My name is Colette and I have been lampworking since 2006. I work from my studio at home in the fenlands of Lincolnshire. I also work part-time as a school business manager but like to spend as much time as I can at my torch.
What is lampwork?
Lampwork beads are created individually by melting rods of glass in the flame of an oxygen-propane surface mix torch. The molten glass is wound around a mandrel – a thin length of stainless steel. The space occupied by the mandrel becomes the hole, through the bead, when the bead is removed from it. Turning the mandrel, and holding it in different positions, allows gravity to help the bead take form; tools are also used to push and pull the glass beads into shape.
To prevent stress and cracks, beads are first ‘garaged’ and then cooled in a kiln where temperatures can be closely regulated. The beads are “soaked” at a high temperature to make sure that all the glass within them is evenly heated, then the heat is slowly reduced over several hours to bring beads to room temperature. This process is called annealing.