adventures in flameworking

I’ve always been fas­ci­nat­ed by glass, espe­cial­ly the kind of small glass sculp­tures or beads where a form or swirls of colours are enclosed in clear glass. It’s like a world unto itself. I’ve been want­i­ng to take flame­work­ing class­es for a long time, but did­n’t quite have the mon­ey or the time. In the begin­ning of the year I decid­ed to make time to do some­thing I want­ed, and remem­bered that years ago I bought this small pen­dant of a jel­ly fish encased in a drop of clear glass from a local artist. So I looked her up, and found that she offers class­es at a stu­dio not too far from me, at quite a rea­son­able rate! Excit­ed, I signed up right away.

And these are my very first batch of beads!

To be com­plete­ly hon­est, half way through the first class I had the thought that it was a bad idea after all and I should just leave, because I was so uncom­fort­able with open flames, and the glass was­n’t melt­ing the way it should because I was­n’t hold­ing it in the right spot in the flame, I was ter­ri­fied of the glass or the torch explod­ing or me doing some­thing stu­pid and catch­ing on fire (vivid imag­i­na­tion some­times is a hin­der­ance to learn­ing), and I could­n’t see prop­er­ly because I was wear­ing these gog­gles on top of my glass­es… but towards the end of the class I seemed to have got­ten the hang of mak­ing round beads. I made three prop­er ones (the 3 green/clear donut-shaped ones on the left — the teacher made the small opaque green one as demo, she just let me keep it :D), and one of them I made into a neck­lace right away when I got home :D

The next class we tried mak­ing dif­fer­ent shapes and adding sculp­tur­al com­po­nents. That snowflake is a bit sad-look­ing but it was fun to try.

If you’re in the city and would like to give flame­work­ing a try, check out the nano­pod stu­dio! (that’s me con­cen­trat­ing very hard in the plaid shirt)

On a relat­ed note, I saw an image of a bead­ed death’s head hawk moth one day, and decid­ed that I want­ed to make a bead­ed moth. So I looked up bead embroi­dery, found this very help­ful tuto­r­i­al, and tried just mak­ing a test one on felt, with the beads I have on hand.

I found it a bit dif­fi­cult to keep to the exact shape I drew on the felt, the wings are more round­ed than I intend­ed, but it may get bet­ter with prac­tice. Next time I’ll get more moth-like colour beads and try anoth­er design.

Hope every­one have a good week!