Friday, May 21, 2010

What is "Lampwork"?.....

Some of my work contains my handmade lampwork beads. Lampworking (flameworking) is the art of melting and manipulating glass in a flame. The glass rods that are used are different types of glass ranging from “soft“ to “hard” glass. 

The glass is wound as it melts around a steel wire welding rod (called a mandrel) that has been coated with a clay based material called “bead release”. This prevents the glass from sticking to the metal rod. After laying down my initial layer of glass, I shape my bead by using gravity. At this point I can decorate the bead by rolling it in frit (crushed glass), adding dots of glass, or laying down strings of a different color glass.

When I have finished shaping and decorating my bead, I then place it into a kiln (small oven) that is turned on and set to the annealing temperature for the type of glass I was using.  The kiln slowly brings the temperature of the bead down so it does not crack.

When the bead is at room temperature, I remove it from the mandrel and clean the clay out of the inside of the hole. I usually break off the bead release first over a garbage can and then soak them in water. Once clean the beads are ready to use in my jewelry design. Lampwork beads are one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Sometimes it’s exhausting….

I’m learning that it takes a lot of time and energy to have frequent sales on Etsy.
Success on Etsy does not just happen. Keep in mind that you're not just acting in a creative and production role, you're now taking on the roles of business owner, marketing rep & sales person, photographer and order fulfillment. In addition you have to learn the ins and outs of the internet and become savvy about internet shopping. If that seems like a lot, it is. Welcome to the world of the small business owner. :)  Fortunately my sales are picking up a bit and it gives me additional motivation and drive to create new items for the shop.  Take a peek at my bookmarks…

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Savannah, GA... a weekend adventure...

  Ahhhh.... Savannah, one of the prettiest cities in the South. My Husband and I spent the weekend there and toured the many sites and attractions.  We ate fresh seafood and sipped chilled cocktails on one of the many verandas available to just sit and watch the world go by.
  Thinking I might be able to find some interesting beads in a new location; I struck out with my map in hand to find the "Beadstro" bead shop. After an hour of searching the street it was suppose to be on, I gave up and headed back to the Inn to check the shop's web page.  I called their phone number and was connected to a shoe shop.  Thinking I had the wrong number I called 411, got the same phone number as the shoe shop.  To make a long story short I never found the bead shop, evidently it had closed and they never bothered to delete or update their web page. I was disappointed and had wasted some valuable vacation time searching for a ghost.  So, I did the next best thing...I went shoe shopping!  When one door closes another one opens, sometimes it's filled with wonderful shoes. :)
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