My Studio

Welcome to my happy place! 

(otherwise known as: I used to have a closet full of really cute shoes but now this is what i spend all my fun money and spare time on…) 

I’ve finally come to accept that my studio is not going to get any cleaner, anytime soon, so here it is in all it’s messy glory:  my glass beadmaking studio in its actual working state. 

studio

This is my worktable where i make all my creations...

NOTE:  These are old pics from my HotHead studio setup (2007-8).  I’ve changed things around for the Mega Minor – haven’t decided if i’ll keep it that way though, hence the lack of update.  To see my current setup, click HERE.
You can see the different sized mandrels predipped with bead release along the back wall.  In front is the bucket of markers for drawing designs and a lazy susan with my bead presses (which for some reason i rarely use). 

The bucket to the left is used to presoak and clean the beads; the bottles are all filled with various grinds and colours of frit (tiny glass chips) and enamels (intensely pigmented powdered glass).  In front of the bottles is my Hothead torch which i attach to the green can of propane when i’m working.

The black and white mug holds water which is used to either cool my tools or send fuglies to their proper demise; the two ivory mugs hold my sculpting tools. 

In the back right corner is a heated crockpot of vermiculite i use to slowly cool down beads when i’m only making one or two at a time – those beads are batch annealed in the kiln later.  The rods i’m working with sit in a mason jar on a cup warmer which preheats the rods (cuts down on the exploding glass). 

I’ll be getting a proper ventilation system installed in the spring (so don’t follow my fan in the window example)…

kiln

Here’s my kiln (or annealing oven).  Completed beads are placed in here and run through a digitally controlled heating and cooling cycle to remove internal stresses – makes for a stronger, more stable glass creation.  The big, square box to the left is the digital controller. (And yes, i move all the crap surrounding it before turning it on…lol)

glass rods

My everchanging glass supply: i keep about 7 or 8 brands of glass stored in chopped up drainspouts.  The bin on the bottom holds my single rod colours.  The round grey and white thingie is a side view of my respirator which i wear each time i torch – it protects my lungs from the fumes and dust created since i use a lot of silver, gold and powdered glass in my work.

frit

Here’s just a portion of my frit and enamel collection – the shelves are now almost completely full.  I LOVE single colour frits and the effects that can be created with them.  The table to the right is my jewellery making area (you don’t want to see the rest of it, it’s a huge mess).  The blue thingie is a rotary tumbler used to etch beads and polish jewellery findings.

12 thoughts on “My Studio

  1. Hi there! This is a great website. I am starting a glass bead project in a rural community in Trinidad and I am wondering if it safe to have the kiln indoors. I see you do. It is a half open space (ceiling and two walls, with two open sides) roughly 20’x14′. Our kiln looks slightly bigger than yours. Will it be too hot if the kiln is on while artisans are assembling beads into jewellery in the same space? As you may be able to tell, I don’t make beads myself!

  2. Love your blog and your work is fabulous! The size of your kiln looks perfect, what brand/model did you purchase and what was your criteria for your selection. I am looking for one and there so many out there to select and I appreciate your expertise, any info is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    • Thanks Sonya! i bought the Arrow Springs AF138 and a separate Bartlett controller, details here: http://www.arrowsprings.com/html/kilns_controllers.html. why? simply as they are kilns designed for flameworking, are considered top of the line in contruction/durability, they work on a regular household plug, and are one of the few kilns i’ve never seen anyone on the forums complaining about malfunctioning. I chose a brick kiln (rather than just an annealer) so i could also do fusing & metal clay (neither of which i’ve tried yet, lol). To be honest though, i should have bought the AF99 as this kiln is much bigger than i really need… still, i’m pretty happy with it so no complaints.

  3. hi, I just discovered your site through a google search for lampwork glass classes in the ottawa area. I was wondering if you still offer bead making classes? I don’t think I’m quite at the intermediate level (i’ve only played with lampworking once, and that was many years ago) so I think it might be better for me to do a one on one class. I live in the Carlington area (near the food basics on carling) but am able to travel anywhere within ottawa that is busable. My schedule is flexible – mondays I’m free all day, friday afternoons are great for me, as well as saturdays. I’d love to learn more about lampworking and make some awesome beads!

    I’d really like to make some beads to wear in my dreadlocks (they are about the size of a pencil/chopstick. I suppose I’d need a mandrel that would accomodate this size hole, I’m not sure if this is something you have, or a supply I’d need to bring myself.

    please feel free to send me an e-mail, i’d love to hear from you.

    p.s I think your etsy shop has beautiful beads. i’m in awe, and enamored with nearly all of them!

  4. Hi,
    My name is Cathy in Colorado.
    WOW what a wonderfu looking studio! So organized! I do not do lampworking as of yet but hopeful in future, but do use other artists beads.
    I have a HotShot top loader i use for fusing. I have a batch of lampworked beads to anneal. I am not sure of the COE of glass that was used to make, but want to be sure these beads are safe to use in jewelry pieces. Could you give me a typical anneal schedule….I understand the process, but was concerned re: putting beads into kiln and slowly increasing to a safe round about anneal temp for all COE’s , then a short soak, and shut off to room temp…..Would this work….I am not one to open my kiln stupidly and try to place beads in at my top temp. 🙂 I would appreciate your input. As per a safe top temp. I would think not above 970 deg F and also concerned over slow ramp up temp. I would assume it is similiar to fusing depending on size of beads…..my largest bead is about a 3mmx2mm the rest are smaller….I would greatly be appreciative of your response and knowlege I will check back thank you very much
    cathyK going on further to check out your site

  5. Wow – thank you for being so welcoming and informative about your work and space and knowledge of beadmaking – the why ‘s and how-for’s etc. I am rally enjoying it – and learning. I finally just started this year (missed that fork in the road 20 years ago) and i am in love with what i have embarked on. I actually have to work in the loft of my friends barn as she’s not yet comfy with the idea of my being in her house with a live torch – so its still a bit cold but i am set up and going at ‘er. Joy joy :):):) and thanks again 🙂

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