I've been a bit lax in blogging the last few days.  I have a good reason, though.  The King and I were readying ourselves for a holiday.  It's the first one we've taken that was longer than 2-3 days since 2001.  Needless to say, we've been looking forward to it.

Our plan was to spend a week in the 1000 islands region of New York.  So we found a lovely cottage to let.  Because we live in south central Pennsyltucky, it's a rather long drive to here, so we stayed the night in Corning, NY.  For those of you in the know, Corning is where some seriously awesome glass is made.  So, being the adventurers we are, we decided to learn how to make some simple things out of glass.

The Corning Museum of Glass offers different workshops in glassmaking.  One is making glass beads, which we decided would be fun.  And, there was fire involved, so how bad could it be?

Aren't the dark glasses sexy?
After getting all dolled up in a denim apron and forearm protection, we donned dark glasses to protect our eyes from the 3-4000 degree flame we were working with.  I should also mention the glass, when heated that way does get a wee bit bright.
Heating up a clear glass rod to put it on a mandrel 
The process was a good bit easier than I thought it would be.  Carefully warm the rod then super heat it to melt it.  You pretty much just get a glop of molten glass on the end of the rod and drop it on the mandrel as you spin the mandrel and poof, you have the base of your bead.  The trick is to keep the mandrel spinning in your left hand while your right hand starts to add in the fancy things, like colored glass.  I made little nobby dots on my bead in dark and light purple.

Adding some color with a bit of help.
Once you have your colors added, and you're still spinning the mandrel (which, but the way is harder than you think) you super heat it one more time to fuse it, and melt it together.  Then pull the bead out to the end of the flame where it's only about 1000 degrees to cool it down slightly before jamming it in a can of mica to finish cooling.
The King's bead with some color added to it.
You may notice the mandrel is a bit on the large size.  That is by design in this case.  The beads we made will fit on my pandora bracelet.  So I'll be able to wear my one of a kind, unique to me bead.

The entire process took 10-15 minutes per bead, and it was a lot of fun.  If any of you are wondering what to get me for Christmas, a torch would be a fabulous gift!  Just don't tell the King, I think he has designs on one too.

Finishing up the bead, and letting it cool.

As I sit here typing, the sun has set on the St. Lawrence Seaway and night has fallen.  I can hear the soft sounds of a few frogs and see the occasional glow of a firefly.  The waves are lapping softly against the dock and earlier we heard the call of an osprey or five that are inhabiting a nest right along the river.  Today was one of those picture perfect days.  I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
2 Responses
  1. Pamela Says:

    Your blog looks awesome!

  2. This is me, hitting the like button. Sounds like a wonderful start to your adventure. :)

Post a Comment