(Photos by Fred Fuerst)


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Many of us make butterfly beads for the Beads of Courage program but most of us can't exercise the option of adding a butterfly murrine to a floral bead because we don't know how to make Butterfly Cane.   It was wonderful therefore that one of our oldest (but youngest) members -  Stephanie White - decided to show us how to make a complex butterfly wing murrini and then use four  of these murrini to make a butterfly on a bead. Before she started working at the Torch, Stephanie explained with a diagram how she would be going about creating the cane.  (see Stephanie White Demo Part 1) 

There were three parts to Stephanie's demo (1) creating the wing component cane  (2) combining the wing components into a complex butterfly wing cane; (3) Using 4 murrini cut from the wing cane to form the Butterfly on a bead.

 (1) The Wing Component   White begins the demo by making a large gather of Pea Green glass on  a chopstick which she uses as a punty for the cane. She adds stripes of transparent Cobalt and then Grass Gree glass to produce a wing component that fades from green to blue



As she adds the glass she shapes gather so that the Pea Green end is rounded and the darker end is tapered.


This is a close up of the shaping process.

The tear drop is encased in black glass and re shaped again.  If you look closely at the photo you can see edge at bottom and the rounded top of the cane.

A second chopstick is added as a punty and the rod is pulled.

(2) The Wing Murrini   This is the really tricky part because of the necessity of carefully controlling the heat while maintaining the orientation of the components and the overall shape of the murrini.   First Steffi cuts off 1 inch sections from the cane she has just pulled.  She leaves on inch of the pull on one of the punties.  Next she sticks each of the cutoff pieces to the section left on the punty.   Note that the component pieces are all oriented point down as in the diagram.  As she works and adds pieces she continually shapes the whole cane so that it too is a teardrop with and edge.  Stephanie makes it look easy - but it is definitely not.


After all the component pieces have been attached, the new complex cane is encased with black glass and the second punty (chopstick) is attached.


The gather is pulled into a thick cane and cut into murrini slices when it cools.

(3) The Butterfly Bead  The last part of Stephanie's demo was to make a base bead and apply the murrini slices to form a butterfly.

The base bead is made and one of the wings has been added.  It is interesting to note, that Stephanie slighltly flattens each murrini slice before applying it to the bead.


 After the 4 murrini chips are applied , they are teased out so that each wing ends gracefully in a point.

 For The last step of the butterfly,  Stephanie uses fine black stringer to make the body and the antennae.

The bead before  it is put into the kiln. You can see the 4 wings, the components in each, the point that have been pulled out and the butterflies black body and antenna.   Well done Stephanie White!  Your demo is Gathering worthy.  Thank you for sharing this technique with us.  And thank you Fred Fuerst for the great photos.


One more of Stephanie's butterflies beads so that you can see the detail.


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