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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
or making and using fun tools

This series came out of my desire to practice with two new (to me) tools: some lentil presses mounted on tongs (aka pattiwackers) given me by Anita Spencer and my own extremely home-made daisy dot press. Anita told me she hadn't had much luck with the tong presses, because they flexed so badly.

I quickly discovered what she was talking about; in addition, the interchangeable lentil ends (4 or 5 sizes are included) slide around in the handles. I put the most even and best matched pair in the tongs, shimmed ’em with scrap bronze, bent them, futzed with ’em, cursed them...and concluded I wanted separate, much more rigid, handles for each. —Another excuse to hit the resale shops, oh, woe is me. Having actually used up most of the bullseye non-tested compatible while testing the guild's presses, I went to some 96 coe glass I'd bought ages ago (and made a sample strand of, and never touched again) for this series. This at least allowed me to use contrasting colors for the dots, which I made very big and very molten, before pressing them with the daisy press.

series of pressed beads, made with pi glass. Longest, about 1-7/8”. 1st Q, 2009. Many have pixie dust application to set off the daisy.

Meanwhile, having had to give the guild its presses back, including the daisy that was so much fun, I decided to make my own daisy. I should back up here, a moment, and explain that this idea of mini-pressed portions (i.e. large dots in my case) is not original to me: I got it from Stevi Belle, at a class I took from her. I've been intrigued ever since. Then somebody-or-other (whose link i've lost) came out with some 10mm presses for decorating beads. And our own glassact's Candy Orow (who someday I suppose will get her site up—definitely a case of the shoemaker's children going without, since she's a graphic designer in her day job;) gave a workshop at the retreat one year for using assorted shaped brass tubing and polymer clay to make fun presses.

tool for pressing daisy designs into large dots. copper tubing, steel mandrel (handle), glass bead (stabilizer).

I used a bead and wire wrapping to secure my tubes instead, and it was probably less efficient than candy's method, but I just couldn't stand the thought of molten glass getting so close to polymer clay, which stinks pretty bad when it's overheated. I was quite happy the way it worked, and the next one I want to make will use hex tubing.

Now that bronzclay is available, that seems like the way to go; but in the meantime, this thing was something I threw together in a few minutes out of an old mandrel, wire and a bead, with the idea that if I liked it, I'd solder it together properly. Guess it's time to get out the metal working tools, cuz I was very happy with it. Now if only I could get the pattiwackers to work as well...

bead photo 22mar; tool photo & post 07apr09