OUR mission statement

MADE ON THE LEFT was founded in 2008 by independent designers to support Western Australian creative talent. We hold bi-annual handmade craft markets to showcase local designers.

Being on the left hand side of Australia no longer

means you'll be at a disadvantage.

Our aim is to support all creative designers and events showcasing independent labels. MOTL is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation. You may wonder why we promote other markets besides MOTL; it’s because it’s not about us, its about you; the buyers and sellers of indie wares. Here at the blog, you’ll discover up to date information about our latest market, the low-down on some of Perth’s emerging talents, other opportunities for artists and designers and a little bit of fun stuff too. It’s all right here… welcome!

Wednesday, June 23

Behind the Label : Bek from Glass Candy

A big thanks to Bek for showing us inside the world of handmade lampwork beads....
What’s a Lampwork Bead?
As a Lampworker, this is the question I am most asked.
It has nothing to do with lights or lampshades!
‘Lampwork’ is the term used to describe the art of making glass beads using a super hot flame. It’s called LAMPwork because in the olden days, oil fuelled lamps were used to melt the glass rods and make the beads, nowadays, we use a torch hooked up to oxygen and propane, similar to a welding set up, but not quite so hot. So technica
lly, you could say the modern day term is ‘Flameworked’.
I am a Lampworker and it is an addiction. I buy tonnes and tonnes of glass rods, each about as thick as a pencil and as long as a ruler. The glass is the addictive part. There are hundreds upon thousands of different colours, transparencies and reactive glasses out there. The majority of which are sourced from Italy, with companies in Germany, New Zealand & the States also supplying the market.
A Lampwork Bead itself is a miniature work of art. You can only make one at a time, so no two beads are ever going to be identical, similar maybe, but never the same. This is what makes them so unique.
I build my beads on steel mandrels (rods about 2.4mm in diameter) which when removed; give you the ‘hole’ in the centre of the bead.... Lampwork beads are built from the inside out, the first layer is the one in the very middle and the last layer is the ‘surface’ of the bead.
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So if I was to make a white bead with black spots, I would firstly melt the tip of a white rod of glass in the flame of my torch, wrap it around the mandrel and then melt down and roll on a graphite paddle into a barrel shape. I add a layer of clear glass over the top of the white, which just gives the bead a little more depth and ‘sparkle’ and melt it down and shape it. The final step for the completed bead is the black spots, which are applied with a thin piece of black glass as raised dots, then melted down flat.
Round beads are one of the easier shapes to make as glass in its molten state naturally wants to form a ball, so with the help of gravity and tools, we can easily shape our beads into balls, cones, cubes or barrels, whatever takes our fancy.
Artisan lampwork beads are annealed in a digitally controlled kiln. This process cools the bead as slowly as possible, to ensure that all molecules are realigned correctly and no stress is left behind which results in cracking. I run my kiln’s annealing cycle overnight and it cools down from approximately 510 deg (Celsius) to room temperature over about 8 hours.
The beauty of what I do is the ability to mimic our surroundings. My latest challenge is to make a set of beads that represent the Mad Hatter, and it is very slowly driving me bonkers! (You can follow my ‘Mad Hatter’ progress on my Facebook page)
For example, you have this stunning top but nothing that matches, I could either create the beads and the piece that mimics and compliments the top or make a piece is the complete opposite, which is good for ‘shock’ value, say a hot pink necklace with a white pants suit. Failing that, you could always buy a piece then purchase the outfit to match.......
Thank you to the team at Made On The Left for allowing me to tell you all a little about what I do. If you would like to learn more or see my work in person, I will be participating in the Made On The Left Winter Market on Saturday 17th of July at The Saint. 10am – 4pm. Come and say Hi, I’d love to meet you! If you can’t make it, you can check out my work on my website with both finished pieces and loose beads being available in my Etsy stores.

Thanks Bek! xx The Team.

p.s. do you want to show everyone how you make things? Write us an article, take some pictures, email it to us and we'll post it here! xx Lauren

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