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Glass Jewelry and Torch Work

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glass torch

glass torch tip

Tammy Powley
When it comes to glass, it seems there are two kinds of people - torchers and non-torchers. Torchers are normally your glass bead makers aka lampwork artists. They can sit for hour upon hour in front of their torch creating beads. Kilns are used simply for annealing. Meanwhile, non-torchers have no interest in the torch. They prefer cutting pieces of glass and using the kiln to do all their fusing. An open flame does not appeal to them. Luckily, I was able to take classes from a glass artist, Stephanie Houston, who is not only skilled at torch work but combines her work on the torch with her fusing.

For my fifth class, Stephanie gave a wonderful torch demonstration. She made stringers, twisties, and a basic bead. She uses an oxygen and propane torch. (Map gas can also be used). The torch head is set up to stand freely on a metal table allowing both hands to be free.

After she demonstrated, she let us loose to play. We started with making stringers and graduated onto twisted stringers. Now, what do you do with these? You’re only limited to your imagination, but a few ways they can be used is to add them to a glass bead while it’s being made or add them to a fused piece. You can use them to make stripes or dots for example. I made a lot of black stringers because I was working on a design for a plate that I want to make using clear and black glass and I used the stringers to outline the face and whiskers.

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