This page is going to be added to and full of information on many aspects of Beads and Beading.
If there is something you would like to add here – with a link to your own blog – use the contact me form and send me your infomation and I’ll see if it will suit.
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Self-Representing Artist Jewelry Designer ~ SRAJD
☺ SRAJD ~ which stands for Self-Representing Artist Jewelry Designer and is reserved for those artisans who create and sell their own work. Members of this select group DO NOT sell jewelry for mass production.
Your purchase supports a self-representing artist who is dedicated to deliver creative, inspired jewelry designs using the best quality components and highest standards of workmanship.
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What Are Lampwork Beads?
Of the many types of beads I use in my designs, some of my favorites are lampwork beads. They are little works of art with a hole for stringing! I buy from many gifted Artisans; one gracious artisan gave me a descritpion of how she creates these little treasures!
Handmade Lampwork Beads – Donna Merrill
The process of making glass beads by hand is called lampworking. Here’s a brief description of how I make my beads:
I use a torch that operates with oxygen and propane to melt the rods of glass used to make beads. I begin with a thin stainless steel rod called a mandrel coated with a substance that allows the bead to come off easily after it cools. I heat the mandrel in the flame with my left hand, so the molten glass will stick to it, and I heat the tip of the glass rod with my right hand until the glass is glowing and molten. Then I touch the tip of the molten glass to the mandrel and begin to slowly wind a ribbon of glass onto the mandrel in the flame, I hold the mandrel horizontally and slowly rotate it at a constant rate of speed until gravity and centrifugal force turn the glass into a round bead. For a basic bead, that’s pretty much it!
Beads with patterns inside are done with layers of glass melted into the original bead and encased with a thick layer of clear glass. Patterns on the tops of beads are made with layers of dots or lines of molten glass. Depending on the complexity of the design, it takes me from 10 to 20 minutes to make a single bead.
Each bead is put into my kiln at 1000 degrees where it is annealed overnight. The controller on the kiln reduces the temperature very gradually to take all the stress out of the glass, so you don’t have to worry about breaking beads! I then take them off the mandrels, clean the bead release out of the holes, and they’re ready to go into jewellery!
When you buy jewellery made with lampwork, you are buying art to wear.
Thank-you and Enjoy!