Thursday, July 7, 2016
A big thing that I need to make glass beads is glass. The glass used for lampworking comes in rods about a foot long and 6mm in diameter, and is usually bought in ¼ lb increments. Sorry for the mixed length units. The glass also comes in many different colors. Glass is not like paint in the way it mixes because of the reactive nature of the chemicals used to color glass. There are charts with recipes for mixing glass colors, but most people mix as a last resort. So, what I have is a lot of different colors of glass – 232 to be exact.
Storage of all these colors is a major issue. There are a variety of creative solutions to the problem. What I use is poster tubes stacked in a deep bookcase. I like to have all my colors separated and labeled so if I come up with a bead or color pallet I like, I can reproduce it. Some people just remember what glass they have, and some people don’t keep that close track. It all depends on the person.
Before I moved in Nov. 2015, my glass was all spread out in various groups around the room depending on when I bought it. It was in no sense organized. Also, I didn’t have enough poster tubes for all my glass so a lot of it was just sitting around in piles. It was still separated and labeled, but it was hard to find a specific color. When I unpacked my glass into my new studio I wanted to organize it based on some basic principle. I chose color.
Arranging my glass was difficult. I needed to get more poster tubes for one thing, and I spent a lot of time moving glass around to make room for more glass of the same color. Also, there were some colors that seemed to bridge the gap between colors. For example the Topaz series, is it neutral or transparent orange? I spent some time moving them around too. I was so happy when I got my glass organized. It was an accomplishment because of my disability.
The next step was to do an inventory of my glass and enter the data into the computer. This was an even bigger challenge. I tried to do it a couple years ago and I was completely unable to do it. I was very unstable then. But recently I finished inventorying my glass. It took me a total of 12 hours over the course of several days and months. I have over 1,600 rods of glass, about 70 lbs.
I like looking at my glass. I think glass is really pretty and I love seeing it all arranged by color. Sometimes when I have a free moment I’ll go into my studio and just look at it and think about all the things I can make with it. Then I think about all the glass I have yet to buy! I have plenty of empty poster tubes to hold more glass, and the glass manufacturers are constantly coming up with new colors. I look forward to growing in to my glass storage system.