The History of Flame working

Lamp working is not, as people often think, the making of lampshades using beads!  It is the awesome ancient Italian art of making hand-made glass beads, by melting thin colored glass rods around a metal rod base, or mandrel.  Developed in Italy in the 1400's, the heat source of this amazing craft was the flame of an oil lamp, (hence the term "lamp working", or "lamp work bead-making").  The flame, not hot enough alone to melt the glass, required some strong-armed fellow to work the bellows, thereby adding air, or more importantly, oxygen to the flame, making it much hotter. 

Modernization of an Ancient Craft

We've come a long way with technology since the 1400's, since today we have the luxury of high-tech machines that facilitate the process!  Most institutions offering lamp work bead-making use propane torches and high pressure oxygen tanks.  For a safer, cleaner, more controllable studio, the Jubili Beads & Yarns®, glass studio is a natural gas room, with a low pressure oxygen storage tank.  A large air compressor, (housed in another room in a sound-proof booth), raises the pressure of the contained room air to 125 psi.   This high pressure air then goes through an oxygen generator, where the incoming air gets filtered of contaminating gases.  The pressurized air, now containing more highly pure oxygen, flows through tubing into the low pressure storage tank in the studio.  There it stays until it is consumed by the active torches.

Natural gas is supplied to the torches through an incoming gas line, and pressurized by a G-Tec gas machine. The room is well-ventilated, air conditioned, and even has built-in music speakers!  Both a Paragon kiln & a Chili Pepper are on site for annealing your glass beads.  The Paragon kiln will also service precious metal clay, (PMC), enamel jewelry, dichroic/fused glass, and small glass objects, ie bangle bracelets or small glass vessels.  We have a full supply of tools, bead release, safety glasses, and a great assortment of glass, books, and some videos as well.  It is truly an impressive, safe and well-equipped room, perfect for all skill levels.   When John Winter of WinterGlas was our guest teacher here in April 2005, he said to both me and the class: "This room is fabulous, and has the potential to become a regional lampworking center!"  We thank John for his wonderful endorsement!