Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glass beads making

So yesterday after I picked up the photo's from JJ & Jezz's photo shoot in Pretoria for the Xmas card I am making (more about that another day), I was meeting my friends who where creating some glass beads at a studio nearby.
They still had 1 hour to go, so I joined them in the class and tried for the first time to make my own glass beads. They are using the ancient technique of lampworking (melting glass and shaping it over a gas flame).

So you have a tube of colored glass and with holding it in the flame it goes back to its molten state and then you form it around a kiln and you start to create your own glass bead. Applying vibrant colors and forming interesting shapes you can create the most gorgeous beads! Well mine, they had the weirdest shape, not that I wanted that... I was more looking to create a round bead. And you can go from that weird shape back to round again by holding it longer into the flame to take it back to a round bead... if that is what you want!

Since I only had 1 hour, normally the class is 3 hours, I only made 4 beads, and believe me it looks so easy when the teacher does it, but then you have to try yourself and it aint easy at all!!

You have to wear these funky glasses to see the flame better and to protect your eyes! And you keep the glass rod in one hand the kiln in the other, both you have to keep them turning around in the flame. A steady hand is needed!!

Then if you are really good at it, this can be the result... I definitely need to practice more. I will add my beads later, they are not as pretty as these ones!!

Well, now I understand why these handmade glass beads are so expensive! They can go up to $50 for a set of 4-6, but it takes you at least 15 minutes to create just a single bead!! The more colors and dots on it the longer it takes!!

I enjoyed learning yet another new skill, but I think I will just stick to making my own jewelry and just buy the handmade beads from another artist. That way we both keep in business!

Today I am off to go to an Art & Jewelry show, all handmade arts & crafts, I LOVE it!! What are your plans for today??

Have a Terrific Thursday!


Miss Footloose said...

Beautiful beads! And such fun learning how to make them. I don't know how to make my own beads, but I got into collecting beads living in Ghana, where making and owning beads are part of the culture. Traditional glass beads in Ghana are made from recycled glass using for instance brown beer bottles and green wine bottles. Other colors are more difficult to find, but the beads do come in a great variety of colors.

Brass trade beads are everywhere too, made with the "lost wax" process.

Beads are fun.

Emm said...

I bet yours looked gorgeous - you made them, they are individual!


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