Have you ever watched someone sculpt molten glass? Many glass studios will demonstrate glass blowing techniques as a way to introduce the art of creating with molten glass. Most of these studios produce big pieces like vases and vessels by sculpting shapes and then kilning them in a glory hole. Making glass beads is a very similar process on a much smaller scale.
This is a picture of me forming a bead. The stick that I build my bead on is called a mandrel. I put my glass rod into the flame of my torch with my right hand and as the glass becomes molten I wrap it by turning the mandrel with my left hand. Molten glass love to be round so it creates a very nice bead shape.
After I sculpt my bead, I place it in a kiln and very slowly cool the glass. This process is called annealing and it makes the glass stronger and prevents it from cracking.
Here are some beads after they have annealed in the kiln. I will take them off the mandrels and will remove all the bead release that is in the hole of the bead.
Here is a fresh batch of beads after they have been cleaned. They are ready to wire wrap.
Here is one of my new Spring pieces that is wire wrapped and ready to go. Glass is an amazing medium because it is different every time I work with it. Now I need to go make some beads!