Regarding glass... I got into a discussion with someone last week about flame annealing soft glass beads. I've been making beads for over 9 years and I've been a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers for 9 years. All the information I've read and heard on this topic is that so-called flame annealing does NOT properly anneal your beads. If you anneal them this way, they are more likely to break some time down the road than if you anneal them in a kiln. Why? Because flame annealing does not eliminate the stress that is created in the glass when parts of the bead (outside) cool at a different rate than other parts of the bead (inside). The person with whom I was having this conversation insisted that when she took a bead making class many years ago, they did not put their beads into a kiln. They flame annealed their beads, and she still has these beads many years later and they never broke.
So I ask all of you folks out there who are glass bead makers: What is your take on this subject? Is flame annealing sufficient? Would you ever sell beads that you only flame anneal? Would you even bother flame annealing?
And now I'm off for a Starbucks treat. Go have yourselves a happy and creative day!