Every show there will be several folks that ask me where I make my glass beads. I often am ask if I teach or rent torch space too. At this time I do not have the time that it would take to really put the work into teaching the art of Lampworking with the respect that it deserves. My favorite customers are those that have taken classes and decided that it was well worth buying the beads instead!
My work table was in desperate need of cleaning and I happened to take some pictures afterwards….this is a before shot. It’s quite normal for me to have mounds of glass rods and shards all over the place and strangely enough…I prefer it that way!
Before the beads are made, the mandrels are dipped in a bead release solution that prevents the glass from “welding” itself to the stainless steel rods.
There are several steps involved and I haven’t had a chance to think all of that thru…but maybe I will manage to post a video of everything at some point.
For those of us that have been working with glass for several years…we hoard!!! I mean we stash glass in crevices and corners of every available space in the studio! (You do it with beads…we do it with glass!!) What you see in these photos is about 1/8 of what I actually have! It’s ridiculous!!
Anyway…I just thought it would be fun to post some pics while things were in order…
This is a partial assortment of the Frits and Enamels that I use. They are basically containers of crushed glass.
Borosilicate Glass is basically the same type of glass used to make Pyrex. It’s a very hard glass and requires about 2200 degrees of heat to melt. Special glasses are required to protect your eyes while you are working with the flame…They are one of the most important pieces of equipment in your studio…they are expensive and unattractive and I don’t care! Wear them!!
(Mine are purple…I don’t like purple….they were on sale!!! hahaha)
I would NEVER suggest that you take this on as a hobby without taking classes first. You really need to know the safety aspect first!
All of my glass goes directly into a kiln that is set to allow the glass to cool at a rate that prevents breakage! This is the key to the quality of glass beads….they MUST be kiln annealed!
This is a RARE photo of a clean work table!! It’s a REALLY glamorous atmosphere, isn’t it!! See…the scrubbing bubbles are still there to prove that I did clean everything this year! Audible and Pandora are my direct links to the sane world…and my Tervis cup that Nikki Thornburg gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago helps to keep me hydrated!
Yes…you are seeing that right! I’m in Georgia in a studio with NO air conditioning in the summer and minimal heat in the winter! I am literally a “Hot Mess” at the end of the day!
And…I occasionally open the doors to the homeless!!! Hahaha…my husband is going to have a fit if he ever see’s this!! We basically lived in my studio while we were having the house painted and new floors installed. Home renovation is something that everyone should do 2 weeks before Christmas just to find out how strong your marriage actually is!! I’m happy to report that we survived and we LOVE all of the changes! And…that is Jake…our boy!
I hope that you have enjoyed this little tour. Hopefully I can get organized enough to start doing some videos soon! This was a good start though. Thanks!!