I melt glass into Sundrops in my NE Minneapolis backyard, using a three foot tall magnifying glass (technically a fresnel lens) to focus sunlight, which can produce a 'hot spot' reaching 3,000 degrees! Shaped simply with focused sunlight and gravity, the molten glass naturally forms an elegant droplet shape. The droplet is broken off at the thin 'neck', which is returned to the heat and the sharp point melted into a ball.
As the day progresses and the sun moves across the sky, I have to constantly refocus the magnifying lens in order to keep a tightly focused hot spot that produces enough heat to melt glass. Our lens stand pivots horizontally to follow the sun as it moves from east to west, and also tilts to keep the light in focus as the sun rises and lowers from morning to afternoon.
I use two types of glass to make Sundrops: recycled bottle glass and colored art glass (aka stained glass). I use Skyy Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Tanqueray Gin, Jagermeister, and various wine and beer bottles for many of the blues, greens and browns I make. However, glass bottle colors are limited, so stained glass provides most of the rest of the rainbow. No matter what kind of glass I'm using, I cut it into narrow strips for better control when melting the glass.
Recycled Silver Wire
After finishing the glass droplet, I wrap each Sundrop with recycled sterling silver wire to form a securely attached loop from which to suspend the droplets. Once that is done, it is time to find drops that match for earring pairs. Although no two Sundrops are exactly the same, I work to find the best matches according to both size and color variation.
Each piece of jewelry comes on a card made of 100% recycled paper, which carries the story of how
Sundrops are made - perfect for gifts, or just as a reminder that we can all do a little to reduce our impact and save our beautiful planet.