Lampworked Beads This Week

I haven’t been at the torch much in the last month as I have been concentrating on rebranding my business.  But I sat down last weekend  to make a few hollow lampworked beads for my new line of jewelry that I am in the process of designing.  I picked a black glass from Murano that does some interesting things in the torch.  And I applied some stringer designs that I love.  Here is the result….

lampworked beads

Inspiration

My inspiration of course comes from the desert as well as semi-precious stones.  

I saw this wonderful petrified wood at the gem shows this year.  I would have loved to buy it…

lampworked bead inspiration

I also love the semi-precious stone labradorite.  Labradorite is a feldspar and is famous for a phenomenon known as “labradorescence.” Labradorescence is not a display of colors reflected from the surface of a specimen. Instead, light enters the stone, strikes a twinning surface within the stone, and reflects from it.

lampworked bead inspiration

So my new line will rely on labradorite, sterling silver, 22K gold and variations of the lampworked beads pictured above.  Sketches are happening now and some samples will be produced soon…   can’t wait to unveil it!

creating the desert in glass and metal

Flush stone setting

Flush Stone Setting – Learning a New Technique

I enjoy learning new techniques when making jewelry.  So often I will design a project that incorporates a technique I would like to try.  I wrote about my new series called 4 corners and the first piece I designed was a ring.  I decided it needed a little bling and decided it needed a stone.  More specifically it needed a small stone which would be flush set.

flush setting

Flush stone setting is definitely an advanced stone setting technique.  So I really read as many articles about this technique that I could.  I especially liked a video by Nancy Hamilton, and an article on the ganoksin site by Gerald Lewy.  Then I practiced on some copper.  And finally attempted the setting on the ring.  I definitely need a little more practice.  Measurements and drilling need to be very accurate.  And next time I would drill the original hole for the setting before I formed the ring.  I couldn’t finish the hole on the inside of the ring the way it should have been.  But overall I am happy.  I did drill the hole with the stone setting burr just a tad too large and was forced to apply a little chemical bond to make sure the stone stays put.  So this ring will end up in my jewelry stash.  But I am very happy with the design and have more rings in progress on the bench right now.  I also designed the ring with an adjustable band so that it will be easier to fit.  And there is a pendant and bracelet and earrings designed now too.  Hope to have them in my shop mid January.

flush stone setting

flush stone setting

creating the desert in glass and metal

Making Jewelry

Making jewelry in 1994

I started out crafting jewelry about 20 years ago.  I would find interesting beads at shows, bead shops and flea markets.  Mainly my jewelry was for me, my family and my friends.  I used high quality components and mastered many techniques.  Took classes, met people and had lots of friends.  But the jewelry, while pleasing, was not so different from other jewelry designers.  Here’s a bracelet I made years ago.  It’s nice, well made and it blends with a lot jewelry that I wear today.  But I felt something was missing.

silver bead bracelet

Then in 1998, I ventured into a trade show in Portland, OR called Embellishment; and I discovered a vendor (Kristen Frantzen Orr) selling her own handmade lampworked beads.  I was fascinated.  So I bought a bead.  Went home and looked up “How to Make Lampworked Beads“.  (Thank you Cindy Jenkins).  Then I ordered a lot of equipment.  And I slowly plunged into the world of making glass beads called lampworking.

Someone asked me once – what do you want to be known for?….  glass beads or jewelry?  I instantly said glass beads.  We lived in Nevada at the time and making glass beads inspired by the desert around me was exhilarating…. and still is.  But I love to learn and try new things and lately my interest in working with metals has really caught my attention.  So my jewelry is changing and I want to chronicle my journey, trials and tribulations here.  I still love to make my beads, but I am exploring how to marry them with metal and am having so mych fun

creating the desert in glass and metal