poetry. thoughts and more than make-believe.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Gonna do a beading demo Tuesday, June 19 12-1 at the library for their Brown Bag Lunch. Most Tuesdays during the summer there is a different program planned. Always a good break in the day...anyhow, just writing out my program plan. I realized this morning that I've never written how I make beads. Took a class years back and continue to enjoy it so so much...

Tools I use: Hot head torch, MAPP gas, mandrels (skinny steel rods), bead release (some funky chemical that should be about the consistency of toothpaste that goes on the mandrel), safety glasses (for the occasional flying glass), glass of water (in case the bead gets out of control and you need SHOCK it), various metal/lead tools and either a crockpot, kiln or ceramic fibre blanket--to anneal the beads once out of the flame.

Materials: Moretti/Effetre Glass rods/stringers, hopefully two hands, time

Set up: I use an old cookie sheet to place all my tools on, so I don't accidently ruin my kitchen table...and to be "organized."

ATTENTION: You'll be using both hands, right and left, at the same time. You're brain and hands may seem a bit slow to begin with. When I started doing beads I thought I was patient...hmmm...took some time to gain more patience. The woman who taught me said this was her zen. Didn't seem very zen-like in the beginning...

Step 1: Before I torch, I prepare my mandrels with a coating of bead release, letting it either air dry in a can or torch it when warming the mandrels. With the mandrels I usually use my non-dominant hand.

Step 2: Preheat glass rod from the top of the flame, or above depending on the color of glass. I use my dominant hand mostly for the glass rod. You've gotta rotate the rod in and out of the heat with your dexterous fingers so it warms the surface.

Step 3: Keep heating glass till the end turns into a pea-size ball. This is the "footprint" of the bead.

Step 4: Touch tip of red-jawbreaker-hot glass to mandrel at a perpendicular angle (straight on if you've been out of the math world for a bit). Turn mandrel with your fingers slowly away from you, along your thumb. Watch that glass just flow like a gushy warm Milky Way.

Step 5: Continue winding hot glass onto mandrel, layering, maybe stopping, then adding more...Continue turning mandrel between fingers and thumb.

Step 6: When done, burn off the glass rod end, winding off and removing from flame to separate the rod from bead.

Step 7: You can either add on more glass, making it bigger or keep it simple and place that bead into the bead rotating like a rotisserie, to make it round and smooth. (If thats what you want of course)

Step 8: Decorate if your heart desires with different colors or stringers. (really skinny glass rods)

Step 9: Continue rotating and slowly take bead out of flame to solidify and anneal.

Step 10: Place either in crockpot, kiln or ceramic blanket.

These directions are really not meant to get you started, just to help me thru a program.

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