Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Almighty Torch

Hot head torch
Torch flame
Our second installment in our Lampwork journey we are introducing you to

"The Almighty Torch".  The torch is probably the most essential element in lampworking.

Now there are two distinct types of torches.  We are using the Hot Head torch, which is designed for soft glass.  While soft glass can be worked with either torch set up.  Boro glass can not.  Boro glass work requires a torch with an oxygen feed in order achieve the higher temps in order to melt the glass.  Currently we have no plans to add Boro glass to our studio, However, who knows where future creative paths will lead us.

Torch flame while working with glass
Torch flame while working with glass
While Tina has only worked with the hot head torch, I (Tammy) have worked some with both types of torches.  They both have there pros and cons, however I am preferring the Hot Head torch while working with the soft glass.

The flame changes color once glass is added
The flame changes color once glass is added
As the name implies the soft glass has a lower melt temp point.  What I have found is that while a bit slower to get started on a single piece, there is more control of the glass with the Hot Head torch.  In designing lampwork glass beads that control can make the difference between a perfect creation and a not so perfect creation.

Each part of the flame provides different responses in the glass
Each part of the flame provides different responses in the glass.
That is not manipulation in photo editing that is how it actually looks while working on pieces.

Glass in the same spot of the flame from a different view point
Here is the same thing from a different shot.

Every lampwork glass artisan has there own preferences, techniques and unique personality while working and in how the finished product turns out.  It is the same if you were to take a handful of painters and tell them to paint a picture of a tree, each painting would be unique to that artist.  Lampwork glass beads are more expensive than their commercial counterparts, however the product quality is significantly higher.

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