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The Love of Lampworking

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Lampwork is the art of making glass beads previously known as core forming back when it started 3,500 years in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Glass beads where the original currency and were used for trading for many years.


The first beads were made holding a piece of glass held over a flame to melt the glass on to a piece of wire, although we have developed many complex techniques and equipment as time has gone by, the basics still resemble the original tools.


In lampworking we use soft glass which is made up of sand quartz, soda ash and limestone which comes in rod form, hard glass can be used however it's reserved for very decorative art style glass forms as it requires a much hotter flame. What's the difference between the hard and soft glass I hear you ask, hard glass has 5% Boric oxide mixed in with the ingredients of soft glass.



There are different types of beads, our in house lampwork tutor Emily enjoys making hollow beads mostly with dots and stripes, skull beads and loves working with bright vibrant colours. We especially like looking at her fish and snowman beads in our display cabinet.


Emily trained at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. When she moved here 12 years ago she bought all her equipment and creative talents with her, which include silversmithing, choreography and textiles. She has since built on that including such things as woodwork, metal work and being part of the design and creation of her tiny house.


Emily is really looking forward to teaching the upcoming Pandora style bead class at our Christchurch Studio in November and December.