As our subscribers and followers are well aware of, this month 18Karat is featuring the work of Darlene Martin of Bijouxbead. Over the last couple of days I have started to get to know each of these intricate pieces, many of which feature elaborate lampwork and I couldn't help but ask – how do they, lampworkers, do that thing they do (Pictured left: close-up of Artist's Brush by Bijouxbead?)
Lampwork is a form of glasswork in which rods and sheets are melted and formed using a variety of tools, combined with blowing techniques and hand movements. It is a technique also referred to as flamework or torchwork as the traditional gas-lamp is no longer used.
Although its origins can be traced long into ancient times, it was in Murano Italy during the 14th century when the practice began to spread and grow in popularity. Lampworked beads have since remained the provenence of the Italians who have closely guarded their techniques.
Within the last couple of decades, North American artists have also begun to incorporate lampwork into their portfolios – these attempts have however been regarded by most as crude, until recently. Take a peek at a little bit of what it takes with a great short video here.
We are thrilled to have these pieces in the shop, so don't forget to stop by!