Bead Accidents Can Turn Into Something BIG

A couple months ago I was making a geisha and accidentally wound too much glass on the mandrel for her head. I really hate to waste anything, I even keep my short pieces of glass in a ceramic dish to fuse together later. Cheap? Maybe, but why waste?

I’m sitting there looking at the “oops” on my mandrel wondering what to do. If I tried to make a geisha from it, she’d have to be 3 and 1/2 or 4 inches tall! It was already 10:00 pm and I just didn’t have the energy left to attempt something like that on my HotHead torch, I’d be up past midnight.

So I decided to make a bust. A geisha closeup. I found it’s easier to work large as far as adding details and decoration go. I prefer working small because it’s difficult and challenging, not everyone can do it or wants to. I’m not saying bead artists who work small are better over those who work large just because details are more difficult. Neither type is better over the other, only different.

I found that when I worked large I ran into other issues. Keeping my bead evenly heated for starters. I was so paranoid about not keeping enough heat built up in my bead. Plus the added weight was noticeable after about 20 minutes. So I played around and came up with a bead that reminded me a bit of ceramic lady head vases.

Here’s my 1st geisha bust:

glass geisha tracy jerrellglass geisha bead

I added eyebrows also. I think she looks graceful, modest. Unfortunately there’s a tiny black speck on her face up by her eye.

I enjoyed the freedom of making a larger bead and being able to add facial details without holding my breath.

So I made another. Oh I had grand plans for this one! I decided to try feathery eyelashes this time…

glass geisha beadglass geisha bead

DANG. Well that didn’t work out as planned. Looks like Joan Crawford doing mime or Tammy Fa….. ok I won’t go there. Even when I know a bead is hideous, I can’t stop working it. I don’t have a dunk jar for beads, they go into the kiln with the rest… the good, the bad and the ugly.

See? We all have wonky, funky beads happen now and then. But it’s a learning experience. So I tried again this week and came up with this one…

glass geisha beadglass geisha bead

I had fun with her hair! I love that new hairstyle. As I look at these photos, I bet some of you are comparing her with the dime and thinking, “That’s big?” For me it is and this is at least double the size of my usual geisha heads.

glass geisha bead

See? It’s much bigger compared with this geisha head so it’s large for me. And once I switch over to my dual fuel torch, the Lynx, I’ll be able to work even BIGGER (if I want to). 😉

Tracy Jerrell Akhtar blogs from her home in Southern Michigan. To see her webpage and more of her creations, click on TracyBeads

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3 Responses to “Bead Accidents Can Turn Into Something BIG”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Joan Crawford doing mime – tooooo funny. I love the girls, Tracy. The patience you possess amazes me.
    A friend at the expo turned me onto a tool for those shorts; go to Merickal. There are 3 sizes and I think the cost is $30. I haven’t ordered one yet but I like the idea of using up my shorts and I hate welding them together.

  2. tracybeads Says:

    Thank you Ellen 🙂
    I just looked at the Merickal website, those are a great idea! I’ve never heard of them before, thank you for sharing that.

  3. Watch Me Create » Sculptural Nun Bead Bust Says:

    […] after trying my hand at larger sculptural work ( Geisha Bust ) I went back for more. I’ve had nuns bouncing around my head for quite some time. Strange? […]


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