Beads, beads, beads, beads, more beads.... and a few observations about life and other things, too

You can find my beads here Bead Up A Storm

Friday, 10 February 2012

February Blog Carnival - Re-working

My good friends at Jewelry Artisans Community  have a blog carnival, I have decided to join in, hoping it will give me the push I need to blog more often. (Yep, I'm a lazy blogger, I know!)

My fellow carnival bloggers have written on the subject of re-working pieces, but as I rarely re-work the jewellery that I make (it is far more likely to sit and gather dust if there's an aspect I'm not happy with) I decided to tell you about the re-working of beads.  This I do.  Not often, thankfully.  But occasionally.

Why would I re-work a bead?  If it's a cracked bead, (one that got a little cold before it went into the kiln) I can heal the crack this way and often save a bead that I may have thrown away.  It's always worth a shot.  Or I can try to get better colours from expensive glass, when the results aren't as I would want.

So how does one re-work a glass bead?  Well, if that one is me, it's back into the flame.
Not straight back in - that would be alarming (think bead explosion!).  I put my bead (still on it's mandrel) back into my cold kiln and turn the kiln on as normal.  I'll leave it to get nice and toasty for a couple of hours, that way it gets a good soak in the heat before re-introduction to the flame.

I take the mandrel out and carefully waft the bead in the furthest reaches of the flame.  This is done at arms length, usually  (with my head turned away and a slight wince).  Happily, luckily, I haven't had any beads explode.  But I have heard horror stories!

Once my bead has a little glow, I bring it into the point in the flame where I usually work and get it nice and hot.  Very hot.
For a bead made with striking glass I need to get the glass as hot as possible - soupy, drippy hot.  Twirl-the-mandrel-like-a-mad-woman-so-it-doesn't-drop-onto-my-worksurface hot.

'Striking' glass needs to be super heated and then cooled quickly, the colours bloom when it is put back into the heat again after the cooling.  It's often a bit hit and miss.  Sometimes shaping the bead can 'over-strike' it and the bead will end up drab.  Beautiful colour is what I'm after.

So here's a bead I killed.  I mean I killed the lovely colours I had before I put it in the kiln.  That happens sometimes, I blame the kiln-faeries!

The bead above has given me problems already.  You can see where the colour and clear glass encasing have been swirled together, folding over onto themselves.  This bead originally had the clear encasing on the outside, it will be completely different when it's had a make-over!

Re-working a striking glass is going to change a bead dramatically, but often I like the results. 

You can read more blog carnival posts on re-working pieces by following these links -


Jewelry Art By Dawn

Cat's Wire


  1. Oh wow, that was really interesting!
    I have to admit I liked that bead. It looked like yummy caramel to me! I also like the afterwards look, though.

  2. DawninCal said...

    Wow, what a transformation, Nessie!

    I was looking at the first photo thinking the bead looked really nice and couldn't quite understand why you would want to re-work it.

    Then I scrolled down to the second photo. Now I get it - the newly re-worked bead is absolutely gorgeous! Look at those colors!

    Dawn - aka, Jewelry Art By Dawn @ Artfire

  3. Thanks, Cat and Dawn (I moved Dawn's comment as it was left on the previous post).

    I'm afraid I din't make myself clear, the second bead is one that has been re-worked. When it came out of the kiln it was drab.
    The bead in the first picture is yet to be re-worked.


  4. Well, the second bead is gorgeous! Glad you reworked it.

  5. Ah, I see. Well, can't wait to see how the one that hasn't been re-worked yet comes out!