Well, I finally got some new beads made tonight. I worked on transparent hollows, because they are my all-time favorite. In fact, the funny thing about making the hollow beads is that this is one of the more difficult techniques to do, but it was one of the first things I spent hours and hours trying to master, and now it's easy-peasy. Getting the cell walls of the bead to be of even thickness can be a bit of a challenge, but mine turn out pretty well, generally.
First you take the stainless steel rod and lay on two parallel rings of molten glass, which is about the consistency of thick honey. Then you build out concentric rings on each of these until you have two parallel (if wobbly) disks. This can be challenging because you want the disks to be stiff enough to stand up to the new layer you lay on, but they still have to be hot or the new glass won't adhere to them. Then you either build the edges of the disks toward the center (toward each other) or you do what I do and take a pair of 12" tweezers and coax the soft molten rims together, where you seal it up so a little air is trapped inside the space. Think of it like an air-filled ravioli. er, sumthin.
At this point, the surface is all ropey and wonky-looking, and I gave up at this point when I first tried it all those years ago. It seems at that point that this could never possibly morph into a smooth and pretty bead. Of course, now sometimes I leave them in the wonky state because I like variety in texture, but this knobby looking beastie was intimidating when I first started making beads.
Then the real fun begins. The bead with the hollow space inside is completely sealed around the mandrel and as the surface of the bead melts into one smooth unified piece, the air trapped inside heats up too and expands, plumping the bead out into a nice little sphere. It's a gorgeous process, and I wish I could show you here.
The amazing thing about working with glass is that it is in its most exquisite and enchanting state when it is in molten form, about 1700 degrees F for the Moretti/Effetre and Lauscha glass rods I use. This mesmerizing state is why so many people fall in love with glass-working. It's hot and uncomfortable and has its physical strains, but it is a bewitching process. I promise to post a photo of a new necklace or some such in the next week.
I have intentionally avoided watching election returns the night of. I took the doglet for a walk down the street past the elementary school where the polling place is for my neighborhood. A guy stopped me to give me "literature" on the street, and doglet sidled up to his shoe and copped a squat. I yanked her collar in time to keep her from desecrating his footwear, and laughed "well, she's marked every other spot on the street, so you are uncharted territory." He seemed a little freaked out. I hate when people don't play along. I should have let her pee on his shoe and at least someone would have been doing what they wanted to, as Big Edie would have said.