Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Three glassy things

This little lady leapt into my life yesterday with the postman. I bought her from a lovely lady called Rachel Elliot of flyingcheesetoastie a fellow British Sellers on Etsy team member. Last weekend the team had a buy and replace (BNR). The organisers create a Treasury made up of team member items from their shops. If you buy something from one of the shops featured, one of the items from your own shop replaces the one you bought. It sounds complicated but it's a lot of fun. I sold some Harveys Bristol Cream sherry beads and I'm looking forward to seeing what my purchaser makes of them (cue future blog post!)

Anyway, my little glass leveret is called Warwick. She's adorable, keeps me company in my studio and eats surprisingly little so she's cheap to keep too! When she arrived, I instantly called to mind some Reichenbach glass (from the top of my head it's called Antique something-or-other). I made some very simple beads, today I etched them and I'm really pleased with the colour match!

She also called to mind a vintage bottle that I dug up from my garden nearly 20 years ago. It has the name "Warwicks and Richardson" (hence my leveret's new name) on it and also "Stoke on Trent". This is one bottle I wouldn't ever melt to make beads as it has sentimental value.
I don't think the brewery is still in business.  A quick search on the internet revealed their premises on Northgate in Newark that are still standing - impressive looking and converted into apartments from what I can gather.

The beads' shape I'm calling curvy cubes. When the glass was still molten, I roughly mashed them into cubes and then a couple of the corners have been flattened on each one. After fire polishing to a smooth finish, they're popped into the kiln to anneal. Acid etching after they've been cleaned takes off the shine and gives it a similar finish as my vintage bottle.


  1. Good choice. Wow, this bun looks like she could travel :-)
    Digging around is always a hit and miss. But isn't lovely when you get a hit... :-)xxx

  2. Why do I get the long words with word verification ? ! ! !
    :-) xxx

  3. Warwick is lovely as are those beads! The colour is amazing! Will you have these with you at the craft market on Saturday? I would love to see... Lovely and lovely pictures as usual!

  4. Hello you two! :-) I am planning to have the beads with me tomorrow (and I'll bring Warwick along too so she can see what mummy does on Saturdays).

  5. So you can use antique bottles also? Would the chemical composition of the glass be different from modern ones? Very nice beads, Sue.

  6. Hi Betsy, thanks for compliment about beads. You hit the nail on the head about the problem of melting vintage glass.

    I pretty much know that bottles these days are made from float glass and so I can take a good guess at the COE (and hence the annealing temperature needed to make the beads strong and durable). But I have not done any research into how bottles were made in the past and so the COE, a critical property for the bead maker, is unknown.

    There are some time consuming thigns I can do to find out but for one bottle, it's not really a worthwhile time investment. If I was ever presented with a vintage bottle to turn into beads, it would be better to make a small test batch of beads using my normal recycled glass annealing schedule and then subject them to my own tests involving a freezer and a hard stone floor to determine if I think they'd withstand the wear and tear of ordinary jewellery use! :-)


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