Making Beads

Handmade beads are different, each one. You wonder why? So let me explain. Each bead starts as a rod, cane, of glass which is roughly 10mm in diameter. Now I know that American “lampworkers” use a smaller cane. In production beads, we simply don’t do this. So here is your cane of glass, add in some fire and a mandrel to drop the molten glass. Sounds simple? Well that is if the glass canes which we get from Moretti have been tempered properly, and don’t just plain explode when we put them in the fire. (That’s another story as well.) That’s just to make a solid color bead, which we can pretty much duplicate, except for size and shape which depends on how much molten glass you get on the mandrel.  To add decoration, it becomes a more difficult task, requires longer to work and adds to the possibility that two beads are quite different. For example, Ca’d’oro or Oro Rotto, or Cracked Gold, all terms for the bead with what appears to be rolled in gold.  In fact, we start with a gold foil, much the thickness and fragility of what used to be on the outside of chewing gum. It is fickle, will blow away at a whisper, has a fatal attraction to the glass like static electricity and jumps on the bead, exactly where it chooses. The continued working of the bead in the fire expands the glass and Allora! the gold cracks, just where and how it chooses.  Then of course there are the other uncontrollable issues: the humidity, the air temperature, not to mention the bead maker’s mood, attention, state of mind, focus, and hopefully they are on the same page with our wishes and desires. So while we’d like to produce each bead in a very similar shape, size and decoration, in a perfect world, we do not live there. So your beads will always be different.  I can understand this. I can’t make 2 exact cups of cappuccino on any given day, not for the lack of sophisticated espresso machines or desire. I can’t make 2 Nana Cakes that turn out the same.(The term we used for a pound cake which is famous on 2 continents and a recipe handed down from my mother.) Until I can do both of these, I think we’ll have to accept that beads are different but beautiful! But we will keep trying. :<)

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