OK, I’ve been talking about business, which is a necessary evil. Necessary, but dry! Today I am taking a “break” from the business end because I would like to share a magnificent set of lampwork beads I recently purchased. The artisan who made these beautiful beads is Kim Neely, owner of Bluff Road Art Glass – the link will take you directly to her impressive gallery of work.
Here are the beads. Aren’t they gorgeous? Although the photo is clear and the colors are fairly accurate I have to say these beads are even more spectacular in my hand. Each is a substantial and weighty piece and I am already designing several necklaces in my mind with these as a stunning focal drop.
To make beads like this, you need a thin metal mandrel, glass rods, a torch and an artist. The torch is stationary, while the artist holds the mandrel and glass in hand. If you are interested, the wiki article on lampwork gives a little more detail and history, but basically, the artist melts the glass in the torch flame and as the glass melts into a thread, it is wound on the mandrel. Sounds easy, right?
I briefly toyed with the idea of learning how to make lampwork beads. Then I found out how different glasses react differently to the torch; the colors may change with temperature or even with the oxygen/propane mix. All these unknowable outcomes were too much for my engineer’s brain! I am a master of knowing what I want something to look like and being able to achieve it. All the variables in lampwork are not my cup of tea – but I am very glad that there are artists out there like Kim who love the unpredictability of glass.
As I wrote in a prior post – know your passion! Stick with what you know best and love most. Sometimes I need to remind myself.