Jim Jones Workshop at Tapestry International Society of Glass Beadmaking Conference August 2003.
Mosaic cane making in the kiln and glory hole.
Venue : Timberwolf Studios, Lowell, Boston, USA
Some of Jim Jones Beads
The top and right hand bead show how canes with holes in have been used as end caps by sliding them over the beadmaking mandrel. The lower bead is made from a solid section of cane made with a hole down the center.
Round the table discussion Jim and Lani top left
This was a very exciting and well organized workshop which it was a great privilege to attend.
There were eight students on the course and Jim Jones was assisted by his partner Lani.
We began with a demonstration of how to build and glue up bundles of glass using Bullseye sheet and rods held together with wood glue and elastic bands. This is a complex procedure but Jim had worked out a simple step by step way to make it easier for us.
Cutting pieces of glass
Gluing up sections
We built a bundle each and when the glue was thoroughly dry next day we replaced the elastic bands with thin stainless steel wire and set the bundles in small pickup kilns to heat up. While the bundles were heating we made more to dry overnight and use on the third day.
When the bundles reached around 1000 degrees fahrenheit they started to sag very slightly and needed pushing together and shaping up with barbeque tongues ready for pick up.
Meanwhile a patty was being made by another member of the team by adding bits of sheet glass to the end of a punty and melting in the glory hole. The end was flattened and shaped roughly to the cross section of the bundle to be picked up. The patty was then placed on top of the bundle in the pickup kiln and pressed down onto it.
When firmly attached to the patty on the end of the punty rod the bundle was lifted out, the wire quickly removed and the assembly transferred to the glory hole for heating and shaping.
It was then rolled into a cone shape closing the end to keep air trapped in the central hole. It was then rolled into a cone shape closing the end to keep air trapped in the central hole.
The whole assembly was then heated until soft enough for the final stretch when the punty was hung from a loop mounted high enough up to allow for the bundle to be stretched downwards until a suitable thickness and length was achieved.
Hanging up, grab and pull
Horizontal pulls were also tried and some reheating of thicker pieces for further stretching.
The resulting cane was then placed in a larger, ready heated kiln for annealing.
Opening the annealing oven next day
At the end of the workshop we had a very good selection of canes – at least two designs each and we had enough to swap with each student giving us sixteen different cane examples. It remains to apply these to some final work, probably in the form of beads.
The workshop was so well supplied with information and hands on experience of the process that it will be easily possible to repeat the procedure at a later date. The venue was a great place to work and we were admirably supported and provided for by Kevin and Darlene who hosted the workshop at Timberwolf Studios. All the students were very happy with the tuition and the venue and everyone achieved an amazingly good result.