The Art of Lampwork Glass

The Lampwork Glass Bead:

If you were to walk into my booth, at an art festival, on a beautiful sunny day, the first thing I would ask you is “Are you familiar with lampwork glass beads?”  Most would say “No!”.   I get a little excited when a visitor says no, because then I get to explain how it is done!

How it is Done:

The process of making a glass bead begins with heating glass rods, using a torch, until the glass becomes molten, then it is formed around a bead mandrel (I typically have a glass rod and bead mandrel in my hand to explain this). Once a base bead is created, it is decorated by using additional colored rods.

Cabochons are created using a similar method, but the mandrel has a disk on one end to allow for the flat base of the cabochon.

But instead of just talking about it, let me show you!

In this first video we take a tour of my studio to go over the basic tools that are needed to make lampwork glass beads, and cabochons.

The Art of Making Lampwork Glass Beads:

The earliest verifiable lampwork glass goes back to the fifth century BC!* The word “lampwork glass” comes from fact that an oil-fueled lamp, was used by the Artist, as their torch to melt glass.

Murano, Italy is where lampworking became wildly popular in the 14th century, and Murano glass is still used today in bead making.

Let me show you how a simple bead is made using a torch and glass rods.

Introducing the Glass Cabochon:

My passion for making jewelry, started with Glass Beads, but it was when I discovered how to make “lampwork glass cabochons”, that the fun really started happening!

You see, glass cabochons don’t have a hole in them as a bead does, so I had to find a way to set the cabochons. This introduced me to “silversmithing” which is another wonderful express of my art.

Watch to see how I make glass cabochons! Enjoy!

My goal in making lampwork glass beads and cabochons, is to have balance in both their design and colors. Bringing together a piece of jewelry that captivates your eye, and delights your soul!

*Lierke, Rosemary, “Early History of Lampwork – Some Facts, Findings, and Theories,” Glastech.Ber.65, 1992: p. 342.

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