Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lampworking 101

1. Krakator Nugget Lampwork Beads 2. Yellow Squares with Green Dots 3. Funky Lampwork Beads

Artists and crafters of today are experiencing a renaissance in the popularity of beads, jewelry making and bead embellished textile arts. With this rise in popularity of beading there has also been a revival in the ancient art of glass beadmaking, more commonly known as lampworking or flameworking.

Lampworking is the art of creating glass beads, vessels or sculptures in the flame of a torch or historically, an oil lamp. Fortunately, technology has advanced from the day of the oil lamp and flameworkers typically either use a single fuel torch or an oxygen/propane premix or surface mix torch for a hot, clean flame.

Beads are fashioned by first melting the tip of a rod of soda lime or borosilicate glass. The molten glass is wound upon a stainless steel metal mandrel that has been coated in a clay-like substance to prevent the bead from sticking to the metal. Each bead is then shaped and embellished with tiny glass stringers or noodles, metal foils or even enamels. The glass is then flame polished and promptly placed in a small kiln and held or “soaked” at over 900 degrees to anneal or eliminate stress in the glass. The beads or objects are gradually cooled overnight to prevent “thermal shock” or breakage from the hot glass cooling too rapidly. This annealing and slow cooling process assures strength and durability for your long lasting enjoyment.

1. Lampwork Pet Charm 2. Adobe Flower Lampwork Bead Pendant 3. Orange Lampwork Bracelet 4. Reticulated Flower Pendant
5. Ambered Boro Shield Pendant 6. Coral Mango Dangle Bracelet
7. Ocean Waves Boro Beads

For more information about glass beads and lampworking, I have compiled a list of my favorite books and resources!
  • Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins
  • You Can Make Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins
  • Beads of Glass by Cindy Jenkins
  • Passing the Flame by Corina Tettinger
  • 1000 Glass Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Schrader and Cathy Finegan
  • The Art and Soul of Glass Beads by Susan Ray and Richard Pearce
Some online favorites are:

See more amazing handmade Lampwork creations from these KCEtsy Lampwork Artists:
Anglefire Art Glass Genea BeadsJamihamilton

*Written by Lampwork Artist Angelfire Art Glass

1 comment:

mamagotcha said...

Gorgeous work!

Do you know of any local (KCMO) lampworking classes? Or an artist who would be willing to teach one-on-one?

Many thanks!