Glass Line
October / November, 1997 - Vol. 11 No. 3


by The Venerable Beadle

Creative Glass Techniques:
Fusing, Painting, Lampwork

By Bettina Eberle,

Ashville, NC: Lark Books, 1997. 152 pp, 9 1/4 X 10-1/8 in.,
165 color photographs, paperback.

This beautiful book, which was also published this year in Switzerland with the subtitle "A workbook for glass fusing, glass painting and flamework with glass", is not specifically about beads. In fact, beads get only a small space devoted to them: three pages to be exact. Of this, a total of eighteen lines plus two photos cover the entire technique of making wound glass beads. However, in the abundance of other techniques discussed there are many which are capable of direct application to the decoration of glass beads. And right there exists a problem for The Venerable Beadle because he was taught to abhor decoration. Thus, while these Bead Columns have, from time to time, alerted the reader to the importance of design considerations there have been few instances where the Beadle has suggested "decorations". If you aren't afraid of decorations, and there are fewer craft persons who are than when The Beadle was a lad, read this book.

The chief deficiency of this book is the lack of detailed information on materials and equipment Each of the three sections of the book have two or three pages in which materials and equipment are discussed but the information presented is inadequate and most of it does not apply to the United States although it is possible that there are importers here who stock at least some of the materials shown.

For example, consider this statement: "In order to apply paints very precisely when I'm creating a defined pattern, I always work with a clear adhesive film that sticks slightly to the glass." One would think a material this widely used by the author would be identified but it is not nor is a source of supply. A couple of the magnificent photographs in the book (by Susi Muller) show that the backing paper bears a legend which appears to read "Hansa Aero Pro" and has a grid printed on the back surface. This suggests to the reviewer that this is some sort of shelf paper. Do any of the readers of Glass Line know for sure? (And while we are at it, what is "charcoal-free mineral water?) As another example consider "decal paper". The Beadle currently has a particular interest in obtaining some of this material so he was disappointed to find that, in spite of the fact that it is mentioned on five pages, no source of supply is given. At the time that Kay Kinney published her first books on glass craft there may have been an excuse for making the reader dig up his own sources of supply, but there certainly isn't any today.

If the Equipment and Materials pages of the Fusing and Painting sections are noteworthy for what they do not contain, those pages in the Lampwork section are noteworthy for what they do, unfortunately, contain. We can learn in the Lampwork section, and The Beadle chooses not to, that "Polaroid sun glasses [can be used as] a good protection against the bright light of the flame." Also, we can see in the photograph of the equipment and materials used for lampwork a "Bic"-type cigarette lighter. Homer Hoyt would have a fit if he found one of his students using such a lighter to light his torch!

Here are a few examples of interesting techniques most of which are directly applicable to glass beadmaking.

The "floated luster" technique, which can be found in the section on glass painting, seems well worth trying on glass beads in order to make beads which obviously belong to the same family but yet all are different from each other.

The use of a "strong rust remover from a hardware or drug store to remove traces of bright gold, platinum or luster from glass." He suspects that it must be the oxalic acid that is responsible for its efficacy. (This substance, by the way, is also of use in removing traces of many bead releases.)

The author shows a couple of ingenious uses for rubber o-rings. In one they serve as buffers between the pieces of glass in an assemblage. In the other an o-ring serves as an elegant yoke between a glass pendant and a jump ring.

If you have accumulated a large quantity of stubs from Moretti canes which are too short to seal together you might consider using them to make a "junk de verre" bowl as shown in the section on fusing.

The translation from the original German, by Mary Killough, is excellent although one wonders who to blame for the gaffe which occurs in an explanation of the methods used by furnace glassblowers to shape and work with glass: "To shape the glass, they usually use wet wooden forms. The moisture in the hot glass disperses into the wood, and the steam, which forms a layer between the wood and glass, prevents the glass from sticking to or burning the wooden form." "!"

The workmanship of this book, which was printed in Italy, is excellent. The Venerable Beadle recommends that you read it, not so much for what it says or illustrates, but for what the contents will inspire you to do with your own beads. While you are at it get a copy of the catalog of craft books sold by Lark Books. (800)284-3388.

Join the on going discussion about Hot Glass
GL'S - HotGlass Forum.
Do you have questions you would like several answers and/or opinions on?
Try posing it on Glass Line's HotGlass Forum. You can also search the Forum...
You may find the answer is already posited there.

Send Your E-MAIL - Questions, Comments, PRAISE, or Complaints ?
To The - Editor - Jim Thingwold
















Glass Line's Search Engine.
This form searches the pages of Glass Line.


Have a little information you want to contribute to this publication - send us an E-mail telling us all about it at We'll post it, and give you credit for it. You never know who might be reading!

Copyright © 1995-01 GLASS LINE. All Rights Reserved.
All trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
Last Modified: Saturday, 07-Feb-2009 06:59:33 MST