Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Kramer Bead

If there is any one bead I enjoy... No... LOVE making, it's a memorial bead. To me, it is a great honor to be entrusted to share in the last steps of a long journey between loved ones. Such an honor was the high point of last week.

I have to say, it's also one of the most challenging beads I've ever made. Kramer was a beloved golden retriever and he wore red and black tack. His owner wanted the bead to be golden with red and black accents.

Gold is a fussy glass color. Red is a fussy glass color. Black is a semi fussy glass color...see the challenge??? I often make a test bead so that my customer and I can agree on colors and shape and even size. With this bead, I made five test beads! That's a record for me.

I had to find just the right golden tones for the base. I made one large heart for my glass bead shop as a size reference but in colors I wanted. Then there were three hearts - small ones that ended up in my bead bowl - testing no less than SEVEN shades of red! Then as we closed in on the final design, I feared the black would look either too purple or too "runny" on top of the chosen base color. I also realized that Kramer's ashes would change the look of the vibrant red to a more muddled color.

In the end, I simply went for it! I used Kramer's cremains in the vine cane glass and only used the runny black as the center of the flowers. And the red that won the beauty contest??? Effetre's Medium red (not too light, not too dark but JUST RIGHT!)

As usual, parts of the vine cane just sparkle... a reaction of the phosphorus in the bone. I was a little freaked when I started applying the vine at the bottom of the bead and it discolored. But I like to think it was Kramer's input on HIS bead. I left one flower on the shoulder without a center... a deliberate choice because only our higher nature is perfect.

This bead is SUPER large. Kramer's owner wanted to display it in her home. It came in at 2.5" long! It was a very rewarding experience to be a part of this beautiful memory.

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