But THEN... well, I have to thank my glass fusing friend Judd. I've kept talking to him about this problem off and on for the past year, and finally the bee entered his bonnet and he decided it was time to solve my little problem for me. He made me a bead bender! Well, he actually made me three, but I already have a favorite- the one that has bead bender III engraved on the side. (Yes he even engraved these babies). I'm not gonna show you a picture of the actual bender as it's his own secret recipe and my secret weapon for the moment. But I will show you the amazing results.
And it's SO easy to use, even for me with my kiln that doesn't have a controller. You just slam those annealed, cleaned beads on this beauty, bring 'em up to slumping temp, crash cool and re-anneal. Yes, you do have to be careful not to leave them at slumping temp for too long or they will flatten. My second batch distorted a little on the ends as I left them there a little too long- it really takes just a minute or two. I'll be running more experiments in the near future, and then, hopefully, putting some of them in my etsy shop for sale. The next bead bender Judd makes will have a few modifications, and will have a just little bit more of a curve to it.
Judd Mann is a glass fuser who makes marvelous platters and pendants; he also makes some amazing stained glass. Meet him at the River Market Farmer's Market in Little Rock, or look at a few things here: http://juddmann.com/bowls.html