Beads On Fire’s glass artist Renee Kingsley has been creating lampwork glass beads in her Galway studio since 2006. Renee became hooked on melting glass while taking a class simply to see how the beads she was using in her jewelry designs were made. One flicker of the flame and drop of molten glass on the mandrel and an artist was born.
Lampworking is an ancient glass forming technique that employs a small torch flame that is used to melt the end of a glass rod. The molten glass is then wound off the end of the glass rod and wrapped onto a thin tool called a mandrel. Once the molten glass is balled onto the mandrel, the glass artist uses tools and gravity to shape the bead. Often other colors of glass are added to create elaborate surface decorations. The beads are then placed into a kiln to be annealed, a process of slow cooling the beads to avoid thermal shock, making the beads strong and durable. Each bead is then cleaned and ready to be used in one of a kind jewelry pieces.
Check out her website here!