Friday, August 28, 2009

Marbles, Marbles, Everywhere

I got bit by the marble bug last year. I really am intrigued by these little, and not so little, spheres. I didn't really like playing with marbles as a kid - never saw the fun it it. I know that will cause issues with some serious marble collectors though. I find the very small "play" marbles to be throw-away stuff. Most are made overseas now anyway. But some people seriously collect them. There is another faction that collects larger, hand-made marbles. These are considered art. Most are in the 2" to 3" diameter size range. This is what I learned to make. I make these in the furnace rather than in torch flame. This is the basic difference in "off-hand" glassblowing versus flameworking.
I've made about 250 now. Here is a picture of one I made that I quite like. It's a little over 2" in diameter. I haven't weighed it, but I think it would be around one pound. Photographing marbles is hard. You need to get a good close up and the lighting tends to cause reflections everywhere. This could be touched up in Photoshop but I haven't bothered on these type of reference pictures.

This piece is a black core with the swirls of color in white, yellow, red, and a sparkly special glass called dichroic.

Not shown in the picture is the north pole of the marble. This one has all the colors swirling together to a single point - similar to a vortex. The south pole doesn't swirl, the colors do meet at the pole but without the vortex. All in all a very nice marble.

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