I recently discovered the magic of lampworking – using a torch to create glass beads.
Using a blowtorch, glass rods can be melted onto a mandrel to create colourful beads of wonderfulness! The glass comes in a rainbow of colours and an amazing array of techniques can be used to create dots, lines, speckled patterns and mosaics (to name just a few).
I had come to Helen’s studio (who has her own Etsy shop selling wonderful glass beads and unique jewellery) for my first lesson. After a hesitant start (the blowtorch looked quite threatening!) I started to loosen up and really enjoyed using the intense heat to melt the glass into my desired shape. I had a half day lesson which was by no means long enough to enable me to master anything, but I started to get a feel for the glass and how to get it to do what I wanted (most of the time!). I cannot wait to get back behind the blowtorch and practice my newly discovered techniques – especially when the finished and annealed beads arrived through the post and I saw for the first time my little creations – each one was a miniature work of art and because of their handmade nature, they are each one of a kind.
I had been waiting with great anticipation for my beads to arrive in the post and as soon as they did I got straight to my beading table to create a new bracelet. I had managed to make a range of rainbow beads encased in clear glass and I loved the finished effect (as you know I have a thing for rainbows!). I was originally going to keep the beads for myself but the way I see it, if I sell this bracelet it means I can pay for more lessons. Before I even managed to get it listed in my shop, my partner’s mum spotted it and just had to have it! Not only has my bracelet found a home, but I’ll still be able to see it from time to time.
I’ve also made a pair of 14k gold filled earrings using the shiny, metallic effect beads that Helen and I made – I absolutely love how they turned out. Helen made the two larger beads, and I made the two smaller ones, so it made sense to create an alternating design with one of each colour on each earring. If you’re interested in buying these one of a kind earrings, simply click on the photo above for more info.
I cannot wait to be able to set up my own lampworking studio – I’ve definitely caught the bug – but for now I’m more than happy to continue my lessons – thanks again Helen!