Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the Winners are....

Dragon Troll Queen! Chosen at random, this is a woman after my own heart who loves to make jewelry, books on archaeology, ancient history, and the greatest movie of all time Young Frankenstein! LOL! She will receive a nice variety of boro beads totaling 1/4 lb just in time to make some Christmas goodies.

Bebdesigns! Bebdesign is a member of the Starving Jewelry Artists Street Team (http://www.starvingjewelryartists.com/) on etsy, which is sponsoring a "Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway and SALE 10/26 through 12/6" so be sure to check that out. She will also receive 1/4 lb of my boro beads very soon!

Congratulations winners and thank you to all who participated in the boro giveaway!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Call for Wire Jewelry Photos

Hello friends!

I'm in the home stretch of what has turned out to be my book on wire jewelry basics. This "little" book started out as an outline for a class I want to teach at the 2010 Intergalactic and Bead Mercantile shows; however, it has taken on a life of its own and become a 70-page book chock full of all the things those books with the wire tutorials never taught you. How exciting??!!

I know that many of you are jewelry artists who have purchased beads from me in the past, and a good percentage of you probably work with copper and/or silver wire. SO... I'm going to offer a free focal bead to anybody who sends me a picture of a piece of jewelry you created using wire that I use in my book. My objective is to show varying styles of jewelry made with wire, so go wild and send as many photos as you like! (All entries will remain YOUR property unless you sign a release form.) Here are the details:

DPI: 300
Dimensions: At least 1000 x 1000 pixels
Background: NOT white (if possible)
File type: .jpg 
Include: Name, your website, your email, your artistic statement or a blurb on your inspiration for the piece, a signed release form (I'll send you one if your photo is selected).
Email address: lori@lampworkbylori.com
Deadline for entry: December 31, 2009! 

Oh, and don't forget to go to www.lampworkbylori.blogspot.com (if you're not already here), click "Comment" and leave a few words to let me know you're reading my blog for a chance to win a 1/4 lb of boro orphans! The more you comment, the better your chances to win! The drawing will be held on my birthday, December 1 for TWO winners! Wooo hooo!

Bead on!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Teaching Gig at Blooming Dragon Emporium! I'm Really Psyched!

All of the i's aren't dotted and t's aren't crossed, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be teaching my Twisted and Coiled Wire Jewelry Workshop at Blooming Dragon Emporium on Indy's east side in mid December as well as January, February and March of 2010.

I'm planning to add two additional wire classes called Floral Fibula Pins and Hammered Earrings that feature hip disk beads. I'm not Blooming dragon's posted schedule yet, but head on over to their blog and sign up for their monthly newsletter for upcoming dates.

In addition, Blooming Dragon will be carrying my wire pieces for purchase in their gallery section.

I've known part-owner, Marti Icenogle, for several years now. She and her daughter Tina do some wonderful things with Precious Metal Clay and fused glass, too!

 Oh, and don't forget to go to www.lampworkbylori.blogspot.com (if your're not already here), click "Comment" and leave a few words to let me know you're reading my blog for a chance to win a 1/4 lb of boro orphans! The drawing will be held on my birthday, December 1 for TWO winners! Wooo Hooo!

Over and out!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Give Away: 1/4 Pound of Boro Orphans!

Since I've started making boro beads I've accumulated more orphans than usual. Orphans are beads that didn't quite make it into a set or little experiments that didn't quite go my way.

So, from November 1 thru November 30, if you come to my blog at http://www.lampworkbylori.blogspot.com/ and click "comment" under any blog post and leave a comment, I will enter your name in a drawing for 1/4 pound of boro orphans! The more you comment the better your chances of winning.

I will draw twice for two different winners on my birthday, December 1st (Wooo!) and post the names here on my blog.

NOTE: If you have trouble posting a comment please email me at lori@lampworkbylori.com; however, only blog comments will count as entries.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Won't You be my Guinea Pig?

I've developed a class that I'm planning to take on the road with me to help offset my show fees next year. Here's an invitation to all of you locals to come over and help me test it out in person! 

Twisted and Coiled Wire Jewelry Workshop
Class Fee: $35 (WHAT A DEAL!) including materials and a 40-page workbook with color pictures, instructions, tips, exercises and design ideas.
Contact: lori@lampworkbylori.com
Class Limit: 5
Date and Time: Saturday, November 7 from 1:30-4:00
Location: Lori's house (Greenwood) BYOB

This workshop is designed for persons who are interested in or new to working with wire and beads to create stylish, unique, and long-lasting jewelry. We will:

  • Review a detailed list of tools, materials and supplies
  • Twist and coil wire (both manually and with a drill)
  • Uncover the secret to making perfect wire-wrapped loops
  • Make your own jump rings
  • Make a swan clasp
  • Wire wrap a focal bead
  • Learn how to select beads for wire work
  • Practice reaming bead holes
  • Discuss ordering wire for your future projects
At the end of the class you will have assembled a beautiful copper bangle to wear home.

A tools list will be provided but all critical tools will be available for borrowing or sharing. You are welcome to bring your own beads.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a Whirlwind Week!

Somebody please remind me not to schedule two shows back-to-back again, and a 2-day lampwork class in between! Aw, it wasn't that bad, and of course I had a great time.

One of the highlights was my two-day class with the fabulous Kim Fields in her sculptured birds class. I have to tell you, that lady is quite a talent and I learned a lot. I was on the verge of selling off all of my soft glass but now I'm thinking twice. We made a simple transparent bird, an owl, a "Pudgie," a Snow Bunting, a Chickadee, a branch for birds to sit on, and finally, Kim demonstrated a "fantasy" bird. Here is one of Kim's birds, a Vermilion Flycatcher.

I had been meditating on the following scripture that week. As we were making the birds and looking at books to understand their detail I was reminded again of the wonders of nature and how each species is so unique and realizing there are so many different kinds... I was just amazed and humbled once again at the creativity of God.

What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?...
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea. ~ Psalm 8:4-8

At The Art Center bead show in Highland Park, IL (Chicago) I had fair sales and got to meet some long-admired and friendly beadmakers such as Ellen Black, Karen Ovington and Ofilia Cinta who's watermelon quartz murini hollow fish stole my heart!

The best part of the weekend was probably the food, and by food I mean pizza - Gino's East pizza - and introducing it to my nephew. I couldn't believe there was a Gino's right near our hotel when planning our trip and I was so excited to taste it again after almost 30 years. We got a 12" pan pizza, and when they say pan, you should imagine a cake pan. It was so yummy, and Jake loved it. We ended up eating it for Satruday dinner and finishing it off for Sunday lunch. Mmmmm, mmmm!

Oh, by the way, be sure to stop by http://www.lampworkbylori.com/ to vote on where you buy your lampwork beads and check out my tentative 2010 schedule.

Lampwork Lori

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meet Me in Chicago this Sunday for The Art Center's Annual Fall Bead Sale

First, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to all of my new customers from the West Michigan Bead Expo! It was a pleasure to meet you all and thanks again for purchasing one of my little creations! I hope you enjoy your purchases for many years to come. I used to live in South Bend in the late 80's. Michigan is one of my favorite states to visit. The air always smells just a little sweeter once I cross the state line.

Second, I'm excited to announce that I'll be at The Art Center in Highland Park (Chicago, IL) for their annual Fall bead sale this Sunday, October 18, 2009 from 10:00 to 5:00.  The event features exquisite jewelry and an exciting variety of new and antique beads with interactive beading workshops. Admission is Free to TAC Members and a $3 donation is requested for non-members. For more information, contact Jackie Chilow at jchilow@theartcenterhp.org.

Third, after next weekend's show I'll be posting most of my inventory on ebay and Etsy. When I start posting heavily, I'll include instructions in my blog on how to get notified when new listings come up.

Have a great week!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Meet Me This Saturday in Grand Rapids! Take Advantage of Wholesale Pricing!

I have lots of news this week!

First, I'm very excited to share that I will be at the Western Michigan Bead Expo this Saturday, October 10th at DeVos Center in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love doing bead shows because I just LOVE beads! If you are in the area I hope you will stop by and say hello!

Second, if you have seen me at a show then you know that my prices are already rock bottom for lampwork beads. However, since I am often asked about selling wholesale I have decided to set up a pricing schedule just for you jewelry artisans. The following schedule begins immediately and applies to all focals, sets and loose beads (including orphans). Finished items, special orders and findings are NOT included in wholesale pricing.

Purchase = $100 to $299.99, then discount = 10%
Purchase = $300 on up, then discount = 15%

I hope to get to a point where I can keep my online store stocked to the point where I have to worry about this!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Planning Ahead

Believe it or not, I've already started planning my show schedule for next year. I'd love to be able to do LOTS of shows because I love meeting the customers and the other vendors. But, I don't have as much stamina as I used to so I've limited myself to one show a month within a 5 hour drive. I may make and exception or two and fly down to Florida (where it seems you can find a bead show almost every weekend) and hang out with some other lampworkers. Financially it would likely be a wash, but it could be fun! Anyway, assuming that I get into all the shows I've registered for, my current 2010 schedule is posted in the right column.

Unfortunately, I don't have any new pictures this week either because I had a bladder infection AND a kidney stone! UGH! In the meantime, enjoy some boro sets for sale on ebay by one of my inspirations: Little Crow Glass Arts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rainy Days and Sundays...

It's a typical autumn day in Indiana. A little rainy, a little cool.. perfect for a nap. Jake took me to the JC Penny Home store after church and I finally bought some sheets that fit my bed. I'm pretty psyched! These sheets are even made by Sealy so I figured I couldn't go wrong! I also bought one of those REALLY soft blankets to match and a nice foam pillow. It was all 50% off! Wooo!

I'm very thankful to have found a church that I like, and grateful that my friend Ann has agreed to pick me up (I don't drive because I'm incredibly accident prone!) Today I met my Sunday School class. We're small, but we're covering some pretty interesting topics.

Well I don't have anything new to report on the topic of beads except that I'm getting ready for the Southwest Michigan Bead Show (October 10 in Grand Rapids, MI) and still exploring lots of colors and reactions in boro. It's a whole new learning curve, just like Moretti was, only not as many people talk about it.

It is a little expensive to switch from soft glass to boro so I have been trying to sell off as much frit (crushed glass) and other tidbits to buy glass and a more protective pair of eyewear. Colored boro throws off a much brighter light at the torch than soft glass, so I have to have eyewear almost as protective as a welder's.

Here are some samples of the boro colors I work with:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Allow Me to Introduce You to My Friend, Mr. Smiley

As you know, it is often a risky proposition to pursue the passion of art as a profession. Sometimes, the risk pays off...

My friend Mr. Smiley, a.k.a. Brent Graber, was one of my first instructors in boro glass. Before meeting him I had read many of his helpful posts on Lampwork Etc., a very popular forum and global virtual community for lampworkers. Brent is famous for his heart pendants and nobody I know can coax the beautiful colors out of boro glass like Brent. He has even worked with Northstar Glass to create a custom glass cane called "Serendipity."

Now, it turns out that Brent needed to have hernia surgery and he needed to pay for it in advance. He received offers for donations, but lovingly declined because he was able to help himself. So, he set a goal to sell 100 "Serendipity Hearts" at $35 each (just like the one shown in the image above) in two weeks. However, due to popular demand, he has added 20 more to that goal! Congratulations, Mr. Smiley!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tales from the Dark Side

Hello friends and welcome to all of my new friends from the Greenwood WAMM Fest. What a great time!

Generally speaking, in the US there are two kinds of glass used by lampworkers: soft glass and borosilicate. Up until last month I have used mainly soft glass. Soft glass is available in many different colors and does not require all that much torch power and oxygen ($$$) to work. However, I recently purchased a very powerful oxygen concentrator that has enabled me to move up to borosilicate glass. When a lampworker starts out in soft glass and moves into boro, it is jokingly referred to as moving to "the Dark Side."

Borosilicate glass or "boro" is also called "pyrex," just like the measuring cups in your kitchen. It requires much more heat to melt, but the colors and clarity of this type of glass can be mesmerizing! Everything about this glass is sensitive - the flame temperature, oxygen content, length of time in the flame, length of time you strike it, length of time you anneal it in the kiln, etc. But, the results are oh so worth it. Here are some of my favorite beads from my first month on the "Dark Side."

Through Sunday September 13, all Boro focals will be ON SALE for $8.00 EACH with $2 USPS shipping! That's a STEAL for this type of glass and all the work that goes into it. Here's what you do:

1. Go to this link and pick the beads you want: http://picasaweb.google.com/lori.smith.indy/8BoroSale?feat=directlink

2. Check the comment under each bead picture to make sure the bead is not sold or reserved by someone else. If not, put your name in the comment box for that bead.

3. Send me an email stating that you have made your selections with your PayPal ID.

4. I will bill you through PayPal.

5. Once I have received your payment I will ship your beads.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't Forget to Join Us at WAMM Fest!

Don't forget to come on down to WAMM fest in Greenwood, IN on Saturday, August 22 to see me and Fran Carrico of Fran's Glass Bead Fancies.

WAMM Fest is a one day festival, bringing a celebration of wine, art, music and microbrews to Greenwood. This is a fun-filled family event with all proceeds going to local charities.


AUG 22 - 10 AM - 8 PM

WINE : Local wineries showcasing their finest selections

ART: Many local and surrounding area artists displaying their work.

MUSIC: 6 elite musical acts as well as local youth dance, choral, gymnastic and performance groups

MICROBREW: Local microbreweries featuring their best on tap

Monday, June 22, 2009

Izzie Bella's Growing Big and Strong!

Today, little "Iz" went to see Dr. Pagan for a checkup and she's doing just dandy. She's just over 6 lbs. She got a big Distemper shot, so by the time she got home she was like a wet noodle and she snoozed all afternoon. She is so much fun and is really keeping our spirits up these days. I think the funniest thing is when I am lying in bed in the morning, not quite ready to get up, and I hear her "war cry" as she clomps down the stairs to "attack" and get me out of bed to play. Dad almost has the pool fixed so I'm starting to look for a puppy life vest so we can get her in there and at least teach her where and how to get out in case she ever falls in.

Isn't she a cutie?

Also, I listed some new items on Etsy today so be sure to check 'em out!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hey You! Come Here and Buy Some Beads!

Enough of the subtle approach. I'm going for the hard sell here.

Just take a look at these beads. Aren't they gorgeous? Can you even believe that I made them? Yup, I did.

Now, I'm hungry.

So, look over to the beads at the right (on www.lamworkbylori.com) and click on the lampworkbylori.etsy.com link (or just go there). Yes, that's right, you can do it!

When you see a bead you like, just click on it and then click Add to Cart. Easy peasy! If you're new to Etsy, you will have to create an account before you can check out, but what else is new? You can even avoid all that online payment crapola by sending me a check or you can even call me with your credit card number and pay over the phone. Can't you see that I'm bending over backward to make this easy for you!

Okay, so maybe you're a guy, or you don't make jewelry and don't know what you want to do with the beads that have caught your eye. Hmmm, well I can understand that. How do you think I got started in this game? All you have to do is let me know. I have lots of beautiful silk ribbons, cords, silver chains, copper and silver wire, etc. I'm sure there's something we can work out. Didn't I tell you I'm just that magical? (I crack myself up SO bad.)

I've given you a good start with some great listings today. Do yourself a favor and snap up some one-of-a-kid pieces of art by moi. I guarantee you will fall in love with them once you see them and hold them in your hands for they are much more delightful in person. Go ahead, you will thank me. ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cincinnati Show a Success!

Hello friends!

It's been a long couple of weeks getting ready to take my show on the road but it was worth it. My nephew Jake and I left Friday afternoon for a delightful weekend away from Indy. It was nice to spend time with him and he was a big, big help and we always have fun together. Lord knows I couldn't have done it without him, so thanks, big guy!

Anyway, I won't bore you with the hotel snafu. Suffice it to say that everything worked out just fine. Saturday morning we ate a quick breakfast and set up the booth. The Sharonville Convention Center was a beautiful new venue.

The people running the Bead Mercantile show (Jane's Fiber and Beads) were very kind and helpful, as I had never done a traveling bead show, and all of the other vendors were just great. I think there must have been about 60 tables there. I got to meet Patti Cahill (thanks for the $1's!) and Mavis Smith (thanks for the "wing tips"!) two very well-known artists in the American lampwork bead movement, as well as some ladies from the Miami Valley Lampwork group. We were set up right next to the ladies selling beautiful ceramic Kazuri beads, and of course, I can't keep my hands off of anything made from clay!

The flow of customers was smooth and steady and we made back our booth fee, hotel and gas on the first day. We celebrated by having dinner at The Outback Steakhouse and going to see Star Trek and heading back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. On Sunday the crowd was a bit lighter because of a huge thunderstorm, but we were back in Indy by 6:30 and both dog tired!

I collected 30 names from customers who wanted to be on my mailing list. I mostly sold beads from my orphan bowl, which I thought was odd because my prices were extremely competitive on my better beads, but I'm thinking that usually, unless you have a drop dead gorgeous bead, people are looking for low investment items that they can put into their own projects and turn a profit, so I'm going change up my strategy a bit next time.

Overall, I would call this effort a success because I got to spend so much time with my Jakester, I met some great folks, I got out of the house and made some money, and picked up some ideas for how to make it easier and more profitable next time.

I'm cooking up some great ideas in my head, hopefully they'll turn out right at the torch! In the meantime, I've posted some new items on etsy and ebay so be sure to take a look!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Something You Should See

Long time no post, I know! I've been kinda busy with different things.. moving stuff from one gallery to another, taking photos for jury submission, making beads for my upcoming show in Cincinnati, catching up with old friends on FaceBook, puppy sitting, etc.

This post is particularly dedicated to my non-lampworking friends. Of the many thousands of glass artists in the world today, there are only a few who have become "household names" and one of those is Paul Stankard. He specializes in very realistic botanical paperweights. He rarely teaches, but the Toledo Museum of Art recently sponsored a class with Paul and a couple of my former instructors - Tink Martin and Karin Wilcox - attended. Last I checked, there were a few of his pieces on display in the glass gallery at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I have to tell you that seeing his works in person nearly brought me to tears and that's not an easy feat. Please do yourself a favor and click here to see more beautiful works by Paul.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A New Bead

Here is a bead I made the other day that was inspired by a sweet and very talented friend from Germany, Manuela Wutschke. It incorporates opaque orange shards, pink glass and enamels, and thin, black stringer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Jiminy Cricket!"

I've been hemming and hawning about buying one of these little guys for quite a while. At $139 I just couldn't resist any longer. It's a Cricket, the smallest and newest torch in the line of torches offered by Glass Torch Technologies. This little guy should allow me a wide variation of heat options depending on my settings - ultimately enabling me to step up to small borosilicate beads with no problem. I can't wait to try it out.

If you've had any experiece with a cricket, please leave a comment!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bead and Jewelry Month at ArtWorks Gallery

During the month of May I am a featured guest artist at ArtWorks, a lovely gallery in Muncie, IN. Some of my very best beads and jewelry pieces are already there. On Thursday, May 7, I will be there at 5:00 PM for a reception as part of Muncie's "First Tursdays Art Walk."

I'm very proud to be associated with the artist-owned ArtWorks Gallery of Indiana Artists. There are some very talented Hoosier artists represented there, so check it out!

301 S. Walnut St. Suite 101
Muncie IN 47305

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meet Izzie!

Hello all! Say hello to little 6-week old Isabel (Izzie). My dad named her on the day we went to pick her up. The closest and earliest correct name submitted was from Jana! Jana, please contact me to claim your beads!

While we were at the breeders' we met a couple of her sisters and her mom, Mindy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Owls Against the Moon

I've been planning these forever. I finally got everything together in one spot and assembled them. Ribbons by Jamn!, fine silver fused rings by Cahootz, darling polymer clay owl beads by Humble Beads.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Come Visit Me at the Brown County Spring Blossom Arts Festival! May 8-10

Treat Mom to a special weekend during the 2nd annual Spring Blossom Arts Festival featuring over 100 area and regional artists, live entertainment, beer & wine gardens, shopping, and dining throughout the quaint town of Nashville, IN.

I will update this post as soon as I find out my location and the times.

Phone: 800.753.3255.
Admission: FREE

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Look What the Easter Bunny is Bringing! Name Her for Free Beads!

Awwww...Say hello to the newest member of the family! Isn't she a doll? She's a Miniature Schnauzer. She was born on St. Patrick's Day, and I think we get to pick her up on April 28th or 29th. What a devilish little glint in her eye!

I want to name her Olive after the Abigail Breslin in "Little Miss Sunshine," but Mom and Dad don't like it so let's make it a contest!

If you are the first to respond to this post with the name we choose - or we choose your suggestion, I'll send you free beads! Woo hoooooo!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Booth Shots, Part Deux

Yesterday was my first show in about two years. It was down at the Eiteljorg museum in Indianapolis. Originally, I was stuck down in some off-hallway classroom. That's where Dad and I set everything up on Friday. However, on Saturday morning, several scheduled artists didn't show, so I was allowed to move up to the main hall and next to my ISLAGA pals Chiq Elbert-Velazco and Fran Carrico. Not surprisingly, it was a bit of a slow because of the economy and as compared to the annual Bead Bonanza they normally hold.

On the bright side, I got my first indoor booth shot, so now I have an outdoor and an indoor shot to use for applying to future shows. There are a few things wrong with the shot. For one, I did not use my table skirt because of the way I configured the tables; therefore some of my "rough edges" are showing. Also, one of my light bar zip ties came loose while we were moving my booth from the basement to the hall. Otherwise, I think it turned out really well and I was proud of my booth. Yay!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Booth Shots

Today, my dad and I setup my booth in the back yard for the sole purpose of taking a picture. (It was hard work and I couldn't have done it without him, so thanks Dad!)

Most arts and craft shows have an image to maintain and frequently request a picture of your booth along with images of your work in order to decide whether or not you meet their standards. To them, your presentation is almost as important as the originality and quality of your work, and it can be the deciding factor between you and another artist.

As I researched good booth shots, I was surprised to find that a "booth shot" is a picture of your "in-person" sales space that represents your ability to display your wares. In other words, it doesn't have to be an actual set up of your booth in action, or the way you would set it up for a particular show.

The best information I found about booth shots was written by Larry Berman at www.bermangraphics.com. I think the most helpful part was his article entitled "Improving Your Art Show Booth Slide" (before the Internet age, most juries required actual physical slides - some still do!).

I took many pictures throughout the day and finally settled on the one below. I don't really like how the sun crept in on the far left side, but it was the best shot of the best arrangement all day, so I went for it.

Several shows I am applying for use a site called Zapplication.org. The web application automates the entire jury process, including judging. It has specific requirements for photos, which is why you see those black spaces in the image below. When my booth shot comes up on a juror's black screen, the black spaces will blend into the background. (For non-Zapplicaiton.org shows, I'll submit a booth shot without black spaces.)

Now, on to the bead photos! Wish me luck!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Studio Tour - Torch & Ventilation

A while back I abandoned my old website in favor of the blog format. A few days later, one of my friends told me how much she liked that I told about how lampwork beads were made on my site. Well, that page no longer exists, so I thought I'd do a series of posts on my studio, then a series on how I make my lampwork beads.

In this post, I will introduce you to the basics of my own studio setup.

First, I have a torch. It is a special flameworking torch. It is called a Mini CC, is solid brass, and is made by Carlisle Machine Works. There are several torch manufacturers for flameworking and the price of a surface mix torch can run from under $200 to $2,000 and beyond.

Most flameworking torches require two things to run.. gas and oxygen. These two chemicals ignite and burn at the tip of the torch, which is why they are called surface mix torches. For natural gas, any plumber can pipe a gas terminal close to the torch setup. For propane, the tank must remain outside the house and run to the torch using a hose. I use natural gas because it is cleaner and I never have to worry about running out.

For oxygen, many lampworkers use recycled and/or "boosted" medical-type oxygen concentrators. Some use oxygen generators, tanked oxygen, or even liquid oxygen. Generally, the more pure the oxygen, the better the result. However, I use one (sometimes two) very powerful oxygen concentrators that cost approximately $500 each. For me, oxygen concentrators provide an unlimited and safe supply of oxygen, although the purity is not quite as high as I would like.

When the gas and oxygen combust they create carbon dioxide, and since all of the gas may not completely burn at the torch, every flameworker must have some type of ventilation and replacement air solution. Good ventilation is also important to remove harmful elements, such as heavy metals that are sent into the air when burning different types of glass, or using different techniques. I spent a lot of time researching my requirements and hired sheet metal workers to construct and install a safe workstation including an intake air vent and a squirrel cage fan to suck the air in my workstation away from me. By enclosing my workstation I am "trapping" the toxins the best I can for extraction. The sides of the workstation also help to prevent "exploding" hot bits of glass rods from traveling all over my torch room. (The tip of a glass rod may explode if there is air trapped in it when you introduce it into the flame.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lampwork by Lori - The Early Days

This is a little embarassing, but it's kinda fun to look back.

November 15, 2003 was the day I made my very first bead. I had traveled to my first ISLAGA meeting in northern Indiana. Up to that point, I had read TONS of information about lampworking, and I knew how everything worked in theory, but I hadn't yet had the opportunity to sit down and do the deed.

I was pretty nervous. Those big flames can be intimidating in real life. But, my new friends coached me through it and I made a great bead! (I still have it!)

I was delighted, so I signed up for a beginning lampworking class the next month with Jari at Boca Loca Beads. After five years at the torch, I can still say that Jari is one of the most talented beadmakers I've ever met. Here are some of her beautiful glass buttons:

Here is a necklace I made with some of my first beads. (I still have it, too!) And a picture of my first studio in the garage.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Listings on Artfire and 1000 Markets

Today was a really good day. "My Jakester" (my nephew, Jake) came over and helped me put together some light stands for the track lighting I plan to use over my display tables at my upcoming shows. (Muchos gracias to my bead bud Lisa A for coaching me on the plans.) I can't wait until my booth setup is finished and I can post some pictures. There's much more work involved than meets the eye!

I also wanted to let you know that I have listed many new beads on ArtFire so click the link and check them out! Even if you don't purchase, I'd be very interested in your feedback and any constructive criticism you can offer.

I've also listed several pieces of finished jewelry on 1000 Markets.