Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Inspirational Lampwork Beads

At Entwined Vines, we draw inspiration from many areas of our lives.  One that is a constant for us are the different elements we use in our creations.  One of those elements is Lampwork Beads.

Lampwork Beads are a special type of glass bead that are created using a flame to melt glass.  This is an ancient technique,  you will find a brief history write up at http://www.artfire.com/users/EntwinedVines/blog
New link is http://entwinedvines.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/brief-history-of-lampwork-glass-beads/.

Lampworking involves using a steel mandrel to wrap the glass melting in a hot flame around it, to achieve the desired look, style, and size  you wish to create.  Once the artist has formed the bead to the desired look, there are several additional steps before the bead is used in creation.   Lampwork beads are kiln fired to start the annealing process.  While annealing creates a stronger glass bead, that is more durable and less prone to chipping, they are still glass beads and should be handled as such.  Once the kiln process is complete, understand that the beads are still on the steel mandrels.   They are then allowed to cool, before soaking them in water to soften the bead release agent.   At this point all that is left is filing and cleaning the holes. 

All Lampwork beads are handmade and as such create unique one-of-a-kind beads each and every time.  However, you have two types of one-of-a-kind lampwork beads.  You have the production lampwork beads you find in most bead stores and catalogs.  These are designs that are recreated as a production item, yes done by hand.  This doesn't make them any less valuable, simply not as unique as the second type.    Lampwork Artisan's  create unique individual pieces or small complimentary sets of usually about six beads total.  Using artisan created lampwork beads to create jewelry guarantee one of a kind wearable art.

While we are not currently creating our own lampwork beads, we love lampwork and work with both types.  We find the texture, shapes colors, look of each bead, inspires us to create stunningly unique pieces of jewelry. 

Below is a collection of lampwork jewelry from our studio, showcasing how versatile lampwork beads our.

We would love to hear what your favorite elements in jewelry is?

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