Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Studio Improvements AKA New Toys

For several months now I've been struggling with the snail pace I'd settled into making my big focals. Most of my beads take about an hour to create. There is at least a rod and a half glass in each one and I would spend a boring half hour melting melting melting just to get the base on the mandrel before I could get to the fun part - the decorating. Then when it was all decorated, another long period of time heating it back up so I could squish it. And then more time to get the chill marks out and shape it up right. It had come down to only 30% designing fun, %70 boring melting in, waiting. I'm not good at waiting. So, I decided it was time - time to either make smaller beads, or get a new bigger torch. You know what I chose, right?

I did my research, asked around... and eventually picked out a fabulous new torch (the GTT Scorpion) and ordered it and a new oxygen concentrator to go along with it. The concentrator came first and I was so excited to try it out with my current torch (a trusty old Nortel Minor Burner). Well, let me just tell you, the EX-15 oxycon has a LOT of air! It's more than I really need, and my plan of hooking it up with my old oxycon was overkill. Eventually I got it figured out and now my flame is Super Hot, Beautiful, and Perfect... and really, it's all I need. For now. So I canceled my Scorpion order and I'm fine with that. It's like I have a new torch - I can melt a rod of glass in 5 minutes now. Exciting!!!

More good news is in the form of a tool that I finally found - I've been looking for this thing for a year, but didn't know what it was called. I got to play with it at Frantz during a workshop with Corina. Turns out Arrow Springs had it and it's called an Osibin Former - this thing is GREAT for shaping up a bead before squishing it in the lentil masher. The Medium one is good for making lentils the size of the TP Masher.

Here are a sampling of the beads I made with my new setup and Osibin Former. More coming soon - I can't wait!


  1. Luscious beads - and hey, glad you found my favorite tool! I've been using it for several years now. The only time I use a flat marvering paddle is if I'm making a cylinder. For any other shape that requires a marver, I use the O. former.

    And that's great news that your minor is now behaving well. It's a great little torch. The only reason I replaced mine with a Phantom was because I "needed" an outer ring to make murrini after taking a class with Loren. (Ask me how many times I've used that outer ring...)

    Keep rockin' the glass, girl!

  2. Shirley! What size O.former do you have? I'm thinking of getting the next size up one too, I just love that tool! And I'm glad to hear about how often you use the outer ring... I was wondering that too - what if I was really only trading the minor for a cricket with an outer ring that I didn't need?! That makes me feel even better about not getting a sparkly new torch. xoxo

    Hi Ginga Squid! Did you ever make anything with my bead(s)??

  3. Thanks for sharing this info. I completely know how you feel when it comes to time spent just melting and shaping the base bead. You hit the nail on the head. I'm glad it is working out for you. This gives me something to keep in mind for the future of my beadmaking. I work on a Nortel minor too and have been contemplating a bigger flame.