Lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. After designing a piece, a lampworker must plan how to construct it. Once ready to begin, the lampworker slowly introduces glass rod or tubing into the flame to prevent cracking from thermal shock. The glass is heated until molten, wound around a specially coated steel mandrel, forming the base bead. The coating is an anti-fluxing bead release agent that will allow the bead to be easily removed from the mandrel. It is then be embellished or decorated using a variety of techniques and materials. All parts of the workpiece must be kept at similar temperatures lest they shatter. Once finished the piece must be annealed in an kiln to prevent cracking or shattering.
An artist and crafter by nature, Lydia Muell became enamored by the idea of hand crafted glass beads when she saw her first delicately hand wound bead from Murano. A craft shop venture for stained glass mosaic supplies would be her introduction to the magical world of hand crafting her own art glass bead creations. In 2006 Lydia moved on from her practical day job and into art glass bead making as her passionate career. She is also an artful jewelry maker and has incorporated her beads in to many beautiful designs that include jewelry, bottle stoppers, fan pulls, charms and perfume vessels.
Lydia’s love of all things classical feeds her artistic inspiration regardless of medium, but it is the challenge that glass represents that most feeds her soul. Striving for design harmony, elemental balance and overall mastery of a seemingly unmasterable medium is what holds her spellbound and focused on achievement within the immortal world of artglass beads. Lydia’s beads have been featured in many bead and lampworking magazines.