Thursday, June 25, 2009
I bought the lovely flameworked beads that I use in the Lifesaver Earrings line at the recent Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee from Isis Beads. Isis Ray, owner of Isis Beads, was at the Show selling her handcrafted beads in person, and she had an amazing array of beautiful wares on hand. Deciding on which ones to buy, when they were all so tempting, was far from easy.
I also bought some other beads from Isis Ray, and will be making earrings and also a bracelet from them in the coming weeks.
Here is a great explanation of how flameworked beads are made, written by Isis Ray:
"Flame-worked beads are made by melting glass canes in the flame of a torch and winding the liquid glass around a steel rod, which has a clay based releasing agent on it to keep the glass from bonding to the steel. The rod must be evenly rotated to center the hot glass, and the correct temperature of the bead must be kept even without losing the desired shape, all with a light touch so that the thin clay coating doesn't break. The finished beads are held at 950 degrees F in a kiln to anneal, or align the glass molecules. They are allowed to cool very slowly before being removed from the steel rod, which forms the hole of the bead.
Each bead is a bit of magic, made with glass and fire, hands and eyes, but coming from the heart. I draw on a background in Fiber Art to make beads with a balance of color & light, design, pattern and proportion. "
-- Isis Ray
You can reach Isis on the internet at http://www.IsisRay.com and by email at
After the beads used in the Lifesaver Earrings were formed, Isis added an additional step, of etching them in an acid solution, which gives them a matt finish, very much like sea glass.