Saturday, July 14, 2007

Studio torches ...

How many torches are too many torches? You see, I now have five torches in the studio. I am sure I only needed at most three torches but there are attributes of each torch that I like. I long ago donated my Hothead because I knew I would never go back to it.

So here are the torches in the studio:

1. Little Smith's - for metalsmithing but hasn't been used for a long time. I set aside metalsmithing to focus on glass but I will eventually combine the two mediums.

2. Minor (Nortel) - my first lampworking torch that I decided to keep since some of the new reactive glasses work better on this torch.

3. Lynx (GTT) - my second lampworking torch that I use when I want to work HOT and for boro beads.

4. Mini CC Plus (Carlisle) - my third lampworking torch that I love because of it's radiant heat. I use this for my florals, especially.

5. Volcano Air Torch - my most recent addition to the studio from Japan. This torch will teach me how to work slower and with Satake glass. It will be a torch I go to when I want to relax and just learn for art's sake. Thank you to my mentor, Michael Barley.

I use two Puritan Bennett oxygen concentrators connected in parallel so larger torches than what is in the studio now will not come without more investment. I have a third concentrator sitting in the wings in case one of the two main machines goes out.

Besides these torches, I have an AF99 Arrow Springs kiln with digital controller, a small enameling kiln that converts to a keumboo station, a PMC kiln, a belt sander, a Foredom flexshaft, a tumbler, a mini polisher, a huge metal shear and too many other toys to list.

Today is an experimental day on the Mini CC Plus. I've been thinking about a new series for the past month. I have the name and basic idea of the series. And as of 10 minutes ago, I now have a very nice shape to further explore. I need to play more with the "decorative elements" as there needs to be a happy balance - not too much and not too little - worked in colors that tells the bead's story. On days like these, one has to be patient. Not many beads will result and they may not be all that pretty. The intent is to teach and not all beads are made to be sold. What's more important is exploring and learning what the glass will/can do.

If a glass artist can duplicate her results, then she has learned her lesson well. Back to the flame as the eager student.
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