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Murrini Signature

Its been 7 years in the making, and it finally happened! I made myself a lampwork glass signature murrini. Now I can sign my work like a real artist.

I’ve wanted to make myself a signature murrini for many years. Setting aside the time to actually accomplish it though was always the problem. Making a letter murrini involves many steps and many hours to complete. Another thing this takes a lot of, glass. Lots and lots of glass.

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There is a special project that I’ll be working on the next couple of months and having the pieces “signed” will make them all the better. See I’ve been working on the same torch for the past 7 years and I realize that If I want to keep growing in my artistic abilities, I need an upgrade. There are so many things that I want to make but I can’t because my trusty little torch can only get so hot, and the flame only so big.

My studio 2.0 overhaul is going to be a pricey undertaking, to the tune of 4 grand or more. So I’ll be attempting to raise the necessary funds through a kickstarter campaign. This is the main reason behind me finally biting the bullet as they say and making my signature cane.

Do feel something is more collectible or value a piece higher if it includes an artists mark?

How To Use Our Star Murrini Cane

If you’ve never used murrini in cane form this blog post will hopefully answer all of your questions. If not leave a comment and I’ll answer any questions you may have on this technique.

These little stars are great for adding character to your holiday beads (Halloween, Christmas) and landscape beads.

Using Our Star Cane:

Unlike larger murrini that is used in slices, our star cane is meant to be used right off the cane. This is only possible up to a certain diameter, too big of a murrini and the image will not transfer correctly to your work. Our star murrini cane works perfectly using the “snap off” technique that I’m about to show you.

You will need:

104coe Star Murrini Cane

104coe Rod or Stringer of Clear (optional)

Murrini Placement

 

Start by creating your bead and adding any design elements you wish. Here I’m just using an example paddle as I couldn’t find my mandrels to make a bead at the moment.

When you are ready to start placing your murrini stars decide where you want the first star to go. Heat that section until it is nice and glowing. Doesn’t have to be soupy hot but it has to be able to accept being manipulated.

 

 

Pokey pokey..

 

Grab your star murrini cane and quickly push it into the spot that you heated. Too get the most out of your cane it’s important to remember not to shove the cane in so far that you’re wasting valuable millimeters.

It may be a good idea to practice a couple of times on a paddle like I’m using to get a feel for the technique before using this on a bead that you spent hours creating.

 

 

Imbedded Star Chip

 

After poking the cane into your bead hold the cane there and let the area that you heated to set back up.

Once it cools back down again, all you need to do is quickly snap the can to one side. If done properly this will leave one imbedded star murrini chip in your bead. Neat!

 

 

 

At this point you have the option of placing a dot of clear over the chip to give the murrini a lens. Alternatively and my chosen preference, just leaving as is and continue on imbedding more chips.

Adding more stars

 

Keep repeating the steps of re-heating a section, poking the star cane in, and snapping off.

Try not to get too close to any previously placed stars. If you get to close with your “poking” you run the chance of smearing one of the chips (which I actually managed to do, oops!).

 

 

 

Oh my stars!

 

Here I have all the star chips placed and it’s ready to be finished off. It looks quite messy and bad now but once you complete the last step everything will come together and you’ll have a starry sky.

 

 

 

 

Finished Look

 

After you finish placing all the stars into your bead all that is left to do is reheat the whole piece until everything levels back out. If you did not place clear above the chips the stars will shrink in size a bit due to the glass having to fill itself back in.

While I was taking these photos I was just about out of propane so I had to go through the steps rather fast. The finished look is a bit lumpy but hopefully this will give you a good handle on how to use our star murrini canes.

 

 

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

On a side note…If you’ve used our star cane before or do in the future, I would love to see your beads! I may even update this post with pictures of your beads and include them as examples in the store listing as well. Just send your photos to joe[at]avenuebeads.com

Have fun!

Fusing Meets Lampwork – Creating pendant sheet stock

If you’ve been following along on our Facebook fan page you probably know what we’ve been up to. If you don’t know, well now you will.

I’ve had a couple of sheets of 104coe glass sitting around for what seems like years, gathering dust in a dark lonely corner. Last week I decided to pull out the sheets and try a little experiment mixing our handmade lampwork glass supplies and fusing. For first time around I decided to use some scrap pieces just in case it wasn’t going to work. No sense in wasting a good sheet of glass on the unknown.

First step.

Starting Pendant Stock

Piling on the goodness

Pick out some complementary shard colors. I was going for an organic look so I picked some colors that I thought would create some good reactions. In the one closest we have Lunar Rainbow, Silvered Ivory and Silvered Caramel shards. Added to that I overlaid the shards with black stringers, a bit of Rosewood Fusion Frit and a handful of Ocher Spiral Murrini chips.

On the other piece I used Amphibian shards piled high with black stringers and another stringer color that I custom mixed.

 

 

Fast forward 12 hours...

Pendant Sheet Stock

After first firing

After the first firing this is how the pieces came out. I love how all the shards mottled a bit, the way the black stringers set off the shard colors and just the over all look. When I pulled these out of the kiln I was pleasantly surprised by what came out. Obviously the first thought that came to my mind was “I definitely need to make some plates like this!” but lets stay on track here.

 

 


Step Two

Pendant Sheet cutting

Pendant shapes cut out.

Now we get to cut up the pendant sheet stock into all sorts of fun shapes and sizes. At this point you could either use a tile saw to cut the pieces out or if you only use one layer of sheet glass for the base like I do, you can still score it and snap it. If the sheet is too thick though the scoring method won’t work and you’ll have to use one of those deafening tile saws. Plus the scoring method leaves a much cleaner edge.

 

 

 

Step Three

We’re almost there! Now that we have our pendant shapes it’s time to give them some holes. For this I used a heavy-duty drill press with a 9mm diamond core drill bit. I wanted the holes to be pretty big so people could either add a jump ring or loop fat ribbons or cord through them. To make sure the drill bit went through the glass like butter I cut them under water. Worked perfectly! It’s also a great idea to wear hand protection when drilling. If the drill bit catches and starts spinning the pendant around, you don’t want your bare finger there.

 

Drillling Pendants

Drilling the pendant hole

Drilled Pendants

Drilled Pendants

Step Four.

Now that we have our pendants drilled with holes it’s time to put them back in the kiln for another session. Instead of doing a full fuse this time they’ll be going through a contour fuse. All this is going to do is soften out the hard edges that we created from cutting out the pendants and drilling the holes.

Last Step!

After two days we finally have a finished product. Now just photograph and sell :)

Finished Pendants

Finished Pendants