Let fire inspire

Captivated by the magic of working with glass, Rebecca Weddell creates beautiful and unique lampwork beads and offers a range of beadmaking courses.

'Warm' glass meets 'hot' glass

Alex of Heartwood Glass joined me in the Let Fire Inspire workshop yesterday for an all-day one-to-one course at the torch flame - we had a terrific day! Alex is a glass fuser, and although lampworking is rather different we found that we had plenty in common in our art glass pursuits.

With my range of glass rods, opaque colours are in general rather softer and more ready to melt in the flame than their transparent counterparts - the difference between white glass and transparent cobalt glass rods, for instance, is astonishing. Conversely, I learned from Alex that with her range of sheet glass for fusing, the opposite is typically true - with the opaques being stiffer. I swear I learn as much from my students as they learn from me on a course - that’s what’s so lovely about teaching!

Alex was kind enough to allow me to photograph her in action at the flame:

Winding the glass

Winding the glass

Adding dots

Adding dots

And more dots

And more dots

Flame-cutting

Flame-cutting

Glass-winding viewed through didymium goggles

Glass-winding viewed through didymium goggles

Plunging the centre of a flower

Plunging the centre of a flower

Adding dots one by one

Adding dots one by one

Flame-cutting

Flame-cutting

Toasting the raised dots into shapely domes

Toasting the raised dots into shapely domes

Alex’s beads were kiln-annealed overnight for lasting strength - an essential part of the process - and coming into the workshop this morning to open the kiln was like Christmas! Here are the goodies:

Straight out of the kiln and still on their mandrels

Straight out of the kiln and still on their mandrels

Strung on ribbon in the order they were made

Strung on ribbon in the order they were made

Heartwood Glass is based in Sandridge, St Albans, and offers a range of glass art from functional to artistic pieces. Every piece is made by Alex and her small team, with no two pieces being identical.

‘Hot’ or ‘warm’?

Lampworking is a hot-glass art form, where rods of glass are heated and manipulated in the torch flame to create, in this case, beads.

Kiln-formed fused glass involves hand-cutting glass, layering it and firing it in a kiln to melt and ‘fuse’ it into glass art. This is described as a warm-glass art form.


The Workshop, 8 Village Works, London Road, East Hoathly
Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6QA
01825 840638

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