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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mini Tutorial- Making Mushrooms by Marcy Lamberson

Mushrooms traditionally add a bit of fancy to
to an owners collection, or wardrobe. Often I think of them being appreciated by people who enjoy fairies, and small woodland type vignettes.
I just happen to be one of those people and perhaps you are too. If so, here's a very simple mini tutorial for you, so you can make your own.

Marcy's Magic Mushrooms
(Okay, I grew up in the 60's and they aren't that type, but it sounds good.)

Glass: Light 
ivory, white stringer and color for mushroom cap. Most often it's red.
Tools: marver (I prefer a brass Stump Shaper, but any marver will do.)
1. I work on a 1/16th mandrel, but 3/32 would be just fine also. Starting at the end closest to the hand holding the mandrel, start winding your light ivory into a chubby donut shape.

2. Marver your donut into a stem shape similar to a cone without a sharp point. Keep that end nice and wide to attach the cap, but make it smaller than the base end.

3. Pat yourself on the back.
4. Using your mushroom cap color, make a small donut with about 3 wraps around the mandrel directly next to the smaller end of the stem. This makes sure that your mushroom cap will be smooth at the mandrel. Turn your hand holding the mandrel and point the flame directly at the top of the donut, so it gets warm and smooths out.
5. Gently marver it on a slight angle to slightly spread it out and smooth some more. Please note, depending on how pointed you want your mushroom cap, this is where you decide. Use a sharper angle marvering it, if you want a more pointed cap. If you happen to marver it too much and your glass gets too thin at the top, just sparingly add a few more dots of glass around the top of it and gently melt in and marver again- g e n t l y and not too hot.

6. Now, you should have a band of color for the start of the cap. Heat your rod of the same color and the rim of the small cap and point your flame where the two meet as you apply more glass in circles, widening your mushroom cap. It's like making a disk on a slight angle or a half of a hollow bead. Every couple of wraps, be sure to keep your mushroom warm.
7. Aren't you happy that you didn't make the top of the stem too thin? Because you need this top of the stem to help support your cap and make it more secure and easier to marver. Whoops, that's the next step.

8. Once you have enough mushroom cap on, then you can gently heat and marver it smooth. It will slightly contract and that's okay, because you know how to add more glass. I think getting a nice, smooth cap is more important. Once you have it the way you like it, there's just one more step.

9. Add your white dots. Sparingly. A few seem to work the best. Melt them in gently and marver if necessary. But not too hard, because then they aren't as opaque. Finish fire polishing your mushroom and pop it into the kiln. Or...

10. On my green mushroom below, I added a little bit of sparkle.
 A light pixie dust, (goes with fairy objects after all) or even a few little thin green stringer strands of glass grass on the base of the mushroom stem can add a touch of detail to make it more special.

11. Pat yourself on the back one more time. Enjoy!