Born of Fire, Glass & Love

The December Issue of Raising Arizona Magazine spotlighting Beads of Courage just arrived. So thankful for Jean Gribbon Baruch and her giving works vision. The photography by Daniel Friedman is outstanding. The article, written by Vicki Louk Balint, brought me to tears. Josh and his brother Brendan are real heroes!

Organizing Rogue Rods

Have you ever pulled a rod from the glass cabinet only to find you can't remember the correct spot to later store it?  With variations and over 300+ colors in the CoE 104 family comes rogue rods.  Here are a few tips and tricks to correctly reclassify pesky rods lingering around the studio.

Intense Black vs. Transparent Black:  Pull a think stringer of the rod, approximately 1mm.  If the stringer shows a transparent dark purple/black when held to a bright light, then the rod is transparent black.  A fine stringer of Intense Black will remain opaque in a bright light:

Transparent Pinks:  A few years back, I had 3 batches of transparent pinks become mixed.  I placed the rods on a sheet of white paper to verify color differences in a bright light, however it was impossible tell the colors apart.  In frustration, I bundled the glass and placed it on a shelf for later.  By accident I notice the end segments of the rods were different colors.  Taking the bundle outdoors in the bright sun, I was able to separate the colors by looking at the sliced end of the glass:

  Side view of sliced ends:

The Shadow Technique:  Transparent glass allows the light to shine through, casting a shadow.  The shadow projected on the foreground surface is unique to each color wavelength.  Notice the difference in the shadows of the CiM Testing photograph:
So when in doubt, try a few of the techniques to help sort things out.  Feel free to comment or send me an email with further questions.
Enjoy, Heather

CiM Testing: Frost, Zoe, Birthstone, Blue-yah, and Pollen

Frost is a true light aqua.  When compared to Ice Floe, the new addition to the Messy family has a subtle Caribbean flare.  The glass was clean and crisp with no shocking, hazing or bubbling.  The color could be classified as a super light pulsar and on par with Effetre light aqua.

Zoe is a bright aqua color.  With a more intense saturation than Frost, I would classify the color as lighter version of Pulsar.  Upon introducing the glass rod to the flame, the glass tended to haze and slightly bubble.  The haze quickly disappeared with even heating, leaving no trace on the finished bead.  No shocking occurred. 

Birthstone is a close cousin to Zoe, but with a slight hint of teal green.  Similar to Zoe, hazing occurred when the glass was introduced into the flame.  The hazing and slight bubbling cleared upon reaching molten.  The final bead finish is smooth and without blemish.  I would classify Birthstone as a lighter version of Blue-yah!

Blue-yah! is a more saturated version of Birthstone with heavy undertones of teal (when compared to Pulsar).  No shocking or hazing occurred when heated.  The intensity of Blue-yah! is similar to Pulsar, however the teal green of Blue-yah stands out.
Pollen is a vibrant yellow.  In small quantities, the glass appears transparent with a luminous neon quality.  No shocking or bubbling occurred during testing.   The glass was stiff in nature when sculpted, similar to the consistency of a transparent glass  The finished surface being smooth and without blemish, flowing nicely to create the body of a bumblebee. 

Creation is Messy New Color Testing: School Bus, Goldenrod, Royal, & Chamomile

Aside from some home improvement projects dominating my schedule this past week, I had a chance to begin testing some new colors by Creation is Messy.  The colors from left to right:  Elphaba, Goldenrod, School Bus, Daffodil, Alley Cat, Tiger Lily, Poppy.  Just a few of the fantastic colors featured in the CiM palette.   

School Bus (pictured above) is a rich, buttercup yellow.  A happy addition to the CiM palette, School Bus is a welcome bridge between Goldenrod and Daffodil.  The quality of glass is surperb with the color true throughout.  No bubbling or shocking occurred during testing.  Looking forward to adding more of this glass to my color cabinet when it is released.

Goldenrod is a bright, sunny yellow.  This glass was an absolute joy to sculpt into a silly duck focal.  Typically, Effetre yellows have intense striations of gloss which rise to the surface and may create discolorations in the final finish, however this didn't occur with Goldnerod.   The color is true throughout.  Wraps of hot glass mealted into the surface with ease, leaving no indications of adding glass to the main bead.

Royal Ltd is a rich, jeweled hue similar to a sapphire.  Like most transparent rods, the glass was stiff in nature.  No shocking occurred in testing.  When applied over a pastel white base, the deep, jewel-tone dot work appeared lighter, however the color remained clean without bubbling or distortion.

Chamomile Ltd is a vivid, spiced-mustard yellow.  The sleek glass boasts lovely striations of gloss, giving the appearance a luminous mossy glow.  The rich color is an earthy addition to the Messy palette.  No shocking or bubbling occurred during testing.  The glass easily rolled freely in the ribbed mold to create crisp, sculpted ridges.  No reaction was noted when paired with a silvered ivory shard.

Little Frog

A flamework demo for a Raising Arizona magazine with photographer Daniel Friedman.  Love how the little guy turned out. 


A quick post before a new batch of CIM glass arrives for testing.  The lovely beads in Evermore feature Grumpy Bear, Cranberry, and Ginger.  Looking forward to playing with some lovely new Messy colors! 

Cherry Blossom Kimono

My daughter was given a figurine of a lovely Japanese girl wearing a beautiful kimono.  I wanted to make her friend a similar gift for her to wear as a reminder of her kindness.  The cherry blossom design was inspired by a lovely swatch of gray fabric (pictured below). 
Just a few of the beads headed to Beads of Courage.  The purple minion comes with a
little jar of antidote.   I ♥ Beads of Courage!

Dia de los Muertos Set

A bead set finally made it to Etsy, although it won't last long.  I combined the "Lollies" lentils with a fabulous new sugar skull.  Good luck!

Flowering Cactus Paperweight

Love how this off-the-cuff project turned out (below).  I made a larger version (above) at home.  Hoping it brings you a little bit of sunshine to your day.

Minion Invasion

Picture above is a "Dream Bead" for a special kiddo participating in the Beads of Courage program.  After the bead went into the kiln, I was still in a MMM: minion-making-mood.  The paperweight project below came to life.  It needs a bit of cold work to finish him off.  I have a couple other fun projects in the works.  Until then, enjoy a banana.  My treat!

2014 Beads of Courage: Bead Challenge

 A lovely day creating beads for super-special kids.  Special thanks to Beyond the Torch for hosting the wonderful giving works event to benefit Beads of Courage.  A great reminder of life's blessings. 

Boys need beads too

I think we tend to associate beads with girlie-girl jewelry, however some of my favorite beads are designed for boys.  They can be strung on a backpack clip or lanyard.  This one is for my nephew, however the design would be great for Beads of Courage donations.  Real life superheroes do not always wear capes!

Check your Boo-bies 2014

An oldie, but a goodie.  Check your Boo-bies 2014 is a throw back design from years ago.  Love the little ghost holding a pumpkin.  The pumpkin's vine is a hidden hope ribbon design.  A friendly reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Freestyle Swirled Marble Bead

Occasionally, I have a bit of time to experiment after the regular class demos.  Many times, I am limited to the glass rods running loose in my travel size storage container.  Here is a fun freestyle marble bead resulting from a bit of experimentation with gravity swirls.  Love the color combination! 


It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch... it's Brunch.  A cabochon demo from class last week, featuring a tiny frog and a yummy snack.  Enjoy!

Dia de los Muertos 2014

I wanted to design a festive Dia de los Muertos necklace kit for class.  After 9 sketches, I finally settled on this design featuring an adorable lampwork sugar skull.  Counting down the days until class on October 7th at the Mesa Arts Center.  If all works out, I will be demoing the sugar skull at the M.A.C. Fall Festival.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Welcome to Paradise Necklace

I'm not a jewelry designer by any means, however I am thrilled with how the design turned out.  The project will be submitted for an exhibit, so fingers crossed!   


 "Larkspur" is a lovely dichroic focal featuring hues of lush violet.  The ends are capped in jet black for a polished finish. 

Dive Into Glass

It is complete and available for instant download on Etsy.  The eBook is a compilation of techniques and recipes to create your own duck themed glass projects – included in this booklet are step by step text and photograph instructions for intermediate to advanced flameworkers, 80 high-quality color photographs and helpful tips. In addition, I include all CiM and Effetre names/numbers used throughout the tutorials. All of the glass referenced in this 47 page book is COE-104.  Here is a sneak-peek for your eyes only: 


Cloudscape features new colors by CiM.  The lush palette includes Ice Floe, Trapeze, Whisper, Gypsy, and Zachary. 

Another view:

Friendly Fox

The updated design is based on the original from last Spring (seen below).  He is too friendly to be released into the wild.  So he will be joining the animal menagerie headed to Beads of Courage in September for relocation.

A Mother's Love Series

Two words sum up the reason I love Beads of Courage: 
Giving Back

My son was born with a congenital heart defect. He underwent surgery when he was 4 months old. When I design beads for Beads of Courage, I often think of the incredible medical treatment he received through the challenging journey. 
For me, the most difficult moment was the morning of the surgery. Having to let go was almost more than I could bear. Fast forward 11 years, he is a healthy, energetic young man and my sidekick... more like partners in crime. 
He is my inspiration for the design series, "A Mother's Love". Special thanks to Donna Felkner Aka-cgbeads for donating her fabulous BR-132 Snowman/Animal Body roller to be auctions during the Arizona Society of Glass Beadmakers Challenge Day at Beyond the Torch Gallery & Studio.