Lampwork Bead Makes it to Broadway

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spotlight on lampwork

Spotlight on Lampwork

Does anyone know how I made this lampwork bead? Yeah, me either. It is an experimental bead I was exploring about three months ago. I had been been doing so good for awhile, writing notes on how I create my beads, but alas I apparently fell off the wagon with this one.

I haven’t totally given up hope that I will find some note scrawled on the back of a grocery list, or in the margins of a page of some obscure magazine I was reading at the time, but for now I’ve been amusing myself with picture playing, as above.

I haven’t quite figured out how to capture the depth and layers that are trapped inside the bead and have made many frustrating¬†educational attempts at photographing this one. The bead is actually folded and the red portion that you see is like a brilliant red cave.

I thought while puppy is napping I’d take one of Colin’s attempts and turn it into a fun photo-editing exercise for me. The picture is actually three layers combined to make one. The original picture showed the lampwork bead with what looks like halos that were created by shining a light directly above the bead. It washed out part of the design but I think it is still a fun picture!

Photo Sleight of Hand

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Jaxon After Editing


I’ve been playing around a bit with photo editing, specifically creating and adding overlay layers to existing photographs. Totally addicting! I’ve been shooting images of textures, both smooth and highly detailed and using them to alter some of the photos in my arsenal.

The picture above is of Jax, cuddly rottweiler puppy, and sometimes furry, teething land shark. The original picture (shown below) was out of focus and very dark. The final version was a team effort of mine and Colin’s (who is teaching me a few of his awesome skills). If I truly had nine lives I would spend one of them learning all there is to know about picture editing.

Because the picture was out of focus I went with an overlay that would give a subtle painterly effect. Colin did the final touches by selectively lightening the overall picture. It’s much better with the additions he made. I’m pretty happy with the results and am looking forward to playing some more as I have time.

Jax, before and after.

Always searching

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Origami Lampwork Beads by Mary Williams Designs

Origami Lampwork "Crimson Tiger"

I’m always searching for new things to acquire (or re-purpose) for use as photo props. While not long ago the prospect of going shopping was near the the bottom of the “what I like to do” list, now each excursion holds the potential of being a treasure hunt for small or colorful or textured or just plain odd pieces that might add visual interest to my photos.

I’ve also taken to ‘shopping’ around our house. Now, not only are items commandeered for use in the studio, they are also ‘borrowed’ (never to be returned to their rightful place lest I forget what a cool photo prop they are) and hidden tucked in the photo accessory cabinet for future stardom.

The wooden prop used above was actually a small gift I had given Billy. He likes to use olive wood spatulas and spoons while cooking so I am always on the lookout for new ones for him. This was purchased in Shackford’s, a kitchen supply store here in Napa that I love. They have been around for years and it seems they always have just the (odd) thing I am looking for, be it for cooking or art!

I purchased this spatula because it had the loveliest grain to it that I thought Billy would like, and I’ll confess, I am a sucker for a nice pattern. The spatula that was currently in service was also due for retirement. Unfortunately, it fell victim to one of my photo prop hunts and it now looks as though this spatula will never see the inside of a saucepan. I love how it displays a pair of beads. (that old spatula still has a few good years¬†months left in it after all!)