When I first began melting glass I was averse to presses. I’ll admit it. I was a press snob. I thought they made the beads look too commercial…too perfect, no longer hand made. And, I thought they looked 'easy'. But I noticed that the trend seemed to be designers (who were doing most of the purchasing on EBay) with a huge preference for pressed beads, so some where along the way I decided to give them a try. The first one I bought was a spree. Someone said that was the easiest to start with. I think it was a good month before I had one bead fit for selling…granted, I did give up on it for a time and let it sit in the corner to collect dust for a bit before I decided to give it another go. So much for ‘easy’.
The use of presses to form a well balanced, nicely shaped bead with neat ends takes a good deal of practice and with the help of artisans before me I learned a few tricks of the trade. Mostly I learned through trial and error. Removing and adding glass until my eye was trained to judge just how much glass and just what pre pressed shape looked right for that particular press. I no longer think that using presses is an easy out…I know the work behind them.
But, I have to admit, there’s still a bit in me that sees the resulting bead as a little too conforming…a little too exact. I seem to be a minority but in my heart I’ll probably always prefer the look of a free formed bead. Do you have a preference...press perfect beads? or freely formed?
A trio of unpressed beads