Favrile Glass Pixie
Prototypical `roman glass style' beads...

This is definitely a blast from the past. Musta been the 2003 Gathering that this fellow came up to me with a bunch of beautiful chinese carved beads and asked if I'd like to trade. I was fascinated, and ended up trading a lot of them.

“favrile” tiffany style lampwork beads. Hollow soda-lime pig, with pixie-dust coating, 2003? Largest bead, perhaps 25mm in diameter?

These were an absolute bear to do, because the glass was so crappy: it would pop and spit and shatter right in the middle of a bead, dumping molten chunks on my beautiful new floor. On the other hand, the topaz-brown seedy glass was perfect for the effect I wanted. As you see the hilight red pixie dust “shifted” in the flame, giving an iridescent appearance somewhat similar to the one traditionally achieved with stannous fluoride (“that killing spray”) as it's nicknamed.

Toxic as some of my beadmaking practices are, that's not one I'm willing to pursue.

However the trader was very happy with them, and came back with a request for a new kind of bead. Could I make beads that looked like roman glass? Lucky for him, I'd just seen a little exhibit (on the third floor as I recall) at the DIA of just such. I reasoned that pixie dust for iridescence, and baking soda for roughness, might work, and viola, antique roman glass beads. —Except I couldn't face making a huge bunch of them all at once out of pig, and never got around to trading any more.

So even though I found much of the beadmaking incredibly frustrating I look back on the experience as a whole, incomplete as it proved to be, with fondness. Sometimes, life doesn't have to perfect, nor complete to yet be good.

file completed 13oct06