Finally… a video of me torching!

well… sorta,

I’ve been saying i’m going to get a proper video of myself torching for years and finally decided to try a quickie one. Forgive the shakiness, i had that heavy chunk of glass in my left, phone in my right and was trying to watch the video and rotate the glass in/out of the flame at the same time without frying myself.

This 3″ long chunk of solid glass eventually (over the next several hours later) was hot sculpted into a large goddess. I’ll post pics once it’s complete.

Note: You may want to turn yr volume down as the tv is kinda loud…


My first bead show is this saturday!


I’ll be selling my beads (along with 21 other local and Canadian glass bead artists) in this show: 

Ottawa Glass Bead Artists’ (OGBA)

First Annual Bead & Jewellery Show 2008
* A Showcase of ‘Hand Made’ Glass Beads, Jewellery & Bead Work *
Saturday, November 15th, 2008
10AM – 5PM
RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

I’ll definitely have a variety of goddesses there – as well as smaller beads and focals that can be worn as pendants.   If you’re in the neighbourhood, please stop by and bring a friend – there will be some great holiday shopping…
See you at the show!

ShebaMakeda Glass Art

I’m table #2 at the show – here’s a rough layout of what my table will look like – still a little tweaking to complete and lots more beads to add. 

Thanks to my neighbour Sean for helping me put this together!

Thanks to my neighbour Sean for helping me put this together!

Beap poop sucks…

You know how there’s one chore that always just truly SUCKS?   Could be anything, it’s just one of those necessary things that have to be done but yet (if you’re like me) you hate to do it so much you delay and delay (and DELAY!) and don’t get to it until it absolutely cannot be left for one minute longer?  At home it’s cleaning the bathroom.  At work it’s filing.  I hate both of those chores with a passion and can find many, many other things to keep me busy before the grime (or the pile) forces me to face up to my responsibilities, chin up and just “git ‘er done”.


In the case of beadmaking, the chore i hate the most is cleaning out the bead poop (the bead release/clay left in the bead hole after i remove the mandrel).  There’s no just way around it though.  Compared to the speed and excitement of sculpting a molten glass design in a roaring flame, it’s gotta be one of the most creativity-killing, boringly tedious, soul-suckingly rotten chores that exists on this entire planet.  And no I’m NOT exaggerating. 


But whatev.  This morning I resigned myself to the inevitable, put on the news and set myself to cleaning the pile of pooped-up beads that has been steadily accumulating in my studio over the past few months. 

Only stabbed myself with the bit three times too – barely bled at all…

(If you look closely you can get a glimpse of some of the new designs i’m working on… not telling ya nothin’ yet though)

Look! I’m back at the torch!!!


After almost four months away from the torch, i’m back!  And this time it was easy to get right into the groove… I think it did me good to not play with glass for a while.  My vision is clearer now and i feel like i’m heading into new, complex and more interesting directions.  Good thing too – I was getting bored with what i was making…


I’m still making my regular stuff of course… but trying some new (and wierd!) things as well.  If you’re curious, check back in a couple days – I’ll have big news then, too!


And of course i couldn’t do it without my assistant Bali (note the carefully positioned “eat me” pose he learned from my other cat).  He sits (or lies) under my chair in the studio and nods (or purrs) in agreement every time I ask him about colour combos.  Most supportive studio assistant EVER!


Ok, gotta get back to work…  the kiln is hot and I definitely do NOT have enough beads in there!

Decisions, decisions…

I’m thinking of upgrading to a bigger torch…

Now i love my trusty little Hothead but i think I’ve just about outgrown it.  I want to work cleaner, faster and BIGGER, and that means moving up to a surface mix-burner setup: torch, oxygen concentrator, larger propane tank.  Currently i use my trusty little HH with 1lb propane tanks – somewhat annoying but I’ve adapted quite well to the quirks associated with this choice. 

My beads are currently around 2″ and when i try to go much bigger it just takes forever to melt all that glass – it’s becoming frustrating.  I’ve had several recommendations to try a bulk tank (lots of bead makers do) but to be frank I’m not comfortable with the idea since this isn’t what this torch was originally designed for and brings about a whole set of other issues. 

Soooo, after extensive research, I’ve narrowed down my choices to these two torches.  They are both about equal as starter surface mix torches, each can work soda lime (soft) glass with either propane or natural gas and one 5LPM oxygen concentrator, and i have the option of moving to two concentrators for increased heat once i decide to work even bigger or try borosilicate (hard) glass.  Plus, they come in awesome colours (yippee!): 

Check out this awesome red Mega Minor from Nortel!  Yes, it’s a great soft glass torch.  Yes, it will work for the sculptural work i do, yes, it will grow with me… blah, blah, blah.  Have i mentioned this torch is a fantastically beautiful shiny, metallic red???

It’s so sexy – like a really hot shade of red lip gloss – makes me almost as excited as a great pair of shoes.  Almost.

This torch is made right here in Canada (Toronto) so that’s a huge selling point for me.  Nortel Manufacturing (not the telecommunications company that screwed up our retirement plans) is one of those typical Canadian success stories.  Their products are extremely well-known and respected all over the world and of course where did i hear about their torches? from outside of Canada first.

I also know a few bead makers who’ve bought the Mega and seem quite happy with what it can do.  I got the chance to briefly see it in action in Toronto at the Nortel factory (which is a drool-worthy place to visit if you love glass) but to be perfectly honest since I’ve never used a dual fuel torch before, i didn’t even know what the heck to do with it – i balled the tip of a rod in the flame so i do know it melts way faster than my HH… (duh?)

Now, i thought i had made my choice and then GTT came out with this baby:  a sparkly purple Cricketyes, it’s sparkly AND purple – a brand new torch that has tested comparably to the Mega and costs about the same.

Call me shallow, but when all things are technically equal I’ll generally lean toward aesthetics over utility.  My motto has always been “Have nothing in the house that is neither useful nor beautiful”.  Or studio.  And this sparkly purple torch sure is pretty. 

Seems both manufacturers have realized that their target market for the smaller torches suitable for glass bead making is mostly women.  So instead of the usual massive, ugly chunks of grey metal or loosely resembling a certain male body part, both torches are instead cute, sleek and downright sexy.  Have i mentioned my absolute favourite colour in the whole world is purple??  and especially sparkly purple? 

I need to choose my new setup soon, sooo: purple? or red? sweet, juicy, sparkly purple? or deep, luxurious, luscious red? Technically, they’re both on par soooo… which torch should i choose?

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Glass Torch Technologies (GTT):

Nortel Manufacturing:

Hothead Source: