Sunday, July 10, 2011

Task Lighting and Studio Set up thoughts

When setting up your torch and work bench, you need to pay particular attention to lighting. I do know people with their studio set up in brilliantly-lit rooms in strong sunlight, and for the life of me, I have no idea how they can read the heat in the glass. I wound up torching somewhere once with full sunlight shining right on the torch - and I couldn't even see the flame, much less figure out if the glass was going to melt. It was a fairly hellish experience. To each, their own, I guess.

I prefer the torch itself to be fairly dark, so that I can easily read the heat base in the glass as I work, and a bright light nearby so I can tell what colour rod I'm using, and to wash out the effect of the heat in the glass, so I can check and see what the bead will (more or less), look like when it's cool.

Here - you see a 3-light standard lamp - one light shining down on the table to illuminate the glass, and handy to hold beads in progress up to, to check the colours. The second light bounces off the wall, and the third is aimed straight up, to bounce off the ceiling, for diffuse, indirect, ambient light.

Nothing to do with lighting, but my "assistant" - the glass rod rack - stands behind the torch, lined up, so that the protruding rods receive heat from the flame. I can adjust the heat they get by sliding the rods to the right, out of the flame, or left, into the flame. The first (lowest) three positions get the most heat (slot 2 and 3 will line up right in the flame, and slot one gets a little less heat, it clears the flame. The other 4 hold glass and keep it handy - also good for drying big mandrels. Or regular ones. The assistant is great for big rods, shocky glass, and for seriously speeding up production work! I adore it and consider it to be seriously useful.

And here's another idea. My dipped mandrels (they are stuck in a piece of floral foam - Oasis - by the way) - they sit on a lazy susan (from Ikea) - so that I can rotate it to get at the big, thin, long, fat, or dry ones, as the case demands.

There you go - some food for thought. The task lighting is really important, though, I think. You will do better work if you can "see" the heat in the glass easily, but some patterns and colour combos, you just don't know what you are getting if you don't look at it under a strong, direct light.

Gives you more control over the end result!


  1. This is really helpful, to see how others set up their glass area. Thanks so much for this post. Your points about the lighting are excellent!

  2. Totally agree about the light. My torch is next to a window so I've installed a blackout blind that I can pull down on bright days. Love the lazy susan idea - I have my mandrels sticking out of a tub of rice (uncooked!) and am forever catching myself on them when I'm reaching for a particular width. Might have to get myself a little turntable!