Posts tagged: melt

Playing with fire

Bead making season is underway at last.  The optimum temperature range for  lamp working glass is between 65 and 80 degrees F, below that range and the glass is too chilled to melt properly, and above that range the artist tends to melt.

Spring and warmer weather arrived long ago but playing in the garden won out, the lawn needed mowing and the vegetable garden had to be planted.  Now with summer here I can finally make time for playing with fire.

Below are a few photos of bead making in progress:  you wrap an initial core of glass onto the steel rod and marver that into a cylinder, then add additional colors on top.  Here I am using a technique to capture a small bubble of air by making a dent in the glass with a sharp steel tool, and then covering the dent with clear glass.

Seattle has a new glass museum, the Chihuly Glasshouse and garden will be an inspiring place to visit.

adding molten glass to the bead

poking dents into the glass

cooling the bead away from the flame


playing with copper

Having some copper wire on hand,

chunks of copper wire encased in glass

I thought to try incorporating some small chunks into some beads.  Now if you are trying to melt copper, it is a cranky metal, and will just throw sparks as you pour on the heat with the torch, until it finally surrenders.  It holds heat and conducts it, but doesn’t like to melt.

I expected the bits of copper wire to stick readily to the molten glass, but it was having none of it, only left a dent in the soft mass.  Well, I flipped the bead dent side up and placed the chip of copper in the cavity with pliers and then sealed it in with clear glass encasing.  Great fun!  The bright copper looked fine against the turquoise glass.  Turquoise and copper are mined together, a natural pair.

The molten glass behaved differently with the copper heat sink it contained, and I tried to let them cool extra slowly, but they still cracked.  A grand experiment, nonetheless.  Further trials with thinner gauge wire await.  Click on the photo for an enlarged view.