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.