Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Handmade Glass Lace Bobbins

I answered a desperate call over on the UK Lampwork forum 'Frit Happens' a week or so ago for 'help, can anybody here make glass lace bobbins?' After a quick google images to remind me what a lace bobbin looks like, I cautiously answered 'maybe, possibly.' I know, it's a cop-out answer but I've learnt the hard way not to commit myself to making something before I've tried - some of the simplest looking things turn out to be the hardest. I know some people run towards commissions, I tend to run away!

After a few emails with the lady who wants them I had a go at a few designs since the kiln was already on and hot! It was unusal trying to match them to an existing design which was hollow, I made these in solid glass which I'm more comfortable with, plus I think it gives them a nicer weight. Sizing was tricky, as she needed a set of ten, so I remembered a bit from my class with Jennifer Umphress where she showed how she used simple cardboard templates to make some of her large complex glass frames, and a permanent marker to size the glass. I ended up making a few more than planned, altering the existing design to make it more my own style, plus simplifing parts of the design to make it easier to keep them straight when making.

Test Glass Lace Making Bobbins
The customer, luckily, liked what I'd come up with, so asked me to make the ten. I did a bakers/glass makers dozen which was a good job as despite the template the sizes varied a little more than I wanted. I'm guessing getting too closed to the template and lightly charring it probably didn't help much in that regard!

They were so different to the type of glass I normally make they were surprisingly therapeutic to make. I don't know if I'll make many more, it has to be a hard-head business decision of having enough demand, but I can already see scope for ways I can make really special and unusal ones. 

The finished Glass Lace Bobbins
I'll probably make a more robust template if I make some more!

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