*whew!* It's good to be back, having some time to torch. The semester is over, the cold that laid me out flat for nearly two weeks, sleeping 20+ hours a day, has gone, and my Memorial Day guests are a very pleasant memory.
The first day back at the torch I didn't make much of anything of note; as always, I was trying to get my mojo back. I spent some time experimenting with copper inclusions, and will post about that later in the week. Yesterday I decided that the time had come to conquer my chunky disc press. I'm pretty good with presses in general, but my results were pretty hit and miss. However, I had some of my sister's (That Frit Girl) fantastic specialty blend frits to play with, and I was determined to master the press.
We went toe to toe, and at first it looked as if I was going to lose, again -- Press 3, Andrea 0. I started with plain pale turquoise, because I have a *lot* of that glass. A couple beads were too wonky (so before the bead release flaked off in the press I turned the gather into a tube for Beads of Courage), but then perseverence, or maybe that steely glint in my eye, paid off. (I think the steely glint is due to perspiration ... it gets hot in my kitchen nook!) I got three nice ones -- a little dimply, but within the bounds of "artistic" :). Then I decided to press my victory and I tried frit, using "Sedna," which I really love. The problem with using frit and a disc press, of course, is where do you dip? For once I think I need to make a deeper frit tray; all mine are shallow. Anyway, I solved the problem by carefully rolling a layer of frit into the bead, adding more pale aqua, and then adding frit--watching for that 10% rule!
I finished the session, not with disc beads, but with some flat bottomed crunches. I love the shape; they lie so nicely on a bracelet or necklace! But they are a pain to make if you want precise sizes, as I first shape them in a Cattwalk tab press and then crunch them. The advantage to that process, of course, is not just consistent sizes, but the lack of those strongly indented ends. Mind you, those ends work really well with a Swarovski crystal nestled into them, so I make those too. Anyway, these beads are made with my sister's frit blend, "My sister's socks." It makes referents a tad awkward, because I always feel I should call them "my socks." Anyway, she made the frit for me, to match the cheerfully mismatched, candy-colored cotton socks I like to wear. This is a fun blend, and I thought the fun crunch shape was a good match for it.
It's time to torch! So I will leave you with a new picture of an older set: