Sunday, September 27, 2009

Large Focal Bead made with a HotHead

This Bead is almost two inches long, and 1/4 inch thick.It is quite difficult to make a Large Focal Bead with a Hot Head Torch. They do not have as hot a flame, as the other more expensive torches. I know lots of people, who have always, and still do work on a hothead torch for many years. This Bead took a long time, to make, and a lot of patience. Keeping all sides of the bead hot, is also a challenge. You can move it side to side in the flame, and rotate it always. Quite the juggling act, but you kinda get it in time, and lots of practice. If you are a beginning bead maker, or just want to try working with glass to see if you would like it, then a Hot head Torch is the way to go. It is a good torch for teaching some newbies, as it is easier to control the heat flow of the glass. Be aware though, that some of the kits they are selling, at the supply websites, are not a good torch.
A little something, about the materials,and techniques, used to make this bead. I started with Dark Ivory, and added some frit. Then I used silver foil stringer, that I pulled myself. I added some spots of silver glass, that I kinda swirled with the tip of the rod. Then melted all in, super heated the silver glass,(That's another subject I should blog about later), and squashed it flat. Shapeing and centering the hole thru the middle is also a trick to be learned with PPP(practice. Keeping the weight centered when making the bead, helps with even centering of the hole. If you shape it into a barrel shape, before flattening, it keeps the bead from bunching up in the middle, and stealing glass from the ends. This way you keep the center flat, and you have nice ends. Finally re-heat the whole bead, so that all parts are hot, cool just enough that when you put it into the Kiln, it does not stick to the fibers. (The Chili Pepper Kiln, has a fiber lining)then garage it in your kiln, and properly anneal it. This is the only way you will have a strong durable bead. Let me add that it is almost impossible, to make a large bead like this, without putting it directly into a kiln. I started out, trying to put my beads between fire blanket fiber, to cool. This is fine for small beads, but believe me, I wasted a lot of time, and money on glass, when just starting out, only to end up with broken beads. It is well worth the money to go ahead and get a kiln, if you are serious about doing Lampwork. Hope some of these tips, help. the beginning bead makers.
FiredancerBeads, Handmade Hot Glass Lampwork, by Nell Stanley

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