I’m Maryanne and I live with my supportive husband, Bob, on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania. Our son, Rob (the Harry at the bottom of the page – long story!) has permanently left the nest after finishing up his master’s degree in computer science. Our household now includes our Shelties, Rudy the Wonder Dog and a couple of newish additions: Fargo (who we suspect has a possible St. Bernard or Golden Retriever relative) and Lulu (an especially delicate, but feisty little thing.) The most interesting thing about Fargo and Lulu is that they are supposedly half-brother and sister!
After a lifetime of pursuing various and sundry interests including ventures into the corporate world of sales and advertising, crewelwork and cross stitch, quilts (collecting, buying and selling), gardening, operating an herb shop for 8 years, & finally a wholesale soapmaking business (Lancaster County Soapworks), I returned to jewelry-making, one of my favorite areas of study as an art major.
This hobby expanded, from seed bead work to stringing semi-precious stones and silver work. After attending a bead show in October of 2003 and discovering lampworked beads, I was fascinated and when I returned home, signed up for a beginner’s class.
After only one class, the hypnotic effects of spinning molten glass onto a steel mandrel to produce shining, colorful beads had me in its spell. At night, as I closed my eyes to sleep, the vision of a torch and honey-like glass was all I saw. The siren’s song of the torch had done its work.
In the picture above, I am demonstrating beadmaking on a torch called a “hot head.” This is a great torch and many lampworkers use it all the time. I chose it for the demo because it is easily transported.
Below is my work area at home. I use a propane-oxygen mix torch called a “minor.” The minor is a very quiet torch. It also burns hotter and the flame can be more easily adjusted than the hot head, so it is my “everyday” torch.
The pinkish purple shield takes the place of the bulky goggles I need to wear when I travel. It protects the glass worker’s eyes and also filters out the orange sodium flare that makes it impossible to see what is happening in the flame. On the left, you can see the orange “bead door” on my annealing kiln. After the beads are made, they are popped into the kiln to first soak in a hot kiln and then to cool slowly so they are properly annealed and “tougher!” The rods to the right are glass – what we use to make the beads.
Creating the beads and then making them into something even more beautiful and precious with the addition of silver and other beads is quite satisfying.
Now it is time to take the next step and bring my creations into the outside world through my studio and this website, Torchsong Studio. I hope you will enjoy looking at my work, working with it and/or wearing it as much as I enjoy creating it.