Going big … and maybe even bigger …

Sometimes my muse is a mysterious lady – and inspires me to explore new directions that I really didn’t expect.
Just one example: I won a few weeks ago this lovely “Rio Party” necklace during an online auction on Facebook:


In this necklace the work of 3 wonderful artists is coming together: The focal bead is made by ceramic artist Tari Sasser, the complementing lampwork beads & the design is done by fellow lampworker Holly Dare, and the gorgeous ribbon is hand dyed by Heidi Bond.

After I received the necklace, I was just captivated by the idea to try my hand on glass pieces as large as this clay pendant.

Thankfully I own a few large hole mandrels, and started to play around with these “free form” shapes. It’s so much fun to experiment with these!


I really love the size & shapes, because of the versatility: string the pendant on a thick, twistes silk ribbon to hang them like a choker, or add a long antiqued chain and wear them on top of turtlenecks. Add a masculine leather string, and voila – you have a cool necklace for a guy. There are not many additional components or other “frippery” required to make a statement piece of jewelry.


I made some more of these, but need to make pictures first before I can show them off. To give you a better idea about the size of these pendants / focal beads, here is a photo that shows the largest and smallest bead in my hand:


And yes, the left bead (my first one in this size) cracked in the upper right corner. Working with these large mandrels is a learning curve – not only because they’re very heavy and tiring on your wrist, but also because the metal “sucks” the heat out of the glass really fast and you need to take care to always apply plenty of insurance heat.

But it’s so much fun, I had to order some more of these mandrels, because it’s just not satisfying to only do two beads during one torching session. Need more tools … 🙂
Also, as a result of playing with the larger beads, I feel the desire for a different torch LOL! My Cricket torch has a focused, sharp, hot flame – but if you work larger beads or sculptural pieces, the flame is just not bushy enough to give the required radiant heat. So now I’m lusting after a Carlisle Mini CC burner.

Hahaha, lampworking – it’s really the most wonderful money pit 🙂

Talk soon,


PS. If you want to see more pictures of these pendants, check out my Etsy shop (a couple are sold, but there are still some available).


4 responses to “Going big … and maybe even bigger …

  1. Judith, I’ve got a mini CC and I work on the 1/2 inch mandrels, you’ll love it when you get one! I can’t imagine working without the radiant heat.

  2. Oh Astrid, that’s so good to know.
    I thought I love my Cricket to pieces, but once I started working the hollows and larger beads, it just get’s sometimes tricky. Thanks for your feedback, I think I’ll get it for myself as a Christmas gift 🙂

  3. Astrid – Just fired up for the first time my new Mini CC. I think I’m in love 🙂 (after getting over the initial shock of experience a flame-throwing like flame LOL).

  4. Pingback: Update on “Going big …” & changes to Etsy pictures | Judith Billig·

Comments are closed.