I have a love hate relationship with my artifact beads. I love them, customers love them; but they are complicated to make. I just made 30 beads for my upcoming show in Bellevue, WA, but only 12 survived the many firings to my satisfaction. But I learn a lot every time I make a batch. And I have started to keep a notebook so I don't make the same mistakes. I do think my kiln is firing a little hot so I really need to adjust for that next time.
I did get a beautiful bead from this batch. and it gave me inspiration on a few variations to make after Thanksgiving. Here is a picture.
After I create and anneal the lampworked bead, I apply the PMC and fire the bead again. I sometimes have 4 to 5 firings before the PMC is just right. You have to calculate and allow for the shrinkage of the metal clay. Too tight - the bead might crack; too loose - the silver doesn't bond with the glass. too hot of a kiln and the glass slumps. And on and on. This bead was put into a liver of sulphur bath and the resulting colors are just amazing. The other thing that happended with this bead is that the PMC fumed in the kiln and changed the color of the glass bead. Very cool!