I do florals like Kim Fields. I have notes from her demo for the Southeastern Michigan Glass Beadworkers Guild
. Kim graciously shared a great deal of information with all of us at the demonstration.
I'd edit this, but I thought the other information would be helpful too. The notes from the demo include instructions for making a bee bead, a pumpkin, and a floral bead (originally posted for the Northern Lights):
Kim Fields Demo at the U of M Dearborn Campus
These directions are far from complete. Most likely they have lost something in translation from my scribbled notes. I have saved them, so if anyone has corrections, clarification, or additional steps contact me. I will gladly make the changes and repost. If there is an area where you would like a visual, please let me know and I will do my best to diagram it for you.
– Create a small black spacer on your mandrel. This will become the bee’s head using the negative space of the mandrel hole as the bee’s eyes. This is surprisingly effective.
– Start stacking dots alternating black and yellow glass at the top of the spacer. After applying each dot, flatten with your graphite paddle and melt in slightly. Do this until you are satisfied with the amount of stripes you’ve created for the body. As you are melting in the dots to the stack you will have to use gravity and the flame to keep the body aligned.
– Warm the body to a molten state by flip-flopping it back and forth until the back of the body becomes flat and the tail starts to slump into the stomach area giving the bee some attitude. Stop when you’re happy with its posture.
– Lay down some topaz glass where you will be creating the bee’s wings. Gradually build up the glass mashing it with small glass mashers after each pass. Melt slightly. Kim explained that this should be done slowly to prevent the wings from becoming too fragile.
– Lay a dot of black on the end of the bee’s bottom. Melt slightly, than take a cold stringer of black and pull out a point.
– Create a base bead of brown/black. Form into a cylinder. Kim does this by laying down the glass and marvering it into shape. Dimpling the ends of the bead by heating one end at a time to move the glass and marvering to reshape.
– Form a larger gather of orange glass (about the size of a quarter) and wrap it around the right two thirds of the cylinder. Round out and center the gather.
– Take a kitchen paring knife or razor blade tool to make “cheater” marks in the base of the pumpkin. This will help guide you later. The first four marks will be in quarters. Then mark off one more line in between those lines. You will now have a total of eight “cheater” marks.
– Heat the glass by the cheater marks and using your knife roll across the body to make a mark finishing off at the stem of the pumpkin. Do this all around the body heating each area you are cutting into. When you are satisfied with the shape go back and rework the base area and stem area until you are satisfied with the depth of the lines and the shape of the pumpkin.
– Put three of four vines randomly around the body. Use tiny tweezers to pull off any globs that may have formed at the ends. Using the tip of your pick pull the end of the vines out to create a point. Kim uses a simple handmade stainless steel tool created from a mandrel with a sharpened end.
– Place dots of a dark opaque green on either side of the vines at the top of the pumpkin. Heat and flatten the dots like a pancake with the marver. Next place a lighter opaque green (Kim used Nile Green) dot on top of the dark green. Place the dot towards what will be the top of the leaf. Heat and flatten the dots again. Next encase just the dots with a light transparent green (Kim used Pale Emerald/Peridot). Heat and flatten the dots again.
– Rake the dots from the top of the leaf down creating a point. Kim pulls the tool through the dots forming a small heart shape. Heat and marver the leaves open by flattening them with a rolling motion starting at the base and rolling the marver towards the top of the leaf. Do not marver the very point, as it will burn out – fade away. Kim explained that this step keeps the leaf from folding in on itself when she fire polishes them.
– Create a base cylinder bead of black. Marver until you have a nice shape and dimpled ends.
First layer – Stringer, leaves, and encasing
- Using a goldstone stringer lay down a random pattern of swirls – keep it loose. Kim always keeps her bead below the flame and the stringer she is applying to the right of the flame for better control of the application. Heat slightly and using a masher tool, push the swirls down softly. Kim says this freezes the stringer into the base glass and helps keep it from spreading too much when it is melted in.
- Place dots of a dark opaque green randomly on the bead. Let the bead help you decide where you should place them. Heat and flatten the dots like a pancake with the marver. Next place a lighter opaque green (Kim used Nile Green) dot on top of the dark green. Place the dot towards what will be the top of the leaf. Heat and flatten the dots again. Next encase just the dots with a light transparent green (Kim used Pale Emerald/Peridot). Heat and flatten the dots again.
- Rake the dots from the top of the leaf down creating a point. Kim pulls the tool through the dots forming a small heart shape. Create movement by pulling the tool off to one side instead of straight down. Heat and marver the leaves open by flattening them with a rolling motion starting at the base and rolling the marver towards the top of the leaf. Do not marver the very point, as it will burn out – fade away. Kim explained that this step keeps the leaf from folding in on itself when she encases them.
- Melt down slightly and when still a little raised start marvering. Heat and marver until you can no longer hear any clinking noises.
- Encase with clear or a light transparent (Kim used Pale Emerald/Peridot). Kim uses a Linear Stripe Encasing technique. This allows her to encase in very thin layers. To encase hold the mandrel up and next to the flame. Draw lines from the top of the bead down to the bottom in lines. Cutting the end through the flame.
- Once finished encasing you will need to go back and nudge the ends down over the edge with tweezers, because the side of the bead that was cut in the flame will need to be cleaned up. Heat the mandrel next to this area and it will melt down and pull itself towards the hole for a nice finished look. Kim hinted that the glass always wants to go towards the heat. So you can move glass by heat the area you want it to move too – such as the mandrel.
Second layer - Flowers
- Lay down 4 or 5 dots of a light opaque color (Kim used white for this demo). Lay down the 4 dots in a square or the 5 dots in a star. Keep them as symmetrical as possible.
- Aim the flame in the center of the dots and melt in the dots. This pulls the dots towards the center and shapes them into teardrop petals.
- Case each dot with a transparent color (Kim used Tourmaline Pink, which is a Czech glass).
- Again aim the flame in the center of the dots and melt in the dots. This pulls the dots towards the center and shapes them into teardrop petals.
- You can stop here for a simple flower or you can continue by repeating the above steps in the junction between the petals. Building another set of petals. Kim suggests going dark to light for beads that have a dark base bead. And from light to dark for beads that have a light base bead.
- Once you have your petals melted in use a tungsten pick to poke down the center of each flower. This pulls the dots down into more of a petal.
- Use a stamen cane to poke the center of the flower and cold snap it off. Finishing it off by encasing the top of the cane with a small dot of clear.
This is where I had to leave… so if someone could fill in the blanks it would help complete this part of the notes. [NOTE: there wasn't much after this, so this is pretty complete.]
– She uses Quilter’s Magnifying Glasses at 3x strength to help her with all the detail work. She clips them on the outside of her protective lenses. Kim swears that this has improved her work 100%.
– She uses Bead Separator by Fusion Products International. Frantz Art Glass sells this with their label. They have it listed as Fusion Bead Separator and an 8 oz. bottle costs $13 dollars. It can be flame dried.
– She uses a cheap kitchen paring knife instead of the razor blade tool.
– She is a very impatient beader and does not preheat her rods. She puts the tip right into the base of the flame and cleans off scum with tweezers before using the color.
– She uses stringer for all her detail work and keeps it on her work surface in a palette sorted by color.
– For berries she cases Periwinkle with Black and pulls stringers for Dark Purple. The thicker the opaque glass the more it will show through the transparent casing. Control the color by the amount of opaque glass used.
– Case Coral with transparent Dark Amethyst/Purple and pull a stringer of Mauve.
– Case an opaque Dark Green with Clear for vines.
– Case Nile Green with Clear. Linear stripe encase alternating Black and Clear. Go back and linear stripe encase Clear on Black and Black on Clear. Pull for a Poppy type stamen cane.