Pink Bead Curtain Strand
Well, no, grey is not precisely pink...

Here is the first in a new series of posts about the bead curtain. It's now some 63 strands, weighing in about 28 pounds, so it's increased some 35% by the first criterion, and something less than 30% by the second (all those hollow beads do make a difference); most importantly it covers the entirety of the new, wider window where I've hung it. I solved the background problem last time by photographing it with the blinds drawn, a necessity at the last house where the lots were only 40’ wide, and the houses only some 10–15’ distant.

Owing to somewhat greater privacy here (not to mention vastly more pleasant neighbors!) I haven't quite figured out how to deal with the background, but I did indeed take the whole thing down, wash off all the dust and even clean the windows. —So I will take a picture of it in its newly installed glory, but figured I could build up to this climax by showing some of the newer strands.

tigertail, glass, including various lampwork by the artist. Summer 2006

Unlike the earlier strands, which tended to include two or even three distinct colors (amber, bottle green and teal blue being a favorite) later strands tend to be simpler in a couple of ways: firstly, they're more likely to be mono, or at most di-chromatic; secondly, no longer having sufficient roadkill, the upper hanging strand of seed beads tends to be of only one or two colors.

The overall effect is that the strands are simpler in construction, and a little faster to make. —In this case, feeling I was running a little short on beads, I put in some grey, which normally I'd mix with purple or blue, on the theory that it will blend right in (which it does, hanging.) Allowed to cool too much, one of a pair of beads on a single mandrel blew out a piece when hit the flame, possibly while I was attempting to melt in a recalcitrant dot. The jagged portion was molten enough to remain stuck to the bead on edge, so I melted any cracks back in and heated the ‘door’ enough to remove the cold seal, and let it be. Note that the opening allowed me to stuff a pink bead inside, which is always fun.

Personally I think it would be fun to learn to control this extremely erratic process, but I can't imagine who would buy the resulting beads. But though the curtain makes clear that my experiments are no longer as wide-ranging, I'm still learning and refining my technique for making hollows: I could see, in another 20 years, actually being able to make cracked opening beads on demand.

Not much else of comment, except, yes, I was lazy and shot the strand on a rather dirty plastic deck table, instead of taking it downstairs to the photography area to do properly; and that I also stretched my pink beads with white, as well as grey, not to mention 1” bugles—finally, at last, a use for these singularly useless beads—they're much to fragile to use in any application that doesn't allow them to hang straight all the time, excepting perhaps long fringe.

The entire series:

file created 24jul06 (series added 04aug06)