Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gotta Watch That Chill Factor!

When you're leaning over a torch melting glass, sometimes it's hard to know how quickly your bead is cooling. Most of the time you don't want it gooey hot when it goes in the kiln, but it shouldn't be too cool either. Flame polishing always brings out the shine on the exterior of the glass and you want to do that before it goes in the kiln. It was late into the night and I really misjudged this one. One second it was fine and the next second it was in two pieces on my work table. Disappointed was the word of the moment! When things like this happen I've learned to appreciate whatever lesson might be forthcoming. As my husband says, "There's a pony in the somewhere."

Here's how I've used the information from this broken bead to help me with my beadmaking techniques. The ends around the hole are nice and rounded, no jagged edges or sharp areas. That's a good thing. The clear encasing is symmetrical and round. Yea! I had not thought too seriously about the uneven texture of the bead release, unless it was visually exaggerated when I dipped the mandrels, but you can see on the green base around the center of the bead that there is a little textural effect. I don't think that is a factor worth worrying about as the center is smooth and cleaned of bead release. It reminds me making a mold using a glove and filling it with plaster of paris. When dry, and the glove is peeled off you can sometimes see little irregularities in the texture. Is this taking me back to kindergarten? Or are these the same bubbles I see in pancake batter? Oh my...

You can see the plunged center on the white accent flower, near the bottom left side of the half on top . The petals are super heated and the center is plunged with a tungsten pick. This brings the petals together and is then covered with clear which allows the little air bubble in the flower to materialize. It's best not to reheat the center of the bead too much or it may break away from the mandrel; so I was getting close on that one as it's a hard thing to judge when you can't see through the bead. It was a great bead and I'm very happy overall with my progess as a glass beadmaker. This will have to go down in the books as one more lesson learned on the way to the perfect bead!