Friday, August 19, 2011

Old supplies and revisiting an old idea

Every once in awhile I drag out some old supplies that I've accumulated and revisit old ideas.
I had found some enameled copper tube beads a long time ago and wondered if I could make some myself.
I already had the enamel and the kiln.
I bought some copper tubing from the hardware store and a tube cutter. The tubing I bought has pretty thick walls and I soon realized that it was too tedious and hard on my wrists to cut the tubing in any kind of semblance of production. I abandoned it after just a few beads although I liked how they came out.
Then I found some thinner walled copper tube beads especially made for enameling in my lampworker's supply catalog and also realized that you need a special mandrel to keep the bead in place so you can work it. I went out and bought one of those and those supplies have been sitting around for over ten years now.
Yesterday I got them out and went to town on making a bunch. I also had some copper beads that I had picked up at  an African booth at the gem show years ago that weren't quite making it with my designs. I dedicated them to the project. This strand represents a couple of hours of work  rolling and heating the enamel and frits onto the copper.
They have a great feel to them  and while I seem to have a hard time designing with tube shaped beads these work well as a bunch together and I'm wearing them right now.
I invite you to zoom in on this photo to getter a closer look at the vivid enamels.

Now I'm off to the big city of Fairbanks for chiro &  car appointments, a concert and market day on Saturday.


  1. Good job, Kim - these are really cool and so is the fact that you revisited triumphantly! Have a great weekend in the Big City. -sus

  2. Well, for all the work, you have a beautiful string of beads!
    I truly envy people who do this type of work; I know it is not for me as it involves things I can really cut myself with and HOT HOT HEAT...a.k.a. FIRE. As in, me catching something on fire.
    But I can enjoy your handiwork!


  3. isn't it strange how we can let things sit for years and then one day it is fresh and new to work with.
    Sounds like a lot of hard work went into these.
    Enjoy your weekend

  4. My goodness! i'd no idea it would take so much work to get this look! You have bred newfound respect in this fellow blogger!

  5. Hello.. thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.. I see that you have some of the same sort of Japanese envelopes I have too.. though you can part with yours at your Etsy shop.. I am the hoarder here.. though I am also sure you have more than plenty of all sorts of stuff.. of course one needs to revisit old stuff from time to time-- that's why we collect stuff.

  6. Kim, I love these beads- they look great! are you going to sell them on etsy? reading your story gives me hope that I may actually use some of the stuff I've had laying around for ten years (or more). It's nice to revisit these things with a new perspective- you see possibilities you would never have seen in the past.

  7. These are really fabulous. Beautiful colors.

    Hope you had the most wonderful Monday and wishing you a terrific Tuesday:)

    Gaby xo

  8. Cool beads Kimbucha! I really like these, they are colorful and so fun....hope you enjoyed the concert and the market treated you well. xox Corrine


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