This tutorial shows one way that I make a largeish bumpy focal, a bead that I make quite often. They can be made smaller or larger of course. This is a good bead for beginners to practice making dots. If you screw up, you can always melt the dots in and it can be a polka dot bead.
This tutorial is also a good one for anybody who is curious what lampworking is about… this is a fairly basic bead and it shows how I start basically all of my beads.
|Here is me in my studio… getting set up!|
|Heating a gather of molten glass, and also pre-heating the mandril that I’m going to wrap said glass onto.|
|The hot gather is wrapped around the mandril, to create the base of the bead.|
|Here’s the base of the bead, still kind of wonky. I will melt it while turning the mandril, and it will smooth out into a nice round shape.|
|So here’s the base of the bead, rounded out from a bit of heating and turning.|
|Now I’m heating up some clear glass to encase the base bead. I’m not letting the base bead cool down entirely, but I’m still keeping it a bit warm.
In order to not smear the base of the bead into the clear, it needs to be just the right temp. This can take some practice.
|Here, I have just about enough clear to do my first wrap around the base bead.|
|In one smooth motion, I wrap the gather as evenly as I can around the equator of the bead.|
|Once I’ve done the wrap of clear, I pull the clear rod back through the flame to break it off from the bead.|
|Here’s another view of the first encasement wrap. Now I’m preparing another, slightly smaller, gather of clear. I will do one of these just above and just below the wrap that went around the equator, to encase the bead (almost) fully.|
|Here I am adding a wrap of clear just below the equator wrap.|
|Here’s the last wrap of clear – you can see the clear almost encases all the colour. Some people are pickier about this than me, I am not bothered by a tiny bit of colour poking out the top and bottom of the bead.|
|Now I have to melt all that clear down and round the bead back out. The bead is a lot bigger now, with more mass of glass, so this takes a little while.|
|Here is the bead after I melted the clear down and rounded it out.|
|Now I’m starting to add dots. This I do with stringer. I make a little blob with the stringer, and apply it to the bead. I start with a row right around the equator, usually about 7-10 dots around. It is important to get these dots really even, and make sure they are well attached to the surface of the bead.|
|This photo shows the first row of dots pretty well.|
|I continue to add rows of dots. First, I do a row above and one below that first row I did around the equator (we’re at 3 rows by this point). These two rows above/below the equator are spaced in between the dots of the equator row (there are the same # of dots as in the equator row, but they are offset a bit from that row, if that makes sense)|
|It’s sort of hard to see in this pic, unfortunately, but next I add one more little “row” at the north and south poles of the beads. I can usually only fit a little circle of about 5-6 dots here, and it’s the hardest part to do, because the mandril gets in the way.|
|And here’s all the dots on. I wave it around in the upper part of the flame for a while to try to get the heat more uniform throughout the bead before throwing it in the kiln. I have to be careful not to get it too hot, or the dots will all melt and flatten into the bead.|
|Here’s how they look once they’re out of the kiln!|