Description of Lampwork:

In my glass studio, I work with a blowtorch and use three types of soft glass: Moretti, Lauscha, and Vetrofond, to create lamp work glass beads.  The process of creating lampwork beads involves many steps.  This is how I make a lampwork bead!!!

 

Step 1:  Creating a Stringer

When beginning to create a Lampwork Bead, the glass rods must be prepared by melting and pulling long STRINGERS of glass (even thinner rods of glass).  Stringers are like glass paintbrushes to be used for any detail placed in the bead.  Some stringers are made by combining many different colors of glass into one stringer. 

 

Step 2:  Creating a base bead

Light the lampwork blow torch.  Lightly heat a mandrel  coated with bead release.  At the same time start heating the glass rod in the flame.  As the glass rod starts to melt, the mandrel is rotated to let the glass melt onto the mandrel evenly.   Next, a rod of glass and the mandrel are kept continuously spinning to keep the glass from dripping off.  After the base color is on the mandrel, it is time to start decorating the bead.

 

Step 3:  Decorating the bead

Decorating the bead is something that should be planned out.  After the base color is on the mandrel, the bead is decorated using stringers of glass.  Layer after layer of glass is added and melted down to form a beautifully shaped bead.  This technique allows small amounts of glass to be melted onto the beads in layers that gives the bead depth.

 

Step 4:  Finishing the bead

The mandrel must be kept continuously spinning to keep the beads shape, and to prevent the glass from dripping off.  The glass is continuously molten and then cooled many times in the process of creating the bead.  The stringers are used to add decoration and must be melted in before moving onto the next step.  This process requires very steady hands.


Step 5:  The annealing process

When the bead is completely finished, and has just lost the molten red glow, the bead is placed in the glass kiln.  The temperature inside the glass kiln is 950 degrees, and will be slowly ramped down throughout the night so that the bead is cooled as slowly as possible.  I always anneal my pieces right from the flame to the glass kiln with a digitally controlled environment. The glass kiln is slowly ramped down overnight to ensure a well made piece. This process is called annealing, and allows the molecules to properly line up in the glass,  creating durable beads to be used to make earrings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets.  I love making glass art jewelry that are small wearable treasures.  

Description of Silversmith Techniques:

 

Silversmithing is a technique where you  fabricate a setting or a piece by using sterling or fine silver.  Silver metal comes in ingots,  flat sheets, plain wire and pattern wire.  Silver can be manipulated into shapes for any article of jewelry you want to create.  The silver is cut, shaped, soldered and polished into a piece of jewelry through silversmithing techniques. 

Some techniques are sawing, hammering, rolling in a rolling mill, dapping, using a shot plate and many more methods of manipulating the silver to create jewelry.