I’ve been playing in the studio…

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…making twisties.  I tried a new way of making them: painting the colours right on the end of the rod rather than winding the glass on  the end of the mandrel.  Obviously my technique needs some work.  It was hard to control the molten glass plus guesstimate how much mass i needed to pull a decent length twistie – as you can see some were more successful than others…  I do like the simplicity of these though – they’re like little springs or ribbons and have a much more contemporary feel than other complex twisties i’ve made before – much more my style. 

A “Twisty” is just a cute name for the miniaturized version of  intricate Venetian glass canemaking with traditional names like reticello, ballotini, latticino, zanfirico.  Glass blowers have used larger versions of these canes to decorate vases or sculptures for centuries.  We glass beadmakers use similar techniques (on a much smaller scale of course) to decorate our beads and add a level of complexity.

They’re easy to make: just take a molten ball of glass, stripe on some contrasting colours, melt smooth and pull out while twisting.  It does take time though, to develop enough skill to be able to make a nice long smooth cane – it’s a delicate balancing of the right amount of heat and gravity.  img_1262

I especially like the two at the bottom of this pic where i layered the colours to make a two toned twist.  I’ll have to play with this idea some more…  Can’t wait to try them on some  beads…