Monday, November 30, 2009

Sometimes, the Inevitable Happens

I KNEW it was gonna break! But did it have to break in such a nasty way???
Lots of glassy bits STILL in this cut!

I'm talking about a bead, of course. I was working on a base for a bead for my ABS entry (due today! Silver parts drying off after a sulfer dip, waiting...on me!) and I was reverse encasing. I knew I wanted a white base but the bead was so large and required so much stringer work, I had to reverse encase white over a clear core.

And suddenly, I noticed that new rod of white was not turning clear in my piping hot flame. WTH??? I added a bit more... and then super heated it.... still off white. OFF white???? I started to suspect what I had done and threw the bead in the kiln to run a test.

I keep my Bullseye rods on the left side of my work space; 104 on the right. I must have grabbed a Bullseye rod of French Vanilla. I grabbed a rod of Bullseye opaque pink, heated it and placed the suspect rod on top in the flame. I carefully pulled a stringer, cut it and waited.... absolutely nothing happened...which means that yes, I was using 90 on my 104 bead. And it was now doomed to break.

Why, oh why, didn't I pull it out of the kiln and toss it in the water??? Maybe, I just thought it would be cool to see HOW it broke the next day.

Only, when I opened the kiln, it was not broken. So I whacked on the kiln.... STILL not broken. It was pretty warm - around 200. So I plunged it into water around 40 degrees. It did not break.

Thinking I may have used so little 90, I started fussing at myself for not finishing that bead. I put my pliers on the rod and grabbed that bead in my hand... and it shattered to bits with my index finger taking a direct hit...I'm still picking little glass bits out three days later!

I'm gonna go finish that ABS project and nurse my cut finger some more. Tomorrow's post will be about jewelry and sulfur dipping. See you here on Holly's Folly Bead Blog.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm grateful for a lot of things this holiday can check out my Creekhiker blog for more on that...but this is about beads.

And when it comes to beads, I have to say I'm so thankful for my beady friends. The wonderful, supportive and kind people who help you work the kinks out or just lend a ear.

I'm blessed to have many beady friends and two groups of them in particular. The Southern California Flame Surfers are real life friends and a super talented group of artists! And then there are the Fire Divas, my online bead group that I hope to meet in person someday!

Last month, my heart bead came in 2nd in a Fire Diva Challenge and I won this gorgeous bookmark from Lauren of Maybeads. While I'm very fond of all the Divas, Lauren holds a special place in my heart. She's always helping out with something and she makes all of us laugh!
And she obviously understands my weakness for pink hippos! She also understands my weakness for a certain temperamental rottie / greyhound mix. Check out Lauren's version of Mabel Lou:

Be sure to check out Lauren's shop for great beads and the cool bookmarks (fabulous gifts!).
And I can't resist adding a photo of the real girl. My partner in crime, my sanity, my drama and my comedy.

Photo Copyright 2009 Isabelle Thompson

Hope you have a gratitude filled day. See you here on Monday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Calendar Girl NOT!

I'm having a really crappy day... or three! I've spent the past few days trying desperately to photograph my entry into the AGLF calendar. And I've spent the last few days alternately cursing, crying and pulling out bits of my considerable head of hair... and still no pics.

I've often said, for any of the glass masters I would die to take a class from, I would want to study photography as much as bead making!

After over 200 photographs, countless hours and endless frustrations, I STILL don't have a calendar worthy photo! ARGH!!!!

I used a light box; I stopped using a light box; Tripod, yes; Handheld, yes; I used velvet; I used a jimmied up tent made out of cardstock; I shielded the bead with my hair; I used hairspray to cut down on the shine; I used neutral gray background; I blocked light with rubber stamps and dishrag - and STILL no decent photo!

I'm so pissed at myself... WHY did I make a hollow bead? WHY did I have to fill it with cubic ziconia and crystals? WHY do I have to work in a medium that relies on photos to sell it?

And it's the one thing I hear over and over from customers.... Wow! Your photos don't do the beads justice!

But the worst part is, I made this bead for me...something I've never done. And now, I hate it! I'm certain I will never wear this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hollow Beads

I became fascinated with hollow focals after taking a Leah Fairbanks class. Hollow beads are fascinating structurally and a challenge to make in the about managing your heat control! There's nothing worst than having a bead explode!

Hollow beads are fascinating for other reasons. The way they transmit light and color... and I also love the weight. As a large bead lover, some beads get way too heavy... I've actually bent mandrels working on a large bead! But hollow beads alleviate some of the weight while still giving you a nice, large focal.

And the final cool thing about hollows??? THEY'RE HOLLOW! Which can put stuff in them!

This heart is filled with Swarovski crystals and cubic zirconia! I'm working on another heart in red right now. I'll let you know how it comes out.

See you tomorrow on Holly's Folly Beads.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fire Diva's November Challege - GO VOTE!

To celebrate the season of giving, the Fire Divas are having a Thanksgiving Challenge! Some of our members have made wonderful pieces for YOU to vote on. First, enjoy viewing these wonderful treasures. When you're done, please vote for the bead you are thankful for on right side of the Fire Divas' blog. The voting will stay open for one week - then the winner will receive a really cool prize!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

AGLF - Get Your Calendars!

Running really behind today... sometimes work gets in the way of beading fun!

The Artisan and Glassworkers Legal Fund (AGLF) is having a fundraiser. This fund has been created as an unincorporated association to assist in the legal fees associated with stopping Ullja Kuntze from continuing to harass, defame and libel her competition.

I will be working with the AGLF on the layout of the calendar which will have 108 images from artisans who have been libeled by Kuntze.

You can purchase a calendar or make a donation HERE. There are also links there to artisan listings benefiting the AGLF on Etsy and Artfire.

See you Monday on Holly's Folly Beads.a

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Custom Order - Chocolate Pendant

I'm not sure why but when I think of chocolate beads, I think of bracelets or earrings. Never do I think of a necklace. But when an Etsy customer wanted a matching pendant set for the earrings she bought, I was game to take it on.

The focal is maybe 1/3 larger than the earrings because the customer wanted to keep it smaller. sort of killed me to make the leaves this way. I've grown as an artist and now would rather die than use plain old pea green for a leaf. An artist always uses middle tones, highlights and lowlights. But that's what growth is all about, eh???

Anyway, I do like the way the pendant turned out.

I do have one more chocolate that is even larger so if anyone wants it, email me or in a few days, I'll get it up on

See you tomorrow on

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hall of Flame

I've neglected to mention a lovely honor I've received. I've been named to the California Flame Surfers Hall of Flame!

The Flame Surfers are my 'real life' bead group. We meet quarterly at various glass venues here in So. Cal. and the Surfers are an official chapter of the ISGB. We have some really talented members. Take a look around the Hall of Flame and you'll see some of Southern California's best!

And if you are in Southern California, stop by our next meeting at Pacific Artglass on December 5th.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hello World!

Hi there. I made a new focal that I think is my brand new all time favorite...funny how the last thing you make always gets that place of honor! But seriously, this is sitting on my desk. You can't believe how she sparkles!

Her name is Rachael. She's for sale Here. She is made from light ivory and two rich, high silver content glasses. I just love when the two colors cross over one another AND the little black rings created when the silvered glass hits the ivory.

See you tomorrow on

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Artisan Glassworkers Legal Fund

Since I too have come under the U-boat attack of outright slander, I'm trying to help raise legal funds for the cause.

I have listed a heart in my Etsy and all proceeds from this sale with go to AGLF. And I will keep a heart in my Etsy for the benefit of AGLF until all this mess is settled.

To find other artists who are doing the same, search AGLF on Etsy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Try Out BeadStyle for Free!

This weekend only, you can access all the projects and fun stuff on for Free! From 8 am CST Friday until November 16, you get an all access pass to the parts of the site reserved for registered users and magazine subscribers.

I just love the articles and how-tos over there and thought you might to!

Check it out HERE.

I'm still on the mend...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Have I Finally Arrived???

I'm a bit under the weather with a stomach bug and doing well to sit at the 'puter. I was very surprised to received an email from another artist telling me that I have been featured in Ugly's Fraud Blog.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Me??? I'm finally big enough, known enough, am somebody enough to get on her radar??? Really? Wow!

Well, I guess I DID sort of ask for it... I've done my damnedest to feature those same artists right here and send them a little love and positive reinforcement. Life is hard enough without being a target of a psycho!

I don't know where Ugly gets her info and her post about me has NO information in it! (Couldn't she have at least linked to one of my stores like she did the others????)

So here are the facts for anyone interested:

1) Holly Dare is my "pen name" and what I sell my art under. It is not my legal name but PART of my legal name.

2) I do have a business license with my county / state under my business name, Sweet Stampen AND added my pen name to my license this year. I've had the Sweet Stampen license since October 2004, when I bought the company I was working for. Prior to that I was employed as an independent contractor by Sweet Stampen and several other out of state companies.

3) I have never accepted a payment under Holly Dare until this year. I always requested payment to my business name of Sweet Stampen.

4) I have also worked as an independent contractor- mostly in film production or as a writer - since 1986. I have filed my taxes as an independent contractor and reported all income earned. I keep tax files for 13 years as proof. (Why 13 years? I have several acquiantances who work for the IRS. They told me that yes, you can be audited for 1o years prior, BUT, IF they find something wrong, they can audit within three years of the problem year in either direction. So, if a problem is found ten years ago, they can request three additional years.

As I haven't cleaned out my attic since 2000, I have tax files there from 1987 on.

5) In 2002, when the state "cracked down" on independent contractors, deciding we were "running a business" when in reality, I worked for a lot of out of town companies. They made us start reporting all income January 30 of every year....No biggie, I report everything anyway but usually don't deal with bookkeeping for months after January!

Despite the fact that I think this is extremely unfair - what kind of government taxes without consideration of expenses a business incurs? Before a business takes into account its losses for the year? In my book, this is just one more reason California is the most unfriendly state to do business in.

This is really a formality that makes no real impact on my life. As I work in an "artistic profession," I don't owe business taxes in the years I make less than $300,000. So I've NEVER had to pay one red cent! But I do file my paperwork every January 30.

6) I did purchase on ebay prior to 2004. I rarely sold on ebay and then it was usually household goods I had tired of. I never sold my jewelry online until after acquiring a buisness license.

7) When I have traveled out of state, I've always gotten a temporary license to sell in that state and written a check to the tax authority before leaving town.

So, there you have it. As you can see, I've done my very best to be up and up with my government. But I guess that makes a fraud in somebody's universe

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fritter Heaven

Yesterday, I blogged about my incessant search for a "fritter" I'm happy with. After years and many incarnations, this is the winner:

It's actually a candle holder with no ridge. And yes, I found it at the thrift store for about 50 cents! I love it - for now... actually this is the longest I used any one fritter so... I really think this one is a keeper!

I'm teaching a huge Holiday Earring class at Glendale College this weekend. If you want to learn some cool earring designs, it's a great class. As usual, left over kits will be on the Folly site this next week.

See you Monday at Holly's Folly Beads.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I really enjoy frit as a way to color glass whether making beads or as a quick way to make an interesting cane. That being said, finding a good frit holder has not been an easy thing! It seems I am forever on the hunt for a better "fritter" - the name was coined by my hiking and thrift store buddy.

Here's a look at some of the fritters that have fallen out of favor over the years:

These are actually sushi dishes made to hold soy / wasabi. The left one is too deep so I bought the one on the right... also too deep.

Then I remember my years of working with a pastry chef and pulled this mini tart pan out of my cooking stash. Better but awkward with larger beads.

So I went back to the sushi shop. The bigger size is nice but... still awkward.

Next, I found a shallow two-fer. I thought it would be great for having several frits out at once...until I needed to pour them back in the bottle. Oops!

After that, I tried this shallow single.... close, but still no cigar!

After that came the paint palette. OK, as long as I had a lot of frit but strange with the bigger beads I like to make and very messy returning to the jar.

And then, bliss. Check back tomorrow to see my current ( and longest lasting) fritter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Whole Lotta Love

I apparently have a habit of naming beads after song titles. I didn't really think about this until I found my beads in a Led Zeppelin treasury!

I never thought of building a treasury this way but boy do I think that would be fun!

So, what do you name YOUR beads after???

See you tomorrow on

Monday, November 2, 2009

Xs and Os - October's Art Bead Scene Entry

This month's challenge (Folk Art) was... challenging yet again. I chose to work in the three primary colors in the spirit of the folk art used as inspiration.
Playing Piano by Ruby C. Williams

For the beads I initially planned an elaborate written message about love. And in the end, I chose to use one of my favorite letter signatures ...


Xs & Os Folk Art Inspired Necklace
...i.e. kisses and hugs, for the beads. Each base bead is a hand shaped rectangle of a primary color with trails of the other two colors wrapping around it. One one side is an "X" and the other is an "O."

For the jewelry, I originally intended a bracelet but as I was working, the beads dictated a larger piece.

I used a teapot / teaspoon toggle to add to the homeyness of the piece. Swarovski cyrstals in red and blue as well as a few silver beads were added for accents. The art beads all float on a silver chain and there is a heart link chain running throughout the piece as well as a dangle from heart chain on one side. The heart shape was added for emphasis to carry out the love theme.

Xs & Os Folk Art Inspired Necklace

You can read more about Ms. William's art HERE.

Hope to have this up on shortly.