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What is Lampwork?

So what exactly is Lampwork?

Put simply, lampwork is the art of melting glass rods into tiny sculptures or beads. Lampwork is an intricate and time-consuming craft that requires patience and incredible skill to do right and achieve the highest quality results.

One of the defining features of lampwork glass is its versatility and ability to create detailed and delicate designs. Lampworkers can produce a wide range of objects, including beads for jewellery, sculptures, figurines, ornaments, and decorative glassware.

Lampwork glass has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations, but it has experienced a resurgence in popularity in modern times due to its artistic appeal and the availability of advanced tools and materials. Today, lampwork artists continue to explore new techniques and push the boundaries of the craft, creating stunning and unique pieces that showcase the beauty and versatility of glass as a medium.

The Lampwork Process according to Picnic Blanket <3 

The process begins once we have selected the perfect colours of glass from our beautiful library of colours, and the equipment has been set correctly, our kiln programmed, ventilation whirring, and the torch is lit (the temperature of which is 1000 degrees celsius!). The charms and beads that we handcraft at Picnic Blanket are then sculpted in the flame of our torch, which is fuelled by a combination of propane gas and oxygen.

To craft our beads we begin by slowly warming the tip of our chosen glass rod in the flame until it becomes molten. The molten glass is then delicately wrapped around a mandrel - this creates the hole through the centre of the bead. The beads are then decorated, be it adding a cat’s tail, a guinea pig's feet, or a piglet's snout - these details are slowly added in order to create the Picnic Blanket charms you know and love!

In fact, the creation of a single Picnic Blanket charm can take anywhere from just a few minutes, to even hours, depending on the intricacy of the particular design you might have ordered. For example, we often also incorporate different colours of glass into our designs, either by using a rainbow of different coloured rods or by applying colored glass in powder or frit form onto the molten surface of the bead (this can be seen in the multi-coloured spacer beads found in our Cottontail Necklace for example!) or pulling stringers to add tiny details, like the eye details in all our original animal designs. 

Once the bead is finished, it is carefully placed into our digitally-controlled kiln to be annealed. The annealing process of the beads is crucial in order to stress test them. Annealing ensures that any potential cracks are prevented. This process typically takes hours, and is usually completed over the course of a whole night. 

Once annealed, the beads are removed from their mandrels, inspected, quality controlled and then cleaned and polished ready to be transformed into our beautiful bespoke jewellery!

Each Picnic Blanket charm is handcrafted with love, care, concentration, and a significant amount of time. So you always know that the jewellery you receive has not only been made by hand, crafted using a centuries-old technique, but it has also been made with the utmost love and care, right here in our very own glass studio. 

Want to learn more about the History of Lampwork? Click here <3 


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