This is my studio in my garden ,it is a room behind the garage that used to be a guest bedroom.
I love the sound of the parakeets while I work. I keep the door open for better ventilation.
I have a large hood system to pull out any fumes from working with the torch. I use an oxygen generator and a propane tank as my combined fuel source.
I use slender rods of glass melted to a soft taffy stage and form the glass around a very thin mandrel, ( stainless steel rod). This makes the hole in the bead!
As I make the beads I place them in an Aim kiln to anneal them. This brings them up to almost 1,000' and then overnight very slowly cool them down. This makes them extremely strong and unlikely to ever break.
In my workspace I have many tools that help me manipulate the glass. I always wear special glasses with protective lenses that shield my eyes from the torch glare. I use a daylight lamp that helps me to see the colors accurately.
These are the pencil sized rods of glass, I never have enough colors it seems!
The glass prices vary from $12.00 per pound to over $100.00 per pound.
Here I'm choosing sterling silver beads to string up with my beads to make custom bracelets sized to fit the new owner.When I began in 2005 I made and sold many bracelets with my beads, but now I just concentrate on making beads and let jewelry designers create with them. ( I still do some jewelry by special order, contact me for more information.)
Here is the final product! This is a black base with some details done in that expensive $100.00 glass, pricey but I love it!
Thank you for visiting and I invite you to come and watch me make beads sometime... it's mesmerizing!
The word "lampwork" comes from the original practice hundreds of years ago of using oil lamps to heat the cold glass. Glass is all about chemistry. Glass is composed, at it's most basic level, of silica combined with soda oxide in the form of soda ash and calcium oxide in the form of lime carbonates. This soda-lime glass is manufactured in Italy,Germany and now a few special silver glass makers here in the U.S.
But really there is so much more that goes into the creation of each bead, mainly the decisions the artist makes each step along the way, from what type of glass to use , hot to mix the fuel, to the particular color mix and reactions that derive from placing one glass on top of or mixing with another.
The explorations are limitless, the possibilities are infinite, the call of the flame is powerful.