Before and After - Tim and Susan Heaton

Before a bead can be created, one needs certain basic items, like glass, a kiln, mandrels (around which the bead is made), a torch and basic glass working tools. The first picture shows these basics. Patience, creativity, gravity and surface tension also help the artist to be successful.

The bead making process is a sequence of steps, one of which is melting and shaping the glass rods in the flame created by the torch.  No molds or presses are used, the artist is (hopefully) in full control of the bead as it is being formed, as you can see in second picture.

When the bead is fully shaped and has cooled to about 925 degrees, it is placed in a kiln where is cools down slowly (anneals) overnight. See the kiln on the right in the first photo.

After the beads come out of the kiln, they are still on the mandrels (image three), until cleaned and given to Susan, at which point they become beautiful jewelry.

Visit the Heaton’s Arroyo Grande studio either weekend of the 2016 Open Studios Art Tour.  They are studio number 38 in the catalog.

Glass bead making studio
Tim Heaton working a bead in the flame
Completed beads on mandrels
Glass bead making studio
Glass bead making studio
Tim Heaton working a bead in the flame
Tim Heaton working a bead in the flame
Completed beads on mandrels
Completed beads on mandrels