Monday, August 4, 2008

Wanna' Watch Me Make a Bead?

A call went out in one of the street teams to which I belong asking for photos, not of our faces, but of our hands working with glass. I have a mini tripod, and I set it up next to my work area. Of course, I attached the camera to it. I took a few practice shots and decided that I had the angle and height correctly adjusted, so I began to make a bead. At the start of every torch session, I make four beads for Beads of Courage--two purple hearts and two butterflies. The purple hearts go to the children as they mark the milestones in their treatment plan. The butterflies are given to parents who have lost a child. What you will see is me, without my face showing, making a purple heart. This is not meant to be a tutorial, just a way of showing you how lampwork beads are made.I start to make a bead by warming up both the mandrel (in my left hand) and the glass rod (in my right hand). The mandrel is ready, but the glass is not quite. As soon as the glass begins to glow, I can apply it to the mandrel.

The glass is now glowing, and I can apply the melting glass to the coated mandrel.
You can see the glass continuing to melt as I apply it to the mandrel. It's glowing a light orange at the this point. You won't see the purple return until it cools. I continue to apply enough glass, in a barrel shape, to make the heart. You have to get a pretty fat barrel to make a heart.

At this point, I have enough glass on my mandrel to make the heart, so now, I begin to shape the heart. The tool I am using is a brass stump shaper. I am using it to make the cleavage on top of the heart. (Don't let your mind go in the gutter, another word is lobes.) I have separated the glass at the top. I can now let gravity work for me by hanging the heart upside down and letting the glass flow into the lobes.

As the glass flows into the lobes, I continue to work with the heart upside down to pull the point of the heart. I am using a punty ( a clear glass rod) to pull the bottom of the heart into a point.

There it is! One purple heart for Beads of Courage. Can you see the purple coming back to the bead? The End!


Deb said...

WOW Ms M! That is just fabulous - what wonderful photo's & the accompanying text is fun & informative. Well done :o)

angelinabeadalina said...

Cool pics, Mallory :) I like how you explained what you were doing as you went along. I think it would be neat to see the rest of your workspace, too, now that I've gotten a glimpse of it.