Monday 23 May 2022

Turning beads into things

Handmade lampwork glass bead pendants by Laura Sparling

Eighteen years I’ve been making beads. That’s ages. I was twenty-six when I started lampworking! At the beginning of this I was already making jewellery and the idea was to make my own beads to use in my own designs, and I did and I do, but the whole way along I’ve been thoroughly sidetracked by making and selling mostly just beads.

Handmade lampwork bead bracelet in shades of blue
'Blue Confetti' bracelet
Handmade lampwork glass bead and elephant charm earrings
'Elephant' earrings

Oftentimes I'll have been making beads and thinking about how I would put them into jewellery and what other beads and components I'd put with them, always telling myself that I can make more of those beads and make that jewellery another time, but I never did. Turns out I don't even like doing bead remakes for myself!

Handmade lampwork glass bead and surgical steel earrings
'Lustre Dapple' earrings
Handmade lampwork glass earrings
'Pink Spotties' earrings

So I’m trying to steer it back to my original plan. I’ve been increasingly disillusioned with lampwork – not the actual act of it – but the constant trying to make something new and the feeling of pressure (from myself) to always be making what I think people will buy.Those are two really great ways to stress yourself out!

Assorted lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

The other week I decided to make beads that I would like to turn into jewellery. The photo above of a little dish of beads from a few weeks back was the result and I turned pretty much all of them into wearable things, and I really enjoyed it, so that’s what I’m going to focus on doing for the time being. That’s not to say I won’t have any loose beads for sale – I’m sure I will – but there is going to be more jewellery than loose beads. For now. Until I have another beadmaking paradigm shift. Or retire. Who knows? I’m not a planner, I just do stuff.

Handmade lampwork bead necklace
'Wood Sprite' necklace
Handmade lampwork glass earrings
'Spotties' earrings

I've got a few pieces of jewellery in my shop now, including all of the pieces pictured throughout this post. I need to make some more bracelets and necklaces as I currently have only one of each for sale, so do stay tuned.