Kitzbitz Art Beads by Jolene Wolfe
Hi there, my name is Jolene Wolfe, most people call me Jo. I am a lampwork bead maker and have been making glass art beads and messing about with hot glass since the summer of 2007 when my Mum gave me my first basic torch for my 30th Birthday. I am a self employed stay at home Mum, which is the best possible gift that having a creative streak could have possibly given me.
I would like to show you some of my favourite work and talk a little about the processes involved in their making, First up is this cartoon style ocean scene focal called “Mandy mud crab”. Lampwork beads are made by taking glass rods, about the thickness of a pencil and melting them in an open flame until liquid and winding the softened glass around a thin steel rod called a mandrel. I made this bead by creating a core of color, covering the core in clear glass, painting on Mandy with tiny dots of glass and then covering the whole bead again with clear glass and pressing into shape.
This next set is called Oak Leaves (which is what I have drawn on the reverse side of these beads). The yellow patterns under the fine black line drawings are made with a very thin pieces of blown glass called shards. I make my own shards and quite often use them as a design element in my work. The stunning blue glass I’ve used in these bead was manufactured by and American company called Creation is Messy, I do some ad hoc testing work on new glass colours for them and write up my findings on my personal blog as a resource for other lampwork bead makers.
One of the most challenging colour combinations when working with Soda Lime glass is black and white. White glass becomes liquid in the flame relatively quickly which means that it can swallow up glass that is layered on top of it making the detail look fuzzy where the colours meet. Also many black glasses are not really black but are saturated transparent blues and purples which give the illusion of being black when used as a base bead but the true colour becomes apparent as dots and detail. This focal uses Italian Effetre white and Reichenbach dense black from Germany, a great combination for crisp results.
I currently have a huge crush on making chocolate beads and love to decorate them with my own fruit themed murrini. Picture murrini are made by building (kind of like 3d painting) an image out of glass. I then heat the whole image (glass gather) and stretch it out in to a cane to miniaturize the image which then runs through the length of the cane. I slice this cane in to tiny chips and have used it to add detail on top of many of these chocolates and caramels. The murrini apple slices make me smile a lot!
I want to show you this last set as it flows neatly in to the kind of posts I will be writing and sharing with you guys on the HAF blog. This set is made from glass colours that I selected after colour sampling an image of a pink tipped chrysanthemum. I will talking a lot in future posts about colour theory, bringing you images with inspirational colour palettes and maybe showing the odd bead or two from time to time.
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