While playing around with neon tubing and my hand torch, I stumbled upon something very cool.
I received my neon training in Maryland and always used a standard neon splicing torch for welding tubes together, which is pretty common in the industry. However, after I moved north and began working in Philadelphia, I discovered the shops in the region did not use the typical fishtail burner neon torch, and instead used a jeweler’s torch to weld their neon tubes together. The main difference between the two torches is that one has flames that come from two sides and the other has only a single tip flame. Being as how the shop I was working in only had a jeweler’s torch, I had no choice but to learn to use it. Eventually, I ended up hooking up both styles of hand torches to my bending station and find them both to be indispensable in my neon work.
It was using the jeweler’s torch with allowed me to “discover” a technique that use to embellish my neon tubes with what I call Glowing Bubbles.
For this process, I blow a hole into the neon tubing then fill the hole in with glass from a solid colored rod and blow it out into a bubble.
I really love the effect it gives my tubes an I think it adds another dimension.
Bending neon tubes is already labor intensive as every single turn of the glass requires a separate heat in the fires and adding my glowing bubbles to tubes is very time-consuming. Quite a lot of my earlier artworks have these glowing bubbles.
I had moved away from embellishing my tubes with glowing bubbles, but plan to revisit this technique in upcoming work. Stay tuned……