Floral Lampwork Beads

23, August, 2018

floral lampwork bead with butterfly

One of the reasons I got sucked into making lampwork glass beads was because I wanted to make floral beads. It took a long time to get the hang of them, from design elements of placing the dots for petals to shaping the final bead so it was balanced with good ends. Encasing the flowers with molten clear glass without smooshing (technical term) them into distorted, unrecognisable blobs was a major hurdle. Once I had it though I couldn’t stop, they’re not quick to make and take a few hours each but I made loads. Racing out to the kiln every morning in my jammies to see if the kiln elves had been kind or not.

floral lampwork bead by Judith Johnston
floral bead circa 2007

As I get older I find it increasingly hard to sit for that long working on one bead, for starters I always need the toilet about 20 mins in, then my frozen shoulder starts to ache, anyway you get the picture. These days I really have to feel it if I want to make floral beads and if I haven’t made one for weeks, months sometimes years my worry is I won’t be able to do it anymore, every. single. time!

Aqua floral focal bead by Judith Johnston

Anyway it seems like I can - hooray. The key is to pick colours that speak to me in that moment, colours I want to play with. What I find really interesting is the subtle differences between beads made at different times in my life. I’m not really talking about improvement over time here, it’s much more subtle than that. It’s about where I am and what I’m feeling at the time that is reflected in colour choice, shape, background design, etc. I wish I had kept a photographic record, maybe I will go back through my archives and see if I can put a timeline together.

kiln haul floral focal beads

Here is what I pulled from the kiln this morning. I wonder if this is going to be another pink sparkly period?

sparkly pink floral focal bead by Judith Johnston




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