Monday, February 20, 2012

Glass Experiments

If you're under age 30, you may not know what this is or the purpose it served. 
Thirty-five years ago, I used several of them for decor in my hip pad...they were groovy, man!

As you can see, they were made in a variety of shapes and colors.

And here is a clue to their purpose... 
Glass Insulators between wires and wood on telephone poles. 

Too bad the industry has switched for using these boring ones now:
(So what's your point?)

A fellow glass bead artist sent me some broken chunks of a blue-green insulator to test drive.  I warmed the chunks in the kiln, melted them in the torch, and pulled them into rods. 

Robin was very generous in that he also sent some rods that he had pulled from chunks.  I used the rods to make these beads:

Interestingly, I got 3 shades of color from the same rod.  And notice how when I added frit to the bead, the color changed the entire bead.

While I was in experimental mode, I decided to finally test the wine bottle I'd been saving:
Such a gorgeous cobalt blue, and the contents were equally delightful!
I held the entire bottle (with label still intact), and heated the mouth to glowing, wrapped the molten glass around a mandrel, which resulted in:
I expected the viscosity of the molten glass to be akin to Borosilicate (COE 33), but instead it was much like that of Bullseye glass (COE 90).

Think I'll test drive a few more ideas at the torch!


  1. Oh Man does this post bring back memories. When I was a teen my friends and I would go hunting for insulators along the rail road tracks we found some pretty neat ones. It is so cool that you melted the glass and made stringers to make beads, and also the wine bottle very cool!

  2. Oooo.... you be playing with fire.... so cool you can recycle/upcycle glass like that! Love that blue!

  3. Wow, ALL of those are gorgeous! I'm really drawn to blues, and that wine bottle is spectacular. When I was lampworking, I don't remember there being a blue that nice available.
    Great ideas!