For the second time around I have been experimenting with making glass leaves on wire, effectively a glass head pin. (A head pin is often used in beaded jewellery; it is a metal wire with something on one end that prevents the beads from falling off.)

My first attempt at making glass head pins was a few years ago. I was not entirely happy with the attachment point between the glass and the wire, which was formed by pushing the wire into the glass after the glass has been shaped. Very prone to letting go, and I lost too many leaves to really trust it.

What goes around, comes around.

A few weeks ago I realised that the techniques that I am currently using to make my lapel pins, drawing pins and stud earrings can be extended fairly naturally to making glass head pins. Now I wind the molten glass directly onto the wire, so the bond between metal and glass is very secure (forged by fire, you might say). The wire is more likely to break due to metal fatigue than to divorce itself from the glass.

So now I’m obsessed with making head pins. Let’s start with a set of autumn leaves:

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

These are copper head pins, measuring about 55 mm (2.2″), end to end. The leaves are different shades of amber (sometimes called topaz): light, medium and dark. Sometimes a single leaf will have two different shades of glass colour but there are none shown in this photo. These are what I would call small leaves, approximately 18 mm (0.7″) long, 13 mm (0.5″) wide and about 4 mm (0.2″) thick. The wire is about 38 mm (1.5″).

You might be wondering what you would do with them. The head pins aren’t really an “end-user” product, but will be more interesting to jewellery designers.


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