Whilst I might currently be busy turning wool into wearable objects, my ‘main’ hobby is lampworking. What’s that, you ask? Wikipedia nicely sums it up as:
Lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practise no longer uses oil-fueled lamps.
I attended a two day lampworking course early in 2008 at the Born to Bead Studio and quickly became captivated with this art form. Soon after I decided that it was time to set up my own home studio, where I use Effetre and New Zealand’s own Gaffer soda-lime glass to make glass beads.
What initially struck me as being quite different to hobbies I’d indulged in previously, was that this was a craft that I could really share. The creations of earlier hobbies such as scrapbooking and embroidery typically ended up stored in a cupboard on on a shelf collecting dust. Making glass beads that I can then turn into wearable jewellery meant that I could make a lot of gifts that friends and family actually wanted to receive, and for the first time I could sell what I was making. I think this ‘shareability’ factor is what I also like about baking and crochet.
In the last five years I’ve participated in lampworking competitions and exhibitions (locally and internationally), and had the blessing of making many beads for the very special children who are involved in the Beads of Courage programme.
The other great aspect of this hobby, is the number of other skills that I’ve developed. I’ve learnt how to take a great photo of a bead (more difficult than it sounds), how to use Photoshop to enhance the photos, and most importantly, how to build a website from scratch. I now have http://www.moorebeads.co.nz/ as my Lampworking website, where people can purchase my jewellery directly from me.
Recently I thought I’d turn my hand to making a video of how to make some basic beads. This was driven by the constant “did you blow the beads” comments from people. Lampworking is not the same as blowing glass, which you would typically do if making large glass items such as vases and wine glasses. I found that it was very difficult for people to grasp the concept of how we make beads using the lampworking techniques. Below is the first video that I made:
Having said all of this, one of the best things about lampworking, is the great people that I’ve met. I’ve attended courses over the years with some of the most renowned lampworking artists from around the world….Anastasia (Germany), Sarah Hornik (Israel), Kathryn Wardill (Australia)…..and met many of the talented lampworkers based here in New Zealand. You can’t ask for much more from a hobby can you?