Textures are lightweight, mobile pieces that marry distinctive metal
components with incredible lampworked beads. Their surprisingly-light caress on
the skin, gentle sounds in motion and ever-changing nuances of iridescent color
combine to make wearing Textures a sensuous experience.
The metal work, by Pam Chott, is primarily sterling silver with occasional
accents of gold-filled or copper elements. Some Textures exhibit
the lively colors of metal patinas that have been carefully developed using
a controlled version of the oxidation or tarnish which occurs
naturally on sterling silver. After the desired shade is achieved,
a fine coat of museum quality conservatory wax is used to protect
the color. As a piece is worn its fluid movements will smooth the
higher areas of the metal and over time the burnished metal emerges,
blending with the patina colors for an overall softened look similar
to worn blue jeans.
Making beads for the Textures series involves multiple labor-intensive
processes. Designed and handmade by Kristen Frantzen Orr, the beads are made
of colored borosilicate glass integrating the colors of earth, fire, sky and sea.
This special glass, similar to Pyrex, melts at much higher temperatures than
the soda lime glass traditionally used to make lampworked beads
and thus adds significantly to the time at the torch.
Kristen applies the molten glass onto a steel rod (mandrel) held
in the flame and turned as the bead is developed in an arrangement
of patterns, layers and colors to achieve the design and effects she
envisions. During construction, the variable colors and iridescent
qualities of this glass are influenced by the length of time in the
flame, flame temperatures and gas ratios used. After construction,
these characteristics are developed further in the kiln by controlling
the time they are held at various temperatures during the slow cooling
process known as annealing. The beads are placed in a programmed kiln
that slowly lowers the temperature, eliminating the internal stresses
that otherwise would make the glass more apt to eventually crack or
shatter. The bead hole is left when the mandrel is removed from the
After the beads are made Kristen and Pam "cold-work" many of them by hand - slicing,
shaping and polishing to reveal the complementary internal patterns while preserving
the unique surface treatments. The borosilicate beads show an exuberant
interplay of color and light with intriguing iridescence. To reveal
the distinct vitality of these amazing beads, full spectrum light
(such as the sun's light) is best.