Why is it called lampwork or flamework?
Lampwork or Flamework means melting and shaping glass with a torch. The first glass beads made were created using oil lamps with a wick. Modern beadmakers now have a variety of torches and fuels to consider when setting up a studio. Here is a picture of the torch I use, made by Carlisle Machine Works.
Who IS the LazyCat?
Ah yes… There are actually two of them here at Hilltop. Sophie (in front) and Sadie are in charge of most everything and seldom let us forget it. Our job is to cater to their every whim and in return they will sit here on our laps and purr when it is convenient for them.
What does “SRA” mean?
The SRA logo means “self representing artist”. The members of this group strive to create glass objects of long lasting beauty and quality. We share techniques and ideas and help educate people about the process of creating our art. When a glass artist displays this logo you can be sure they are creating each work of art by hand one at a time. I am pleased to be registered artist #T51 in this organization.
How do I buy these beads and jewelry, and what are the payment options?
You can purchase the beads and jewelry through ETSY – an online community of artists. My ETSY shop link is http://www.etsy.com/shop/lazycatbeads.
I use Paypal as my payment processor. All financial transactions take place on a secure server – that means you can shop in confidence using your own credit card or PayPal account. If you prefer to pay by check please email me with the item # and the price. Purchases will be mailed upon receipt of check.
I ship via USPS first class; priority if requested. All items are securely wrapped to protect against breakage. It will arrive at your doorstep ‘gift ready’ in a pretty box or bag. I generally send items out within 2 business days.
Yes – I sell wholesale. Please email me for terms at email@example.com
Is there a guarantee on my purchase?
I want you to be completely happy with your purchase! Please note that the beads ARE made of glass and though they are kiln annealed for strength they can still break if handled roughly. This includes running over with the family car, dropping from a 10 story building or accidentally putting into the blender! I will refund your money (- shipping) up to 10 days from the purchase date if you are not totally satisfied. I also guarantee against breakage (during NORMAL use) up to 30 days from purchase date. Email me immediately regarding any return needs. Payment refunded when I receive the item.
What is annealing and why is it important?
Glass expands when heated and upon cooling it contracts. The outside of the bead certainly cools faster than the inside causing tension and stress within the glass. When making a bead it is most important to allow the cooling process to take place slowly so as to avoid fractures and cracking in the finished work. Removing this stress is done by ‘annealing’ in a kiln. I use a Paragon kiln with a digital controller that is programmed to “soak” the glass for a period of time and then let it cool down s-l-o-w-l-y. Flameworked beads that are not properly kiln annealed are almost always guaranteed to break. There has been a flood of glass beads on the market at very low prices recently. These are mass produced and NOT annealed. That is why they are so cheap! Keep this in mind when shopping for beads or lampwork jewelry and only buy work that has been kiln annealed.
How are glass beads made? What kinds of tools do you use?
I use a torch that burns propane and oxygen for a very hot flame. I start with a steel rod called a mandrel. The rod has been dipped in a special mixture called “bead release”. This allows me to slide the bead off when it is finally out of the kiln. After heating the end of a rod of glass till it is molten, I wind the glass carefully onto the mandrel to form a basic bead. I may add different colors of glass on top, silver foil for special effects, or stringers (very thin glass rod) to add decoration. Sometimes I roll the bead in enamel or frit (tiny crushed pieces of glass).
Please have a look at my studio page to see the actual tools that I use every day!
Resources for bead makers and bead lovers
Here are my favorite bead places – take a look!
Murano Millefiore = a fascinating look at how millefiore is created!
Frantz Art Glass and Supply
The Satin Cord Store = great Kumihimo supplies!