Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Glass Beads and Misty Mountains

Monday, our "Sunday", a friend treated us to a glass bead making class for my birthday. We followed her cute yellow car along an extremely narrow path in the woods to a large house with a small homemade studio. The teacher, Ida Sensei, and her husband are professional glass artists.

The path to their house/studio

Some handmade pieces sitting outside

Each of us made 3 glass beads and 2 little glass leaves for chopstick holders. In theory it's really simple to make a bead. I apologize in advance for no technical terms.... instruction was in Japanese and semi-translated into English! We mostly just watched and had our hands guided when the ideally round beads turned lumpy and wonky.

Glass rods

You start by heating up a metal rod coated in pink powder that turns white when ready. Then you heat the colored glass rod of your choice until the end forms a bubble of melted glass. Coat the metal rod in a circular motion, taking several turns to do so, until you get a round shape. It was really difficult to do this! You can then take smaller glass rods in different colors to add dots, swirls, hearts, etc. to your beads by using the same slow turning motion of the metal rod. Swirls were the most fun.

Brian applying melted glass to the metal rod (sorry for the bad picture!)

Me applying green glass to a very misshapen bead

Making the chopstick holders was my favorite part though because we got to squish the glass and there was no spinning involved.

The final products! Brian's are on the right. Gotta love a man who uses pink.

Thank you Akiko for taking us!

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