.... And Some Answers
Q: How long does it take to make a single bead ?
A: About seven hours...
Well, that's from start to finish, including dipping the mandrels
in bead release, preparing the glass rods, melting and forming
the bead in the flame, annealing the bead in the kiln (that's
about five + hours right there, but I can go watch TV during
that stage of the process), and then cleaning out the beads when
they're done. Was that more than you wanted to know ?
In truth, most beads take from 20 to 60 minutes of actually
"beadmaking time" in the flame. It depends on how many
layers of glass and sparkly bits like dichro, goldstone or foils
I add. It also depends on how much sculptural work of melting,
shaping, pushing, pulling, pinching, forming and cool down is
I've tried to time it, but when I am staring at a the flame,
I lose all track of time. Just ask my family !
Q: Is Beadmaking an expensive hobby ?
A: Not if you're independently wealthy....
Oops. I guess that leaves most of us out, huh ?
Yes, I think it's a bit costly for most people to pursue as
a "hobby". Some people start out on a small, single
fuel torch called a hot head, and cool down their beads in a
fiber blanket. However, that begins to be unsatisfactory when
your beautiful beads start to crack from not being annealed,
and the hot head torch becomes frustrating to use because melting
the glass takes so long. What usually happens then is that they
either move on to the bigger torch and kiln set up, which is
a major investment, or they just lose interest in beadmaking.
I decided to just skip the first step, and throw myself into
it whole hog. You know what they say........
Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
And on that note, I'll leave you with one last (subliminal)
And this is as close as I come to having a philosopy
Pronounced "Shermo", but when spelled without the "c",
causes 404 error messages and redirects email to an unsuspecting
florist in San Francisco.
Consider yourself warned.
What is a Schermo
As those of you with advanced degrees
in deduction have probably already guessed, "Schermo"
is a derivative of my maiden name, Scherm. I learned to answer
to Schermo in high school, because it beat being called by any
of the nicknames that rhymed with Scherm. (I will now allow you
30 seconds to ponder all the possibilities. Please don't overlook
the delightful result of substituting "sp" for the
first three letters.)
Now being all grown up (in body,
if not in mind ) I still use this nickname as my online screen
name, and regard it as a term of endearment from those who know
me well. As I said, it beats some of the other things I'm called.
So ? You still here ? What are
you looking around here for
? You think I'm going to give
out personal information about
myself on the INTERNET ?
In front of all these people
? Oh, all right..... if you
really want to know......
was born in 1956, ( I'm going
to make you work for it ) I'm
female, married, have two children,
two shih tzus, a white cat, and
ADD. I live in Virginia Beach,
Virginia and have a mole on the
inside of my right elbow. I think
that about covers the personal
data that I'm willing to share
on a webpage on the internet.
interest in all things beady goes
back well into my teen years when
I made beaded cigar band rings
and love beads like every other
teenager in the late 60's, My
bead obsession went into remission
as I was making my way through
raising children and raising cain
in the real world in my 20's and
ten years ago, my interest in
beads was reawakened by two curiously
unrelated events: I started noticing
the beautiful seed bead work done
by Native Americans, and bought
a huge quantity of opaque primary
colored, irregular seed beads,
which I still haven't figured
out what to do with. I also bought
a book about making beads out
of polymer clay.
That, I did know
what to do with !
there on in, things kind of snowballed
( which is an apt metaphor, as
I was living in Minnesota at the
time ). I started making polymer
clay beads like I was possessed
( no comment ), and then I realized
that I needed other beads to go
with my clay beads. I started
buying glass beads to use in necklaces
and earrings. The more I bought,
the more I learned. The more I
learned, the more I wanted. The
more I wanted, the more jewelry
I had to make and sell in order
to afford the beads I now NEEDED.
Bead Addiction: it's not a pretty
in the midst of my obsession,
an idea took hold. I had heard
about glass beadmaking, I had
even seen it demo'ed a couple
times. It looked fascinating,
but I actually thought that the
biggest problem was that I would
probably cut myself on the sharp
edges of the glass. ( Silly me....
as if I would even feel it after
I burned myself in the 1700 degree
flame of the torch ! ) Fantasies
over came fears (as they often
do) and in March 1999, I signed
up for a class with one of the
BEST lampworking teachers in the
country, ( just my humble opinion,
of course ) KATE FOWLE and took her two day beginning
beadmaking class. I was hooked.
class taught me not only the necessary
basics, but also confirmed that
I seemed to have a knack for it.
(Confirmed by the fact that I
was still in possession of all
my limbs when the class was over.
Along with some awful looking
little beads.) I went home, ordered
my equipment and my glass rods,
and started cleaning out the garage.
I was on a mission. My husband
was so happy that I was tackling
the garage, he forgot to ask why.
Serves him right.
I have a beadmaking studio in
the garage, and I spend several
days a week making beads, or teaching
beadmaking to others. (Nothing
like being an enabler!) I have
upgraded my equipment, added additional
ventilation and cooling, and bought
a digital controller for the kiln
which handles all the steps of
adjusting the temperature so I
don't have to keep running out
to the garage to mess with it
while the beads are annealing.
This past year I bought another
torch; BIGGER, hotter and scary
looking. It's gone from an expensive
hobby to a satisfying business.
Isn't it nice to have an obsession
? - Schermo
This is my
It works for me in just
about any situation.....
Thanks for your interest in all things Schermo.
I hope I've kept you amused. ( If so, you're pretty easily amused.)