What is Lampworking?

Lampworking is a process of winding molten glass onto rods called “mandrels”.  This is what makes them perfect for stringing, because you have a hole built in to the centre of your bead.  After the glass is wound on, different ingredients are added and manipulated to give you the intricate designs found on the beads.  Rods of glass are heated using a 1500 degree Fahrenheit oxygen and propane torch. 

Julie likes to work with a lots of heavily silvered glasses, silver foil, and silver wire.  These things give the the beads intriguing appearances and use different techniques.

How strong are the beads?

The beads are “annealed”, which makes them more durable than your average glass beads.  Annealing is a process that strengthens the beads by blending the glass molecules.  We use a digitally temperature controlled oven for optimum strength and cooling.  However, they are still glass.  Please don’t throw them on the cement, it will go poorly.

How did you get started in lamp working?

Julie took a brief, 3 hour course while on vacation in Invermere, British Columbia.  It was love at first bead!  She quickly discovered a love for the creativity involved, as well as realizing it’s potential for fund-raising and recovery work.  When she returned from vacation, she bought a book, rented torch time at a local studio, and taught herself everything she could learn.  It took about 100 hours of practice time on a torch before she could produce beads that were suitable for sale.  Since then, she’s continued to learn and practice, getting better and better with every bead!