Blossom Studio is the online store of Sihaya Hopkins where you may purchase handmade glass beads and glass bead jewelry.
The lampwork glass beads are created in layers of molten glass. Rods of colored glass are melted in the flame of a propane/oxygen torch. The torch is mounted to the work bench so that both hands are free, one hand to hold the steel rod the beads are built around and the other hand to melt and apply the glass.
This glass begins to melt at 1000 degrees, but working with a much hotter flame to speed up the process, and the end of the rod of glass can become as liquid as warm honey. If the bead is kept cooler by taking it in and out of the flame, under 1000 degrees, then it is frozen hard and will keep the shape given it.
The shape is manipulated using steel and graphite tools and gravity and centrifugal force.When the bead is in its desired shape, it is tapped to be sure it is all the way hard and then put in a kiln set at 950 degrees. When the day’s beads have all been made the kiln will slowly bring them to room temperature over the course of five hours.
The ends of the steel rods the beads were built around were first dipped in a clay slip, which crumbles with a little twisting and allows the beads to come off and leaves the hole. The residual clay is then ground out of the holes with a diamond burr, some colors are etched to create a beach glass texture, the beads are washed and then are ready to use.
While making the beads an exhaust system is run to keep the air clean. When grinding a mask is worn.
View and purchase Blossom Studio Handcrafted Beads & Jewelry on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/BlossomStudio.