I suspect people think it's a little weird when you tell them you've been in the basement all day melting glass. Especially when you tell them you were having fun doing it.
I have always enjoyed a variety of "crafts". (I don't really like that word. It conjures up images of gingham, ducks, and tole painting.) Even as a small child I was begging my mom to puh-lease let me use the sewing machine so I could make clothes for Barbie. Over the years I continued to expand my interests -- crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, quilting, paper making, stained glass, bead weaving, and bead "stringing".
I liked creating jewelry with beads, but somehow, it felt like I was cheating. All I was doing was buying beads and stringing them on a wire -- anyone could do that. So I decided I wanted to begin making my own beads. At my request the darling husband (hereafter referred to as DH), bought me a lampworking kit for my birthday. So one afternoon, armed with tools of the trade as well as a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, and flame retardant suit, I began.
The kit provided fiber blankets in which to place the beads for cooling (to prevent thermal shock). I successfully created several blobs and one beautifully round bead. It was a miracle! I carefully placed each creation, still on the metal mandrel, into the fiber blanket. Imagine my dismay when I later found that all my carefully crafted blobs and one beautifully round bead had cracked!
Those fiber blankets weren't going to cut it, and I wasn't too convinced by the google searches that turned up flower pots of vermiculite and other cooling methods. I knew at this point that a kiln was in order to properly cool and anneal the pieces.
Once my kiln arrived, I got excited about all the possibilities. Not only could I anneal lampworked beads, but I could fuse glass! And I could fire metal clay! I knew that to calm my excitement, a trip to the Hobby Lobby was in order for just one small piece or two of glass for fusing.
Thus began my journey with fused glass.