Category Archives: lampwork

Yet Another….. Art Fair Invite

Tammy L Deck : ArtWear from Westmont, Illinois

Hats, Purses, Scarves, Shawls, Garments & Jewelery

Felting, Handweaving, Crochet, Knitting, Fused Glass & Lampwork Beads



I haven’t been feeling very creative lately. On top of all the usual economic woes and job seeking issues, my daughter has been deployed to Iraq. In the midst of learning to deal with being an Army mom my muse seems to have become very quiet. Not altogether silent but pretty danged hard to hear.
So, to work my way around this issue I’ve taken to sitting at my torch and practicing new techniques, or trying techniques that I’ve read about but not been shown.
I haven’t been able to spend as much time as usual at the torch but the latest technique I’ve been playing with has been hollow vessels. I was gifted with a 1/4″ hollow mandrel and, since I like to work small I got some 1/8″ tubing and made 3 more hollow mandrels of that size.
I’ve made about four different vessels so far and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. It’s like I can’t believe I’m making them, you know.
They certainly aren’t ready for selling yet but I will wear the first one I made. That one’s mine and no one else gets it. LOL
No pictures, yet. I want to make a couple more and then take pictures of all of them to show my progress and improvements. All except for the one I had to break off the mandrel because I wasn’t careful enough keeping the bead release all the way to the end of the mandrel. That’s a good lesson learned.
When I’m comfortable I want to make a few Christmas ornaments and then a few hollow globe pendants. The hollow globes are because my daughter sent me 2 carats worth of teeny tiny accent diamonds and I think it would be very cool to put five or six in a globe pendant. And of course, when I mentione my idea to my daughter, she wants one too. LOL

Featured Artist–Jennifer Ross

Jennifer is one of our own!  She makes bright, beautiful beads and then makes them into bright, beautiful pieces of jewelry.  Unfortunately, she didn’t send me any pictures yet but when she does, I’ll be very happy to show them to you!



Featured Artist–Jennifer Ross

1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?

My mom and I love to go to fine art shows/fairs and several years running my purchases at those shows were all lampwork bead jewelry. My birthday was approaching in 2005 and my husband asked me what I wanted as a gift so I decided to take a beginning lampworking class to see if I liked it.

‘Like’ was an understatement. One four hour class with Julie Rose and I fell madly in love.

2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?

I’ve been at it for almost three years. It is a business for me, slowly but surely.

3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

I’m inspired by color and pattern in artwork, fabric, dishes, architecture, just about anything. I’m at the torch about 35 hours a week on average so if I find myself in a slump the best thing I can do is get away from the torch. Go out into the world and shake up my surroundings.

Then I can come back to the torch with fresh ideas.

4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

It’s tough to choose just three, but in no particular order… Heather Trimlett’s work always brings a smile to my face. I love her use of color and although some of the dots and other patterns she uses my look simple, hers are perfectly executed. I was lucky enough to take a class with her last year. I learned so much about her techniques and about the importance of patience. I’m blown away by Sarah Hornik’s beads. I love the flow to her beads and she has a great eye for color too. I’m beyond amazed that she works on a hot head. Andrea Guarino’s beads have a phenomenally unique look. I admire any bead maker who gets to that point in the journey. Her beads are wonderfully organic, colorful and whimsical. Her use of enamels and textures blows me away.

5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?

For me there are lots of ‘best things’ like working with a silver glass and seeing the colors develop, pulling the prior day’s batch of beads from the kiln and loving them all, discovering a new (to me) color reaction or combination… I could go on and on. The worst for me is probably when I think I really rocked a bead and when it comes out of the kiln the colors didn’t do what I wanted them to do or the bead cracked.

6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

I’ve picked up the wrong end of a rod or two and I’ve been hit by hot flying glass more times than I can remember but nothing too serious.

7. What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

I use a MiniCC with a 5 lpm concentrator and I also use tanked oxy for boro or silver colors.

8. What is your favorite glass?

I have too many to list. I love working with the silver striking and reducing glasses, so many of those are favorites.

9. Do you have a favorite technique?

All that I’ve learned and some I don’t even know yet!

10. What are your favorite color combinations?

I love high contrast in color and pattern so black and white is a favorite. I also love purple red and carrot red together, pea green and dark periwinkle, just about any bright combination. I also love raku and black, terra and chocolate brown, khaos and … somebody stop me!

11. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

I love making focals with lots of colors raked, swirled and twisted. I also absolutely love twisties, black and white especially. Basic, I know, but beads with twisties make me smile! Regarding banging my head against a wall… see my answer to number 12.

12. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

I really don’t enjoy hollows. I even took a two day class to learn the technique but I’ve never really practiced it enough to turn them out consistently. I’ll keep trying but I’m perfectly happy admiring other bead maker’s hollow beads.

13. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?

Not really a comfort bead. I usually do some ‘warm up’ beads with my marble mold. When I’m not sure which direction I’m going I tend to make rounds with dots and swirls… a few of those and I’m off and running.

14. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?

I’ll continue to take classes and practice to improve my skills. My main artistic goal is to develop my own look or niche in the lampworking world. I’m still searching for that signature bead/design/look that is uniquely mine.

15. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there?

I suppose one measure of success is sales. I would be thrilled to make a little living making glass beads and jewelry, nothing too extravagant, just a modest and somewhat regular income. I’m working toward that by consistently applying for juried shows, and developing my sales on Etsy, eBay and my own web site, On a personal level I consider myself successful in that those who know me well know that I am true to my word, I do what I say I’m going to do and I say what I mean.

16. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

Be Patient

Practice, practice, practice

Keep burn salve very close by

17. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

I love taking classes. I have a list of bead makers I want to learn from. The list keeps growing so I know as long as I’m lampworking, I’ll be taking classes.

18. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?

I don’t teach. I was recently asked to teach beginners classes for a local studio. I’m flattered but I don’t think I’m ready yet. I’m still trying to find my own way.



Hurry Up and Create, Dammit!

Have you ever felt that way? Last week I was faced with forcing myself to be creative and it was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do.

There is an art show I have attended with my mother every year for the past 17 years. It’s always been a dream of mine to be in the show but I never really felt my work was up to the task.

This year I decided I wanted to apply. I kept rolling the ideas around in my head. The show has many jewelry artists exhibiting and a few lampworkers so competition is tough. I knew I had to really come up with some “WOW” stuff to even be considered. My slides that have gotten me into shows in the past just didn’t seem good enough.

The closer the deadline came, the less creative I felt. It was so much pressure. Like a gun to my head with myself saying “Create Dammit!”. I kept procrastinating, allowing myself to be distracted by any little thing. It was not going well.

As the midnight deadline approached (last Friday) I was sitting at my kitchen table with a huge mess of beads, fibers, cords, wire, you name it, it was in the pile. I had made and taken apart countless ideas that just didn’t work out. I was mad, in tears, frustrated. I knew whatever it was I had to finish it, then take it downstairs and photograph it, then come back to the computer to resize it, then upload it to their site and submit my application.

Finally I got an idea with potential! I’ll bet a light bulb really appeared above my head. I started furiously braiding my cord, bending wire, stringing beads… then I got an idea for a matching bracelet. I was pushing it time wise (it was 10PM) but I could do it!

At 10:30 I raced downstairs and my husband was all set with the lights on and the camera ready to go. With a few quick clicks I was back at my computer resizing… wait a minute! There’s a hair right in the middle of it. Dog hair, cat hair, someone’s hair! Down the stairs again… re shoot the pictures. I can feel I’m running out of time. I’m panicking.

I made it back to the computer to resize again and click on the ‘submit’ button and the page just sits there… loading… forever it seemed. Suddenly I was kicked back to the main page and when I tried to resubmit my application I received the error message that the show was closed for entries.

I cried… and cried… and cried. I felt like I had run a marathon all day long and tripped 5 feet from the finish line. I was so frustrated, mad at myself for procrastinating, for not being more creative.

Before going to bed I decided to e-mail the show and just see if they might possibly accept any late entries. I know some will and you have to pay a higher application fee but at this point the site wasn’t even allowing any applications. So I put my whole story out there to this generic e-mail address and went to bed feeling defeated. I was hoping for the best but not expecting it.

I received an e-mail back two days later. She told me she would ‘try’ to reopen the application process later in the week, but no promises.

It’s too late to make this long story short but I’ll wrap it up… she DID reopen that section of the site and I was able to submit my application. Whether or not I’m chosen to be in the show, I’ll always remember how this set came to life and use it as a reminder. A reminder that procrastination is bad… a reminder that creativity isn’t forced, it flows… a reminder to never give up… and a reminder that if a door closes, find another one to open.

I hope reading this helps you all to remember those things too.

I named this ‘On My Horizon’…

On My Horizon

I present……..a video! Finally

This is me making a simple implosion pendant.  The video is about 10 minutes long.

Ways to use your lampwork beads…

Greetings fellow beaders.  Well, if you’re anything like me, you may often get a creative block and become bored making the same ‘ol thing with your (or others) lampwork beads.  Here’s a quick make that is a wonderful gift for someone, or for yourself.  The best part is that you can add as many or less beads you want to.  I found these ribbon clamps at a general crafting store. Maybe Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  I try to make the bookmarks long enough for someone to use in a large book or a small paperback, but you can make them whatever size you want.  Remember, they’ll be hanging through a book, so you don’t want to weigh them down too heavily.   Run to the craft or fabric store (you know you want to) and walk directly to their sale bin… you can ALWAYS find pretty ribbons and things in the sale bin!  By simply attaching a couple of ribbon crimps to the ends of your cut ribbon, you give yourself a new opportunity to hang beads— and who doesn’t like that?  The possibilities are endless, especially now-a-days when the ribbon varieties are very creative and colorful.  There are dog bones and princesses, smiley faces and hearts, flowers and stripes.  A bookmark for every season, perhaps.  Here’s a pic, I think it’s pretty self explanitory.  Like I said, a quick gift is always needed, and a quick sale is even better.  These make awesome space fillers for shows!  Now go. Have fun!

Sleekbeads “Animalistic Bookmark”