Well, after a mighty long winter, I finally fired up the torch again. I’ve got to say that I love the Mega Minor Burner torch I bought just before the snow started flying last year. Being a surface mix torch, it’s a bit of overkill for soft glass, but I get great control for the reduction and silver work I’m doing.
You can see by these beads I’m still quite the amateur, but I’m sneaking up on the “type” of beads I like: bright, colorful and “swirly”. The first ones I made are the blue ones on the top right. They’re not the traditional round or doughnut shaped bead, but I see them as shell shaped and stopped melting them at that point because I absolutely love that shape. They’re going to make great earrings for me!
The next bead down has the same blue base, but with dots of Aion2, a rich, fine-silver laden glass that strikes (changes in a propane-rich flame) to make pretty pinks and pastel-like blues and greens. After striking I encased the bead in a super clear glass.
Then I decided to have a different kind of fun: making multiple tiny beads on one mandrel. To do this you must keep the bead that’s red hot rotating smoothly or gravity will pull it out of shape as it cools, you also have to keep the beads that have cooled warm enough that they don’t crack, and you absolutely can not let these magnificent rotating dollops of color hypnotize you for longer than a heartbeat or – crack – one snaps. Quite fun, I think.
For the next bead I used a base of purple (Vetrofond) and decorated it with some funky stringer I had laying around. The stringer didn’t do what I wanted it so I made some yellow dots (3 groups of 3), made a deep impression down the middle of each with a razor blade, poked a rake into the middle of the three “petals” and set an orange dot in there. Then I encased the whole thing. Kinda looks like I set out to do that from the beginning, yes?
The last 2 beads are just dark ivory with the Aion2 wrapped around and struck a bit. Then the bottom one was encased and pressed into a lentil mold.
Can’t wait to get to the torch and play some more!