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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Snow Scene...Choosing Colors for an Assemblage

lampwork glass winter snowman scene
Here we go... the last glassy post for 2008!

Today I have a photo of my entry for the Winter Challenge.

It's a three bead Winter scene, with a bobble head snow woman and a child with a carrot for her nose and a dog with a tennis ball.  They are on a white glass stand which is a bead also.

Today, I wanted to write about how I made some of my color decisions for this scene.

Of course I knew that the snow chick would be basically white.  I wanted her to look "girly", so decided to have her wear some clothes.  Periwinkle looks so pretty with white and as light blue is associated with winter sometimes, this would be a little stronger color that would show up better.  I added the swirls on her apron for interest and to tone down that amount of color in one place.  Her hat is periwinkle also with band of variegated greens, one is the bright key lime green that you also see on the child.  There is a crow sitting on the side of the hat, and that black is mirrored in the faces of all the characters.

I wanted the child's clothes to complement the snow woman.  I used the bright green on the jacket which would draw the eye in towards the face and make the child the focal of the assemblage.  I added some purple swirly details to the jacket and a small scarf.  Lapis blue is the other main color which although it's bright, still recedes a bit compared to the green.  The child is wearing blue gloves while holding the orange carrot.  They are opposite colors on the color wheel and will frame and bring more attention to the carrot this way.

The little dog adds a touch of detail to the scene.  Often I make white dogs with brown spots.  I knew that I needed a neutral color that would show up against all the white, so I made him from dark ivory glass with silvered ivory stringer spots for fun.  (Just had to try it to see what it would look like.)  He has a bright green tennis ball in his mouth, which helps your eye travel down to notice him.  I had thought to have him turned more to cover more of the snow lady, but liked this angle in the photo, because it looks like he's in motion.

And finally, the base.  I used four rods of white glass for it.  Holy cow, it got a bit heavy.  I had made a "pattern" out of play-doh in advance.  I figured out where each piece would stand and how much room was needed between them to keep them close enough together, but so they would easily fit too.  That play-doh is great stuff for working out logistics.

One of my 2008 New Years Resolutions was to be more "deliberate" in what I made and how I made it.  I still have a long way to go.  But today, I wanted to show you the thought that went behind this particular assemblage regarding one single aspect of it... choosing color.   We tend to talk technique, patterns, shapes and other more technical aspects, but deliberate color choice can be equally important.

Wishing you a happy ending to a crazy year.  I'm sure you can guess...tomorrow I'll write some of my beadmaking and glass resolutions for 2009.  Start thinking of yours, because I'm going to ask you to join in and post them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kiss My Curvy "S" or What Should I Name These?

Conundrum time. I have acquired a new brass bead press from Mallory. It's for a special project I'm working on, but I wanted to play with the press and try out different glasses in it and styles.

So I made a few and am going to offer them in my Studio Marcy Etsy Shop.
However, I'm just not sure what to call them. It's a "Wiggle" press, but I don't want to use their name.

I've been mulling over other ideas...wavy, curvy, swoosh - (nope, Nike has the corner on that market), worm, squiggle or undulation. I ended up listing this one as an "S" Curve with a little amusing joke written in the listing.

My husband looked at them and said the colored ones look like Gummy Worms to him.

This blue one I etched to look like sea glass. It's a light transparent blue that got a dunking in acid etch. I've got a few of these in other sea glass colors made too.

I'm open to ideas. Anyone have a name for these? If I choose your idea, I'll send you one that is a funkier version than these shown. I think you'll like it.

Thanks for your help. I'm taking suggestions through Thursday 10 am Eastern Time. Now get out there and put on your thinking cap. I need YOUR help!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Like Some Spam

Now I haven't gone as far as joining the Spam Fan Club, but there was something calling to me to make the can of classic Spam into a a lampwork glass focal bead.

I admit, I ate it once in a while when I was a kid. It was what a lot of kids ate along with Tang, the drink that Astronauts took to the Moon.

And I understand that Spam is served in Hawaii pretty often too. I say, good for them, if they enjoy it.

But for me, I just made it because it makes me smile whenever I look at it.
Hopefully this Spam bead makes you smile too.

ps, don't forget, when writing on glass, case your stringer with transparent glass, so there's more separation between the letters.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Remember to Adjust: Your Flame, Your Torch & Your Mandrel Position

This is my very first bead that I ever made. I thought it was going to be a turquoise donut. I burned it pretty badly which makes sense, because that's the way I cook too.

One of my beadmaking friends wrote to me and said that she was having problems with her new torch. She has recently changed from a Hothead to an oxy/propane mix and is concerned that maybe she didn't choose the right torch for sculptural beads.

I remember the learning curve from changing from a Hothead to a Minor. My first bead just oozed onto my tabletop. Whoa...that was scary. Then I burned a few- a little too close to the cones. It all takes time, and lots of practice, doesn't it?

So here are a few tips that I sent her for changing torches and at the same time working with sculptural beads and for some of you they are just a refresher course and for others, perhaps an idea or two to consider adopting. And if you're doing all of them already, pat yourself on the back and add some more tips in the comment section, please.

We'll call this "Consider these Adjustments"

1.Reheat & Read The Heat: After you do anything to your bead...anything....reheat your entire bead. That includes adding a single spot to your dog's body, reheat, adding an eyeball, reheat. I'm sure you get the idea. (and when I say reheat, I mean looking and "reading" the heat color of the glass that it is warm.) Sometimes people have let their bead get a little cool and just seem to wave it around in the flame and think it's warm. Watch the color of the glass to be sure and double check the farthest ends of the bead.

2. Adjust your Flame Often: I think beadmakers forget that those knobs are for adjusting while you're making your bead. Sometimes you need a bushier flame or more of a pinpoint...that torch is there to help you. Remember to use the knobs to enhance what you're doing.

3. Adjust Your Mandrel Position: Move your mandrel to get the flame to hit the bead exactly where you want it while keeping it warm. Sometimes we learn the horizontal way of holding our mandrel and keeping it parallel to the table top for making donuts, tabs, and bicones and stick with that style for making sculptural beads. Nope, not the way to do it. All rules are off when sculpting. Twist, turn and move that mandrel to get the flame exactly where it needs to be to heat the right spot. (don't forget to adjust your flame too.) Watch your heat of your bead, so the glass doesn't move in the wrong direction. But this is a very free-ing feeling once you start do this.

I'm guessing that everyone knows these adjustments already, but can use the reminder. We get intent on a bead and the focus turns to "how do I place this limb or can I keep that eye from totally melting in?" instead of "did I remember to reheat every time I placed some glass on my bead?" So kudos to all of you who already do this. And to those of you like me, who need a gentle reminder, here it is. I wish you happy beading and a good memory.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Need An "Easy Button"?

Late this fall, I noticed lots of television and print advertisements for a particular office store talking about how complicated it can be when getting simple tasks completed. Their tag line was to use their large, red "Easy Button".

Drawn in, I imagined what life would be like if we actually could make life easier. And I've come to the conclusion that definitely there are times when I'd love one, but sometimes the journey to get where we want to go, is the learning that enriches our lives more than the goal or destination.

I feel that way when I take on custom orders. I love the challenge of figuring out new ways to achieve a desired outcome that I haven't done before. It's like little individual puzzles which stretch and enhance my knowledge of glass.

Making this Easy Button reminded me of a few things.
1. It's hard to write on a very small space
2. I need to case my stringer, to keep some separation between the letters
3. We still don't have a great way to make a shiny silver look and that our silver plum makes a dark pewter no matter what I try.

And to make it "easy" on my customers, I have FREE shipping in my Studio Marcy Etsy shop for orders over $25 through the weekend. Why not?

...and that I still want an "Easy Button" when dealing with phone calls when I have to push a different button 12 times to get to speak with a live person to ask a simple question.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Starting Early on New Year's Resolutions

I'm starting one of my business New Year's Resolutions early.  I'm trying to improve my photo backgrounds on photos that I post for my Studio Marcy Etsy shop.

I've gone through the phase of the colored backgrounds, and the gray backgrounds and now I'm on the "white" backgrounds.  My artistic concession is to sometimes keep a bit of the shadow, while I white out the rest of it.  You can see my mermaid beaded ink pens  with two whiter backgrounds and one original.  Quite a difference, isn't it?

Of course it would help if my original photos were better and I will work on those too.  But for right now, Photoshop Elements 4.0 and its Magic Wand Tool  is my new BF.

If you've got a Photoshop trick for improving photos, please feel free to post it in the comments section.  I think we can always use some helpful hints and new ways to do things.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Merry Christmas and may Santa fulfill all your wishes, whatever they are.

(and here's my gift to you...a little cheesecake without any calories)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One More Time- Glass Buddies

I just wanted to introduce you to a few more of our local glass peeps. Sometimes you see a name online and it's nice to know a face with it.

In this top photo, you see our dessert challenge winner in the front. Meet Fred, who not only makes delicious cherry dump cake, but is Board member Martha's husband. Behind him is Robert, our Beads of Courage coordinator and on the right side, Brian, who does a lot of our boro demos and works with neon too.

The bottom photo has some more great members.
Back row, left to right
Maureen who is our greeter and organizer of our name tags, Karen is a former Board member and our current librarian and Robin drives all the way from Alabama to attend our meetings. Front row left is Becky, our current Board Secretary and Kristy who is a former Board member and was on our Gathering Postcard team.

If you want to see more photos of our Southern Flames meetings, teachers, read our tips and tricks and all kinds of other cool stuff, visit

Wishing you a happy holiday and I'm taking Christmas Day off from blogging. As you can see, I messed up and posted Wednesday in advance. But look for more posts starting 12/26.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Look What I Won- A Christmas Tree Covered with Lampwork Ornaments

Last Wednesday was my lucky day.  I don't know whether the moon and stars were aligned, whether it was destiny or what happened, but it sure was a delight.

After seven years of buying lots of tickets, I won the raffled Southern Flames Christmas Tree that night.

Members brought lampwork tree ornaments and converted beads (and even some sculptural glass earrings too!) and hung them on the tree.  In return, they received raffle tickets and everyone was eligible to buy tickets also.  I had brought my share of ornaments and had my length of raffle tickets and joked about never winning anything.

I have so many wonderful ornaments on it and feel so lucky.  A white raven, multiple Santas, a purple fish, all different kinds of icicles, blown balls, pendants, earrings, doves, dragon and a sweet angel on the top of the tree.  I keep it next to my computer.

And then there's my grinch.  Isn't he wonderful?  This was done by Maureen McRorie, (remember the post about voting for her?) and he's about 6" tall out of soft glass.  Those are some pretty amazing the details on him.

But the best part about the entire tree, is that these are handmade by my friends and each one is a bit of them that I get to keep.  The tree and its ornaments are a symbol of what I will treasure the most and you can see how lucky I really am.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Annealing Your Food- Or How My Friend Won the Southern Flames Appetizer Contest

Our ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) Chapter, Southern Flames enjoyed our December holiday meeting at Beads by Design with an Appetizer & Dessert Challenge and a raffle for a small Christmas Tree decorated with members' lampwork bead ornaments last Wednesday evening.

I had to show you my friend Linda's very creative (WINNING) entry in the Appetizer competition.  

Who says presentation isn't important?  Linda converted her warming tray to make a faux annealer complete with a bead door to house her kabob appetizers on sticks.  Of course to a beadmaker, they absolutely looked like lentils, barrels and other typical bead shapes on   mandrels.  They were mini hotdogs and hamburgers with the sauce and trimmings.    

That's Linda (our Southern Flames "Web Mama") on the left in the top photo waving her winning appetizer and our friend Kim watching.  The bottom photo is a closer photo of Linda's creativity. To see their beads and others in Southern Flames, visit our member pages.

We had so much going on that night, that there will be a few blog posts showing photos of some of our members and the fabulous raffled Christmas tree and its lampwork ornaments. 

If you don't have a chapter or a local club, I highly recommend starting one.  You can do that with the help of your ISGB Regional Director. Canadians and other International peeps, you have a Director too!  That link is for all chapters and contacting your RD.

The camaraderie, hints, collaborations and sharing really can bond you together and provide some wonderful times.  I treasure our local group.  We're all different personalities coming together through friendship and and the love of glass.

See you tomorrow with another post and more glass peeps.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Adventures in Antarctica Update

For a blog that focuses on hot molten glass, here's a little icy, wintery cold.

Some of you know that my daughter is working in Antarctica these days. I thought I'd share a couple of the photos that she has sent of her surrounding area and experiences.

This first one is a 12000 foot tall active volcano. It's Mount Erebus and is one of the four volcanos which formed Ross Island, where my daughter is. It's funny thinking that she's living on top of lava which is buried underneath all that snow and ice.

The second and third photos are inside of ice caves. These are located at the point where the tongue of the Erebus Glacier meets the sea ice.
My daughter says that these are the actual colors.

She's enjoying her "summer" down there. If you look at the bottom right side of my blog, I always keep the time and temperature widget there. You can check daily, like I do, to see what their weather is like.

As you can imagine, there's a limited living space and about 1000 or so inhabitants there right now.
They find ways to make their own fun, although there are 3 bars at McMurdo Station where she is.
She said it's funny leaving there at night and having to wear sunglasses. She hasn't seen a sunset since September 20th.

This is the first year without her at home for Christmas and already I'm missing her. But I am thrilled for her being able to travel to far away places and experience life. She's happy, healthy and having fun. What more can you ask for your kids?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hans Godo Frabel Award Nominees ~ Please Vote for Maureen

Yes, I have to admit I'm biased. One of the Hans Godo Frabel Novice Award nominees is my good friend, Maureen McRorie of FlameTree Glass here in Georgia. She is tremendously talented in whimsical sculptural glass, and her entry here is a bundle of fun glass put together in a very enjoyable assemblage. (You should see the rest of her work!)

Head over to - a great glass networking site, which is for glass artists and glass lovers. Join up so you can vote for the two categories of awards being given out and see some great glass art at the same time. It was really hard for me to choose from the other category and I'd love to hear who you voted for too. You have until Dec. 31st. But if you do it soon, you can come back and post and tell us who you liked and why. I'd love to read about it.

If you aren't familiar with internationally reknowned Hans Godo Frabel, he's a good one to check out. Here's his website. He and his studio artists make beautiful boro glass art. But don't just look at the eye candy. Read about him and his story. It's interesting relevant to the history of modern glass in the U.S.

And while you're at, please don't forget to vote for my buddy Maureen McRorie. In a few days, I'll be posting about her Grinch tree ornament and showing you a photo of it and the entire Christmas Tree laden with handmade glass ornaments/beads that I won through Southern Flames a few days ago. But for now vote and then if you have time, head over to her FlameTreeGlass for more of her work, her husband Lance's glass and their 35% off sale of Vetrofond and Effetre.

Catch you tomorrow!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lampworker Shannon Hill Needs Our Help

If you've been on some of the lampwork forums, you might already be aware that fellow lampwork glass artist, Shannon Hill is quite sick. He was recently diagnosed with Lung Cancer, and according to reports, "it's bad". But worse, Shannon doesn't have medical insurance.

So needless to say, the lampwork community has banded together and found multiple ways that you can help, if you can.

1. Buy some raffle tickets that benefit Shannon here. Great selection and watch for additional items being added. Tickets are only $5 and it's paypal. You can also donate items for the raffles here too. I'm giving you fair notice, I'd really love to win that Poppy Vetrofond glass. But if you get it, I'll still be your friend.

2. Visit Shannon's website and order some of his gorgeous beads. He has some beauties. And as an old married woman I'm allowed to say this...enjoy his bio photo while you're there.

3. Not in the mood for beads or raffle tickets? What about his great instructional dvd or video?

4. You can donate directly to his paypal account by logging into paypal and using his paypal address (which is found at the bottom of this page) to send money. Just be sure to write a note and tell him who you are and what it is for, please.

I do not know Shannon personally, but have always heard such nice things about him. I am hoping that those who are able to, will try to help in some very small way. Send him healing thoughts, prayers and well wishes and know that this is one of the real spirits of the season.

See you tomorrow with some tips I recently picked up and don't forget, I just added a 25% or More SALE section to my etsy shop...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Murano Glass Christmas Tree

Here is an art installation which is claimed to be the world's biggest blown glass tree.  It's in the central Campo Santo Stefano square in Murano. (an island of the Venice lagoon)  It was made by Venetian artist glass master Simone Cenedese.

Its total height is 8.5 meters and weighs 3 tons, with 1000 glass tubes.

Here is a short youtube video that shows its location and more footage.

photo credit Andrea Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Woven Bead Art Necklace Give Away- Here's How to Enter

Hey gang,
I'm still waiting for one of my readers to win the weekly give away. Please visi the Artisan Beaders' blog to get the very EASY rules to enter.

This lovely necklace can be worn by guys or gals, (hey, a different idea for that hard to shop for guy on your list!), and features a glass bead with silver foil with light lavender, dark turquoise and ruby accent glass.

It's made in a Dutch spiral weave with 11/0 Czech seed beads. It's 22.5" long.

Artist Nicole Campanella of Beadwright offers kits, jewelry, supplies and all kinds of great stuff. Visit her and tell her I said hi.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Early Morning Musings- I'm In Bead Trends magazine


Early mornings are one of my favorite times. I'll lay in bed and think about what I'm doing that day and if there are issues to contemplate, that's a good time for it too. Then I hop out of bed and come down to my computer to write my daily blog.

I thought I'd show you my one page of fame for the month. I'm in Bead Trends Magazine - Dec. 2008 issue. Have you seen it? I thought perhaps not. It's a lovely magazine. The photos and how to's are very attractive and it's thick without too many advertisers. Next time you're in your local bead shop or book store, peek around and see if you see it. It's published by the group that does some of the paper and scrapbooking magazines too.

The magazine chose a lampwork glass flower ring that I make, sell and trade. The bright red Russian glass petals with the Italian glass turquoise blue center add a little international bling for your finger. Some of you may have similar ones from the Gathering. This has been my "trade" item for the last two years. (Don't worry, I'll come up with something new for this year in Miami.

And now you know my source for photos too. I have a photobooth on my Mac computer. It makes early morning photos quick and easy. (even if I didn't flip around the magazine photo) and you see me in my early morning attire- sweatshirt, unbrushed hair and no make up. But we're glass lovers and beadmakers, so I know you'll laugh with me at these early morning photos.

Hope your day is wonderful.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Being Featured on "Bacon Today"

I was tickled to receive an email from Corey James, Chief Baconographer of He told me that he has written an article about my bacon beads that is being featured today.

I first found his website, when I happened across a recipe for "bacon cookies". Being a lover of both bacon and cookies I wanted to explore this novel concept more.

I found a totally delightful and amusing website. I particularly like some of the products offered on it. Last year, my daughter had requested "bacon band-aids", and seeing some of their items, I might need to do a little more shopping. There's a T-shirt with a picture of a piece of bacon that says, "Strip". I think that's funny for one of my adult kids.

But you can also find recipes and other important bacon information and products. So check out their website. It's an honor that not many other beadmakers can say has been bestowed on them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

Thought I'd tell you about more signs
As you can tell, there are all kinds

Make your beads with your concentrator
Then google search for "sign generator"

These are from
Eye popping variety - you can bet.

Very seldom are they "fine art"
But not too shabby for an old _______

(.....I was thinking "heart", weren't you?)


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Make A Sign Using Your Art Photos

I needed a basic sign for my Studio Marcy  Etsy Shop that said  "Reserved"
and "Custom Order" on it.

I could have just used text, but decided that I should dress it up a bit.

So I took one of my Christmas elf bead and used my Photoshop Elements to erase a section, draw a border around it and add the text I wanted.

This particular bead already had his arms spread wide, so he was perfect to hold the sign.  He's bright and stands out, as well as is kind of cute, if I do say so myself.

 I could see putting a sign in one of my dog bead's mouth, or a variety of other options too.  If you make long focals, why not turn it on it's side and erase a section of it to write your message?  Or bead sets could have words printed on each bead.

Just a little idea to keep you thinking about looking at the bead business from a slightly different angle and hopefully keep your art in front of your customer's eyes.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Days It's So Ugly, You Just Have to Laugh

Have you ever started out making a bead and just not have it turn out as you intended?

Meet my scary Christmas frog.  Holy cow, this one is a doozy.  Not only is he ugly, but he's quite large too.

I am not sure what was going through my head when I thought a frog with a Santa hat would be fun to make.  I think part of it was the color juxtaposition of the green frog playing against the red hat.  And I wanted to try the horizontal line for his eyes.  Well as you can see, the glass experiment got out of hand.  I have more photos shown in my etsy shop listing.  I listed him because there might be someone else who would enjoy laughing at him too.

Too large, really funny looking, not shaped right and a huge pink tongue sticking out.  I don't know how I missed adding a bug or a Christmas candy to the end of it.  But in the end, this bead really makes me giggle.  Yes, he's funny looking, but some days my beads are so ugly, I just have to laugh.   Have you ever made a bead that affected you that way?

And who knows, if the right person kisses him, maybe he'll turn into a Prince? 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weekly Artisan Beaders Giveaway-

Here's this week's giveaway from the Artisan Beaders Street Team.  Featured is Cheery Daisy Pendant from JaelsJewels on Etsy.

Jael is a very talented polymer clay artist.  It's fun to visit her shop and see how much her canes and artwork are similar to glass.  I think both art disciplines could learn a bit from each other.  This pendant is made form polymer clay and has a dichroic glass cab in the center of the flower.  Love the combination of mediums.

Visit the Artisan Beaders blog to get the very quick and easy details on how to enter.

Good luck and check back if you win!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not Your Regular "Fly By Night" ~ Ho, Ho, Ho!

Who knew that Santa traded in his old school sleigh and is now riding in his new chocolate ice cream cone airplane with a peppermint propeller?

You can see more views- and the side ones are better to see the cone part- in this listing.

Do you ever make beads just to see if you can do them or to entertain yourself? I do. If a sculptural bead design is logistically hard to make- like having an "x" and a "y" axis, (like a "t" shape), then that is fun for me to try.

I have to build out the part that isn't supported by my 1/16th slim mandrel. Meanwhile, I think about making the shape, how to keep the entire bead warm and what order in which to form it it.

I also think about how I'm going to "get" to some of the places. For example the red plane wings. Those started as elongated dots. I needed to put the glass into its position, but not press it yet, (pressing makes it more susceptible to getting cold, because it's thinner), and I still needed to finish Santa's body. So if I made his arms, could I have room for my tools to press the wings?
Just for the record, I mashed the wings and then added Santa's right arm, which had to be placed before his beard, which had to be added before his.... you see what I mean. The order of placement is a strategic one that has to be thought out. Who knew this right brained beadmaker could be logical too?

Is this a way you think when you're making beads? Do you think of the order of the pattern or the shape in a logical way, or design your beads on the fly? (I do that too sometimes). Tell us about it.

And don't forget, beads like this are fun for holiday decorations too. This one would be so cute on a Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How To: Celebrate with a Lampwork Bottle of Champagne

lampwork-glass-champagne-bottle-bead-focalLet's get this party started!  Nothing like a bottle of champagne and all those cute little bubbles tickling your nose, as you sip away.

How about making your own champagne with no grapes, oak barrels or fermentation needed?

This bead is about 1.5" tall.  I used a 1/16th mandrel with Dip 'n Go Blue Sludge bead release.

I always start at the "bottom" of my beads.  I'm left handed and work right to left across my mandrel.

Using Moretti sage green, I made a modified bicone and rounded up the center.  The bottom of the bottle is a truncated shape.  I didn't need that end of the bicone to be long and slim.    You could also build a barrel and let it round up in the middle a bit and marver the top end of it into shape.  As I don't have any champagne at home, the sale section of the Sunday newspaper had a good photo in a liquor store advertisement for reference.

So now we have the green bottle part and it's time to add the white neck.  Pretty simple once you break the bead down into shapes, isn't it?  Now you build the long white neck as a very slim barrel. Either a commercial or hand pulled white stringer will make it easier.  

To add the cork shape on the very end, I just make a small donut shape on the end of the barrel. Then I very gently roll and marver it down into shape.

Towards the end, I use my gold aventurine hand pulled stringer.  It's stiffer than the white glass, so keep that glass just barely warm, so it doesn't mush around on you.  Just make a few wraps and add as needed to get it the right thickness.  This covers your connection between the white and green glass and makes it look more finished.  Then I heat the surrounding area just a bit to marver it into shape.

My last step is to add the label onto the front.  I make three dots with the largest one in the center and two smaller ones on either side.  I gently flatten them to make the "gold" part of the label.  Then I add a white dot to the center over the top, to mimic the label on the original bottle.

These champagne bottles are great to make for gifts for friends.  Whether it's a wedding, baby, new relationship, (end to an old one?!), or even a new pet, there's always something that can be celebrated.

I'd love to see the ones you make.  And please, feel free to sell them too.  It's fun to share some of these shapes and if you make something based on this free tutorial, please send me a photo so I can enjoy it too.  I can see someone specializing in some of the bottle shapes and having a line of them to sell.  Wine bottles, champagne, beer...I bet there are customers out there for all of those.  (If you make them out of recycled glass, it could be a win/win situation too!)  It would be fun to see some of the wine and champagne glasses with this line too.

Meanwhile, if you have a moment, pop by my Etsy shop to see my latest offerings.  I add new ones daily.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rock the Vote for Studio Marcy and Other Holiday Beads

elf-lampwork-glass-bead-handmadeOur Lampwork Etc. Street Team (LEST) Holiday / Winter Challenge voting has just started and I invite you to come join in the merriment.

There are 13 wonderful submissions- some are focals and some are bead sets. All of them are connected to Etsy lampwork bead shops.

So come by here, and be sure to scroll down for the photos of the beads to vote for your favorite. If you are undecided, my elf and I would love your vote.

And if you want a quick search for LEST team members on etsy, just type "LEST team" into the handmade search and it will bring up this page. I can always be found in my shop at

I know some of my readers also have beads in this contest. Feel free to comment and mention which bead is yours in the contest and why not add its url if it's for sale in your Etsy shop too?


Sunday, December 7, 2008

BUST Magazine Product Showcase Advertising Opportunity

Are you familiar with BUST Magazine? It's a young, hip (slightly edgy/feminist) magazine for primarily 20 - 30 something year old women.

BUST has a "Product Showcase" advertising section in it. The above is a sample of what the ads look like. They reach 400,000 people and cost $150. You include your website, your product name and price as well as the photo. That's it. It's 1 1/4" wide and 1" tall. Here's what I like, you can pay by Paypal. I don't know how many spaces are left, if any. It's important to first analyze whether your product fits these demographics. Grab an issue of the magazine, or at least go online to check it out. If it does, then good luck!

I advertised in the December issue and have received one great response. So if you find an issue, look for my white puppy dog bead in the product showcase.

Anyone else know of some wonderful advertising opportunities?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jake the Snow Man and Writing Copy for Your Listings

Meet Jake, Frosty's cousin. Jake is a more athletic version of Frosty. He likes to snow shoe, cross country ski and play hockey. He says those are muscles under that layer of snow. (Harrumph, that's what all the guys say!) Jake is hoping that there will be some sort of outdoor Wii programs on the market soon.

Jake is wearing a hat and a scarf, (sure he knows how to layer) and does not have a carrot nose. Being a vegan, he feels that there are better uses for a carrot.

He is close to an inch tall with a 1/16th vertical hole.

This is a sample of one of my Etsy Shop listings for my sculptural beads. I wanted to show you how a little entertainment may help enhance your beads and what you're trying to convey in them. I think the two little paragraphs help support the goal of presenting a whimsical and amusing snowman. So get a little creative. If you're at a loss for words, go to I use it all the time. Not just to check my spelling, but to browse through the thesaurus. Sometimes there's a perfect word out there just waiting for you. And those perfect words may help you sell your perfect piece of art.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fond Memory Beads ~ Winter Wonderland

Many of you know that I live in Atlanta, Georgia.  It's been my home for over 14 years, and it's a lovely place.  Plants grow without you needing to cajole them just to stay alive, wildlife and nightlife abound, and it's home to lots of glass friends who also feed my soul.

But this is the time of year, when one's thoughts turn to the beginning of winter, Christmas holidays and one of things missing in my life....snow.

I realize that many people would be happy to give it up.  I don't miss shoveling it, driving in it or even dressing for it.  But I do miss the sun sparkling on newly fallen snow, its pristine beauty and of course...playing in it.

I have very fond memories of my many years in the Rocky Mountains. Both in Wyoming and in Colorado. The beauty of snow capped peaks, mountain cabins and the scent from their wood stoves, the chilly mountain streams and snow covered pines.

And it seems like every year I make a snow scene bead of my fond memories.  This one reminds me of the place we stayed to go cross country skiing with friends.  One side has the cabin and the other side has the stream.  I wasn't able to capture the pink cheeks, fresh air and peels of laughter that weekend.

So how would you make your Fond Memory Bead?  What would go on it?  I have plenty of fond memories for many more.  These beads are the type that you should make one to save for yourself as well as one to sell or give away.  They're fun and you will smile every time you see it.

This one is available in my Etsy store.  And just in case you missed it, I have a Buy One, Get One Half-Price Sale going on through tomorrow.  I'm still adding more new beads daily as I always do.  Hope you can stop by if you've got a minute.  And if you have a photo of a fond memory that needs to be captured in glass, I enjoy custom orders.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meet Guppy ~ From Plushie to Focal Bead

Meet Guppy. Guppy is the favorite stuffed animal of one of my customers' little girl. Apparently, Guppy isn't allowed to go everywhere the little girl goes, so her Mom decided to find her a stand in who could.

So she contacted me through my etsy shop and sent me a variety of photos of this beloved pink seal. I was touched. Obviously this is a well loved "friend" and as a fellow Mom, I have my memories of how attached my kids became to certain toys.

So let's talk about the process a little. How did I get from step A to step B?

I looked at the shape, the texture and the face on Guppy, to decide how to form this and where the hole needed to be.

Then I picked my colors, which you fellow glass artists know are limited, when it comes to pinks.
I used the Effetre pink and CIM's Gelly pink for the two shades.

My first two efforts, (not shown) were pretty scary. I had tried to give Guppy some texture, so she'd look more like a plushie, but she looked more like a seal wearing a lion costume, as I added fur around her little face. Needless to say, those two got scrapped, but they were helpful in figuring out the body shape and flippers.

On to a smoother and more refined Guppy. No textured fur. I built the body like a large donut shape at first. I wanted to get my height of the body with that. Then I started adding on to parallel sides. A little bit on the side where I would attach the head and face and a lot of glass onto the back side. It looked a little like an asymmetrical torpedo. I wasn't worried about the exact shape at first on the back flipper end, but wanted to get the mass of glass in place.

I added the head in the Effetre pink and flattened the part where the CIM pink face would go. Two dots where the eyes would be added and then the face. Just a bit of black stringer for the simple eyes and nose. I chose not to make the whiskers, because when they're fine lines, they tend not to look very least when I make them.

I shaped the front flippers with a little bit of detail made with pliers and then heated the back flipper side and slightly pulled it out for the elongated shape. I added to large dots of CIM and gently mashed them for the back flippers. A little more plier work for details (and maybe a touch of razor blade for more definition and we were good to go. Guppy is on her way to be wrapped for Christmas. What a fun gift and an everlasting memory.

You can see more angles of Guppy in the sold section of my shop. Just click here to get to it.

Do you have family favorite items that can be translated into glass memories? Or have you done it already? This was my first custom order like this and I really enjoyed making it. I could easily imagine a little girl loving that pink seal.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Plug and Play

marcy-lamberson-studio-marcyPlug: I'm being featured today on a really cool blog. It's called "Something Just To Start" and Coleen features artisan shops, commercial websites and just different things that she really likes. Well guess what, Coleen and I have similar taste.

I spent my early morning hours scrolling and reading the different posts about the other featured artists and their work. I could make my entire Christmas list just from her blog. So stop by, comment and enjoy the blog.

Play: Joe with Avenue Beads has started broadcasting his torch time via computer. You can go to the website, and watch him blow shards and make beads. He does this mostly in the evenings or weekends. There is a place for the viewers to comment or ask him questions and he reads the comments and chats. There's a lot of side chatter and fun comments by the audience. I visited last night and had a good time. Here's the web address:

My BOGO 1/2 Off Sale continues through Saturday. I've been adding lots of new beads daily. Please feel free to shop by, (Freudian slip? I think not.) and check it out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two For Tuesday ~ Artisan Beaders Give Away & Silver Glass

I've bitten the bullet and finally have tried silver glass. Our local glass chapter has a new member who makes it and he brought some to sell at our last meeting and to show us how he uses it.

To be honest, I had been kind of avoiding it. The cost of $100/lb of glass, seems so expensive to me, and yet, as a true glass-aholic, I finally stopped resisting and gave in.

Here's just one photo of my results on this seashell. (I have more views in my listing here.) I got a pretty wide spectrum of colors and it seemed like treating it more like raku, got me the best results. I've seen different results from just about everyone who bought that evening. I know flame chemistry makes a difference, as well as striking it over and over, chilling it and probably singing love songs might change your results too.

Bottom line is that I'm really glad to try it and I'll continue to use it, but in small amounts. It gives a pretty variation of colors and is a lot of fun. If you want to find my new acquaintance, he sells on etsy as Striking Color.

And now for the FREE Giveaway from Artisan Beaders Street Team! Aren't these earrings lovely? They are classically elegant and perfect for just about anything that I wear.
(Including my usual casual jeans and a sweater)

This week, these black faceted glass and sterling earrings are from Kristy of Shiny Adornments. To find out how to win them, you need to visit the Artisan Beaders' blog and get the full directions. Just click HERE.

And if you ever want to read a fabulous blog full of selling and business tips as well as pretty jewelry, Kristy's is one of my faves.
I always learn great information from it.

So because of the multi-faceted post today, I have a few questions for you to answer...
Do you have a favorite silver glass- which one and where do you buy it? Do you have a favorite blog for selling and jewelry/lampwork business tips? What is the url? Oh so much to think about and it's just Tuesday. See you tomorrow... (oh, and p.s.- don't forget my BIG SALE in my etsy shop through this Saturday.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

How To: Sketch Fine Lines On Your Beads

When was the last time you wanted a thin line and stringer control and it didn't quite work out the way you want?

Well, so often it just doesn't happen. And I wanted to do a little experimenting. Here I used the Pine Tree Alabastro glass by Effetre. There are two ways that I generally work with fine lines. One is to case my glass with clear and pull into stringer. Or the other is to just use a very, very low flame with very thin stringer.

This time, I decided to try commercial Effetre white filigrana that I pulled to an even thinner stringer. I wondered whether it would be more controllable because the clear casing is even thicker than what I usually use.

These photos show the bead much larger than it's 1 inch size. If you look carefully, you can see a little of the clear casing with the sketched trees.

I was quite pleased with this effect and know I'm going to try more filigrana in my designs that I've been planning I like the "sketch" look to it. It gives it a casual, but kind of "hip" look.

Do you have a design you'd like to sketch on a bead? What will you try that is different?

You can see a few more shots of this bead in my shop. And don't forget to stop by for my BOGO 1/2 Off Sale. See yesterday's post for details.