Forever Grateful Beads

The Studio...
Click on the pictures for a larger view.

My glass studio is in my home in Bellevue, Washington (just a few miles east of Seattle). I'm very thankful to have a little corner in the house where I can go and play for hours with my obession - glass. Time seems to lose all meaning there and troubles are sucked out with the ventilation. I love my special space and will never take it for granted.

Here's where I spend as much time as I possibly can - my home inside my home. I love my studio. So much of it was put together by my husband Steve, so aside from being a place where I love to go to make beads, it's also very special because it was put together with a lot of care. On a typical bead-making day, I turn on the kiln, the oxygen, the propane, open the window, turn the fan to high, crank the music, and melt away for hours! the studio

my tools Here are my tools - I don't have many. I found that about 80% of the time, all I need is my long tweezers. Much more, and I find it just gets in the way. When I do need a little extra help here's what I use (l to r): a razor blade, a striker (to ignite the torch - of course I always need that tool), graphite paddle, bent rake, long tweezers, graphite pad, ACE-202 didymium glasses (not only protects the eyes, but filters out the sodium flare), and of course - my baby... a minor burner.

A glass studio isn't complete without a kiln. Here's my AF-99 - perfect for beads and small fusing projects. I anneal my beads (which means remove internal stress in the glass) by setting them in the pre-heated kiln (at 960 degrees) for an hour, then cool down the kiln very slowly to about 800 degrees at which point it'll stay for about another hour. At that point, you can cool down at a rate of about 10 degrees per minute (though I tend to go a bit slower to be on the safe side). When the kiln is completely cooled, they're ready to come out and be cleaned! Kiln

Oxygen Here's my oxygen which is tied down inside the studio while the propane runs outside. Check out the carrier it's sitting on. Steve made that to make it easy when it's time to switch canisters. All you have to do is untie it, and roll it out to the garage when it's empty!

My favorite part - the glass! The glass rods (to the right) are the most essential piece to making beads. It's from the rods that I'll make the base of the beads, twisties, latticinos, the stringers - which you can see there in the glass jars to the left. You can see the variety of colors that the rods come in, and of course when you mix them together, your palette can be almost endless. What you see here are the rods that I keep on my desk for projects, but I do keep a large supply of backstock glass in my desk drawers (you can never have too much glass). :) The glass and stringers

My preference of glass is Italian Effetre glass which is considered a "soft glass" (unlike borosilicate which is a "hard glass"). Soft glass rods come (generally speaking) in two visibly different forms - opaque and transprent. This is an example of the two, with opaque glass on the left and transparent on the right. When you make beads, objects, etc., using a combination of these, you can achieve depth and detail that's simply beautiful.

So, that concludes the tour of my studio. No, it's not always that clean - Steve asked if that's why I was taking the pictures - so I'd remember what it looks like when it's actually organized. :) Hope you found it fun to see, and if there's anything that I've left out that you wanted to see, drop me an e-mail and let me know! Thanks and take care!