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Steve and I went to Open Torch Time at the glass school on Thursday and we got the new beads in the mail today. We’re getting closer to having our torch area set up so then we’ll be able to work right in our basement.

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Plumb crazy

The plumber is here to enable me to hook my lampworking torch into our natural gas line in the basement. That way I don’t have to store tanks or lug them to the welding supplier for a refill. I have a healthy fear of flammable materials, flooding, and electricity, so I leave systems work to the pros. I heard the plumber ask his assistant, “You turned the gas off, right?” Famous last words…

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Our first beads

We got our first beads in the mail today! I can’t remember which are Steve’s and which are mine, so I’ll have to ask him when he gets home. Our instructor, Starleen, also sent the beads she made in class, but I don’t think any of those are in this bunch.

The thing about making my own lampwork is it’s like making candy – I want to keep it all!

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Stringers & plunging & mandrels… Oh my!

Yesterday Steve and I had our first lampworking class at Carlisle School of Glass Art in Millville, NJ. Their facility is large and well-equipped and I highly recommend CSGA if you’re interested in melting some glass. Our instructor, Starleen, was so patient and very good at explaining how to do different things. My only complaint is that our beads have to be annealed and didn’t get to come home with us, but we did get to keep some of Starleen’s beauties like this big honkin’ bubble bead. I’ll post pictures of our beads when they come in the mail. Steve did really great and I’m still stoked that he wants to lampwork with me.

We purposefully didn’t buy any equipment before the class, so now we begin studio set-up. We need good ventilation because of the fumes that are produced in melting glass in a torch flame, so I’m looking into vent hoods as the fan-in-the-window may not be enough. Being that we’re not planning to be in this house forever, I’m trying to keep the setup as portable as possible, so I’ll probably get a pre-fab workbench. I ordered the Carlisle Mini CC torch, and now we need to get propane tanks and an oxygen concentrator and figure out where to store them safely. We also get to shop for glass rods and fun tools now. So, even though we took a class on Saturday and don’t stink at it, I realize it may be a while until we’re making glass beads at home. Trying to be patient…

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I think I’m in love

…with melting glass. My friend Claire has a hothead torch, so today we made some glass beads. I wanted to see what lampwork was like before Steve and I have our class on Saturday. The photo is of my first bead. It hasn’t been kiln annealed yet, so I wanted to get a photo in case it breaks from thermal shock like my second bead did.