn them into something you can wear. I’m not sure if this is especially feasable for me but I’m going to give it a go since I am enjoying working with the boro. That’s my plan at this moment.

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4 Responses to “The Body…and tentacles”

  1. Angie Garren Says:

    Cathy, did I already say this before? It is so neat to “listen in” on your thoughts as you work on your creatures. No wonder you got sidetracked by the boro tentacles– those are lovely colors swirling around in the ones you show.

  2. cathylybarger Says:

    Thanks, Angie! I’ve made lots of little boro beads before (with the assistance of the Doug Remschider DVD-that’s a really good DVD for beads) but I never really saw the amazing color transformations until I started making longer pieces that were heated super hot and then brought in and out of the flame. Even if I make an ugly combo I still learn something because it’s all pretty new to me. It’s exciting glass.

  3. jean Says:

    I love boro! I love these creatures! I love swizzlesticks for long necklaces–what do you think of that? selling swizzles? similar to Cindy Gimbrone’s soft glass spirals which I just got a chance to work with only more relaxed and less sprally by far. I am thinking of those Hill Tribe silver sticks of varied lengths people use in necklaces.

  4. cathylybarger Says:

    Hi Jean-
    I’d be concerned about the wearing of the swizzles because they’ve got appendages hanging off of them that are more prone to breaking and might get hooked onto clothing. Boro is very strong but thin, pointy pieces are less so. I could design a swizzle with wearing in mind but it would look different–any tentacles or what have you would have to be attatched to something at both ends.

    I am working on pendant creatures similar to the swizzles but have not worked out all of the design problems yet–getting them to hang correctly and such. Save for the squids, which have a very compact design, I’m not sure that I would be confident selling them.


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