My style of vessels are not completely hollow, but do have a channel large enough to hold a small amount of perfume or essential oil. Or, a rolled up note maybe?
I have sometimes made the arms lower down on the bead, and have been told that these don’t sit as well when strung – so I recommend the above design, unless you are skilled with wire wrapping! If you are, you don’t even need to make arms at all, you can make loops with the wire.
Before you get started, you need:
– a fairly big mandril, I like to double dip mine too, it’s hard to find corks that are really tiny
– fairly thin stringer (I used white)
– a few pieces of thick stringer for the arms
– a rod of the colour you want for the vessel (I used a dark transluscent blue)
A few hints:
– make sure you keep the bead warm while you are working on it. I let mine get a bit too cool I think because I was taking photos! this applies to all large pieces like this. Keep moving the parts you aren’t working on back into the flame so they don’t get too cold.
|I start with a big glob of the glass of my main colour, and just glob it right on to the end of the mandril.|
|I add another glob.|
|And another – building up the body of the vessel bit by bit until it is the shape I desire. I like fairly round bottomed vessels, so I make this part fairly spherical.|
|I add another big glob right above the spherical portion.|
|I melt it all, turning as I go, using some gravity to shape the thing how I want.|
|Here is the body of the vessel.|
|I decorate the body with stringer before I add on the neck and top part. You can obviously decorate vessels however you want, I just did some random squigglies.|
|Melting all the decoration in.|
|Here it is all melted in.|
|I make a donut shaped bead a little above the main body of the vessel.|
|I melt it round.|
|I add a thin glob of glass to join the two parts. I like to keep this neck fairly thin, gives the vessel an hourglass sort of shape.|
|Melt in the neck part.|
|Adding the arms – of course, the trickiest step to do is the trickiest to photograph! I’m still not very good at this part. I heat up my thick piece of stringer, and the part I want to attach it to, then join the two together. I let it cool before proceeding.|
|Then I very gently heat the stringer a centimeter or two down from the first join, so I can bend it in towards the body. Once it starts bending, it’s easy to lose control and the thing will turn into two big blobs, not one nice arm. It’s better to go gently and not too fast. Once you have a bend, you can join the arm up to the vessel body, and use the flame to cut the excess stringer off.|
|Do the same on the other side.
Next I usually melt in the “shoulders”, and often I will give a little poke with a skinny mandril or pick at all the join places, just to make sure they are really firmly joined.
|I very, very gently heat up the arms a little bit, and shape them a bit more. They like to sag in as you heat them, I take my pick and ease them back out into a rounded shape. This is tricky, good luck! It will take some practice. Maybe you will decide you’d rather get pro at wire wrapping.|
|Stick it in the kiln, it’s done!|