2016 -  March 16


Bobbin Beads

Stephanie White


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Stephanie White showed us how to use old metal sewing machine bobbins to create beautiful, automatically lined beads! 



Use stainless steel bobbins and  chopsticks (Both available on Amazon ~ $5.00).  Be sure they're clean.  Use no bead release.  Good for beginners as bobbin keeps glass in shape. Stephanie pushes the bobbin firmly onto a chopstick.  When the bead is finished, take another chopstick or other tool, and press the bobbin gently until it falls off into the kiln. Begin by warming the bobbin in the flame.  Be careful not to get it too hot.  It may glow red, but don't let it begin to bubble or spark, or bobbin could melt.




If desired, narrow the flame to focus only within the bobbin rims.  Begin laying glass down in center of bobbin.  Press glass in firmly to push out air and avoid getting bubbles.  When adding glass, heat the glass in the bobbin as well as the rod. If the bobbin is sufficiently hot, glass will spread more easily.  If the glass doesn't spread, heat and use tweezers, knife or other tool to press the glass against the bobbin edges. 
Lay glass onto only half of the bobbin core at a time, as it is difficult for a gather to completely encircle the core.  Look for divots where you need to add glass.  Bubbles may be caused by impurities on the bobbin surface, and are more evident with transparent glass. If glass comes through the side holes in a rounded manner, you know your bobbin is filled.  (It takes ~ 6-7" of a standard rod.)  Once filled, marver only with a steel or brass tool, as bobbin edges can score graphite.  Keep hot and marver to move the glass. Try making beads with layers of different colors, and/or try lines, frit, dots, or try quickly laying "threads" on the final layer of glass.  You can anneal these beads immediately or place them in a fiber blanket and batch anneal in the kiln later.
Here's a completed bead!  Note:  jeweler's pickle doesn't agree with the steel bobbin, so it can't be used to clean it or the glass (though Magic Eraser sponges remove discolorations in turquoise). And here's the same bead, different view.  Lovely murini dot decorations!! Note the "threading" - almost like thread! 
Purple with stripes!!

Stephanie provided bobbins for those attending the meeting, and some adventurous members tried their hand at creating their own bobbin beads!

Photos by Fred Fuerst and notes by Martha Fuerst.  Thanks Fred and Martha!!





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