Author Topic: Lampwork Beads: Sheer Imagination  (Read 441 times)


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Lampwork Beads: Sheer Imagination
| August 22, 2016, 04:36:54 PM

Imagine it: an artist, thinking outside the box, experiments with melting a bit of glass in the heat of a cooking fire.  Centuries later another artist successfully melts glass in the flame of an oil lamp using his own breath as a bellows.  Imagine their excitement as they roll the glass into a small bead.  Oh, the possibilities! For another several centuries, artists continued to use lamps for their heat source, producing unique beads, hence the name lampwork beads.

As bead makers continued to stretch their creativity, they played with adding other substances to the glass and discovered that various metal oxides produced different colors.  After that, the production of lampwork beads was off and running. Artist found hundreds of different ways to use the colors, such as hues, flaking, blending, swirling, and mixing. They also tested and changed the shapes and sizes of the beads. Until modern times, each bead was made by hand, a long, complex and often dangerous undertaking. This meant, of course, that lampwork beads were very expensive and beaded jewelry featuring them belonged only to the rich. Fortunately the invention of better tools and the availability of materials lowered the price of lampwork beads within reach of many more people.

While glass beads can be mass-produced, a true jewelry artist still lovingly creates his or her own beads by hand. They no longer use an oil lamp or their own breath as basic equipment, but the most important tool hasn't changed--that of the imagination.  The artist's imagination sees beauty everywhere and in everything. The artist's mind puts shapes, colors and reflections together in a way the average person would never envision. Lucky for the average person who finds an artist of that caliber!

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