- Lampworking is an ancient process of creating glass
beads (1300 BC, Greece). The basic techniques haven't changed since
then. The tools however, have become much fancier!
Originally, an oil lamp and a mouth blow pipe were used to
melt the soft glass. The method now used is typically one in which a torch
is fuelled by a mixture of oxygen and propane.
Glass is melted over a very hot flame and wound around
a metal mandrel which has been firstly coated with a substance which allows
the glass to separate from the mandrel when it has cooled
sufficiently. In this way, glass is slowly added, sculpted and shaped,
to form a variety of different effects resulting in whatever the lampworker
is wishing to design.
- This process can take a considerable amount of time -
sometimes one to two hours (or more!), depending on the detail and size of
the piece being worked.
- Once the bead has been completed, it must be annealed
in a kiln. Annealing refers to (re)heating the bead and
maintaining a consistent temperature for a particular length of time,
dependent on the size of a bead, to allow for the stress in the glass to be
removed. Beads which are not annealed are prone to cracking sooner or
- I use a torch which is fuelled by a mixture of oxygen and
propane. I am now very happily using a wonderful oxygen generator (go
to my 'Links' section for more information). My lampworked beads are one-of-a-kind glass beads. A
single bead can take over an hour to make, drawing and sculpting molten
glass over the flame - and a further couple of
hours of additional processes to have it ready for mounting into a piece of
wearable art. To add detail to the work, I make separate pieces from
multiple colours and combine these component parts with layers of
transparent colours, adding depth, dimension, and a wonderful play of light.
- The process of making a single bead therefore consists
of layering glass, one layer over the other, shaping colours to achieve
desired effects and is truly a labour of love. I am absolutely
addicted to this wonderful world of making glass beads and I hope you will
be as thrilled in looking at these beads, and those of other lampworkers, as I am in making them. To
me, each of the beads is like a little miniature world - to peer into and get totally
Last update: March, 2010
2010 Marie-Claude Chapman. All rights reserved.
© Marie-Claude Chapman,
Access to and
use of this site (including information or material contained in or accessed
from this site) is subject to our Intellectual Property Rights, that
being: Marie-Claude Chapman is the owner
of all copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the contents of
this website (including text and images). Users may only use such contents for
personal use only and must not in any way or by any means store, reproduce or
modify such contents without Marie-Claude's express consent.