DeAnne Buchanan

DeAnne Buchanan
Our new Featured artist is DeAnne Buchanan!
In the spotlight of the So. California Flamesurfers Hall of Flame, a very warm welcome is extended to our newest Featured Artist who is the “Murrini Queen” of the SCFS, Ms. DeAnne Buchanan.DeAnne has made great strides in her short career as a glass artist. Creative by nature, she has always endeavored to learn and master many forms of art. “I have always dabbled in one artistic genre or another since I was a child. I’ve played with sculpting in clay, painting in acrylics and oils, and have made jewelry…from bead stringing and bead crochet to working with gold and silversmithing. Once discovering lampwork though, this has become my passion.”And how did she discover lampwork beads and what sparked her interest in making her own? While browsingDeAnne Buchananthrough an issue of “Step by Step Beads” she came across a tutorial by Kim Fields entitled “Bumble Beads”. Those beads were so adorable she knew right then that she HAD to learn to make them! And so her story begins. After a basic lampworking class at the San Gabriel Bead Company in September, 2006 her first born Bumble Bead came into this world and will forever remain with her. And so her journey continued.

Now armed with a Hot Head torch her journey took another step forward. Tucked away in the back of her garage is DeAnne’s “hideaway” studio. As life has it, other obligations need to take priority so time at the torch is limited. But with each passing day she is determined to devote more and more time into turning her part-time passion into a full time career.

DeAnne BuchananI mentioned that DeAnne was our “Murrini Queen” and haven’t even touched on why. Some of the SCFS members were fortunate enough to see her demo making her skull murrini at our meeting at The Mandrel last June and then how to apply them to a bead, which in my opinion is another feat in itself. I can’t even come close to describing her trek into making murrini in better words than DeAnne has. But I can say as time progresses, her goals are to createeven more complex murrini integrating the “multiple cane construction” method into her array of already intricate murrini – of course, using a hotter torch. What she hasDeAnne Buchananaccomplished in murrini with just a Hot Head torch is amazing to say the least. When she delves in her future endeavors…the possibilities are as endless as her imagination and her determination to not let “rules” set behavior guide her. As she states in her words of wisdom , “If I have one piece of advice for beginner through intermediate lampworkers, it’s to NOT limit yourself to what you are “supposed” to be able to do! In other words, if it were that I had limited myself to “what I was supposed to be able to do or not do on my Hot Head”, most of my more complex murrini would never have been created! I think there are benefits to “not knowing what you’re NOT supposed to be able to do”, so keep striving to challenge yourself and reach outside the limitations of what is conventional. With that mentality, the opportunities are limitless!”

DeAnne BuchananFrom here I am going to let DeAnne explain in her own words her venture into making murrini with the trials, tribulations and joys she has encountered.

As far as murrini making is concerned, I stumbled across a skull murrini on ABR’s site about 2 and a half years ago and was fascinated! Oddly, anything with skulls has always intrigued me and adding that image to my glass work sounded like an exciting idea!  Of course the murrini I’d found pre-made and commercially available was in boro. Being that I am a COE 104 girl meant I couldn’t use it.  Being that necessity is the mother of invention…”No worries!” I figured, “I’ll just make my own!”  (Yeah, right!)  And so began my murrini explorations!

DeAnne BuchananAfter diligently studying the murrini making section of Kimberly Adams’ book “The Complete Book of Glass Bead Making” and after several failed attempts at the “multiple cane construction” method, I decided to try developing a format using a “one shot, built-in-the-flame” method for more complex designs. After my first try with this method, I was so surprised to see that it came out pretty darn well that I tried it a few more times and each one became successively easier and better!  After doing about a dozen of the skull murrini – with variations such as a “Flaming Skull”, a “Kitty Skull” and a “Skull with Bow” – my Skull Murrini Tutorial was born.

DeAnne BuchananThereafter it seemed everything I looked at  – every cartoon character, ever icon, every flower – was no longer safe!  I wanted to try everything as a murrini!  I decided to give some of the characters from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” a go.  First was good old Rudolph, of course, then some of the Misfit Toys and lastly Bumble.  Using the same layering method, I was relatively happy with the results.

DeAnne BuchananNow don’t get me wrong…there have been some hideous failures!  One of the biggest challenges in my method is managing heat control; keeping the gather hot enough not to crack but cool enough not to distort is a learning process that comes with time.  Then when the gather grows and grows, it takes some planning and a “quick switch” method (using 2 Hot Heads) to insure success with a fairly even pull.

Nevertheless, with each achievement I’ve continued to challenge myself to try more complex and intricate designs.  I recently pulled a “Divine Image of Jesus” murrini which was a wonderful surprise when finished!  I was so happy with how using simple Black and White glassand a carefully planned layout could achieve such a sharp and true result!

As far as a “favorite” murrini to date, though, IDeAnne Buchananhave to say that my “Treasure Chest Murrini” is probably my personal favorite.  I pulled several small canes to be added in layers as the final image was built – pearls, small “gems”, dichro stringer and so on – then sketched and sketched to try and find a “perspective” for the end result that would give the impression of an open Treasure Chest without looking like an odd square block.  I’m attaching some photos of the finished murrini slices as well as some beads with it applied.  I have to say that as exciting as hot glass can be towork with, when I saw how this particular murrini “magically” appeared to take on the three-dimensional “Open Treasure Chest” appearance I’d hoped for, my addiction was confirmed and my passion fully charged!

To see more of DeAnne’s work, be sure to visit her Etsy store.


DeAnne Buchanan