Mother, Artist, Designer, Photographer

Collage Lampwork Beads


I titled this post ‘Collage Lampwork Beads’ because I just mixed several things together with less planning. Actually, this is something I enjoy doing in my jewelry making too. I enjoy random mixtures of colors that work together. Before starting my project I had an idea of the colors I wanted to use so I could prep the glass. Nothing is worse that not having something you wish you had while you are in the middle of making a bead. This approach worked better for me and my beads came out better too. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the added pressure of trying to achieve a design, flower, or specific color. This experiment (random approach) ended up being more fun and maybe that is why the beads looked better.

Most of these beads are encased with Double Helix Zephyr glass. It seems like it works the best with the silver glass. Also, I think I have gotten used to how this glass flows and the beads were easy to shape. In one of the beads below, I used Super Clear Effetre for my clear, and the glass was much stiffer and it was harder to shape the bead. Another glass I use is Lauscha clear glass. It also flows easier than effetre. I stay away from standard Effetre clear unless it not going to be visible.

Please know, I am not sure if I have much to truly offer on this subject. The main reason I decided to write these posts is to help me remember what worked. Last year I made some the gorgeous swirl beads above and I haven’t been able to accomplish the same look since. I have wasted hours trying to accomplish it again without the same success. I had thought these beads were rather simple, but I guess not simple enough to do them again consistently. I haven’t quite determined if it was EDP or how I placed the clear glass. I made several beads during that time. I should have written it down.


In this bead, the base bead is black and the primary colors are from Double Helix Triton and Ossa glass. Triton creates gorgeous waves of semi-opaque waves in the glass. Ossa creates gorgeous shimmer and has an almost glitter effect. In the past, I had really liked how Ossa looked in beads when they were not reduced. However, I had not applied this glass to a larger surface to see how beautiful it actually looks.


In the bead above, I started with black base and started creating swirls of Ossa Double Helix around the bead. One the bead cooled completely, I reduced it, then encased it with Zephyr. As you continue to work the bead in the heat, I noticed that Ossa continues to change. I repeated this pattern a few times, adding more thin layers of Ossa, reducing, then encasing with Zephyr. This bead was so pretty by itself, there was no need to add anything else.

In the beads above, I started the bead on the left using only Ossa and encasing it with Zephyr Double Helix glass. I really did not care for how this bead looked after it was encased. The second bead was done with a small black base, then Ossa, and encased with Zephyr. This bead turned out pretty and has some beautiful dimension. The next bead was done with a larger black based, less Ossa, and encased with Zephyr. This bead is prettier in person, but it just lack in character.


In the bead above, there is a lot of layers and different color variations. These almost look like two completely different beads. The credit for this bead goes to Patsy Evin and her video on testing foils over different colors of glass. In her video, she started with black, white, ivory, copper green glass, and I used EDP instead of rubino. My base glass order was different, but I should have kept better track of what color was where.

Using silver foil on this bead was a little intimidating. I was using a respirator and it was hot and uncomfortable. Although I have great ventilation in my work area, I am not willing to risk my lungs for bead making today. This bead also has Double Helix Triton shards that are reduced and encased. I also included fine silver wire in a few places. This bead also has a silver ivory string added in a few places. This bead is busy, but I like all the colors together. Another thing, after applying the EDP (Evil Devitrifying Purple), I encased it pretty early to avoid EDP devitrifying. There are so many articles, blog posts, and Corina Tettinger discusses this in her book Passing the Flame.

Another thing I noticed is when I apply fine silver stringers early in my project, it seems like the silver wants to rise to the surface. I can’t find any blog topics on this subject off hand, but if I do I will come back and edit this post. A few of my beads the silver dots appear to be at the surface but the glass is covering the smoother. I do like the added dimension the fine silver stringers add to the bead.

Hopefully this post helped you. Maybe it will help me to write information down, so when I have successes, I can give it another go.

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