I was researching moretti glass and came across this from www.harmoniccyle.com...
what does the word *lampwork* mean?
Lampwork is a name for a antique style of glasswork. The flame of a oil lamp is stoked with a air bellows to focus heat and melt glass. The glass is held in the open flame and shaped into small objects such as beads, marbles, and sculptures. Many ancient shapes and designs are honored and crafted by today's artists.
Gas torches with specialized burner heads have replaced the oil lamps of days gone by but the fascination that accompanies the melting of glass remains and the name *Lampworking* is a reminder that this highly refined craft has a very old and basic origin.
where does the glass come from?
The glass I use at Mother Earth is a popular and widely distributed glass known as *Moretti* glass. This glass is manufactured in Venice, Italy on the island of Murano by Effettre Moretti Industrial. Moretti Glass is provided to lampwork artists in the shape of glass rods. The rods are easily spun in the flame which helps evenly distribute the heat.
The Effettre company and the island of Murano share a long traditon of Venitian glass manufacturing. The island has been officially designated as an industrial center for glass work since AD 1291. A close relationship between Artists, Glass Manufacturers, and Merchants has enabled Venice to serve as a world leader in the glass arts since the 1500's.
Many of the reciepes, processes, and raw materials used to create Moretti glass rods are closely guarded secrets handed down over generations. The color in beads made from Murano glass of the 16th century is as bright today as when the beads were made. It is nice to know the beads you see today will be bright and clear in the future as well. A benifit to todays artists is the freedom that years of testing and refinement provide as more combinations of color and style are possible than than ever before.
Lampwork artists throughout the world continue a great Venitian glass working tradition when they choose Moretti glass.
do beads really last for centuries?
Yes! Glass beads are known to last for hundreds, even thousands of years. A remarkable characteristic of glass is that it retains color better than almost any other art material. The glass I use has been manufactured in Murano, Italy for centuries and is proven to hold finish, lustre, and color with no special storage requirements. Oil paintings and antique metal work are far more fragile.
The round shape of most beads is inherently strong and I strengthen the beads by annealling them in a kiln. The annealing process involves reheating the bead slowly and keeping it hot in a near molten state long enough for any tension or stress, trapped as the bead was formed, to self-adjust and even out. The beads are cooled very slowly. The annealling process takes about 9 hours but the beads become much stronger.
The beads I offer are hand made and professionally annealled, with the intention of providing years of satifaction.
how is the hole in the bead formed?
Making the hole in a bead is relatively easy. In fact, it is harder to make a marble than a bead and that's because beadmakers can use a long metal rod as both a handle and mandrel. The metal rod is usually coated with a heat proof ceramic slip that will keep the glass from sticking to the rod.
A beadmaker will hold the metal rod in one hand and a glass rod in the other. The tip of the glass rod is held in a flame long enough to melt the end. As the glass softens it is wrapped around the metal rods cylindrical form. The artist continues to hold the molten bead and the glass rod in and near the flame as the material is built up.
The rod makes a very convienient handle and allows the artist to comfortably maintain heat control. By carefully spinning the metal rod the molten bead can be shaped with precise symmetry. The spinning action causes the molten material to spread evenly around the axis of the rod.
When the bead cools the rod that helped as both a handle and mandrel is removed and the bead is left with a very useful hole.
I wonder how people make marbles?
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