A Bead is Born

Have you ever watched someone sculpt molten glass?  Many  glass studios will demonstrate glass blowing techniques as a way to introduce the art of creating with molten glass.  Most of these studios produce big pieces like vases and vessels by sculpting shapes and then kilning them in a glory hole.  Making glass beads is a very similar process on a much smaller scale.

 

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This is a picture of me forming a bead.  The stick that I build my bead on is called a mandrel.  I put my glass rod into the flame of my torch with my right hand and as the glass becomes molten I wrap it by turning the mandrel with my left hand.  Molten glass love to be round so it creates a very nice bead shape.

 

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After I sculpt my bead, I place it in a kiln and very slowly cool the glass.  This process is called annealing and it makes the glass stronger and prevents it from cracking.

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Here are some beads after they have annealed in the kiln.  I will take them off the mandrels and will remove all the bead release that is in the hole of the bead.

 

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Here is a fresh batch of beads after they have been cleaned.  They are ready to wire wrap.

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Here is one of my new Spring pieces that is wire wrapped and ready to go.  Glass is an amazing medium because it is different every time I work with it.  Now I need to go make some beads!

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Comments

  1. Russell Kemp says:

    Really nice. A great overview of the process

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