Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making a Furnace Bead by Anne Clifton

Anne gives us an insight into the making process for her upcoming exhibition "New Chevron: Bead Objects of Desire" on display at Breathing Colours from next Tuesday 7th until Sat 18th September.

I call them Latticino's because that's how we make the cane (but without the bubble)

Firstly start with the colour choice. Then you have to decide whether the bead is going to have an overlay colour centre (gives depth) or just an opaque centre. I have decided on tea with a white stringer pattern for simplicity.

Pre-made encased stringers save time

Many colours to choose from

I cut the stringers and preheat them in an optic mold and I cut the colour and preheat it in a small kiln

this is a small torch just tickling the canes to keep them warmish - too hot and I get scuff from the optic mold

you have to remember which colour is which because they all look the same when pre-heated!

I preheat my blowing iron and Katherine picks up the colour and gets it nice and hot for me but we have to share the glory hole - it's even trickier when there are three of us!

the colour being picked up and shaped for heating

sharing...note my lowly position within the glory hole

The warm colour is 'dropped over the top' for me to put on my iron

I 'thumb' a bubble just to start me off and gather clear glass

Blowing the bubble by trapping the air in the pipe with my thumb

gathering from 1130C (look still got the hairs on my arm)

After the gather I block, shape and drop the glass into the mold



gone - stringers picked up and pressing them into the bubble on the marver

Heat, marver, blow, heat, marver, blow

Gather, block

too quick for the camera obviously

It's all action

Katherine makes a cookie (post) and I get the heat back into it. Katherine's cookie is a pulling tool

and then we pull and twist. The even-ness of the twist is determined by my end, Katherine just needs to keep up. (In the opposite direction!)

and pull and twist then cut legnths when cool (Anneal seperately, then cut grind and polish)


and people still ask me 'but what can you do with it?"


  1. The most beautiful glass jewellery I've ever seen, I have several pairs now. Light, clean lines, great design Anne!

  2. Oooo. Very nice. Where's my pair Katherine?