Making a Single Bead
First, I set the timer and preheat my annealing kiln. I have certain beads in mind, so I make a selection from my favourite Italian glass rods. I arrange some shaping and texturing tools and fire up my propane/oxygen torch. Holding the glass rod in my right hand I begin heating the tip by dipping it in and out of the cooler portion of the flame. When molten, I capture the molten glass on a stainless steel rod called a mandrel held in my left hand and wind it round and round all the while maintaining the critical temperatures necessary to keep the glass flowing just right.
Once I’ve obtained the desired core shape and size of bead I get ready to add reactive elements to the glass. Reactive elements are essential components in my beads. Much of my early experimentation with glass helped me uncover the secrets of many organic chemical interactions between different types of molten glass. These elements can be ground glass frit, powdered enamels and fine strands of silver or glass stringers, which I pull to “paint” or “draw” on the bead. I gently “draw” with the fine stringer to create the trunk of a tree.