Silvered Ivory Stringer Revealed (A Tutorial) – Part 1

This is a tutorial, not an expose!  To say that I use a lot of Silvered Ivory Stringer (SIS) is a huge understatement, and I thought that I would show how I make my version of the stringer.  It would give non lampworkers a look at one of our techniques, and it would give away my trade secrets to allow me to share with my fellow lampworkers.

What is SIS?  I’m quoting Lori Greenberg as explained at Glass Arts on Craft Gossip:

It’s ivory glass, rolled in fine silver foil and then pulled into long glass strings (stringer). These stringer are used as an artist would use a pencil or paintbrush…to melt on fine designs.  The reaction of the silver and ivory form a webbing and curdling effect that is both organic and mesmerizing.

Hidden Glade Bead using Silvered Ivory Stringer

Hidden Glade - Bead using Silvered Ivory Stringer

Items used:

  • Ivory Glass ( my go-to glass is Effetre Dark Ivory) – 1 rod
  • Clear Glass (Vetrofond clear) – 2 rods
  • Fine Silver Foil (this is important – Foil, not Leaf)
  • Sharp Knife (such as Exacto brand)
  • Graphite Marver
  • Water
  • Mashers
  • Torch & flame!

The short version:

  • Prepare the foil
  • Make an ivory plug
  • Apply the silver leaf to the ivory
  • Burnish the silver
  • Heat
  • Pull

These are the same steps that many lampworkers would use (I would say all lampworkers, but I’m an engineer too, so I just can’t bring myself to make that strong of a statement…), however, I do some things in my own specific way, so that I have a repeatable and reliable result.

This tutorial also quite long, so I’m splitting it into several posts.  For a teaser, here is how I prepare the silver foil.

First of all, notice that I use fine silver foil.  It seems to give a better result, and it is easier to work with than fine silver leaf.  I get one piece of foil and place it in the front of the foil booklet.  I then cut it into 8 mostly equal pieces with my razor knife.  I slice it in half, then I slice one side into halves and finally each of those quarters in half. I hold the foil with my other hand so that it does not bunch up.   I just estimate where the cuts should be – that is close enough.  With practice, it is easy to tell how much pressure to use to make a nice cut.


Silver Foil cut by Razor Knife

Next, I place a tiny amount of water onto my marver, with the water concentrated on the side away from me.  The water holds the foil down so that it does not blow away or fold onto itself.


Graphite Marver with Drop of Water

Finally, I put one piece of the foil onto the marver.  I try to make sure that the edge of the foil closest to me is not on the water;  I want that edge loose so that it will stick to the glass easier.  If the edge is on the water, as it is in the photo, it just makes it a little harder to pick up the foil.  Even more important, there needs to some room on the marver on the edge closest to me.


Graphite Marver with Fine Silver Foil

So now the foil is prepared.  Next up? Plugging Along! (Making the ivory plug.)

All material contained within this Tutorial is protected by Copyright, “Spawn of Flame” Rosemarie Hanus, 2009; all rights reserved.

Rosemarie Hanus makes beads in her home studio. Almost all of them use Silvered Ivory Stringer – Look at these beads at EtsyArt Fire, or her Spawn of Flame website.

About rosemarie h.

engineer by day - artist by night View all posts by rosemarie h.

13 responses to “Silvered Ivory Stringer Revealed (A Tutorial) – Part 1

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