Playing with Fire is Fun

Quark bead by Corina Tettinger

Quark bead by master beadmaker, Corina Tettinger

Bet you thought I was going to talk about arson, eh? Maybe some other time. Today it’s all about using fire to form beads. Sculpting glass is not just another an excuse to play with fire but it is fun. I use modern equipment and the ancient technique of lampworking to flame-work molten glass into objects of adornment.

Simply put, rods of glass are melted and wound around a steel mandrel to form a bead. Flame and heat are used to shape and polish while the bead is decorated in a multitude of ways. It takes steady hands and good motor control to lay out some of the complex patterns that accomplished beadmakers create. I’m amazed at how much variation can be produced from the same raw materials – a lot like writing.

Here’s a nice little video that demonstrates the process:

Interested in learning more?

There is a full metric ton of books written about lampworking but all are NOT created equal. Do a little Amazon browsing and read reviews for insightful advice. If you want to give this a try, most communities have hidden lampworkers and classes are usually available. You can go the inexpensive route in order to have some fun or commit to a more expensive buy-in if you’re certain to be lighting the flame for some time to come. Here are a few of my favorite instructional and inspirational books:

Passing the Flame
The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking
1000 Glass Beads
Beads of Glass
Making Glass Beads
Beads by Donna Mehnert

Beads by Donna Mehnert

Do you enjoy making things by hand or manipulating tools? I believe every person needs a creative outlet – how long has it been since you tried something new or gave yourself permission to take a few hours out of your insanely busy life to be creative? When did you last use your hands to bring something new into the world? Do it today.

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