Natalia Designs

Etched Glass Beads

One of the techniques I love to use is acid etching.

I create designs on my glass beads by selectively protecting part of the glass with stencils or painted resist and then exposing the bead to acid. The acid creates a frosted matte finish wherever it touches the glass. More details about the process and my etching classes are available on my Teaching page.

Here are some examples of the etched glass beads I make.

Etched Iris Beads

I make these sculptural blossoms in a graphic, stylized form, like the classic Fleur de Lis. I often build these iconic blossoms around the circumference of tall, slender bicone beads, a form reminiscent of art nouveau perfume bottles. I sometimes form the blossoms on a broader tablet style bead, which gives me a wider canvas to show the blossoms in groups.

These beads are usually about 5 cm tall and 12 mm in circumference (bicones) or 25 mm wide (tablets).

Click on images to enlarge.

Etched pink iris bead Gothic iris bicone bead Rubino Oro Iris Tablet Bead Deep purple iris tablet bead
Sculptural deep violet irises on a slender alexandrite glass
bicone bead.
Sculptural rubino-oro irises on a crystal
glass bicone bead.
Sculptural irises in gothic black on a deep lavender glass
bicone bead.
Sculptural rubino-oro irises on a crystal glass
tablet bead.
Sculptural deep violet irises on an
alexandrite glass
tablet bead

Bird of Paradise Beads

I make these tropical Bird of Paradise floral beads using strands of glass with complex mixes of colors to mimic natural blended shades of petal and stamen. These beads look nearly alive to me.

About 5 cm tall and 12 mm (bicones)  to 25 mm (tablets) wide.  Click images to enlarge.
Bird of Paradise Bead front
Bird of Paradise Bead back
Bird of Paradise Beads, Tablets and Bicones
Bird of Paradise Tablet Bead
With a large single blossom on one side, and
a cluster of several blossoms on the reverse.
Bird of Paradise Bicone and Tablet Beads
This grouping of beads shows some of  the variation in size, shape, and color.

More Floral Forms

I have been experimenting with all kinds of floral forms. Some are impressionistic, others closer to botanical truth, but I try to capture the essential elements of the form and character of each flower in these beads.

Taller beads about 5 cm tall and 12 mm to 25 mm wide.  Lentil beads 3 to 4 cm in diameter. Click images to enlarge.
Protea Flower Bead front
Protea Flower Bead back
Purple pitcher orchid bead Etched white orchid bead Etched pale orchid bead
Protea Flower Bead
This large, South African flower has a very unearthly look. I’ve tried to capture its spiky softness. With one large bloom on the front, and several smaller blooms on the reverse.
Orchid Beads
Each of these beads is made to favor a real orchid, though I'm still learning the names and don't have proper labels for each of these just yet. Orchid blooms on both sides.
Etched reb poppies bead
Etched rose quartz plum blossoms lentil bead Etched cherry blossom heart bead
Etched blue jasper plum blossom lentil bead
Etched jasper bamboo bead
Red Poppy Bead

The red poppy is an
iconic summer bloom. This bead was inspired by one of Kim Fields' wonderful  beads.
Rose Jasper Plum Blossoms

This lentil-form bead has a simple plum blossom motif
of translucent white glass, creating a cameo effect
Cherry Blossom Heart

This heart-shaped bead
has a more abstract, impressionist cherry blossom design.
Blue Jasper Plum Blossoms
Another rendition of the  cameo design, reminiscent
of Wedgewood
Bamboo Forest 

A cameo design of olive green and translucent white. Bamboo is a powerful symbol of resilience.

Etched Creature Beads

I make a number of beads with animals of various kinds, real and imagined. Each poses its own challenge to sculpt. The most complex so far has been the Dragon and Phoenix. I like the way that the dragon's spikiness contrasts with the phoenix's smooth flow, echoing the yin and yang that these symbolic creatures represent.

Varioius sizes. Click images to enlarge.
Violet dragon on blue lentil bead
Gothic black dragon on deep lavender bead
Red dragon on amber bead
Red phoenix on amberBack
Dragon Beads
These beads feature dragons than wrap entirely around the bead. This is one of my newest creature forms. I really enjoy the way that his dangerous, spiky nature comes through, even though melted glass really prefers to be round and soft.
Dragon and Phoenix Bead
Deep red dragon and phoenix forms share this glowing amber bead. The pairing of dragon and phoenix symbolizes harmony or happy marriage in the Chinese tradition.
Blue seahorse, front
Blue seahorses, back
Seahorse beads, group
Blue Seahorses Bead
A proud father on one side and his wee brood on the reverse. Yes, the male seahorse carries the babies. Some beads show seaweed or coral too.
Seahorse Beads
This group of beads shows some of the
variation in color and form in the
seahorse beads I've made.
Hidden dragon bead
Etched olive frog bead Flying egret bead Flamingo bead
Hidden Dragon
A subtly etched dragon
wraps the bead.
Animated picture.
Olive Frog Bead
Treefrog clinging to a
bead and looking at you.
In many colors.
Flying Egret Bead
One of my earliest stencil-etched
Pink Flamingo
Pink flamingo on a
clear bead, with a
lily blossom on
the reverse.
Koi bead, front
Koi bead, back
Koi Pond Bead
This is my most recent creature bead. Colorful koi appears among lily pads on one face,
and two smaller koi swim together as the Pisces symbol on the reverse.

Tree of Life Beads

I've been making tree beads for a few years now. Most are an absract and colorful symbol of life, strength, and growth. A few are more realistic, often with spring of fall foliage to echo the change of seasons.

Tall trees 3 to 5 cm high, 1 to 3 cm wide. Tablet beads usually about 2.5 to 3 cm across. Click images to enlarge.
Cherry blossom tree bead Amber tree bead Gothic black tree bead
Cherry Blossom
A slender young tree in bloom,
very evocative of spring.
Amber Tree
This fall tree in light and dark amber
hues glows very warmly.
Gothic Tree
Black tree on a deep lavender
bead glows darkly.
Red tree of life bead Green tree of life bead Olive tree of life bead
 Red Tree of Life
Flaming red tree on a clear base
bead flames brilliantly.
Green Tree of Life
 This tree has threads of green glass creating natural striations in the bark and leaves.
Olive Tree
This is a Czech glass color that I love.
It looks wonderfully natural.

More Etched Beads

These beads didn't fit so easily into categories, but I wanted to share these pictures anyway!

Sizes vary. Click on images to enlarge.
Hollow amber bead with red leaves< Oregon forest hollow bead Flaming heart bead
Red Leaf Hollow
Large amber hollow bead with
flaming red leaf detail.
Oregon Forest Hollow Bead
Graduated hollow bead shades
from green to blue.
Flaming Heart Bead
Heart-shaped bead has swirling
flames that shine.
Amber and black geometry bead Amber lentil bead with dark amber leaves Red and clear geometry bead
Black-Amber Geometry Bead
Black stringer in geometric pattern cages this glowing amber bead.
Amber Leaf Lentil Bead
Leaves and vines in dark amber cover this glowing amber lentil-shaped bead.
Red-Clear Geometry Bead
Red stringer in geometric pattern over a clear base bead.
Etched zebra bead slide Green etched treefrog lentil bead Galloping zebra bead
Zebra Bead Slide
Stencil-etched zebra on a large-hole bead slide pendant. Images seem to gallop as you spin the bead.
Etched Treefrog Bead
Stencil-etched treefrog on a lentil bead with layers of greens.
Galloping Zebra Bead
Stencil-etched zebras can seem to
gallop as you turn the bead.

How can I get these beads, you ask?

See my page About Buying.

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