Silvered Dichroic Lampwork Earrings
Project by Karen Doore from Colleyville, Texas.
Karen has been crafty all her life. It wasn’t until she purchased her first kiln three years ago that one specific craft became her favorite. Karen had been making beads for awhile until she discovered silver clay. In this project, she creates lampwork beads for a pair of earrings. The beads look like water glimmering in the sunlight.
steel bead mandrels
Morretti glass rods: teal, light teal, cobalt, periwinkle, clear
dichroic glass rod
glass fiber blanket
1. Make a stringer with the teal glass rod. Melt the tip to form a rounded end, and pull the melted glass out with pliers to make a really thin glass rod the size of pencil lead. Repeat to make stringers with light teal, periwinkle, and clear glass rods.
2. Melt cobalt glass rod in the torch flame and wind it onto the steel mandrel which has previously been coated with bead release.
3. Place a piece of silver metal foil onto a graphite marver. Roll the hot bead over the silver foil, burnishing the foil to the bead to make sure it is attached.
4. Return the bead to the cool portion of the flame and start to melt a rod of dichroic glass in the warmer part of the flame, being sure not to let the flame hit the dichroic side of the rod.
5. Touch the melted dichroic rod to the bead, and wind the melted dichroic glass onto the bead.
6. Using the transparent stringers formed earlier, randomly melt onto the bead. Then add a layer of clear glass to the bead. Heat the bead while rotating to melt the final layers into the bead and to round out the shape of the bead.
7. Using a clear stringer, add swirls of glass to the bead to give it a nice textured finish. Heat the bead in the flame to make sure that the swirls are completely attached to the bead.
8. Put the bead in a fiber blanket to cool for about 2 hours.
9. Make a second, identical bead to make a matched set.
10. Soak cooled beads in water to remove from rod.
11. Clean out inside of bead.
12. Put bead on headpin wire. Twist top end of wire to make a loop. Attach to ear wire to complete.