The Birth of an Art Glass
I handmake each bead one at a time
by melting glass rods in a torch flame
and winding the molten glass around a metal rod
that has been coated in a clay-like material,
then annealing the bead in a kiln,
and carefully cleaning the separator material
from the bead hole after it has cooled.
Most of the glass rods I use are manufactured on the island of Murano
in Italy, but I also use some gorgeous glass rods made in Germany
and the United States. I also love the idea of recycling glass,
so I have been known to make beads from pretty broken bottles and
other found glass!
When I am finished forming the bead in the flame,
it is put directly into a hot kiln. This serves two purposes: it
anneals the glass, and it controls the rate at which the bead is
cooled. Annealing means holding the glass at a certain constant
temperature for a certain length of time so that the molecules can
stabilize in an orderly fashion. Likewise, the cooling process is
done slowly at a controlled rate, so that the molecules in the glass
remain orderly. This helps relieve the internal stresses introduced
into the bead during its creation and will make it more durable.
Lastly, when the bead is cool, I remove it from
the metal rod and use a diamond tool to remove the clay-like separator
from inside the bead hole. It’s important to do this under
water, as the dried separator is a respiratory irritant, and it
must be removed from every bead. After the separator is removed,
the bead is then dried and admired for the beautiful little creation
that it is.
Since each bead is handmade, each one will always be a one-of-a-kind
work of glass art!
An overview of my workspace