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Blowing Shards

Below is a guide from Becky Fairclough of Chameleon Designs:

You will need -

Gently heat the end of the pipe and start to add glass to it, building up the glass on the end of the pipe - you do not need to make a collar around the pipe you can just build the glass off the end.

Once you have a good sized gather - start small and get used to it !! A gather the size of a malteaser is good to start with - get it evenly hot in the flame, keep rotating it evenly and get it hot, the glass needs to be moving about but not in an out of control way !

This is time to blow.

KEEP TURNING or it will just blow out of one side. Ok, now the easiest way to do this is to blow hard into the tube and cap the end of the tube with your thumb but this does take some practice try blowing hard into the tube and blocking the end of the tube with your tongue ..all you you are trying to do is stop the air coming out - physics hot air expands so if you can get air in there, it heats and expands doing the work for you !! The other option is you blow hard and steadily and do the work yourself, this takes a surprising amount of puff so I would try and master the capping the end of the pipe technique !

Once you see the sides start to grow STOP blowing / uncap the end of the tube, take thumb / tounge whatever off and now BLOW GENTLY to inflate the bubble to the size you want, for shards a malteaser size bubble will go to roughly the size of a large egg and give a nice thickness, obviously everyone has their own prefs re thickness so you will need to do some experimenting here to get it how you like it !

Cool the glass round the neck of the pipe with a brass tool or other cold tool and the tap the pipe, the "egg" will drop off the pipe... best to aim to land it on some vermiculite or something heat proof !!

Let the "egg" cool a bit, and then you can smash it. I put mine inside a bowl or bag and tap them with my graphite hand marver or whatever else is to hand... I avoid squashing them with my hands as shards have very sharp edges / points when they break.

The main things to remember are the heat needs to be even to give even wall thickness, and you need to KEEP TURNING the pipe all the time !!

You can also blow perfume bottles etc this way... it's all just practice !

Using Shards

Have your base bead ready and then pick up your shard with long tweezers. Heat your bead and a small area of your shard in the flame and then touch the heated areas together outside of the flame to attach them. Next use the radial heat next to the flame (or work in the cooler tip of the flame) to "soften" the rest of the shard and then push it down flat on to your bead surface with tweezers or a marver. Do not heat the shard of blown glass directly in the flame as it will simply "ball up". Once the shard is firmly attached you can then choose to melt your shard in flush or leave it as raised decoration in your bead design.

This guide is by Jolene Wolfe of kitzbitz art glass A vidio tutorial from Jolene Wolfe can also be found on YouTube

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