Historically, making glass beads from rods of glass has been called “lampworking” because oil lamps and bellows were used as a heat source. We’ve graduated to a propane torch/oxygen concentrator set up. Another piece of equipment we use is a kiln to anneal or slowly cool the beads so they don’t crack and are stronger and far more resilient than inexpensive beads made off-shore.
It doesn’t get more hands-on than a beadmaking class at Cranberry Stained Glass and you can book a lesson by contacting Penny. Our lampworking lessons are one-on-one using the minor bench burner. Within the first half hour you’ll be lighting the torch yourself and making your first bead in a flame exceeding 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit!
Working close to an open flame may seem intimidating but we start each class with a discussion of health and safety issues, practice turning the equipment on and off, then pull some stringer – spaghetti-thin lengths of glass – so you start to feel how glass rods react to high heat. You’ll understand why POOP’s important, how to choose compatible glass, prepare your mandrels and how the kiln works. By the end of the three-hour class, you will have made six to eight round or barrel-shaped beads and added decorative elements such as plunged or raked dots.
*Warning* Lampworking can be addictive as you start imagining the next bead even before you've finished the one you’re working on.
Check our Events Calendar, there might be a class scheduled that you can view from a distance for a few minutes. Please be respectful of the student and the teacher, this is a paid session. Lori is usually around to answer any "easy" questions about Lampworking/Beadmaking.
Penny in the "beadmaking zone"