Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bead Furnace at Atlantian Royal Easement (Pennsic)

Tinker, Irene, and I had a lot of fun making period furnaces at Atlantia's Artisans Easement at Pennsic this year!! Thank you Atlantia!

Below are a few photos of the furnace built by Tinker that I used to made beads. 

Volcano style bead furnace. This was build around a basket with a small hole cut in the top, and another small hole cut in the side as a bellows port. The clay mixture used was Irene's recipe-- two parts ball clay, two parts sand, and one part peat moss. As you can see, there was some cracking, but we patched it up with clay as we went along.

The channel on the side is likely not necessary. We used it to add in some coal, but dropping it in from the top was easier in the end. We had also hoped that the channel would help create more of a draft, making it possible to use the furnace with no bellows, Tinker read about another furnace design where this worked. However, that furnace was MUCH bigger. Our small furnace did not work this way.

In the future, we could create a removable clay lid with a narrowed top to make adding coal in even easier. I have seen an image of a furnace like this online in the past.

We also did not create a base of clay. The basket was placed directly onto the paving stone, but as the clay dried, it pulled up from the stone somewhat, causing a bit of air to escape from the bottom. 

Making a bead.

Adding and marvering in dots.

Second layer of dots
Final layer of dots.
Completed evil eye bead
Cute picture of me using the furnace!
Demonstrating for an audience!
Having Fun Cooking Lunch!
You can also see Irene's furnace in the background.
Her's uses a beehive shape.  The other two use more of a volcano shape.


A few pictures of Tinker making her portable furnace. This one was not used at Pennsic, but it was built to showcase the process. I made this type of furnace with Erica a few months ago using Tinker's instructions (see previous blog post). I can't find my photos of the making of the furnace, so I've included these here below for reference.

Creation of Portable Bead Furnace

In April Erica and I made a portable bead furnace using a handout from Keely Tinker of the Mid (this post has a few pictures of Tinker making the furnace at Pennsic). 

Marion and Thomas let us use their yard and workshop. Below are some pictures of us making the bead furnace and using it. Video of us using the furnace is also included below. 

Drilling several rows of holes in a large food can. Screws were inserted halfway into the holes and acted as rebar to hold clay that was applied to the inside and outside of the can.

To make the furnace we used the same basic clay mixture we used at Pennsic last year (see previous blog post) but with the addition of one part straw. We used the kiln over this weekend, and at two other SCA events, before it started to crack, and then, only slightly.

The finished kiln. A large hole was drilled and a small pipe fitting inserted for the bellows. We used an air mattress pump. The hole should be slightly higher, as we ended up getting a build up of ash inside it. We can fix that next time.

Cowboy brand hardwood charcoal was used as the fuel source. We had to add coal after making one or two beads, but overall, the furnace worked well.
Finished beads. We used 132 Coe glass. We did make one or two beads, not shown with 104 COE glass. It worked, but the 132 was much easier and faster to work with, as it was softer and melted at a lower temperature.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

mandala beads

Naomi's Laurel Medalionchain

This medallion is different from the others i've made as it has two layers (ivory and yellow) for the laurel leaves.

Chain is size adjustable. I got the idea for the decorative S's from a modern metalworking book.

Necklace based on Birka Grave 1080

Note: A better photo is available through the Swedish History Museum at ,I just cant find it at this exact moment.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A&S Display Gulf Wars

Alesone was kind enough to take my display from K&Q's A&S to Gulf Wars. Images from the display are below.

I received a few pieces of useful feedback such as:

---talk about bead release both historically and related to glass bead experiments
---modify what I say about period v.s. modern glass to be more clear about how similar the two are, and where the differences are.

I will have to update my documentation to reflect these ideas.

However, the judges also thought that I had too much documentation and that I should have only entered one bead string; that 3 bead strings was overkill.They also said that it was interested to see how things were done in the East. Now, I'm not aware I'm following an "eastern A&S model." My entry was specifically crafted for the Artifacts of a Life event, and for an A&S Champions event, both which called for more than one item to be included in the entry. I think this might be an instance of interesting "inter kingdom anthropology." It would be interesting to learn more about how A&S in the East differs from A&S elsewhere. I think other kingdoms have more strictures or structure to their A&S activities.

K&Q A&S 2016 (Queens Champion & My Elevation Ceremony)

On February 6th, 2016, I became both queens champion and was elevated to the order of the Laurel after my vigil at that same event.  It was a very good day!

I've posted a few pictures from the day, as well as links to my documentation below!

My A&S Display

-East Kingdom Gazette Article About King and Queens Arts and Sciences Champions
-Documentation for Kings and Queens Arts and Sciences 2016
-Supplemental Documentation on Early Period Bead Making

Being called into court after winning Queens Champion

Being presented with the Queens A&S Champion's regalia

Giving back my protege apron to my peer
Having Aibhilin (my student) present me with a bead string she made as part of my regalia

Swearing Fealty
Being presented at the end of my ceremony
Photo of me getting my writ on Dec. 12, 2016. I had made my first bead on Oct 2, 2012, and one of the people who helped me make that bead is standing right behind me.