[I wrote this a while ago, but I have finally updated it with photos.]

I have collected a whole bunch of matchboxes from one of the cafes in the neighbourhood that was kind enough to leave them lying around. They are small (5.5 x 2.5 x 0.7 cms), but you could use bigger ones if you want. I like the fact that they are all the same size, but maybe that’s the anal in me.

Matchbox economy

I pick up every crumb, sliver and chunk of expensive (handpulled) glass that flies around my table and put it into a labelled matchbox. The ends of stringers also go in there. I store the matchboxes in a shallow plastic container from the local Japanese take-away.

Matchbox economy

Then whenever you want to pull a stringer of a handpulled glass, tip out the contents of its matchbox onto a graphite marver (eg). Heat up the tip of a rod of the same colour and then use the molten glass to pick up the bits and pieces. If you need to pick up a biggish chunk then push the molten glass as far around the chunk as possible; this seems to minimise the toxic shock. Melt it in, pick up more, melt it, etc. Be careful, avoid creating holes or gaps in the gather. When you have a big enough gather then pull your stringer.


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