Lampwork, so named because it was an artform originally practiced with the flame of a very hot oil lamp, was the province exclusively of glass artisans on the other side of the world for hundreds of years, their secrets protected and passed down through generations. With interest and access to equipment growing, thirty years ago North American artisans started experimenting with the process, and now it’s become common enough that smaller artisans all over the world are entering the market with their own miniscule works of art, each one a painstakingly wrought product of the artist’s imagination.
Jolene’s hunted through galleries all over the world to establish connections with a small group of lampwork artists whose work she admires and who charge prices she thinks are fair for both the artist, her jewellery business and the patrons who will shortly be falling in love with the new line of stunning creations she’s about to unveil.
“Lampwork” is a pretty simple term to describe the variety of techniques Jolene’s artisan suppliers are using to make their glass beads. Some fuse glass of different colours to create patterns of colour that float like mirages within the glass; others fuse tiny pieces of varicoloured glasses together to construct tiny, meticulous chandeliers; in Jolene’s collection you’ll find beads that look like bouquets of flowers, the mysterious insides of everlasting candies, bubbles filled with lavender smoke and other tiny bits of magic that you can only achieve with glass, metal, fire and imagination.
Using these tiny works of art Jolene creates jewelery: earrings, bracelets, necklaces and more. Like the artists who create them lampwork beads come in endless variety; some more complex, some simpler; some made with common glass and elemental colour, others incorporating semi-precious stones and precious metals.
The price of each creation varies based on its complexity and its ingredients, so Jolene, mixing lampwork beads in various numbers with pearls, crystals, chains, wire, shell and other design elements, is constantly inventing new designs to really feature the beads while keeping it affordable for patrons. Her collection ranges from drop necklaces with a single exquisite piece of lampwork to chandelier earrings to multi-strand necklaces cleverly built to be interchangeable, so you can enjoy them even more.
Jolene plans to begin introducing her lampwork pieces in the coming weeks. They’re going to be in massive demand for the holidays; make sure to stop by her spot on the first floor and see for yourself.