I'm Kim and I started making jewellery in 2005, I soon got pretty addicted to buying lampwork beads and in 2007 after a taster session of bead making I took the plunge and set up my own studio workspace so I could make my own glass beads. I took a break from it for a while (life getting in the way) and spent some time writing this book.
but am back to the torch now in 2010 and this is my lovely little cabin retreat in Epsom, Surrey
and my torch set up...
and my kiln and glass storage...
So what is lampworking?
I use a Nortel Minor Burner torch which mixes propane (from the tank stored under the desk) with oxygen from the oxygen concentrator (hidden at the side of the desk) to make a very hot flame, I then heat a cane or rod of glass, then apply
the molten glass around a rod called a mandrel.The bead is held over heat while it is worked
on, and it can be quite a challenge to prevent the bead from losing its shape. Designs are applied to the bead using fine rods or stringers and raised decoration can be made using a variety of tools. As the bead cools, it begins to shrink on the
outside, but the interior remains hot and expanded which can cause the bead to
crack before it is finished. I anneal the beads in my kiln where the temperature of the bead
is slowly reduced.Annealing the beads in the kiln reduces any internal stresses made whilst they were being formed and makes them durable and far less likely to crack years later.