More than 20 years ago I began to express my love of glass and light by creating unique handcrafted glass beads, using a technique called lampworking. Historically, oil lamps were used to melt the glass, hence the term “lampworking”. Using a torch, I heat thin rods of brightly coloured glass to temperatures of more than 1400 degrees. Although the tools have improved over time, I still apply the same basic techniques that have been used to produce glass beads for more than 2000 years.
I use Effetre (formerly Morretti) glass from Murano, Italy; the same glass used to produce the renowned Venetian glass beads, traded and collected worldwide for more hundreds of years. Effetre glass is the chosen medium for many contemporary glass bead artists, due to its low melting temperature and vibrant colour selection.
To create each individual glass piece, I stretch, twist and wind the melted glass around a thin steel rod. You will often find a sparkle of 23k gold leaf, palladium leaf, fine silver foil or aventurine copper in my beads. All beads are slowly and carefully cooled (annealed) in my kiln to maximize stability and increase their durability.