Here's the tut with the pictures:
I hope it's not presumptuous for a relative newbie to post a tutorial. If you are like me and new to flame-working you are probably stressed out with end puckers, wonkyness, broken bead release, the perfect donut and just about every aspect of the beauty you see and then the hmmmm..... that you get. SO, RELAX, take a chill pill and pull up to the torch for these three beads which have no perfect form, no right way and enough eye appeal that your family and friends can honestly say, "Hey, that's pretty neat!"
You are going to make three Halloween Treats and let's face it, nothing about ghosts, candy corn or pumpkins is regular and precise, so go where the glass takes you and have some fun.
For these beads you need:
Stringer - here's a chance to practice pulling your own
black stringer (intense black is good, regular black tends to look purple when used this way)
graphite or brass marver
tungsten or stainless pick
Floral former knife or other cutting tool like a paring knife
fiber blankets ready if you work small, kiln ready if you work a little larger
Mandrels - believe me, your very first beads in this tutorial will be successful, so decide before you start if you are making earring sized beads or pendant sized beads and choose your mandrels accordingly. One of the best pieces of glass advice I ever got was from the legendary Richard Le Londe, "Decide how you will show the piece before you ever begin and make your decisions on that basis."
There's another thread with examples of candy corn, here's how to make yours and add to the show and tell. i usually use 1/16th mandrels and make these into earrings or cord end dangles.
My sister and I have a continuing discussion of which end of the candy corn is top and which is bottom, so for this tutorial we will use large end and pointy end. Candy corn is almost always yellow on the large end, orange in the middle and white on the pointy end, but hey, who really looks and pays that kind of attention. So do what you will, get two or three of these together and it will be instantly recognized as candy corn.
On your hand side of the mandrel start a small bead of yellow. Of course realize that when heated this looks orange.
Keep twirling while you switch glass to orange and lay down even a smaller wind toward the free end of the mandrel. Remember with your glasses on this will look red.
Finally, still twirling, add a small amount of white, which of course appears transparent when hot.
Right, got it? Orange which is yellow, red which is orange and transparent which is opaque. No wonder we have trouble as newbies.
Twirl the three colors around in the flame until they are melting in and use a very light touch on your marver to make a barrel bead. A light touch is the key here, you are not smashing the glass to shape it, but simply encouraging it into a smooth form. Holding your marver above the torch is a good method, no reaching through or under the flame. If you need to switch hands it's okay, there is not really enough glass here to get away from you, so you can practice switching, twirling and marvering all at the same time. I don't recommend patting your head though.
Reheat the glass removing the chill marks.
Now use your marver to create the corn shape. Press at an angle pushing the glass from the white pointy end toward the yellow large end. Don't twirl the glass on the marver, think corn kernels, make each of the four sides angled. Be careful not to scrape the bead release against the marver, although it is not a catastrophe if you do since you are almost done. If your corn thunks against the marver it's not hot enough, reheat a bit and come back to shaping.
Finally, reheat the bead enough to fire polish it (remove the chill marks), but not so much that you soften the crisp edges of your corn. If it does soften, just marver it again and fire polish again. More good practice here of heat control and using different sections of the flame.
Now, pop it in the blankets or the kiln and make a second one if you want earrings. In fact, make a bunch, remember candy corn is definitely related to potato chips, you can never have just one. They look really good in little clusters of three and if yours isn't perfect giving it some company will make it feel (and look) better.
I usually make the ghost as a pendant bead, but it can be made smaller into great earrings.
Create a bead of white twice the size you think you'd like because you are going to stretch the glass farther than you think. Melt it in making a nice round bead.
With your pick tease out the legs of your ghost. You want the glass hot, but not white hot clear. Having it less than white hot allows less likelihood of your pick sticking. You can use the marver beneath your ghost so he is stretching, not folding. If your pick sticks to the glass bring it all into the flame and let the flame cut the pick free. Plunge the pick in your suicide bowl which should remove the stuck on glass. Then reshape your ghost. Even if your pick doesn't stick be sure and dip it in your cooling bowl after each stretch to keep the metal cold.
Get both sides of your ghost with appropriate stretches and fold marks, remember they are spooky!
Fire polish any tool marks. Now, how are you with eyes? Your ghost has some options. You can just use black stringer to make black dot eyes, melt them in so they don't pop off.
If you have steady hands, add white stringer dots on top of the black dots.
If you have really REALLY steady hands, add another black dot as pupils on the white dot.
Believe it or not your ghost will look great with any of these types of eyes. I usually put eyes on both sides of the ghost because pendants tend to always flip over. No one ever sees both sides at once, so at least your ghost is always looking out and not just down the bodice so to speak.....
Quickly reheat to even out the temperature and then pop that baby in the blankies or the kiln.
Wind on a healthy amount of orange. Bigger is better where pumpkins are concerned.
Once melted down, make it into a nice bead, hey, have you ever seen a perfectly spherical pumpkin? Don't sweat it, organic is worth more, right?
Embrace any wonkiness as character.
Heat a portion of your pumpkin and take your floral forming knife and rock it along the path of the mandrel. Your glass should be orange enough to allow the knife to crease it but not so hot that you slice right through it. Don't nick the bead release. If it the glass is too soft and moving a lot just alternate the direction of your rocking and it will even out the stretching. At this stage transparent is too hot and white is too cold, pick a glow stage in between. Don't be afraid to just reheat the bead and try again if you really don't like it, but trust me, all is good and a pumpkin is raising from the Great Pumpkin Patch as you rock on.
Rotate the bead, heat the opposite side, rock your knife here. Do this somewhere around 8 total times. Don't obsess about placement, your pumpkin will be beautiful whatever.
Now grab your green stringer and paint on your pumpkin's vine and some leaves. Remeber pushing down and away with the stringer leaves a small line of glass than up and over. Try several directions to see the difference they create. And don't over heat the pumpkin, think warm pumpkin, hot stringer.
Even out the heat level around your pumpkin without melting the knife stokes in. If you get it too hot and they start disappearing, just slice them back in again.
Okay, DONE! Pop that pumpkin in the blanket like its a hot pig and celebrate with a treat from the bar!
Tomorrow, check the blankets or the kiln and admire your wonderful Halloween Treats. Hey, take a picture and share here too!