[EDIT 12/31/14: I’m leaving this post up because I at one point took the time to write it, and also because no one should ever forget that Sarah Palin hates Chanukah, but I have since closed my Etsy shop. I am a quitter. Sorry.]
You probably don’t know this, but the holidays are right around the corner. If you need a reminder that Sarah Palin thinks Christmas is way more important to the world than Chanukah (or any other religious holiday that falls around this time of year), you need only look as far as this book she wrote. Please do click on that link. Scroll down to the bottom to find soundbites from the audiobook. Her nasally voice will teach you all about how the attempts to recognize more religions than Christianity in our country are jeopardizing our religious freedom. As a Jew, I find this acceptable. I mean, between hearing “Merry Christmas” from the teenager who just put my groceries in a bag, and hearing “Happy Holidays,” I’d definitely go with “Merry Christmas.” Everyone knows a Jewish person’s comfort zone is being ignored, oppressed, demeaned, or belittled.
Anyway, more important than Sarah Palin: Anything really!
And more important than that: For the holidays I decided to make all my female coworkers glass pendants, since I have access to a small flameworking studio and I know how to do a bit of flameworking.
The thing is, I made way more necklaces than I actually needed. Which left me with only one option: Open an Etsy shop and capitalize on the yuletide gift-buying season. Click right the frick here to go to my shop. But also keep this page open to see an exclusive, behind-the-scenes peek at how I make my pendants.
All flameworkers know that the first step to making any piece is taking a ridiculous picture of yourself wearing the mandatory weirdo glasses that help you see into the flame.
These are the materials – rods of clear and colored glass. Fun fact: Red glass (seen above, in the middle) turns clear when heated, and only turns red again when it’s cooled and/or annealed.
I decided to go with pink since I hadn’t made one that color yet.
Fun Fact #2: This seemingly clear glass is not clear at all. It’s one of my favorite kinds: Amber-Purple, which only looks clear or slightly yellowish until it’s heated. Then it becomes (you guessed it) amber and purple.
See what I mean? Same rod of glass, different end. Someone accidentally fused red glass to it thinking it was clear. They were Amber-Purpled, to coin a phrase.
Anyway, you start by heating up clear glass…
Mix in a little pink…
Until you get this.
Then you heat the crap out of it…
And flatten it with this spatula-looking thing.
Which gives you something like this.
In flameworking there are two kinds of seals: A hot seal and a cold seal. Hot seals are when you melt two pieces of glass together in the flame, making them into one piece. Cold seals are different. If you heat up one piece of glass then stick it to a cooler piece of glass that isn’t in the flame, they’ll stick together without actually fusing together. This means you can use another rod of glass to help manipulate your piece, and when you’re done with it it’ll come right off. That cold-sealed rod is called a “punty,” seen on the right in the photo above. With the punty in place, you heat up the glass circle and twist it up a bit, seen below.
(The punty is on the left now) Once you’ve got your twirl, you just heat up the clear glass end and pull it out a bit to create a hook…
Like so. Tweezers help at this point to form the loop there.
Once your hook is formed, you heat the crap out of it again until you get a good, hot seal – meaning the hook won’t break apart later – and give that punty a tap. It’ll come right off. And suddenly you’ve got a pretty little pendant!
Even better news, that pendant will be (or “is now” if you are reading this in the future) for sale in my shop! You can buy the very same piece from the above pictures for a very modest price! Gift buying season is upon us, folks. Share the love!
Word of the Day: Anneal (v) – to heat (glass, earthenware, metals, etc.) to remove or prevent internal stress.
P.S. Apparently I’m seriously out of the loop and Regretsy is gone! But I’ll never forgetsy.