My husband and I have a small farm in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. We are solar powered with generator back up. We are as Dave puts it self unemployed.
A friend showed me the rudiments of lampwork four years ago. I really enjoyed it. I took a class taught by Sage Holland and one by Beau Anderson. Also purchased a few books along the way. The main thing about glass work is practice, practice and more practice. Learning what colors work with each other and trying new ideas. Our mountain side is littered with failures, so are stump holes! Wonder what future archaeologist will come up with?
I have small shop in our barn and Dave is building a shop just for me.
I have my work showing in the Arkansas Craft Gallery, the Ozark Folk Center Gift Shop, both in Mountain View and the Butler Center in Little Rock. I also participate in The Off the Beaten Path Studio Tours in September.
Lampwork is a type of glass work where a torch is the primary source used to melt glass. In my case. An oxygen/propane mix. I use soda lime glass. The glass comes in a variety of widths, lengths and a vast array of colors.
To make a bead the glass is slowly introduced to the flame to prevent thermal shock or cracking. The molten glass is wrapped around a steel mandrel that has been coated in a clay based substance. Once the glass is molten it can be shaped by hand movements and tools to form the desired pattern. All parts of the work must be kept at a uniform temperature to prevent shattering. Beads are placed in a kiln at a predetermined temperature to anneal. Annealing relieves the internal stresses and the piece should last for many years.