Glass is fantastic!

            I love to
incorporate glass into my jewellery. Glass allows me to experiment with
splashes of colour, and texture in ways that are not possible with other media.
Flame work (lampworking) and enamel are two of my favourite jewellery-making
Here are a few examples of my experiments with glass.
This pendant is made from borosilicate glass (the sturdy
glass used in scientific lab-ware). I created the interesting shape using an
oxygen-propane torch. Working with glass in this way feels a lot like pulling
sugar taffy. The glass needs to stay hot enough to be manipulated, but not hot
enough to melt completely and loose its form. Finding the balance between
heating and cooling a piece can be quite challenging.
This bead was made using Italian soft glass (104 Coefficient
of Expansion). This glass is used most commonly in bead-making. The iridescent
sheen of the bead was created by using glass fused with a dichroic coating.
Once again, the balance between heating and cooling the glass bead is quite
important. If the temperature of the glass bead changes too abruptly, the glass
will shatter and pop. To prevent this from happening, a kiln is used to slowly
bring the bead down to room temperature. This process, called annealing, gives
the glass a lot more strength and durability.
This last pendant was created using powdered glass enamel
over fine silver. The glass powder is fused to the metal using a kiln that
reaches temperatures between 1400-1500 °F.
The delicate shading of this piece was the result of over fifty kiln firings
and weeks of work. While creating enamel jewellery is time consuming, and often
frustrating, I find it to be very rewarding.

Christine Woollacott