Posts Tagged ‘lampwork’

Calla Lilly Blooms

Calla Lillies are one of my favorite flowers. Watch this bead “bloom” with Calla Lillies. It is a fun and simple tutorial.

My Interview

Today I had the opportunity to be a guest on Webcast One Live’s Insight on Business, with host, Michael Libbie.  It was great fun and Michael is a great interviewer so here it is, I thought I’d share it with you:

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at

Just Beadiful Girlz Launch with “Noel”

Noel Doll

Just Beadiful Girlz first doll - Noel

I am so excited to announce the launch of Just Beadiful Girlz, a limited edition collection of darling little girl dolls.  They are each handmade from imported Italain glass, wire, and small glass beads and designed by me.  They stand about 2 1/2″ tall and can be ordered in either a pendant style or pin.

The first Just Beadiful Girlz doll is “Noel” and she is a cutie.  Noel has a lime green dress with candy cane trim.  She’s wearing red and green stockings and has red curly hair.  Each doll comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed and numbered by the artist. If you’re a collector of all things cute, then you won’t want to miss the opportunity to own Noel, who is the first in the series.

Visit the shop and order your Just Beadiful Girlz Noel doll before they are all gone.

Surprise in Purples

metallic halo on purple beads

notice the metallic halos around the dots on the tall bead

Yesterday, as I was working at the torch, I was playing with some colors that I wouldn’t normally put together. I was having kind of a ho hum session until I combined two colors, Eggplant purple and Silvered Plum. All of a sudden, the Silvered Plum dots that I melted into the Eggplant base developed a halo or ring around them and looked metallic. Wow! I got excited and decided to try and duplicate it and it worked. I did notice that I needed to give it extra flame time to develop the metallic halo properly.

I was so excited to see if it was on the beads this morning and share it with you. Here are the beads, fresh out of the kiln.

If you would like specific color numbers, please email me and I will share.

Murrini Cane Makes a Beautiful Addition

Murrini cane, what is it?   I had the opportunity to take a class in which we made our own cane.  They were faces and each component of the face, the eye, nose, lips had to be made first, then combined to complete the face and pulled to make cane. It is very labor intensive to make just one small piece of cane.

I want to share a video with you that I saw in which Murrini cane is incorporated into a beautiful blown glass piece. As you watch the video, watch the guy’s face and the intensity and sweat involved in creating just one piece.  Enjoy!

Display – Simple and Effective

display in rice

be creative with your displays

When selling at an art show or vending event, there are many cool and unique ways to display lampwork beads and glass art. I’ve tried several different ways of displaying my beads in the past, but the beads would always do their own thing and roll off the display tray.

Out of necessity to stabilize my wandering beads, I purchased long grain, white rice.  I spread a thin layer of rice on my display tray, then lay out the beads where I want them.  They stay there perfectly still, no rolling around.  White rice works rather well to allow the true colors of the beads to show nicely on the display tray.

Another display choice can be lentils.  Lentils come in a variety of colors and are fun to add color to your vending display.  One thing I’ve learned from using lentils though is that the colored ones can distract from your bead work.  So, choose your colored lentils wisely or your jewelry won’t pop on display.

What cool display props do you use?  Do tell.

Sunday Funday

Happy Sunday Everyone! I just want to share a couple of pictures of some of the projects I completed this week.  Special orders are  pouring  in for the holidays so make sure you get your requests in early.   I love a challenge and love collaborating ideas with clients so get creative and challenge me!

lampwork bracelet

turquoise and glass bracelet

Here is a turquoise and Italian glass bracelet accented with sterling silver and an Indian head replicated coin.  It is a great piece and compliments the necklace and earrings that go with it nicely.

black and white bracelet

black. white and clear dance well together on this bracelet.

I had such a good time creating this great piece.  I love how the black and white contrast but compliment each other and the swarovski crystals are the disco ball at the dance and make everything sparkle.

Hope you enjoy your weekend and create something that makes you smile.

Brake Line Tube Used in Lampwork


Brake Line Tube used to blow glass

Yesterday we talked about mandrels and how you can cut costs by making your own from stainless steel welding rod.  But what is that odd ended thing in the photo on the right?  It is a piece of brake line tubing.  This is a little trick that another lampworker taught me years ago.  You use it to blow smaller glass balls and ornaments.  I got mine at the local automotive supply store. They were also kind enough to cut it in two for me.  (got that with a smile)

I’ve had fun playing with my brake line tube.  I practice blowing small ornaments every now and then but could probably use more practice, or maybe a glass blowing class would be fun.

What’s your favorite glass blowing tip?

Trim $$ With Homemade Mandrels

lalmpwork mandrels

mandrels come in many sizes

You hear the word “mandrel”, what is it?  A mandrel is the rod that you use to make lampwork beads. The mandrel is dipped in a separating solution called sludge before it is heated by the torch and melted glass is swirled around it.  If you’re a lampworker already, then you know what a mandrel is. But, did you know that there are alternatives to the standard mandrels that you buy from your glass supplier?

It is great to purchase a package of mandrels from a glass supply store because they come in a neat little package, each one is the same size as the next and all ends are rounded, not sharp or jagged. I especially like the larger mandrels from the supplier because they are lighter in weight.

But here is an affordable alternative to buying every mandrel, because we all know how quickly you can use up a thin mandrel and need to replace it.  Buy Stainless Steel Welding Rod from your local welding store. It comes in bulk packages that are three feet long and costs a lot less than mandrels purchased from the glass supply store.  You need to make sure you ask for “stainless steel” rod. My favorite sizes are 1/16″ and 3/32″  because they are easier to cut with heavy cutters.

I have become extremely lazy about cutting welding rod too.  buying it in bulk gives you tons of mandrels because you can cut each rod into 1/3rds.  As you cut the rod, don’t cut it in one swift cut, but rather “dent” the rod with the cutters, then rotate the rod  slightly, dent it again, rotate, dent again . . . until the rod is cut and has rounded ends, not jagged.  I can accomplish this in about 4 squeezes of the cutters.  Anything larger than 3/32″ is almost too difficult for a person to hand cut, but you can use a cutting saw to cut through larger mandrels if you like.  Just remember to smooth and taper the ends so that the beads you make don’t get hung up when you try to take them off.  Also remember that larger homemade mandrels will weigh more than purchased ones.  (you can see in the photo above that the large hole mandrels on the left were purchased and have easily managed thin handles which takes away the extra weight)

Do you have ways to trim $$ in your lampwork? Please tell me.

Annealing Glass, Important or Not?


properly annealed beads

So, you’ve started making glass beads, awesome! You hear about annealing your beads, but what does that really mean, and do you really need to do it?

The definition of “anneal” :  to cool slowly; to heat and cool to make less brittle;  to strengthen or toughen.

In lampworking, annealing glass beads means to heat and hold at a temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, then slowly reducing the temperture over 6 – 8 hours until the kiln can be turned off at 500 degrees.

Why Anneal? The best way to explain why a glass bead needs annealed is this; a bead cools a lot like a cream soup. Have you ever made soup and as it cooled it got a “skin” on the top, but under the “skin” it is piping hot?  That is similar to a glass bead.  The outside of the bead will harden and be cooler than the inside, which is hotter.  If you don’t control the speed in which the bead cools and allow the outside to cool at the same time as the inside, it causes internal stresses to occur and you will usually end up with a cracked bead.

Even if you don’t anneal your beads and you get lucky and  have some survive, they are not likely to last long due to the stresses that remain inside the bead.  They don’t even have to be dropped to just crack for no reason.  A properly annealed bead will almost never crack. They are super strong and can literally be dropped on the floor without breaking. I call that “quality control”.

Now, if you have no intention of selling your beads or giving them as gifts, and you just want to keep them for yourself, then annealing is only important if you want them to last a long time.

What are your thoughts on annealing?  I would love to hear from you.

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Lori Murga
Twitter: JustBeadiful
Facebook: Just Beadiful

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