About Beads

Bead Making:

Lampworking, or Flameworking is the art of transforming glass rods (canes) into gorgeous glass art beads.

Gaye making beads

Gayetha at work in her studio in Lindisfarne, Tasmania, Australia

Gayetha uses glass canes from Italy, Germany, USA New Zealand and Czechoslovakia, mostly soft glass COE 104 and some COE 92-96.  The glass is melted into beads (see below) using a surface mix oxygen/propane Nortel Minor Burner torch.

Close-up making a bead

All beads are annealed in a Woodrow electric kiln (see below) and then cleaned and inspected for flaws.  Annealing is the process of heating the beads and then cooling them very slowly to even out the stress in the glass.  This makes the beads durable and unlikely to crack.

kiln 2

Bead Weaving:

Beadweaving is done with seed beads!  Little Japanese and Czech beads that start as tiny piles of colour on a beading mat and are rhythmically worked into intricate designs and ropes to form luscious soft necklaces and bracelets.


Tila Bling bracelet

The weaves originated over centuries and from many cultures.  In the last few years bead-weaving has become very popular and I am indebted to many authors in beading books and magazines for sharing their patterns, techniques and hints, to which I add my own interpretation and design ideas.  I love to combine these beaded designs with my lamp work.

Golden Aurae Bead

Golden Aurae bead in a bead-woven necklace

Sabine Lippert’s book Beaded Fantasies (Lark Crafts ISBN 978-1-4547-0246-7) has been a real inspiration and a lot of fun.  I have made a few of the patterns.

Sabine Lippert Patterns for Blog.jpg

Some of the Sabine Lippert patterns I made

Recent influences also include Jane Tyson and Laura McCabe for introducing me to the joy of working with Swarovski Rivoli crystal stones and bi-cones, a great adventure in bling.  Another favourite is working small freshwater pearls into netted ropes in the Tudor style.  I'm currently trying to master the art of right angle weaving - one day I'll get to the point with that where it doesn't turn my brain inside out!

Beading is a great way to play with a multitude of glorious colours!