For a bead artist or jewelry designer, a featured article in Bead and Button Magazine can certainly feel like a milestone in one's artistic career. You can only imagine the honor I felt when approached by Bead and Button Magazine to design, create and produce their 20th Anniversary Commemorative Bead.
The bead chosen by Bead and Button was an earthy organic bead, Tuscany was the design inspiration. When I use the term "organic", what I'm referring to is a design with a high concentration of metals, most of which for this bead is precious. The base for this bead is made of a pale transparent amber over a base of opaque white. Before it's pressed in the brass mold, it's rolled in heavy fine silver leaf, most of which is burned off during the design application, leaving behind a textured base color that can range from a silvered honey amber to a silvered champagne.
Each bead has five raised lenses of clear over a truly magical gold laden glass, (Kalypso, by Double Helix Glassworks). This glass was chosen as an accent by me for it's ranges of opalescent pinks. It's what I would consider an "artisan" glass, for it's quality, price and uniqueness. When used as a layer, sandwiched between layers of opaque ivory and clear transparent, the gold in the Kalypso reacts with the chemicals in the ivory glass, intensifying it in ranges of pink, apricot and berry. While Kalypso is a stable glass, it can vary a bit between production batches. . .Some rods are little darker, some are lighter and a variation between rods can impact the color shade and intensity of the raised lenses. Torch environment and heat cycling during the making of this bead is a variable as well, for heat cycles aid in the striking (development) of the Kalypso lens color. Time wise, this particular bead takes about an hour and a half to craft due to the cool flame range the bead is worked in.
The two images above, show a snapshot of the variations in tones that can be expected with this bead. Most seasoned art glass bead buyers and collectors, I think, will truly enjoy this bead for it's artful uniqueness. While the design is the same for each one, the special glasses, metals, and flip of the human wrist, makes each one it's own unique original piece of art glass.