SusansBeadsWhile I was visiting the Corning Museum of glass, they were having a special exhibit on beads. As it happens this is the one aspect of glass art I have some experience with, through a friend who makes glass beads and has given me several. Hers are in the category the museum called wrapped beads.

bead_moose2These beads are made on a mandrill, which is a metal core coated with something that makes the beads release easily. Glass heated to a taffy-like consistency is wrapped onto the core. Blobs of glass may be added and either used to form a shape (like the moose, one of my friend’s beads) or to produce color. But producing color isn’t simple, as the bead is glowing orange through this process! An experienced bead-maker may have a pretty good idea of the finished colors, but I certainly don’t by watching!

bead_dragonfly2Small “seed beads” are most often made by cutting hollow rods of class into small lengths. In this case, the artistry is in how the beads are combined into the finished piece.

The museum had exhibits of all kinds of beads, and explanations of how they were made. I’ll content myself with photos of an exhibit showing numerous kinds of beads mounted in a pattern on the wall, and a closeup showing a few of the beads in more detail.

bead displaycloseup- beads