First you get to see some rather bad pics of some beads I made last week. The beads actually look pretty good but I have trouble photographing those silver organic beads. Doing the photographs on a paper towel doesn't help either. Maybe once I get Kevan's tutorial I'll be able to figure out PhotoshopCS.
Or maybe not...who knows. LOL I'd just be happy if I could get the darn pictures straight on here.
So anyway I had a great day yesterday. My friends Darby and Janien have a hot glass studio in Indiana. It sounds like a long way away but it's really only about 45 or 50 minutes from my house. The weather totally sucked yesterday and we still got there in about an hour. I did torch but I don't think the Bead Gods were with me because I couldn't shape a decent bead to save me. I hate it when all I do is torture glass.
Darby was pulling cane and I actually helped a little bit. Not much but I can pretend, can't I? I've seen pictures of the process but have never actually seen it done. The glass was melted down cullet. I think the definition of cullet is basically broken up pieces of glass but there might be more to it than that. This particular cullet was Spectrum 96 glass and was the bits leftover from making sheet glass. Darby melted it down in a giant crucible at around 2100 F first. He then fires up the glory hole and puts a big rod in it (got your interest yet? LOL) to heat up a bit. He puts the rod in the molten glass and gets a small amount, relatively speaking for a glass beadmaker, on the end. He then shapes it with a very wet wooden mold into a nice round mass. After several times of this there's enough glass to pull. I held the rod end and he took the molten blob with a pair of giant square shears and pulled it down into about a 5-6mm around rod. I think the pull was probably about 30 feet long. It was basically from one end of his studio to the other. You let it cool for a bit and then cut it into workable lengths, usually about 13 or 14 inches long.
It was cold and windy in Indiana yesterday and between the crucible and glory hole the studio was a nice 80 degrees! If I stood by the glory hole for too long I felt like I was going up in flames. It runs at about 2100 degrees too and doesn't have a door! HOT HOT HOT! Can you imagine doing this when it's 95 and humid out? Might be a good way to sweat off a few pounds!
I sure have a lot more respect and awe for the people who do this for a living in a glass factory. Maybe I won't complain quite as much about those $40/pound hand pulled odd lots anymore!
This is going to be about me. I'm going to talk about glass, PMC, cooking, recipes, limoncello(!), cats and just pretty much whatever I feel like talking about at the time. Hope you stick around with me.