Bead Art.com.au - designer jewellery by Blanka NOVAK featuring Czech handmade lampwork glass beads
designer jewellery by Blanka Novak featuring Czech handmade lampwork glass beads
 

WHAT IS A LAMPWORK BEAD

beads

Lampwork beads are beads made over over the gas lamp. Every single bead is a little unique original, produced piece by piece by individual artists and small studios.

rolling bead

The creation of every bead takes a lot of skill, patience and creativity combined with a sound knowledge of technology. First the coloured glass stick is melted in a gas burner flame. When the glass is soft, it is rolled onto a mandrel - piece of wire coated with kaolin (so the glass will not stick and you will be able to pull the wire out, when the bead cools down). This is not as easy as it sounds - the glass' temperature has to be just right. If the glass is too soft, it will drip, if it is too cold, it will be hard and it will break.

Once a big enough chunk of glass is on the mandrel, you roll or press it into the mould, which gives the bead a shape. Several colour layers can be made, giving the bead a different coloured core inside clear or light coloured coat. Special types are "free-form" beads, with irregular shapes - like the ones just quickly flattened or cut with the scissors.

decorating bead

Once you have the bead, you can start decorating it. This is done with very thin glass "threads". Coloured dots, lines, flowers are just few designs, your options are limited just by your imagination. Just while you are painting with one hand, do not forget to turn the bead around in the flame with the other - remember you have to keep the temperature just right. Bit tricky, hmm?

The bead is made, beautifully decorated, and we are done. Well, not completely yet. The bead is still hot. If it cools down too fast, all of you work is in vain - the tension within cooling glass will break it into pieces. Traditionally, the not that reliable a method of cooling the beads was in the fine ashes, which slowed the cooling process down. In our modern days, we have electronically controlled kilns, where your precious art will cool down under precisely controlled conditions.

ENJOY!

Now while you know why every single lampwork bead is a unique demonstration of art and craftsmanship, you might better enjoy Blanka's designs, which emphasize the beauty of each piece. Blanka is proud to bring her bit of a Czech tradition to you and to this great multicultural bowl called Australia. You can meet her and see wide selection of Bead Art creations in her stall at weekend markets throughout Canberra, ACT, Australia.


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copyright: © 2006 Blanka Novak, beadart.com.au
created: 5 January 2005        last update: 8 August, 2007