Friday, July 24, 2009

Making a Large Focal Bead with a Hot Head Torch (Tips & Tricks)

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. If you ever need assistance, in selecting your torch, you can contact me thru my website here. I will, help you save some money by purchasing the correct torch. Believe me, I know, I made the mistake, of buying the wrong torch, when I first started.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Firedancerbeads Torching This Morning.

I was awake early this morning, researching other sites, such as Lampwork etc, and free tutorials. I wish to make some different style beads. maybe more that are just a focal, and not full sets. Also, I am thinking about NOT posting any lampwork jewelry on the site. Maybe only beads. I have some new pics here, of a few of my most recent listings on Etsy, at my shop called Firedancerbeads.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beaded Creatures

I found this wonderful site, where you can learn to make some interesting, and fun creatures with Beads.
check it out, Here!

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Lampwork site on Etsy

Check it out, if you get a chance, this is my lampwork site, on Etsy. You can email, from the site, if you ever want any special orders. I am quite busy making and selling to the local people, I know. Christmas time, was quite busy for me, doing custom orders, as I am the only lampwork artist in my area. So I had my website on vacation mode, and just recently re opened it. The link is as follows:

Glass Bead Groups to join

Some groups I belong to, although,I do not belong to the ISGB yet.

International Society of Glass Beadmakers ( )
Lampwork Etc. (
The Angry Mandrel (
WetCanvas! Cyberliving for Artists ( )

Lampwork Books=Some of my favorites

Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins
You Can Make Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins
Beads of Glass by Cindy Jenkins
Passing the Flame by Corina Tettinger
1000 Glass Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Schrader and Cathy Finegan
The Art and Soul of Glass Beads by Susan Ray and Richard Pearce

lampwork beads Kiln Annealed

By annealing the glass beads, they are guaranteed hard as rocks, durable enough for everyday wear with long lasting heirloom quality. When a glass bead is finished, the hot bead (while still on the mandrel), is placed in a kiln heated at 960°F. The annealing process releases the stress from the glass and slowly cools the beads down to room temperature. Cooling the glass beads too quickly will cause them to crack.

What is Lampworking Anyway?

A variant of the wound glass beadmaking technique, and a labor intensive one, is what is traditionally called lampworking. In the Venetian industry, where very large quantities of beads were produced in the 19th century for the African trade, the core of a decorated bead was produced from molten glass at furnace temperatures, a large-scale industrial process dominated by men. The delicate multicolored decoration was then added by people, mostly women, working at home using an oil lamp or spirit lamp to re-heat the cores and the fine wisps of colored glass used to decorate them. These workers were paid on a piecework basis for the resulting lampwork beads. Modern lampwork beads are made by using a gas torch to heat a rod of glass and spinning the resulting thread around a metal rod covered in bead release. When the base bead has been formed, other colors of glass can be added to the surface to create many designs. After this initial stage of the beadmaking process, the bead can be further fired in a kiln to make it more durable.
Modern beadmakers use single or dual fuel torches, so `flameworked' is replacing the older term. Unlike a metalworking torch, or burner as some people in the trade prefer to call them, a flameworking torch is usually "surface mix"; that is, the oxygen and fuel (typically propane, though natural gas is also common) is mixed after it comes out of the torch, resulting in a quieter tool and less dirty flame. Also unlike metalworking, the torch is fixed, and the bead and glass move in the flame. American torches are usually mounted at about a 45 degree angle, a result of scientific glassblowing heritage; Japanese torches are recessed, and have flames coming straight up, like a large bunsen burner; Czech production torches tend to be positioned nearly horizontally.