Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back to Beading...

The summer has brought a break from college and homeschooling, not to mention a bout of diverticulitis resulting in a 5-day hospital stay and a pinched nerve in the neck, and time to set up my beading studio in the garage.  While I've been doing beadwork for some time, as well as stained glass, I have just recently begun lampwork - the making of glass beads.  It will take a while and lots of practice to master, but I am hoping to get a good handle on the skill before college starts back up in fall.

Upgrade the glass work table with parts from a very old treadmill we took apart this weekend:

The "shelves" will be filled with pieces of PVC drain pipe as the bottom shelf is, to hold glass rods. The metal frame was the base of the treadmill, while the "shelves" were the plastic trim.

The table. The foil on the back is temporary until I can build a vent system with sheet metal going there and up.

The other side of the pipe rod holder area, where I attached a piece of peg board I just happened to have lying around.

The whole kit and caboodle.  The table was made from scraps and bits and pieces I had around the shop. 
The old defunct treadmill.

Beads on a stained glass shelf unit I built some time ago.
First practice beads - getting used to the single-gas flame and molten glass.
Glass work has always fascinated me.  I started out with a handful of collected beads, findings, and my stained glass tools.  For my 50th birthday last January, I got a bead making kit and a book.  They are both excellent beginnings and the book takes one through what is needed, how to make the beads all the way through advanced beads.  As I progress, I will be building storage units, a ventilation hood, adding a kiln and incorporating a dual-gas torch system.  One of the nice things about glass work it that it is easy on the arthritic hands as the flame and gravity does most of the work.  Of all my hobbies, glass is my favorite. It's the one I could forsake all others for.

The book - I highly recommend this for anyone interested in bead making.
The kit has the equipment, but is very shy on instruction.  This book has it all.
Available on Amazon.

The kit.  All that is needed is a well ventilated space, a work bench or table, and a can of MAPP gas.
It's a great way to start and see if this hobby is for you. This kit runs around $100 but is a cost effective way to start.
If you take to the bead making, it is easy to add on.  The book above shows how to build the studio and what is needed.
It uses soft glass and a single fuel torch system, which is great to practice on.
Available at Hobby Lobby or on Amazon.
A rod storage system I will be building soon.
The kiln I want to get - Paragon Bluebird. They run $650 - $850

Someone's studio from the Internet.  I like the ventilation unit on this and will be using it to design my own.
Ventilation is VERY important when working with torches and gasses. It will be vented with a fan through the window.
Simple surface mix dual-fuel (propane/oxygen) torch - tend to run $100-300 depending on complexity
As time goes on, I will be building a page here for glass supply and bead links.  As you can see, it's a rather expensive hobby when one gets really going, but very satisfying.  One really has to love glass work to put forth the practice, patience, effort and cost for set up and supplies.

My Pinterest Glass and Jewelry Board: http://www.pinterest.com/thistlerosegal/glass-beads-wire/