Category Archives: boro

Featured Artist: Patty Pulliam

I’ve known Patty for a long time it seems. She makes some simple, beautiful boro beads. She’s a great mentor as well and readily shares what she knows with you. Just ask and you’ve got it. I hope you enjoy what she has to say about lampworking.

*Featured Artist Patty Pulliam

1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?

I saw it on TV and was intrigued. When Tammy from TLD called me to see if I wanted to learn, I jumped at the chance.


2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?

I think it was Jan of 2001 that I had my first class. It’s mostly a hobby, but I do try to sell my work.


3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

Nature is a great inspiration. Nothing is more beautiful than that! It’s tough when the glass muse goes in vacation. Sometimes I look at the gallery at LE to jump start some ideas.


4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

Tough one! There are so many great artists out there who I like for different reasons. Kimberly Affleck for her gorgeous seahorses and great personality; Anastasia always awes me with her unique style; Pipyr because she’s so inventive and really thinks outside the box… and she’s adorable!


There are lots more as well. Too many to list!


5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?

Best: Melting glass and playing with fire!

Worst: Not getting to do it full time.


6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

Well, flinging a hot marble into your lap is always fun!


7. What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

At home I use a GTT Lynx and 2 oxycons. When I’m teaching at TLD I use a HotHead and bulk propylene.


8. What is your favorite glass?



9. What are your favorite color combinations?

I think silvered ivory is my all time favorite. “Dougie Pink” is always fun to make.


10. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

It’s simplistic, but I really love using clear frit over the boro reactive colors. It’s so easy and makes some of the coolest results.

Making good loops on pendants makes me want to scream sometimes.

11. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

Bicones! Can’t make ‘em symmetrical to save my life.


12. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead

The boro frit bead. I really enjoy just making simple round beads. It’s meditative.


13. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?

I want to become a more consistent lampworker, with my results as well as doing it on a regular basis. I don’t think I have any articulated goals, but I always want to improve. I guess getting better with sculptural stuff is a goal.


14. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there?

I would consider myself successful as an artist if I could completely support my habit by selling my work. I wish I knew the key!


15. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

Practice, practice, practice! • Don’t work too hot. • And slow down.


16. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

Yes!! I love taking all kinds of classes. I would be a professional student if I could afford it.


17. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?

I teach classes at TLD Design Center & Gallery in Westmont, IL.

Yes, I’m planning some classes at GiaRosa Creativity Studio & Retreat in Taos, NM.


18. What other creative outlets do you have?

I like to play with all media. I enjoy paper, fiber, polymer clay,metals, wood… you name it! I also enjoy photography and some digital art. I have Art ADD. 🙂




Featured Artist–Brent Graber

Featured Artist Brent Graber


What can you say about Brent? He’s funny. He’s a wonderful teacher. He’s in love. He makes beautiful hearts. He’s a wonderfully talented glass artist. He’s a great dad. He’s just one of my favorite people. Have fun getting to know him a little better!





How did you get started in lampworking?


I had a friend in south Florida that made marbles and sculptural stuff in his garage. I saw the set up one day and asked what it was. He had a Carlisle CC and an Aim front loading kiln. I asked if it worked and if I could melt something. He handed me a clear glass rod, lit the torch and pointed to a pile of crushed colored glass he called frit. Funny name, but what the heck, I’m game… I melted the clear, rolled it around in some of that frit stuff and I was hooked!


What was the thing that made you interested?


The fire and the weird tingly feeling I got when I melted glass… it was a rush and it was definitely not easy. I knew I had to figure it out… I just had to!


How long have you been lampworking?


I’ve been lampworking for about 8 years I guess. Time really doesn’t matter when you’re doing what you love, so it may have been longer. Sure doesn’t seem like 8 years!


Is it a business for you or a hobby?


This is my sole source of income. I’m a single Dad with 3 kids. I have custody of two and this obsession feeds us all. I am very grateful for everything I’ve been able to do in this industry and look forward to a lifetime of melting glass.


What inspires you?


I am in love with glass. I love everything about it. The way it moves… the way it captures light… the way it looks while I’m working with it. It truly is awe-inspiring. Most of my inspiration comes from the glass itself. I make objects resembling other things, but it’s because the glass lends itself to the shape or design so well. Some of my best work has come from an “Awe crap” moment… like… “What am I going to do with this now?”


How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?


I play. I don’t set out to make anything in particular. I sit at the torch and melt something. It will eventually become something interesting and if it doesn’t, I throw it into the woods. Some people think it’s a shame for me to launch a good portion of my work, but the truth is, most of my work wasn’t made to sell. It was the process and I learned what I needed to from it. That was it’s purpose and I am happy to set it free.


Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?


I don’t have 3 favorite… I have at least 100. There are so many talented lampworkers and wonderful human beings in this industry; I couldn’t possibly name anybody my 3 favorites.


I can name 3 people who make me weak in the knees when I see their work…


Paul Stankard… that in no mere mortal. What he does with glass makes me shake my head. He is living proof that there’s no end to what we can do in glass.


Luccio… I’d really just like to know how he gets those tiny fingers all perfectly positioned without melting the one next to it. Mine would all look like burn victims. Mutilated freaks and that’s why I don’t add arms to my human forms yet.


Robert Mickelsen… If you’ve seen his work, you know why. 😉



What is the best thing about lampworking?




The worst?


Running out of propane…


What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?


It’s the same story… funny and scary! I’ve got to give you the back-story first. My Dad used to be a welder and we live in Florida. We have bugs… big as your head… biting bugs. I used to do a lot of lathe work and I have two hand torches as well as a bench torch on my lathe. One night after a session, I came inside and told him the bugs were eating me alive. He said they used to kind of swat at the bugs with their torches when they were welding. He explained that the bug’s wings were so delicate that they would burn up and it didn’t hurt you, if you did it quick. This fascinated me…


Ok, so now fast forward a few weeks or so. I’m on my lathe and there is this yellow fly. It’s a deer fly type bug on speed. I swear these things are part psychic and part Ferrari. He was chewing on me left and right. I had about 6 bites to my legs and every attempt to smack the hellhound resulted in more humiliation. He finally pissed me off! He landed on my big toe (I wear flip flops all the time). He devoured my innocent soft flesh, just happily trying to grow a toenail. I had my Carlisle premix hand torch blazing. I knew what had to be done… I had never been so clear about an objective… I was gonna cook his little butt!!! So, in one fell swoop, I poured the full fury of my 18” blue flame of death onto his fragile little frame. His little world came crashing down and the biblical hell fire and brimstone stories came to life for him… I rejoiced… I was smiling from ear to ear, until I remembered what was under the bug… and as the flame shot sideways, deflected by my toe, I realized I hand forgotten about the most important part of my Dad’s story… “It won’t hurt you, as long as you’re quick!”


I managed to finish the piece before the throbbing set in. The toe was black for a good long while and the blister can only be described as enormous. The bug didn’t recover. 😉


What kind of set up do you use? Torch?


I use a Bethlehem Barracuda and power it with two concentrators from Unlimited Oxygen. I love it!


What is your favorite glass?


What ever I’m melting at the time, but I do predominately work in boro.


Do you have a favorite technique?


Not really… It’s all fun!


What are your favorite color combinations?


Amber Purple over Egyptian White Sands…


What’s your favorite technique?


See the question before last… I guess you didn’t like that answer, so you’re trying to trick me. I’m on to your crafty games. LOL


What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?


The more challenging the better… why would I hate anything? Just because I can’t do it right yet? A real challenge gives me something to look forward to. If I could do everything, I wouldn’t be interested in doing any of it.



What is that shape that you really HATE to make?


Butt plugs. That always made me a little uncomfortable. Oh, by the way… I made sex toys out of borosilicate glass for years. So I’m being serious when I say they were not my favorite shape… 😉


Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?


Hearts. I figure there can never be too much love in the world and I really enjoy making them.



How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future?


My goal is to explore every thing I have time for. I love doing larger sculptural work. I’ll hopefully be healthy enough to do this in some form or fashion, for a very long time. Right up until the day I die would be perfect!


What are your goals?


To be happy and raise my kids with love in their life. To never stop caring about the people around me…



What do you consider as successful? 


Look in the mirror… if you like what you see and there’s a smile more often than not, you’ve achieved it.



What is the key to getting there?


Love yourself enough to do what you need to do for you… love others and give what you can, without expecting anything in return… realize that you are unique… and you deserve to be happy… just like everybody else. Forgive others when they do you wrong, but it’s ok to avoid their evil asses if you can. You don’t have to like everybody… but you do have to like yourself. 



What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?


Don’t compare your work to anybody else’s. There will always be folks who have more skill that you and there will always be folks who can’t do what you can do. If you compare your work to your work, it’s the only fair comparison… if it’s getting better, you’re successful!




Some times the very best ideas come from a mistake you didn’t give up on… it comes from playing and trying new things. Realize that there are no limits to what you can do and you don’t have to do anything in particular… PLAY!



Don’t put too much pressure on yourself…


Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?


Yes, it’s a lot of fun!



Do you teach? 


I do and I love it. It’s one of my passions. I absolutely love it when a student figures something out or realizes that they really can do something difficult. It’s a magical moment and I’m blessed to be a part of it.



Will you travel to teach?


“Have torch will travel!”

I present……..a video! Finally

This is me making a simple implosion pendant.  The video is about 10 minutes long.

Glass Demos

Dianna working on an implosion pendant

Today I went to my old high school to do lampworking and glass blowing demos. I managed to not set anything (including the kids) on fire.  I did get a little carried away on one of my pendants, however, and managed to give myself a little “tan” from the torch.  We had kids from 6th grade and up coming into watch.  Of course, the 6th graders were more interested in my water jar and the fact that the water bubbled when I threw a piece of hot glass in it than what I was melting.Adding bail to heart pendantThe students had watched some videos on Chihuly an another large scale glassblower so I was trying to give them a little taste of what can be done with glass on a smaller scale.  I started with boro, since that’s what I’ve been working on lately.  Unfortunately, when I attempted to move on to soft glass and pull a stringer, my gather dripped right off the rod!  So embarrasing, but they didn’t seem to mind too much. 

I did some implosion pendants, hearts, basic beads, a little glassblowing, and some sculptural pieces.  I attempted to take requests until someone asked for a monkey!  One of the first requests was for a blown vessel.  Of course!  I haven’t done those since I took Tink’s vessel class.  The first one was a total disaster, but the second was wasn’t too bad.  I almost blew the end right out of the first one!  I also did a witch face complete with creepy smile and froggy eyes, fish and a turtle pendant.

 BLowing vessel  Blown Vessel    Adding handle to blown vessel    

implosion-pendant.jpg   implosion-pendant-2.jpg   implosion-pendant-3.jpg   implosion-pendant-4.jpg

fish-pendant.jpg   rounding-bead.jpg   turtle-pendant.jpg

It was a pretty fun day and I hope the students got a new appreciation for smaller sculptures and bead making. 

Jennifer goes to the dark side (boro)!

Brent Graber Heart

I took a class last week that just blew my mind. The class was two days with Brent Graber at Mari’s studio. It was my very first time melting borosilicate glass (Deb calls it “the dark side”) and while I’m still excited and intrigued by glass every day this was a whole new level of WOW!

As far as sculpting and shaping goes, it seems easier. It’s far more stiff than soft glass and easier to freeze that exact moment in time. It’s less shocky and more forgiving. The hard part comes in getting the good color, as far as I can tell.

So one week after the class and boro is all I can think about. I’m getting tanked oxygen in my studio today (my oxycon isn’t strong enough) and I can’t wait to go play. I’m taking all boro to open torch tomorrow and perhaps I’ll even work on my implosions, which were dreadful in class. I hope to try some mandrels too since all I did was off mandrel in the class.

The picture is a heart Brent made for me. I tried to buy one from him in Tucson last year. I wasn’t crazy about the colors he had left and I wanted horns on mine so he said he would make one. I waited and waited, reminded and cajoled… but in typical artist fashion, he just never got it to me. I mentioned this in class, of course, and he said he would make me one before class was over. True to his word I sat right behind him while he created this. I told him I wanted the horns, the wings AND the tail. You can never have enough cow bell, right? After he finished I took a look and it’s the most gorgeous heart I’d ever seen. He wouldn’t even let me pay him for it. He also gave away everything he made in the class.

Thanks to Brent for the heart and for turning me onto boro and very special thanks to Mari, who insists I’m a boro savant even though I don’t feel like one. I’ll post pics of what I create at open torch. Perhaps not only can you watch me create, you can watch my work evolve!