...when my mind is uncluttered. That's when I am in my zen mode being able to express myself with my sketches on paper and then, working these ideas onto my glass beads. For most of my beads, I plan ahead of time; do my sketches, select the colors I want to use and then execute the beads. I even make test beads before I make the actual beads. Test beads are made and left on the worktable to cool so that I can see whether my ideas will work. These beads are not annealed and they get landed in the trash bin. I do not believe in co-incidences for making beads. Oh, don't get me wrong, when I first started out with making glass beads, I just "jumped right in" without any inkling of what I was going to make on the bead. Whatever glass was on the table, I would have used it. That is natural for all beginners, attempting to make glass beads. A normal step for anything we learn. Then, we move on to the next level. What's that, you may ask. That level is, making things happen on purpose.
What is involved in making designs happen on your beads? Planning, of course. You can't depend on luck or your la-di-da mood or whatever catches your fancy right now; you have to steer yourself onto the right path. Look at it this way, if you can't draw it on paper, then, how in heaven's sake are you going to make it work on the bead? It's hot, it's more than hot when the torch is on, the glass is molten, you can't grab an eraser to erase the mistake you made on your bead like you can with your pencil sketches. You don't have to be a master at drawing on paper, but visuals are vital. They "remind" you when you flamework where to add a line here or there, or put a curvy line instead of a straight line across the bead, add little dots on the left and so on. It may also turn out that it is possible on paper but not with glass; ideas may be totally abandoned or perhaps tweaked a wee bit to make it look even better on the bead. My sketchbook sits next to me whenever I work at the torch.
Believe me, I do not depend on "let's see what happens next" to make my bead sets. My sets tell a story; to make the story work, you have to plan! Remember, the beads we make capture our very essence, our thoughts, our being in a particular moment and that is sealed in forever. Sounds tacky but true!