2015 -  October 17


Cabochons - Karen & Larry Barefield


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Karen and Larry Barefield brought their custom cabochon mandrels, and Karen demonstrated making both round and square cabochons at the torch.   Larry showed us some of the beautiful jewelry he'd made with Karen's lovely cabochons.




Photos and brief descriptions are below, then more specific notes follow.


Members socialize before the demonstration.

Karen is ready!





Karen dips just the face of the mandrel in bead release.  She uses Dip N Go Sludge. 



She spins off excess bead release in a small jar, careful not to touch the glass.  



This is the prepared mandrel face.



Karen dries the bead release in the flame, or warms a pre-dried mandrel.



She begins adding glass from the center of the mandrel, spiraling out to the edge.



She flattens the glass by pushing down on a marver, and is careful to create a smooth layer over the entire surface.


Karen begins creating a flower design on the face of the cab. 



After swiping on petals in striped pink cane, she adds green calyx cane.  She removes excess glass with tweezers.   


Here's Karen's lovely completed flower cabochon just before it goes into the kiln.



Karen begins a square cabochon mandrel in the same way as the round, spiraling on glass from the center.



She adds dots of glass in the corners to ensure complete coverage.



She marvers the cab flat from time to time as she works. 




Karen makes sure the edges are straight and aligned with the mandrel.



Here's the completed base cab.



And here's a the cab once Karen has added a lovely blue flower!  


Making Cabochons on Custom Mandrels

  -- by Martha Fuerst

Larry Barefield makes custom cabochon mandrels in a variety of shapes and sizes.  They can be ordered from Karen at l.barefield@comcast.net.
Karen uses “Dip N Go Sludge” bead release because it seems to hold better than others she has tried on the cabochon mandrels.
First, dip the entire head of the cabochon mandrel into the bead release. Then gently spin the mandrel inside a can or jar to remove the excess bead release from the mandrel.
Then “season” the mandrel in a flame until the bead release is dry and the mandrel is hot so that glass will adhere to it.
Melt the tip of a rod of glass and [gently] apply it to the cabochon mandrel. Begin in the *middle* of the cabochon for best results. Gently “roll” the glass onto the mandrel. Avoid pulling the rod of glass as this can break the bead release! (If this happens, you must start again with a freshly dipped mandrel.) Heat the cabochon so the glass is red hot, then press – gently – straight down to flatten the surface. Work your way to the edge of the surface of the mandrel but do not put glass on the side of the mandrel. When the surface is covered with glass, heat and gently roll the edge to flatten the cabochon edge. Decoration can then be applied, however, be sure to avoid “pulling” the rod of glass.
The nub in the middle of the cabochon is 1/8th inch. Apply your glass base and decoration so the the nub is not evident on the top surface of the cabochon.
www.buttons.com is a web site where button backs can be purchased. Use E6000 glue to put the backs onto the back of the cabochon. This glue works better on glass and metal than superglue which tends to be brittle.
If the cabochon is square-shaped, you should still start in the middle and go in a circular pattern, but also you must cover the corners of the mandrel. To accomplish this:
   A. Heat the glass in the circular patter to red hot, press straight down to flatten, then go back and dot a small bit of glass onto each of the 4 corners. Heat glass to red hot again, and press straight down so that the entire surface is flat.
   B. Get the edges even with the mandrel by getting the glass on each edge hot.
Repeat steps A and B, if necessary, to get the surface and all 4 sides even.
Notice that a diagonal flower or design on a square cabochon mandrel is more attractive to the eye than a vertical or horizontal design.


If you've made some beautiful cabochons using Karen and Larry's tools and techniques, please send your photos and notes to your Web Mama, and they'll be posted here for you!! 


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