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Flame May 2015

Find us at







Your new committee

Contact us: Chairman (Colette) Secretary (Debbie) Treasurer (Heather) Membership (Russ) Events (Scarlet) Webmaster (Ursula)

Torchlight on …

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Annual competition

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Members’ beads from last month’s challenge:

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Colour testing…Dark transparent green.. by Ilsa Fatt

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Glass that doesn’t do what it says on the tin

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No pressure, no prizes, just fun Make a bead, set of beads, focal, mixed media, on or off mandrel piece using the theme of

or ‘

Post your photos on and/or and/or our Facebook page by All members' photos will be included in the May issue of the GBUK

Amanda Harris I started my lampworking journey by accident. I have always been fascinated by jewellery making. When I was a child my father developed an interest in lapidary and I spent hours out in the garage with him, cutting stones and polishing cabochons. At that point any findings to turn them into jewellery were purchased from our nearest gem shop. My parents then started going to an evening class to study silver-smithing to make the findings themselves. I was desperate to go along too, but was too young to be accepted.

Fast forward a good few years to 2007 and I eventually had the time and opportunity to attend a silver smithing course myself. I spent 4 fabulous days at West Dean college, outside Chichester. I had a great time and shared the course with some interesting people. One of these was Rebecca Weddell who was on the course with her Mum. Rebecca was making findings to set some lovely glass cabochons that she had made. I was fascinated. I had no idea that you could make glass cabochons yourself. I was not alone! Rebecca showed us all some beautiful beads that she had made. They were perfect little jewels. I bought a set, which I made into a necklace and still love. I thought about those beads for weeks. I read all the information I could find and in 2008 found an introduction to making lampworked glass beads, also at West Dean. I went along thinking that if I liked it the outlay wouldn’t be huge. I could buy a Hot Head starter kit and see how I got on. I spent 4 days with Barbara Mason learning the basics and was hooked. West Dean lets students use the studios after dinner to pursue their own practise. I spent hours trying out the techniques I saw in books and which I now know are quite advanced. At the time they just looked pretty and I thought the instructions sounded straightforward! I was typically over ambitious from the start and turned up with some silverclay cores, having seen hollow glass beads made on such cores in a book by Tim McCreight. Lord know what Barbara thought, but being a great teacher she helped me to make some pretty good beads on them, which I am still pleased with.

When I got home after the course I dithered about what torch to buy. Having been convinced that I would only need a Hot Head I eventually bought a Minor and Oxycon, a selection of glass, basic tools…… You get the picture. I also thought that I really couldn’t set all this up in the house, especially with 5 cats. Thus the search for a suitable shed started. Eventually, in the spring of 2009 I was ready to go. Now my shed is my little haven at the top of the garden where I can experiment with glass, metal clay and traditional metal working techniques.

What fascinates me about lampworking is the wide range of styles and techniques. I am still exploring the possibilities and have been privileged enough to attend classes with some great beadmakers including Corina Tettinger, Di East, Anouk Jasperse and Leah Fairbanks. I greatly admire the identical sets of highly detailed beads that some artists make, but as much as I love lampworking, I lack the discipline to make sets of beads that I admire.

When I started off I made mainly focals and the occasional small set. Not long after I got my own set up I saw a Frit-Happens swap for cat beads. Those who know me will know that I love cats and share my life with 5 of them. I therefore couldn’t resist joining in. Having no real idea of how to progress I looked for examples of cat beads on the web, bought a tutorial and started practising. This was my first introduction to sculptural work and I was pretty pleased with the results, although looking back on those early cats now they are rather deformed! Over time I have found that my interested is in making sculptural pieces, both on and off mandrel. I still make cats and the bulk of my Etsy sales are for cat Big Hole Beads, particularly the ones I make to order from photos of the buyers own cats. I occasionally get asked if I make dogs too so have started to add those to my repertoire.

I still make jewellery and tend to think in terms of the finished item. Apart from my cats and dogs most of my lampworking is to produce the components I need for a particular design.

Most of my inspiration comes from nature. I am a keen gardener and go to quite a lot of open gardens. Part of me is eying up the plants to see what I might grow in my own garden, whilst the other part is thinking about jewellery. It is much the same when I walk on the beach or in the national park near where I live. Generally I find that I see something and the image of a finished piece of jewellery pops into my head. The challenge I then have is to work out how I can actually fabricate it and make sure it is wearable! Most of my pieces end up being made from a series of components, quite a lot of which are metal clay pasted onto actual leaves, acorns, lichen etc. The process of joining them together and incorporating findings for the glass means some of them are fired many times. I use the glass elements to highlight the piece, generally by using it to replace the berries, seeds or flowers. Picking the right colour glass is therefore very important to me and I often end up mixing colours to get just the right shade. My studio is littered with discarded glass acorns, seeds and berries which didn't quite make the grade, along with all those early deformed cats!

Amanda Harris Amare Argentum

Next year’s themes are:

and The deadline for entries is 28th February 2016

A few images to get you thinking …

A specially commissioned blend of GBUK colours brought to you and dispensed on special occasions …


‘Frit Scarlet Leonard

Joy Porteous

Colette Ladley

‘Encased Scarlet Leonard

Joy Porteous

Michelle Purnell

Colette Ladley

Ursula Mann

Colour testing


Ilsa Fatt

Dark transparent green CIM Slytherin This is the darkest of the lot. It is such an intense colour that the rod appears completely black, and the colour can only be seen once you have a pulled-out tip. As well as being very dense, it is a sombre colour, with lots of brown in it. The pictured bead has been made with a clear core, otherwise all you would see would be black. The artist Mary Lockwood uses it to make wonderful kelp fronds for her encased jellyfish beads. Effetre Sage Green A dark bottle-green, this is a wonderfully rich colour. Effetre Dark Teal Another wonderfully rich colour. Teal is a vague term, and can mean pretty much anything from almost green to virtually turquoise. This is definitely at the green end of the spectrum, and a very gorgeous green it is too. CIM Oz When I think the word "green" the colour of Oz is immediately what pops into my mind. It is a medium grass green. It does need to be heated gently, otherwise it has a tendency to bubble. I didn't, and the demo bead is full of scummy bubbles. Effetre Mid Dark Green This has less yellow in it than Oz. It's less dark than it's name suggests, though maybe Effetre does an even lighter Mid Green, so that's why it's got the word "dark" in the name. It's not dark at all. Really not. In fact I would describe it as a sunny colour, like sunlight through leaves.

All the colours except Slytherin have some reaction with Dark Ivory. The reaction is most pronounced in the bluest of the colours; Dark Teal and Mid Dark Green. Dark Teal has a very pronounced dark outline, while for Mid Dark Green the outline is both dark and blurry, as though the colour is sinking into the Ivory.

We all have some of this, whether we realise it or not. The best example is dark ivory, or more specifically dark ivory and …. turquoise, coral, petroleum green, in fact any of the ‘sulphur colours. They react together in an unexpected way. There is the dark reaction line where the two colours meet and, in the case of dark ivory, a fuzzy line. Light ivory has the same reaction but without the fuzziness. Ivory is also fond of ‘swallowing’ other colours. You apply a lovely wide line but by the time you’ve melted it in it’s a thin one. Striking colours - red can go almost completely transparent, cool it down and gently introduce it back to the heat and the red pops out. Striking orange and yellow do the same.

Other colours change their colour completely. Multicoloured dark is a dark brown rod but once you’ve finished warming it, cooling it and warming it again the lovely purples and blues appear.

Silver glass, of course, gives a completely different result to the look of the rod. That pale lilac Clio rod that produces pinks and blues. And the reducing silver glass that gives that wonderful shiny finish from a quick flash through a reducing flame.

We’d like to see photos of your glass giving unexpected results!


A lampwork fair


Saturday 19th September


Long Sutton Barns Long Sutton Lincolnshire PE12 9AF


Member’s tables, complementary crafts, torches, sand blasting, electroforming; open to the public in an established craft centre.

More details

Member’s tables will cost £10 for selling beads (refundable deposit), £15 for those selling supplies. Entry for visitors is free. Tables will be allocated on a first come, first served basis but the venue is quite large.

There is a Travelodge across the road, a McDonald’s next door and other local amenities. We are currently costing transport to the venue from Peterborough, which is on the mainline East Coast railway, for those wanting to come by public transport. This is an exciting new venture and we hope you will support it. GBUK hasn’t held its own fair for several years.

Would you like a table? Contact to book.

Coming soon ‌


A dedicated online marketplace for all your beads. Each member will have their own shop. One basket, one checkout for multiple members’ purchases. Cost included inclusive with your membership fee (must be a current member to qualify) Sell your beads, sculptures and gifts online

Why not submit a tutorial or article for Flame? Contact

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