August 2014

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In this issue …

Torchlight on …

Nicky Townsend

Page 4

Members’ beads from last month’s challenge:

Page 6

Make a bead, set of beads, focal, mixed

media, on or off mandrel piece using the

theme of ‘Flowers’ or the technique of


Post your photos on www.frit-happens.co.uk

and/or www.craftpimp.co.uk and/or our

Facebook page by

All members' photos will be included in the

August issue of the GBUK

Nicky Townsend

My lampworking journey began in the summer of 2012. As a

jewellery designer for almost 10 years I had always been

addicted to buying lampwork beads to use in my designs. My

ultimate dream was to one day learn the art of lampwork so

that I could create my own beads to use in my work.

In 2010 I attended my first Flame Off. After watching Lorna

Prime’s demo I was in awe; I had always admired her as an

artist and to see her at work was amazing. I spent most of

that weekend on the torches and knew then that I just had to

follow the lampwork path...

I was lucky enough to be

invited for a short break at

Debbie Dew’s a couple of years

ago; we enjoyed playing with

fire and glass in her studio and

she taught me the basics. By

the end of the week I was

totally hooked! Debbie had

some kit that was surplus to

requirements and I left Cardiff

with a Mini CC torch and an

oxycon - I was soooo excited!

My dream had come true.

I now work in a converted

summer house (shed) at the

top of my garden - oh, how I

love that place.

After 2 years I still very much see myself as

a 'newbie' there is still so much to learn. I'm

mainly self-taught but I love buying and

following tutorials and trying new things.

I'm still working on my unique style but I love to

use lots of silver, I enjoy the organic look and feel

of silver leaf and foil, the reactions that silver

creates with some glass amazes me. I like to

experiment with different colours and types of

glass to produce beads that are eye catching.

I work with 104 coe glass and mainly make sets of beads with just the odd

focal every now and again. I'd like to try and develop my work with focals at

some point. Keeping those bigger beads warm and preventing cracks is a skill I

need to work on… I'm loving my lampworking journey.

Follow your heart - Dreams really can come true...




‘Murrini ‘

Making murrini

Golden Brown

by Heather Kelly

These are some murrini I made with Reichenbach 96 coe


1. Make a small cylindrical plug of iris brown on the end of

your punty. Heat the bare steel just enough for a very

slight glow and add one wrap of glass at the end, then

build the plug outwards from there. Use a marver to roll it

on and flatten the end. That gave the darker end on this

picture - the iris brown struck a little. The gather will get

large after adding all the layers, so start small.


The base I used for these was

Reichenbach RW4291 dark olive.

2. Encase this in a layer of curry. Wrap slightly off the end

of your plug and melt and marver it over. This makes it

easier to attach a punty to all the colours of glass at the

end. At the punty end, tuck the glass in so it just touches

the steel. Again, this will anchor it. Melt in and smooth

down after each encasing layer.

Reichenbach RW0762 iris brown

Reichenbach RW0120 curry

Reichenbach RW0107 iris opal


Reichenbach RW0191 iris amber

Reichenbach RW0175 pastel green

3. Encase in iris opal yellow.

4. Encase in iris amber, which is a dark rich transparent

that can strike to all sorts of colours - you can see some

in the next pictures after it has struck more.

One punty for building your

murrini - I use a stainless steel

chopstick, or the end of a thicker

mandrel will also work (no bead


I don't use glass for this end so

there's no need to worry about

thermal shock.

One glass rod for your other

punty. Clear is best - here I use

the pastel green because I had it

to hand.

Murrini nippers

5. Add six stripes of curry, anchoring at both ends.

This will make sure you don't end up with a stripeless

section after pulling.

6. In between those, add six stripes of pastel green.

This is a very pale green.

big gather). Now take out of the flame, wait a

moment and start to pull, gradually at first. If it

isn't moving, stick it back in the flame. If you

pull too fast, it will get too thin. If you don't

think you can pull it all at once, it's easier to

get your punty rod end pulled to the diameter

you want, then put the steel end back in the

flame and continue pulling in sections. It doesn't

need to be uniform: different diameters of

murrini are useful. If you get a bone-shaped end

on your steel, melt the murrini pull off and put

it down to cool, then make the end into a


9. After your pull has cooled, chop it into

murrini chips! I use Leponitt wheeled nippers,

which are great. I hold my cane pointing

downwards into something like an old tall ice

cream container, or anything vaguely bucketshaped.

Tall sides mean the chips don't bounce

back out. Then just squeeze the nippers and the

chips ping in.

7. Melt the stripes in smooth. Then attach your punty

rod to the end. Make a small maria (flattened gather)

on the end of your rod and smoosh this onto the

heated end of your murrini. It's best if it covers all

the circles of colour, so that when you pull, you

don't end up with a section that is only the inside.

(A small section that is mostly the *outside* is more

useful, because it has the stripes and can be used

as cane or made into a twistie).

Note: you can use another steel punty, but you will

want to put a cone of clear on the end of your

gather first, then plunge the steel into that. Again,

this means you have a more even pull and less

waste at the ends.

10. In use. The darker colour is from an

unencased murrini, while the yellower one has

clear over the top. I like them better unencased.

To apply, have the murrini laid out somewhere

you can get to them easily. Pick up your murrini

with tweezers (or hemostats) and flash it through

the flame to warm it, then heat the spot on the

surface of your bead and apply your murrini to

it. Start heating and very gently patting down the

surface with a small flat tool, over and over. If

you smash it flat too fast it will distort.

8. Then heat your gather to molten, focusing the

flame on the centre and not on your punty rod or it

will soften. Take it out of the flame occasionally,

keep rotating, and let the heat sink into the centre

from the surface. (Especially if you've made a really

Dates for your diary …

: Tuffnell Glass, Rudston, Yorkshire YO25 4UD

: 12/13/14 September 2014

: 1000 - 1800

On Friday we will have the torch benches for members to play and / or demo on -

we are hoping there will be some of you willing to share your techniques with our

members; Teresa has offered to show us a trick or two too.

On Saturday the AGM will be at midday.

Sunday is a free day on the torches for those that want to stay for the whole


Lunch will be provided in the form of jacket potatoes and toppings.

Please can members bring salad, cake and drinks to share.

Along with the lure of the Tuffnell Glass shop, there will also be other traders selling

lampworking supplies (we will announce the full list nearer the time).

There will be a mini competition, entries to be taken to the AGM, voting to take place

at the AGM, the theme is ‘

The prize will be a £10 voucher to spend with the traders attending the event.

The GBUK Journal is a great opportunity to showcase your work in a high

quality publication. Best of all it is free to submit an entry and all

members who are paid up as of 30 September 2014 will receive a free


If you would like to have your work included in the next GBUK Journal,

then please read this carefully. We would like you to send one image only

to webmaster@gbuk.org, but, as before, all other required information will

need to be submitted using the online submission form on the GBUK

website or click this LINK.

Martin Tuffnell has been glassblowing for over 20

years and re-launched Tuffnell Glass in 1998 with

his partner Teresa, an experienced beadmaker.

Together they offer custom made beads, teach bead

making and carry a large range of glass and bead

making equipment. They successfully organised the

first Flame Off in April 2008 – which was recognised

as the first United Kingdom event that was

dedicated to glass bead making. On the rare

occasions that Teresa is not organising Flame Offs

and dispatching glass goodies for lampwork bead

artists all over the UK she has been known to make

rather lovely beads. Martin makes a pretty nifty

glass pig sculpture too!

Flame Off is where artists come from all over the

world to share their techniques and experiences.

Glass bead makers and flame workers gather to play

with fire, catch up with friends and learn from each

other. Its a wonderful event full of generous people

who have also supported their Air Ambulance auction

and Raffle every year!

Photo by Richard Downton

Becky Staples

Teresa Blofeld

Martin was elected an honorary member of GBUK in 2012.


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