In early 2004, my wife convinced me that I should start making glass beads for her textile art handbags. I bought the necessary equipment on a holiday in the USA, and the rest is history...
I exclusively use soft glass in the form of Spectrum® System 96®, made up of purchased rods, noodles, stringer, and strips cut from my scrap. This means that all my beads, murrini, stringers, etc are compatible with my kiln art, and I get to recycle some of that scrap other than in castings. Interesting challenges for me are make beads and sculptures which are designed to be seen from one side only, and maybe only from one bead-hole end (so they can be sewn on to Elaine's bags). The other side/end is waste.
I use a Nortel Minor torch, with propane at 150 pascals, and oxygen supplied from an oxygen generator at 5L/min (though I often crank it up to 6L/min, dropping the oxygen concentration down from 94% at 5L/min to around 80%). This limits what I can do because of the limited oxygen (big flames are necessarily reducing), but at least I don't have to pay for cylinders, their delivery and cope with the safety hazard that they pose. I'm laughing all the way to the bank since I can work all day seven days a week for a few dollars. If I see another oxy generator going cheaply on ebay, I'll bid to add it alongside my existing one.
Here are a few photos of early beads: a few striped beads, and a set of fish beads.
© Copyright 2005+ Arthur Sale
Last Modified: 27 December 2010
Recently, I have begun making insects. Here are a few of about 30 I have made. The sizes are typically 5cm to 10cm. As usual, I use System 96 glass.