A Bead Break!

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.

Magnificent Art Glass

Magnificent Art Glass

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.


4 Responses to A Bead Break!

  1. Angela February 15, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    Those beads are beautiful. I agree, though, with what you say..the most important thing in any business is to stick with what you LOVE.

  2. Maria February 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    Thanks Angela, they will make some pretty pieces! You’re going to laugh – I saw your comment, but it took me awhile to figure out how to “approve” it.

    I’ve got a bad cold, bordering flu, this weekend, so the brain is a little fuzzy.

  3. patty March 15, 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    Those beads are gorgeous! They remind me of dying Easter egg kits – the oil tye die ones that never work? 🙂

  4. Maria March 16, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    Patty, these are even more gorgeous than in the photo. The colors are incredible – you are so right, they do have that “oil slick” effect. I just adore color and texture – “leftovers” from my decorative painting days!

    Wait until you see the next set I bought from Kim!