An Insight into Glass Bead Making by Pam Lloyd

Long standing member of One Craft Gallery, Pam Lloyd, makes intricate handcrafted glass beads and uses them in her jewellery designs.  Here’s an insight into Pam’s processes:

My name is Pam Lloyd and I live in the village of Priddy in Somerset. I started lampworking when I lived in the USA for two years after taking courses at the local glass studio in Atlanta. Since returning I have continued to make beads and create jewellery. My beads are made mostly using Italian soft glass sometimes combined with American silver rich glass which produces metallic effects. All my beads are annealed in my digitally controlled kiln.

Lampworking is the very ancient art of melting glass to form beads. Today glass rods are melted using a glassworking torch and the molten glass is wound round a mandrel which is a steel rod. The mandrel must be constantly rotated to prevent the molten glass from dripping and to form the shape of the bead. Once the desired shape is achieved the bead can be decorated with different colours of molten glass and then allowed to cool under controlled conditions to prevent cracking. This process is called annealing whereby the beads are put in a kiln and cooled slowly through a range of precise temperatures to remove the stress built up from the melting process.

A selection of Pam’s colourful and elegant jewellery can always be found in One Craft and more information about Pam’s work can be found on her website www.priddybeads.co.uk 

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