December 2020: Orange Implosion Cabochon

Posted by Carol Ann Savage on


When you first introduce a rod of glass to the flame it starts to liquify. As you rotate the rod, the heated glass starts to form a round ball. This is the basic behavior of all glass. 

As a beginner lampworker I spent many hours creating beads with dots. It may have seemed simple but was in fact rather tricky. Putting similarly sized small dots on the surface of a bead teaches you about heat control; particularly when you consider the different viscosity of each color, and whether the color is transparent or opaque. From simple dots you can build up more advanced dot techniques— stacked dots, encasing in other colors, melting them to be flush with the surface, and on and on.

A particularly important offshoot of the dot is the technique of stretching the dot (also known as making a line!) You do this either by raking a dot with a sharp tool or by laying a thin thread of glass directly onto the surface. Once again, hours of practice are required to develop a consistent skill set here!

This implosion style bead is made up completely of dots. The dots are gently pressed into the clear glass dome and then consistent heat allows the clear to travel from one side to the other, pulling the dots with it. This bead has four layers of those dots which creates a nice flower pattern. 

The simple act of placing dots repetitively can be very soothing, even mesmerizing. The final product, derived from one simple technique, gives us something elegant and sophisticated in appearance. Perfecting the art of dots is not unlike practicing one’s scales in order to play a work by Mozart— because his melodies are so often constructed on such simple musical patterns, they require the greatest refinement of skill one can muster to bring out their beauty. In our glass world there are a number of well known artists who have devoted their careers to creating stunningly gorgeous works with just dots and lines!

Riveting to look at, especially when you can trace the final product back to it’s simple origins.

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