Saturday, November 07, 2009

Raked Pods

A small set of seven glass beads sculpted to look like seed pods.
The shortest ones are about three quarters of an inch long, the longest about an inch and a quarter.

They are made by shaping the molten glass with a tungsten pick, or rake, whichever you like to call it. This is a bent tip rake - they also come straight tipped. Either one is great. Mine came from the online glass supplier Moretti & More, an excellent place to get your glass and tools.

Below is a page from one of my bead sketchbooks where I made some notes to myself on how I formed these pod shaped beads. For me, writing things down is essential. It's amazing what I can forget as time goes by.
After making a simple round, or oval bead, let it cool enough to set so when you spot heat and rake the basic core shape will not deform.

To make the indented points you need to spot heat the bead, then touch it with your tungsten poker and drag the glass upwards until you have the shape you want. Rotate the bead to the next spot you want to shape and spot heat and rake again.

Remember to keep flashing the whole bead in and out of the flame occasionally to keep it from cracking. One of the secrets to this is being sure to really, really spot heat the area you're going to rake so that the glass is nice and soft - if you don't there will be too much drag on the glass and your bead release will crack.

Is there anything more annoying that breaking your bead release?
Most of these are made on a base of either Cim's Commando or Cim's Plum.
They're decorated before raking, with stripes of brown, light silver plum and swamp moss, there is also some copper green and raku frits added for splotchs of color.
Just a few more before I have enough for a necklace.


rosebud101 said...

Great beads, and thanks for the tutorial!

Nancy Topolski delicately perched said...

I really like this shape - I am going to steal, I mean try, it.