It has been incredibly hot here for weeks now. It’s difficult to sit working over a hot torch when it’s 103 degrees out and the air conditioner is working less than adequately. In order to get through those hot and miserable sessions, I tend to encourage my mind to take me to places that are cool and comfortable. During my mind’s journey, I found myself revisiting the romantic evenings spent outdoors with my husband as we enjoyed our fireplace in early Autum. It’s almost as though the stars were put there just to give us a spectacular backdrop for those special moments. We treasure them because they are non existant in the summertime. The air is so humid and the mosquitos are on a seek and destroy mission this time of year.
When I created the set “Celestial Romance”, it was the nostalgia of those special Autumn nights that inspired me. The crisp cool air settling on my shoulders and back, as my face, hands and arms are warmed by the fire. Often times my husband is star gazing. . .He calls my attention to shooting stars and constellations as I sit nestled beside him watching the flames dance in the dense blackness of the evening.
How does one interperet this idea in glass? I first thought of cobalt blue as a base glass, perhaps black. . .None of those ideas really felt right to me. Then I realized that a very deep violet and blue would better serve as a starting point for what I had in mind. I sat staring a bit at my rack of a glasses trying to pick just the right ones for my idea. I chose Double Helix’s Terra glass as my special base for it’s color shifting properties. Although tricky, if worked properly I could pull deep hues of purples and blues from the glass. I also needed a sparkling texture to similate a celestial sort of feel, so dichroic silver was applied over the Terra glass footprint, and encased with crystal clear glass. Even though I was off to a great start, I had no idea where to go from there. I put my first bead in the kiln and walked away hoping to return the next day with another idea.
As I sat thinking a bit more about those romantic Autumn evenings, I recalled the vase of fresh hydrangeas that sit in the center of our outdoor dining table. In early Autumn, they are beginning to dry out. . . Their color is fading from their once vibrant purple and blue to cream and rust as their petals lose their hydration. That would be the idea that I would use to make the decorative beads that would go in my “Celestial Romance” set. The Terra glass flowers that I had been using in my other beads lately would be perfect for translating the feel that I wanted the beads to have. Of course I needed a special accent to finish the look of the shimmering night sky beads. Gold-stone came to mind, but didn’t exactly seem right to me. Instead, I chose Iris Gold reduction glass. . .When introduce to a propane rich flame, warm tones of metallic gold rush to the surface of the stringer work providing a look that is much like gilded gold.
Lydia Muell is a glass bead maker who blogs in her studio from Lexington, NC. For more information please visit here website at ashtonjewels.com.