Frequently Asked Questions

What does "lampwork" mean?

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with a variety of tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps.

So you're a glassblower?

No, the type of lampworking that I do involves melting glass rods using an oxygen and propane-fueled torch. I manipulate the molten glass either by using gravity or with the help of tools.

Well then, how do you make a bead?

To make a bead I wind the molten glass around a thin steel rod, called a mandrel which has been first dipped in bead release, a clay-like material. When enough glass is on the mandrel, the glass is heated to melting point. Then I usually use a combination of gravity and/or tools to form the shape. The bead is then decorated, for example by adding more glass, remelted and reshaped. When I am happy with the result the bead is popped into a kiln and annealed (see below). After the bead has been annealed, it is removed from the mandrel. The bead release is cleaned away, voilà, you have a bead with a beadhole, where the mandrel was, if you know what I mean.

What is annealing? Why is it important?

Making a glass object involves a lot of temperature changes. Glass melts at high temperatures, but you have little control over it in its molten state. So you can't form glass in the flame itself. By removing the bead from the flame it starts to cool off and solidify immediately. The process of making a bead involves much going back and forth from flame to cooling it off just a little.

All of this to-ing and fro-ing between hot and less-hot introduces stress in the glass. It cools off quicker on the surface than in the centre. If you don't do anything about this then the chances that the bead will break are fairly high.

So the trick is to place the bead into a kiln, and to slowly reduce the kiln's temperature over a number of hours, minimising the stress in the glass. This is called annealing. Attaching a digital temperature controller to the kiln makes life for the beadmaker easier, and ensures that the bead is accurately annealed.

But please note, even though my lampwork beads are kiln-annealed, they are still made of glass. And glass can break, in particular when it meets a harder object. So please don't drop your beads on a hard concrete floor for example.

What is your return policy?

Please read the Customer Service information.

How long will my order take to arrive?

Please read the Customer Service information.

Didn't anyone teach you how to spell?

Being brought up in Australia I have been taught British English, so I use "jewellery", "centre", "recognise" etc.