Each bead is held in my hand and applied to a stone or diamond wheel mounted in a custom lathe machine. I have several different wheels -- each creating a different effect into the surface of the bead. The texture can vary depending on which wheel I use and what I envision for each bead. Some have a random faceting or patterned faceting, while others have grooves engraved into each facet. Some beads are engraved with vertical or horizontal grooves. The grooves can be very subtle or deeply engraved; sometimes patterned and sometimes not. This technique gives each bead a unique visual and tactile surface.
When I start engraving a Battuto bead, the first places to touch the wheel are the bead holes. I engrave both ends to match. Engraving is done with water dripping onto the wheel that cools the glass. I change to another wheel, which will give a different texture to the surface. I begin to engrave into the surface - following where two colors come together or creating a pattern onto a solid color bead -- other times just engraving random areas on the surface. All the time, I’m keeping watch on the overall balance and shape, making sure that every surface of the bead has been touched by the wheel.
I melt glass using a torch fueled with propane and oxygen to create my glass art. Each glass bead is created one at a time by melting colored glass rods in the flame of the torch. Once the glass is in a molten state, I wrap it onto a rod that has been dipped in clay; meanwhile balancing, manipulating, and shaping the bead until I am satisfied with my creation. The bead is then cooled in a kiln at a controlled rate of time and temperature. This controlled rate allows the molecules inside the glass to realign, releasing stress within the glass and giving the piece strength and integrity. Once cool, I remove the bead from the rod and clean the bead hole.
Battuto Technique... a form of glass engraving.