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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A First Attempt At Making An Obama Bead

With the excitement swirling around of America's first African American President, I felt the need to attempt a bead to commemorate the occasion.

Unfortunately, I didn't do him justice, but for a first try, I'm pretty happy. I learned a lot from the experience.

Finding the right colors for it... I wanted him to look more Presidential, so I used a dark blue for his jacket, a white shirt and red tie complete his outfit. If I were making this bead again, I would use the same colors, but build him differently with both the front and the back a little flatter and more squared up.

For his skin color I tried a few and decided upon Red Roof Tile. This photo is a little lighter than in person and the glass color adds a nice shade of brown mixed with some warm reddish colors. When you're debating which color to use, make tiny spacers on a mandrel and leave them to cool on your table. That way, you'll be able to immediately see whether the colors are what you'd like.

And finally a few comments about his appearance. I noticed in photos that he has short hair. I tried to make dots with a stringer and then partially melt them in. I used a commercial stringer and think next time I'd use a hand pulled one, because these dots were too large and didn't give him short enough hair. I tried to make a smile, but next time perhaps using a murrini that has the teeth and lips in it, might be better. His head is small and it was hard to work in such a small space. And finally, one of his characteristics is that his ears stand out a bit. I was sure to do that, to help identify who I was trying to characterize.

Hopefully, my lessons learned will help you look at photos and people a little differently when making beads.