Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses a torch that is fueled by a mixture of gases (usually by a propane and oxygen mixture). The colorful glass rods range are generally created for lampworkers in Murano, Italy; and come in an incredible array of colors - transparent or opaque - as well as clear. The lampworker melts the glass rods and mixes, twists, turns and molds the molten creation into miniature works of art. The torch is used to melt rods of colored and clear glass. Once the glass is in a molten state it can formed into a bead by shaping with various tools and hand movements. When studying the beauty of the Trollbeads' Murano glass beads, take a moment to appreciate the efforts involved in each creation. Each bead has its own combination of chemical combinations, colors and shaping.
Lampworking is also known as "flameworking" or "torchworking," as the modern art form no longer uses oil-fueled lamps. This art form has been around since ancient times but made its historical mark in Murano, Italy where it was widely practiced in the 14th century. The early lampworking was done with a flame of an oil lamp, where the artisan would blow air into the flame through a pipe. Most artists today, including the Trollbeads' artists, use torches that burn either natural gas, or a mixture of propane and oxygen. It was not until the 20th Century that lampworking was acknowledged as a serious art form. German artist Hans Gobo Frabel, who had been trained in scientific glassblowing, began creating large pieces of art glass made in the lampworking process. Lampworking can be done with many types of glass, but the most common are soda-lime glass, also known as soft glass; and borosilicate glass, which is also known as hard glass. Different colors of glass must be carefully selected for compatibility with other colors. The way in which any possible chemical reaction with each is used can alter the desired end result. All glass reacts by measuring its' the "Coefficient of Expansion" (or "COE"). When combined incorrectly, the piece will suffer a breakdown and shatter.
Trollbeads uses twisted canes and stringers and they mix bases of whites, opaques and transparent glass rods with ease and flair.
Glass Trollbeads are all hand-wound on mandrels, with diamond-bit cleaned holes, and then each is hand-fitted with silver tubing which is carefully flared to create the center cores. There is no glue involved, as each core is hand-measured and carefully "hammered" (usually the finishing does require a certain amount of "hand" hammering) solidly into place. These are not rivets that are placed in each side and glued into place- which is a common misconception. Trollbeads are fitted with a silver core tube that conforms to a standard of 4-5mm in the center.
All Trollbeads' creations are kiln-annealed to ensure that they can sustain life-long enjoyment. Trollbeads' often uses silver mesh (such as that seen in the new "Silver Trace" beads), silver wire (as in the new bead, "Milky Way"), gold and silver leaf and foil, etching (such as the retired "sand" beads), and some even incorporate the use of incredibly beautiful dicroic glass.
This quick primer on the art of lampworking will help enhance the collectors understanding and respect of the effort involved in creating all of the Trollbeads Murano glass beads. Take a look at the beads, whether on your bracelet or on line at www.trollbeadsgallery.com and consider the elements that have gone into each creation. History, raw glass, fuel, training, talent and dedication has all gone into making Trollbeads Murano glass beads the honor of being the best in the market today.
Louise Rogers is a 30 year veteran in retail. She owns and manages 3 retail stores and has an on line business selling Trollbeads Jewelry. Louise has acted as a consultant to retailers who are looking to brand their products and their name and has consulted in the field of marketing and display. Louise has written other articles on retail ans has been written about in Fortune Small Business Magazine, a CNN publication.
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