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BEADS OF COURAGE ATLANTA

Wearable Butterfly Bead

by Robert Simmons 

 

This bead is given to a parent who has lost a child.  Copper Leaf is used to make a butterfly that can be placed in a garden of flowers.  Enamel color blends provide an impressionist-like background. The bead is wired so it can be worn.

MATERIALS and TOOLS NEEDED:

  • Copper leaf

  • Butterfly punch (available at Michaelís Art Supply)

  • Notebook paper

  • White Thompsonís Enamel

  • Thompsonís Enamel color blends (you mix these yourself)

  • White Glass or Ivory Glass

  • Clear Glass

  • Leaf and flower stringer

  • Olive Mashers

  • Basic Glass Working Tools

PREPARATION

1.  To prepare the butterfly pattern. fold a sheet of notebook paper over a sheet of copper leaf. Punch the butterfly pattern out using the punch

2.  Move the paper encased copper leaf butterfly to you marver and slide the paper off, leaving just the copper leaf on the marver.

3.  On a separate marver surface lay out a flat pile of white enamel about 1 inch in diameter

MAKING THE BEAD

1.  Make a clear bead and encase in white glass. I do this because white alone gets too soft and runny Ė the clear core adds a little stiffness. Make the bead about ĺ inch long, or size appropriate for the butterfly design you have chosen.

2.  Touch the hot bead surface to the enamel color blends to produce colors blotches that will be your background.

3.  Get the bead soft-hot and flatten to form a tabular bead with the olive mashers. Flattening between two marvers or with flat mashers will work, but the olive mashers give a pleasing curvature to the bead surface.

4.  Melt in any chill marks on the surface of the bead and get one side sticky hot.

5. Touch the sticky side to the white enamel and coat an area of that  is about the size of your copper leaf butterfly. Melt in the enamel.

6.  Get the enamel side hot again and touch it flat down on the copper leaf butterfly pattern. Check to be sure that it is stuck down well, press and burnish a little with a shaper if need be.

7.  Return the bead to the flame and let the copper leaf melt into the enamel. Flame chemistry will have some effects on the color, but the reaction between the enamel and the copper will cause the butterfly to appear as a turquoise silhouette on the bead.

8.  Add flowers and leaves to complete the context of a butterfly in a garden.

9.  Warm the bead evenly and anneal. These beads must go directly into the kiln and probably wonít hold up to being batch annealed.

FINISHING

1.  I wire wrap so that the bead is ready to wear.

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