I finally set my torch up in my apartment this weekend, and I managed to churn out a few beads Sunday night. Here's one - a hollow in transparent ink colored Moretti glass. You can see the lens effect of my fingers reflected on the back side of the bead. This is one of the coolest things about the hollow beads, so it's actually sort of a shame to wrap on the gold leaf, but I just couldn't stop myself. This bead is about 3/4" in diameter.
The glass gallery which sells my jewelry is hankering for more, and when they are stocked up- sometime in the next couple weeks, hopefully, I'll pursue a gallery in Arizona which has sold my work before. I hope to have my work in many more places by the end of the year. Yeah, I said that last year, too, but really dragged my feet. I've had a lot going on, and it was so much trouble to get the glass manufacture rolling. It was too easy to back-burner. I have observed that the most successful artists are usually masters of self-promotion, and not always the most talented folks around. I'd always prefer to wear someone else's jewelry, frankly. I know too well the process of making my own designs, so it all just seems obvious to me.
Still, the torch work is a blast. Working with the molten glass on the mandrel is a lot like balancing out a blob of thick honey. Sometimes if you let the glass get out of balance, it will seem like it can never be worked into a decent and symmetrical bead, but you just keep turning it in the flame. The natural inclination of molten glass is to pull into a spheroid, so if you keep turning the mandrel quickly and at a consistent speed, it'll pretty much do the work itself.
The hollow beads can seem especially hopeless midway through the process. You make hollows by building out two parallel disks of glass closely spaced together, alternately layering an outer ring of fresh glass on each disk. Finally, you build on more rings toward the center, and if you need a little help, a 1' pair of tweezers can be used to safely pinch the little edges together while safeguarding your hands from the heat. At that point, it's all lumpy and messy looking. Eventually, the air trapped inside the glass will get hot enough to sort of plump out the bead nicely. It's a fun process to watch. Actually, seeing the glass in a state of transition is far more exciting than the finished product could ever be, to me.