Jul 24, 2008

Amazing Boro Beads

I'm in love with the boro bead creations of Jacquelyn Rice of C.N.Y Glass Studio and this necklace and bracelet ensemble might just become one of my favorite pieces to wear. I searched high and low for the perfect complement for these recent blue topaz finds and I was overjoyed when these three beads arrived from the New York studio. They are precisely what I had in mind.

It's always a joy to develop a personal piece of jewelry. That's likely where I feel most comfortable. I know the customer so well!! So creating this set was pure fun...

Notice how these wacky glass beads unify the color palette in the bracelet. This is my first use of Ranjan's stones from Spectrum Gems in Jaipur (large faceted rondelles of smokey quartz and lemon topaz) which I feel were the perfect foil for the electric blue of the Swiss Blue Topaz faceted dice, faceted nuggets and faceted rondelles from Bead Palace.

In fact, I'm so taken with this type of glossy boro bead, that I just signed up for a weekend lampworking workshop at BeadFX located in Scarborough (eastern Toronto suburb about 30 minute drive from me), where they teach soft glass, but I'm already getting prepared to leap as soon as I can into borosilicates.

A few minutes of online research revealed that boro bead making differs from soft glass primarily due to the hardness of the glass, its coefficient of expansion, need for hotter flame and different annealing. Other than that, these media may be rather similar to work with when hot. So I'm hoping to learn enough basic lampwork techniques this weekend to get me off to a good start. I'm already dreaming of bead designs, color combos, and applications.

No, I don't have a kiln yet, but I have this stuff. That's our year old airedale Amy guarding disposable tanks of MPS a methyl acetylene that apparently burns hotter than propane. And I have a wee Gentec torch. I've also got an acetylene tank system too with big torches (one of the few benefits of owning my own bicycle manufacturing company) but I haven't found out yet if I need this big equipment for hard glass making.

I can't wait for my lampworking weekend. Suffice it to say that I'm delighted to be learning something new.

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