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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Autumn colors
delivered in the snow white cold of winter

I really enjoy doing custom orders, but timeliness, shall we say, is often a weak area: it's not that I can't make deadlines, but that, given the slightest leeway, I often don't. I don't recall what I was angsting over in October when I was supposed to have this project done, but the client was kind enough to let me turn it in late.

In my defense, I think she got a much better—cuz I'm still so excited about this series, I will even say even spectacularly better—product as a result of her patience.

Bead curtain strand. The “live” area is 36”, and the leader, included hand-forged copper clasp, is an additional 7”, for a total of 43”. Beads were made mostly[1] in 2014, and the piece was strung (& photographed, obviously) 06jan15.

I've been playing with a mix of techniques—shards, frit, thompson enamels and floral trailing—on top of pressed hollow beads for awhile. With the beads for this project, for which I needed transparency, I backed off the enamels and floral trailing, eventually cut out the frit, using only shards. Originally, of course, I thought simply to make a lot of orange (& yellow) transparent beads, as I usually do for bead curtain strands.

However, unlike for greens, there's really only one transparent effetre orange, and, not counting the ambers, only one yellow. Moreover, both colors tend to opacify to a transluscent, rather than transparent quality (if they strike at all, of course.) The CiM clockwork orange I purchased to get a little more variety was even more prone to this behavior. None of these factors are particularly difficult to work around, but I'm incurably lazy, not to mention cheap.

Ergo, shards. Using shards, besides adding the intriguing texture, meant that I could “thin” the intensity of the color, combine multiple colors per bead, and save oodles by making the base bead in clear. I also made the discovery that thicker shards than the gossamer get-in-your-lungs ones I'd been blowing were vastly easier to use, though they had the sometimes irritating habit of trapping 0.3mm pins I use to clean the beads.[2]

This is probably the most lampwork heavy beadcurtain strand I've ever made, and the longest bead is probably 3 or 4" —which for me is huge. Frances and I spent months, on and off, making beads for this project; it's also somewhat unusual in that it incorporates three colors: orange, but also yellow and acid green. It took roughly 6 hours to string, but as I was also tutoring someone else (the client's dear friend, in fact;) that slowed the process down a bit. Nevertheless, I typically try to do 5’ (plus an 18" leader) in 2 hours, whereas I'm guessing this one, at slightly over half the length would've taken at least that long, and possibly closer to three.

But I do feel the results were worth it:)

[1]The green abstract, is a major exception, being the last of a series I made a very long time ago—say, between ’02 and ’05.

[2]Vast thanks go to my current apprentice, Laja, for picking/tweezing/pushing all those pins out.