I have been MIA for a bit, busy making beads while the weather was still decent. The good news is, the vintage Airstream trailer my mother is turning into a small studio has been leveled, has an exhaust box installed and we really just need to figure out how to get fresh air inside without causing the temp to drop too much. That’s the kicker, making sure I have enough fresh air coming in while still keeping the inside heated (and without cutting any holes in the body of the trailer).
Anyway, 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? Well I made a bead for a friend of mine about a year ago, a St. Reza bead. I had been telling him about what a great friend he had been to me all these years and called him St. Reza. And the light bulb went off in my head and I had to make a St. Reza bead. Maybe that’s where the nun beads first took root in my subconscious. I may not be Catholic, but I certainly felt relief when I saw a small group of nuns walk by where I was sitting in the Doha airport in Qatar. I was traveling alone and was very stressed and felt very out of place and seeing them gave me a small sense of comfort for some reason.
So back to the nun bead. I don’t usually make dimensional faces on my beads, only 2 other times that I can remember, an old geisha and a kabuki mask. I have so many beads sitting around from since I first began lampwork. I do so much more than just geisha but I haven’t shown the majority because taking photos of beads for my website and eBay sales takes up most of my time. Although I’m not selling the nun, I took the time to photograph her and edit because I believe she’s the first steps towards a new chapter of dimensional faces in my glass career. I’m willing to show my first awkward steps to the world.
Keep in mind, she was made in the bushy flame of a Hot Head torch. This is where having my Lynx torch set up would have came in handy. Her features melted in too much. I was so proud of my attempt, the details of her face with the browbone over her eyes, the nose complete with nostrils, the cheeks and lines running down to show her age.
But that all melted into smooth bumps of glass as I struggled to keep the bead evenly heated while I worked on covering her head with white and black layers of glass…
Maybe I should have entered her into a Halloween contest. Those eyes make her look like a lost soul don’t they? She originally had a small smile on her face but now she looks so forlorn.
So there’s my nun that started out with great facial details, only to be melted away in the bushy flame of my Hot Head.
Tracy Jerrell Akhtar blogs from her home studio in Southern Michigan. To see her webpage and more of her creations, click on TracyBeads