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Making Glass Beads, Part 2

After I make the beads, I put them in my kiln and fire them.  The process is called annealing.  It strengthens the glass so the bead will not crack and break.  The glass has gone through severe thermal shock in the making of the bead, starting with the glass at room temperature to the very hot flame of the torch, about 2000 degrees, then slowly cooling again back to room temperature.  Annealing them takes the glass up through all the temperature ranges slowly, allowing the glass to slowly acclimate and strengthen.  I hold the kiln at 940 degrees for 30 minutes, which is called soaking, further strengthening beads before slowing cooling the kiln down.  This process takes about 3 1/2 hours.

 

My kiln is an older model, I have been using it since the 1980’s when I bought it new, but I love it.  I usually spend several days making about 75 to 100 beads.  When I have enough beads to cover the kiln floor, then I anneal them all at once.

In creating a piece of jewelry I will be selling to the public, I want a finished bead that I know will endure.  I don’t want to have a bead crack in half while someone is wearing the jewelry.

Christina