Monthly Archives: January 2015

My Glass Garden

Glass Garden 8

 Photo by Matthew Diesch

When I first set up my glass studio at home I had to buy a heap of kit….torch, kiln etc.  I also had to buy Mandrels.  Mandrels are steel rods about 25cm long and 2.4mm wide.  They are used to wrap glass around, and essentially are what makes the hole in the middle of a bead.  Since glass will permanently stick to steel, the mandrels have 5-10cm of one end dipped in Bead Release so that we can get them off the mandrel once fired in the kiln.

I’m explaining all of this because I recently replaced all my mandrels for new ones.  It seemed a shame to throw the old mandrels out, so I came up with the idea of making glass flowers on them without any bead release, meaning that they would be permanently fixed to the end of the mandrel.  I don’t have much experience making sculptured beads and it’s been a good challenge.

So far it’s been heaps of fun, and my little glass garden is slowly growing.  The added bonus is Glass Garden 2no weeds!!!  haha!


Torching of a different kind

Creme BruleeNormally when I am using a torch, it’s one that is burning at nearly 3000deg, and I’m using it to melt glass.  But not today.

Over the Christmas holidays I bought a SCANPAN Chef’s Blow Torch & Creme Brulee Set and today I finally used it.  I used the recipe that came with the set, but substituted Lime with Lemon.  This is the first time I’ve made a Brulee and unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan; namely that I over beat my eggs.  Instead of making them “soft and creamy” I whipped them to be “soft and fluffy”.  Essentially they had too much air in them.  Luckily it wasn’t a complete disaster and the custard turned out smooth and yummy…it just had a ‘bubbly’ skin on the top which I scrapped off.

Creme Brulee TorchWhen it came to using the torch to make the hard caramel on top I just used caster sugar since I didn’t have the types of sugar in the recipe.  My first attempt burnt our trial Brulee (luckily we had one!).  Since it was just a trial one I pulled off the burnt caramel and I gave it another go.  It was a bit of fun, and I will get to show off my new skill this evening when we have dinner and dessert with our neighbours!