Lampwork Glass Beads 5 of 6
Close up of the finished product!
A combination of opaque colors (cobalt blue, pea green, white) and transparent colors (dark blue, light green, black) were used on this piece. Yes, black is a transparent color and not an opaque in this field. Crazy huh?
If you look carefully, you can see that the large cobalt blue bead that the froggie sits on has swirls of transparent light green in it). Raised dots in transparent light green and dark blue are made in a variety of appliciations. Transparents really bring out the sparkle of the glass and add interest!
Lampwork Glass Beads 1 of 6Lampwork Glass Beads 1 of 65 years ago in Artisan Crafts More Like This
Photo of the glass rods available for purchase and the main staple of a Lampworker. This "raw" form of the glass is melted in the heat of a flame and wrapped around a steel mandrel in order to make a bead. The mandrel is what provides the hole in the bead so that it can be used in jewelry making.
Lampwork Glass Beads 2 of 6Lampwork Glass Beads 2 of 65 years ago in Artisan Crafts More Like This
A view of the Lampwork Workstations showing the ventilation that is required as well as surfaces that are fireproofed.
Lampwork Glass Beads 3 of 6Lampwork Glass Beads 3 of 65 years ago in Artisan Crafts More Like This
Close-up of a Lampworking station. The left hand holds and rotates the steel mandrel which is coated in a clay type mixture of bead release. The right hand holds the glass rod which when melted in the flame becomes soft and the glass is applied to the mandrel. The steel mandrel is what makes the hole for your bead and mandrels come in various sizes to accomodate many different applications. Once your basic bead has been made, Artisans may take smaller glass rods called "stringers" to apply the finer detailed decorations to the surface such as raised or flattened dots, squiggles, raised lines and such. Once the decoration is complete, the bead is taken out of the flame and placed into a kiln where it will "soak" for several hours in extremely high temperatures. This process which is called annealing and is a must-do final process, assures that stress is taken out of the glass assuring the owner a lifetime of joy to behold and removes the danger of breakage.
Lampwork Glass Beads 4 of 6Lampwork Glass Beads 4 of 65 years ago in Artisan Crafts More Like This
A close-up of a Lampworker in the process of making a bead. The left hand holds the steel mandrel and rotates it as the right hand holds the raw glass rod. The glass rod is slowly introduced to the flame to avoid thermal shocking and shattering of the glass. Many a Lampworker has the scars to prove the love of their career! As the glass rod reaches a molten state, it is applied to the steel mandrel, coating a small section of it. More and more glass is melted and applied as the left hand twirls the mandrel counter-clockwise ensuring an even application of the glass. Once the basic bead has been made, a smaller rod of glass called a "stringer" is applied to make the surface decorations which can be highly detailed and quite intensive.
Lampwork Glass Beads 6 of 6Lampwork Glass Beads 6 of 65 years ago in Artisan Crafts More Like This
Actual size of my Froggie beads!
Thank You very much for your interest!
If you are interested in learning this ancient art, try a Google search and include your City and State along with the key words lampworking and instruction.