Lampworked glass beads are beautiful aren’t they? Artists and crafters use them in necklaces, earrings, bracelets, keychains, and well just about anything. When I was younger, I would watch my mom in amazement while she created beads like these. I would sit in awe as she ever-so-slightly guided the glass rods around the mandrel and put her artistic touch on each and every tiny creation and now I get to work (play) with all the materials I used to watch her work with. When I was a kid I shied away from lampworking because the flame shooting out from the torch scared the bejeezus out of me. But I’ve grown and discovered just how awesome it feels to create something with molten glass! I never really paid attention to anything my mom taught me about lampworking because I was way too chicken to play with fire so when I picked up the craft I had to learn all the little nuances myself. So today I want to share with you three simple tips to help you keep your sanity and to turn you into a happy lampworker.
- Be patient, trust me, patience is not a virtue of mine – I hate waiting for the glass to melt and become malleable enough to work with (it really isn’t that long of a wait but I always want instant results). Don’t give up after your first (or even tenth) fail, oh and for the record my first through third fails were consecutive starting with my first bead, being impatient really doesn’t help when you are just starting out. And think of it this way, you have to fail to get better, it’s just natural.
- Work with solid or transparent colors when you are learning and use just one color per bead for your first few beads. The solid and transparent rods tend to melt faster and are easier to work with than opalina and fillagree. If you try working with multiple colors in your first go around, it may be hard to tell if you got the right result. On that note stick with lighter colors to learn just how long it should take before your glass starts to burn.
- Practice forming the bead before you start trying any fancy stuff like adding details with marvers, rakes and other colors and forming shapes. As I just mentioned you need to figure out the burning point before you do anything else or you may not be able to tell design from burn. On a happy note – a lot of burns can look like intentional design!
For some fun lampworking projects and tips take a look at the Diamond Tech Crafts Creative Corner and to find Diamond Tech lampworking supplies in a store near you, check out our store locator. Do you have any tips for beginners? Please leave your advise in the comment section. I love your feedback!