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07/10/2014 / katnewman

A trip to the dark side

Well with all the excitement of the new kit and playing with new techniques I had completely overlooked the fact that I can now have a proper play with borosilicate glass! Boro is a stiffer glass and requires much more heat, cools more quickly and is what is used for the big pieces, sculptures etc.

The lampworkers refer to Boro as ‘the dark side’. Sounds right up my street, right?! Not sure why it is referred thusly but I have always imagined it was because of the endless possibilities. You can only go so far with soft glass, it is temperamental if you do not baby it, keep it warm all the time. Tricky! Boro has its own little quirks too but you can go so much bigger with it as its not so sensitive to the cooling down and thermal shock. Imagine a soft glass worker sat quietly at a bench making intricate beads etc and then imagine a boro glass worker stood up making larger than life sculptures with a much bigger flame. That’s how I see it anyway and although I love making beads, I am loving getting my teeth into the boro!

So, I will be documenting my boro journey here, warts and all none of that pretending I came out if the womb being able to do absolutely everything, here!

I have a few rods from the lovely Kevin at and I have also got the starter pack of Asian boro from Martin at

I’ve become addicted to the implosions, which go rather well with boro. My first lesson was in the importance of the order of work, and that some colours just fade away to nothing when spread from small to large amounts!


This has a bit of a dome on the top as I couldn’t get to the excess glass to melt it in properly – why? Because I put the hanging bail on too soon. Needs to go on last! This is a lovely blue though and I managed an almost perfect marble using a pin frog and bubble implosion or whatever you call it!


It was at that point I realised that my asthmatic old oxycon needed a service so off it went to Tuffnels for some tlc. So I made the most of the postage charge and added more glass to the return delivery. Well it would be silly not to 😉

So, asian boro comes out, and my next lesson is that some greens are not friendly at all!!


Why did I go for green first? Well for starters its just scrumptious!! This one is called imperial green and the center stamen are amber. You can see that in the bottom left petal there is a curved crack. This is apparrently because working some greens can change their coe. Coefficient of expansion if you want to look it up. Basically all your glass needs to be the same coe for it to play nicely, or you get cracks. Boro is coe33, greens can go to about coe50 ish with more working. So no more boro implosions with imperial green! I will need to test more to see what can and can’t be used.

I’ve had lots of help and advice from lovely fellow glassworkers and I’m ready to play again today – after I’ve ordered some glass tube to play with – Christmas baubles oh yes please!!! 😀

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