Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lampwork Glass Curved Bead Tutorial- Making Curved Glass Beads

Well, I finally did it! After many requests and loads of questions from folks, I have written down everything I know about curving glass tube beads my way, which is in the kiln! If you look at the etsy listing for the booklet, you will see that there are a lot of disclaimers. Why? Because it will take some work for each person to get it right. This is not a tut in the traditional sense, but rather instructions, suggestions, a lot of information on what might go wrong and why and happy photos of some of the beads I have made using this method. It's written in more of a workshop style, with loads of information. I've really tried to include everything I've learned as I've explored this method over the years. Tester questions are answered and details I've explored are explained. I am happy to answer questions and lend support where needed.

Is it easy? Well, yes and no. Making the bead is fairly simple, and I have provided two short photo tuts to help with that bit. Curving them after they're made is a bit of a nail biter because issues can arise. This method of curving in a kiln came about through the help of a glass fusing friend of mine. It took a lot of fooling around and changes before I got a method I was really satisfied with.

Here's a little bit of feedback I've gotten on it~
'I just glanced through your tutorial and it’s really exciting. I made some assumptions about how you make your beads and not one of them were correct.'
' It's designed to encourage experimentation, and shows you a way to create these distinctive, curved beads without any special equipment. The entire process is very clearly expressed and even includes a nice introduction to making long tube beads in addition to the info on curving them. It's really like being in the workshop with Laurie and watching her process and learning from her years of experience. No, it's not a plug-and-play, effortless, "copy this and you'll get that" kind of tutorial. To me, it's much better, because it shows you a whole way of looking at your work methods.'

I have tried some other methods and read up on others. I've had more success with this method than with the 'Tom & Sage' method (which is pretty cool) or using a curved mandrel. The curved mandrel has a few problems in my book- first it is not really all that curved, secondly it is darn hard to get the beads off, and thirdly it is simply difficult to build a bead on a mandrel that is not straight! There is also a method where the bead is built on something flexible and curved while it's hot. Sounds interesting though I have not tried it ~ it sounds a bit scary and I don't like the texture left inside by the flexible rope!

Here's the etsy listing link:
Glass Bead Workshop~ an exploration of curving tube beads in your kiln