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Fay Katherine Star Tutorial

Kaleidoscope Star Bead
Fay Katherine

November, 2002  

One theme. One bead. Divergent-thinking. How intriguing! Count me in! Let the creativity begin!    

I recently became involved in my first bead exchange with about fifteen fellow glass beadmakers. The theme was Kaleidoscopes. Initially, I thought no big deal, one bead, how hard could that be?  

How little did I know.   

The journey began when my friend Paul finished phase one of building his fusing studio. He called for us to get together so I could check out all of his new toys and play with the lapidary equipment. So, after grinding and polishing a few beads I thought what a great technique for the exchange. I went home and created mosaic cane encased beads to be faceted at Paulís the next week.  After cold-working the beads, I was disappointed in how they were not matching my vision of how the final exchange bead should look.  

A little crestfallen, I went back to my original drawings/sketches and tried various plans from floating twisties to millifiori to creating stained glass mosaic looks, etc. Not happy with most of them (it was that whole vision in my head not being created issue) I went to plan D.  

First, retracing my steps I went back to the area galleries and looked through all of their kaleidoscopes. I decided that I would create a traditional kaleidoscopic bead. I wanted the crystally look that moves to create new geometric figures. I also decided (based on all of the previous projects) that it would need to be donut shaped or disc-like.  

The following is the basic outline of how I created my Kaleidoscope Bead:  

I only use Moretti glass. I wanted a jewel tone to the bead so I chose three opaque and three coordinating transparent color rods. I also made some goldstone stringer. I pulled stringers for each of the colors too.  

I then set up my table to look like this: opaque stringer color #1, opaque rod color #1, transparent stringer color #1, transparent rod color #1, then the same pattern for colors 2 and 3. 

I used a tube mandrel (first time using it was for the last few beads). I must say it takes some getting use to since the glass cools faster then if on a regular SS mandrel. Coat with bead separator. 

Time to create the actual bead. I first heated transparent stringer #1 and the mandrel. I then wrapped the stringer around the mandrel being careful to only lay the layers on top of each other so the initial glass footprint was thin. I then used a graphite paddle to keep the shape as a disc. Next, I began the layering of colors. First, color #2 opaque, I dotted around the disc 6 times trying to space them equally. I then, heated the dots so that they were melted in half-way. Marvered the dots flatter. I covered each opaque dot with the matching transparent color. Melted in halfway and then marvered. Melted in some more. Next, I used opaque color #3 and dotted in between the first layer of dots. Overlapping the first layer a little. I used the same process as the first layer and then just continued the pattern until I felt the bead was large enough. I used the goldstone stringer as a layer for a glittery effect. I had to remember to keep the disc heated and to marver the sides so that it would not melt down. After repeating the pattern many times I was finished.  I heated the entire bead again and popped it onto the rack in my kiln.   

The finished bead can take anywhere from 45 minutes (for a smaller version) to 90 minutes. I created shapes of cool suns, geo-patterned discs, and snowflakes.  

Now, I am waiting by my mailbox to receive an exchange Kaleidoscope bead from another lampworker.  I can not wait to see their divergent thinking!




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