Fusing the beads for silver settings.

I’ve accomplished step two of my project. I have fused the chunky glass focal beads into cabs that can now be set into silver. Here’s how it went down…

Beads into the kiln. Awaiting their fate.

glass beads into the kiln

I decided to put the kiln outside for this. I don’t know why. I do feel like I’m running out of space in the studio since I’m pulling out and using a bunch of tools and equipment that I’ve had tucked away. It’s time to do a reconfiguration and pack away tools I haven’t used in a while and bring the silver and fusing stuff to the fore. I love setting up new, efficient workstations. But that’s another post for another time.

While my kiln is electronically controlled, it is an older one that only holds one segment of a ramping schedule. That means, every time I need to change temperature I need to do it manually. It beeps when it is done with the segment. You may have heard about babysitting your kiln? This little baby monitor came in handy.

baby monitor for kiln sitting

One plus that I’ve found with transitioning into other media and techniques is that I can work in small spurts. When I make glass beads it takes me a while to get into the groove and I can’t stop in the middle. I have small children and during school breaks, weekends or evenings, that means I really can’t work. With the silver and fusing aspects coming into play, I can stop and start and squeeze little bits inbetween family time.

Here are the cabs. Shiny, fused and cool…ready to come out and be fondled for a while…

fused glass lampwork beads

While I love glass beads, there is something absolutely mesmerizing about them when they’re fused. They have the perfectly firepolished surface. When making glass beads in a torch we manipulate and work the glass as we see fit…when fused, they’re allowed to take the shape that the glass really wants to be. Perfectly organic and sensual in form.

Here’s an upclose:

fused lampwork glass beads

It’s a little hard to see their brilliance…here’s another shot…

close up of fused cabsStill a little hard to get the feeling? Imagine silver around the rims of the newly fused cabs below like the glass bead set in silver that I showed before. Would these not look cool as big funky rings?

glass cab for silver ring lori greenberg

glass cab for silver set ring

glass fused cab for silver set ring lori greenberg

Can you see why I’m excited? Now I need to research some more equipment. Grinders, to be exact. I have more plans.

5 thoughts on “Fusing the beads for silver settings.

  1. hello Lori !
    I have a few beads which broke for any reason in two pieces and I’d like to fuse them into cabs too…
    But I don’t know how to proceed : could you tell me what stuff you used on your kiln shelf (the blue stuff I mean) before fusing the beads ?
    Thank you !
    I’m sure your cabs are going to be gorgeous with silver !

  2. Hi Moonliza.

    The blue stuff is kiln wash. I got it a long time ago and I don’t even remember where I got it or what brand it is. I’m sure most of the places that sell fusing equipment and supplies have it and can probably recommend their preference. There is also a lot of information over at warmglass.com which is where I got started. There might be better supplies on the market since the time I acquired mine.

    Good luck!

  3. My pick for a bandsaw is a Gryphon Diamond Bandsaw model c-40. They are quite sturdy and the blade has a long life. Cutting through a big bead takes time but you can do it. It’s difficult to cut really straight through a round object since the blade is flexible. I also used mine to cut siding tiles for the outside of our house. They are really fun for cutting thin fusing glass. Ed Hoys has them for $259-$279.

    For flat lap stuff I use a Bevelmax ($259.) I’m wondering if there isn’t better equipment out there now. I bought mine about 10 years ago at least. If you were going to buy one or the other I would say get the saw. They’re handy. You can cut biger tubing with them too. All kinds of stuff.

    Your fused beads are really big! They will look awesome set in silver.

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