Lampwork Bead Making Process
LAMPWORK - THE PROCESS OF MELTING GLASS
I melt glass using my Carlisle mini cc torch winding it onto a mandrel (metal rod) that has been dipped in bead release (a silica based clay) to prevent the glass from sticking to the mandrel. I use a variety of Moretti/Effetre Italian glass, Vetrofond, Lausha, CIM, Reichenbach, Double Helix, Bullseye, TAG and Reichenbach glass. I also use CZ cubic zirconias, dichroic glass, .999 fine silver, copper, silver leaf, gold leaf and palladium to add interesting designs and create elegant to organic styles of beads. After forming the bead, it is placed in the kiln to go through the annealing process.
Annealing is a MUST. It is the process where I place my beads in my preheated digitally controlled Glass Hive kiln and allow them to rest for several hours in a glowing heat bath until the glass is the same temperature all over. This relieves stress in the bead. Then the temperature is slowly ramped down overnight until the beads are completely cooled to room temperature. This process takes hours and adds strength and durability to each bead. BEADS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ANNEALED HAVE A GREATER CHANCE OF CRACKING DUE TO STRESS AND THERMAL SHOCK.
CLEANING THE BEAD HOLES
Cleaning the bead release out of the hole is very important. I use an electric dremel with a diamond bit to clean each bead individually. Clean bead holes make for a nicer construction for artisans to assemble their jewelry. If you will inspect the cheap imports, you will notice they are filled with bead release and you should question whether or not they were kiln annealed. Always buy handmade!
Numerous pictures are taken in an effort to get just the perfect photo for you to view. This is can be very time consuming but worth every minute to ensure you see quality photos. Sometimes beads can be very stubborn and nearly impossible to show their true beauty.