Studio Saturday with Designer Lorelei Eurto

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This weeks winner is ABeadLady.   Congratulations!

You have won a fine silver shell button from the studio of  Shannon LeVart of MissFickleMedia!
Send Shannon an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you!

Welcome to the studio of Lorelei Eurto!

Actually, I’m not in my own studio this week, I have travelled all the way to Atlanta, GA and spent some time in the studio of my good friend Kelley Wenzel. Kelley is a lampwork artist, and melts lots of glass into cool beads. You can find her on Etsy at Kelleysbeads.  Lately her eggs are getting lots of attention, but what I love most about Kelley is, she’s always willing and eager to try something new, and takes special requests!

Kelley gave me a full lesson on how to create a glass bead. Showed me each of the steps, heating the glass slowly, heating the mud on the mandrel, working both things at once. It was NOT easy. You have to be all ambidextrous! Pulling the glass as it melts, on layering it on to the mandrel is a trick all in and of itself.

“Ok, Lor, your turn!”

So I sit down, and place the ultra cool safety glasses on. I chose a cool green, and was going to do yellow dots. So I make the green base bead, and get ready for the yellow. As I’m heating the yellow glass, the green bead EXPLODES. Glass rods get replaced on the table, torch goes off, glasses get ditched, hands go up! I’M DONE!

Okay, I see you shaking your heads, and mumbling Lorelei Lorelei Lorelei– under your breath. I know. I’m kind of a wuss. But really, I worry about the heat of the torch, and now I gotta worry about losing an eye to a shard of glass? No thanks! 
For all of you who want to remind me that I am wearing safety goggles for that reason, yuh, I KNOW.  I don’t want a shard of glass embedded in my cheek, either!

From then on, I enjoyed watching Kelley create the beads, giving her suggestions on color combinations. Which I think is the best part of the process. The possibilities are endless and I have countless ideas!
So, I’ll never be a lampworker, but one thing I did learn during hanging out in Kelleys studio, is a new appreciation for glass artists out there. I had no idea what you all go through to make your beautiful beads- and I’m really surprised you all still have all your eyeballs.

Here are some of the beads Kelley created during our session. She gave these to me, and I can’t wait to turn them into something pretty.

My questions this week is:
 Have you had the chance to watch artist work at their craft? Did you try it out yourself? What was your experience like? Did you give up easily like me? Or did you get a glass shard in your eye?

Leave 1 comment to be entered to win. A random winner will be picked next Saturday. The winner will receive this fun set of lampwork glass all from KelleysBeads!

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60 Comment

  1. Malin de Koning
    August 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Oh no, i haven't had the oportunity yet. Not with beading artists that is. But girl does it look like a wonderful thing to do. I would definately want to have a go myself, but honestly I have no idea how I would react if the same thing happened to me as what did to you. I would probably be afraid too, and just continue Β watching. It is such a pleassure to watch skilled people work. And I would love to pick colours too.Β 

    When I studied industrial design i got to see many different manufacturing methods. Some were more of a crafting nature. Such as the glass makers, they are artists really, of the Famous "Glass Land" in Smaland, Sweden. That was really awesome. You get such respect for those people. Sweden is world famous for its Art Glass. Orrefors, Kosta, Reimyre to mention the biggest ones.

    I wish there were more Art bead makers here in Sweden.

  2. Pepita
    August 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I took a lampwork class all day yesterday. It was a lot of fun, but not something I will take any further. Have an even greater appreciation for lampworkers now….

  3. peacockfairy
    August 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Lor: your questions remind me of a recent demonstration I went to for Raku pottery. I was mezmerized watching my friend Dal pull his pots from the kiln while they were glowing red, and then having the courage to stuff a lid on the garbage can he put them in while it was on fire! I was happy to walk away with a pot of my own, but don't think I would ever try that myself.

  4. m.e.
    August 7, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    when I watch any artist work I ALWAYS get a "gleam "in my eye !!!
    I want to try any new thing I see !
    But, I end up sticking with my polymer clay.
    I had a similar lamp-work experience.
    I couldn't stand the heat …so I got out of the kitchen …so to speak !
    m.e. πŸ˜€

  5. Kell
    August 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    First, just let me say how beautiful the beads are!!! I wish I had the set up (and skill) to get into lampwork.

    When visiting Thailand, I had the opportunity to watch wood carvers at work. They weren't there to teach. Just demonstrating their craft. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I haven't really had the opportunity to work with other bead artists or be taught by them ;(. But, I would love the opportunity!


  6. Layney Dasher
    August 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    OHHH, thos bead are lush! Love em!

    I have to say, that recently, I had the opportunity to watch basket weavers in motion. I didn't get the chance to try it out with them, but boy, are they quick at weaving up anything you want! It was really neat to watch, and they have several patterns or designs so to try to even follow was difficult.

    I haven't really had the chance to sit with other beaders and watch them at work…. but I do love the peaks inside their studios!


  7. Alice
    August 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I love, love, love lamwork beads. I live in a tiny town in Kansas, far far away from any artists, so I never get the pleasure of watching them work. I have watched marbles being made, which would probably be similar to making beads.

    The idea of working with a flame, hooked up to flamable fuels scares the bageebers out of me, so I don't see lampworking in my future.

  8. steufel
    August 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I took a lampwork class and was hooked. But I have to say I'm still struggeling with the hand-coordination. Looks much easier then it is:-)

  9. Janet
    August 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Very lovely beads! I worked with a very talented Tonya Vollertson from The Woodlands Texas doing lampwork beads. Yes I tried and loved it! I didnt give up bc glass is too exciting. Glass did pop off! My husband went too and made the best bead out of the whole class! Im so thrilled my husband dished out alot of monies for my tools. But that is only the very beginning..to learn glass in the beginning is to Slay the Jabberwocky!

  10. Vicki Boyd
    August 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    This is my first time to your Blog site!! It is awsome !! Can't wait to read more!! I LOOOVE Kelly's beads!!! I have become so enamored by Lampwork Beads and how they are made! I have never made beads, but I would LOVE to learn how!! Kelly is in Atlanta???? *thinking* I do too! Wouldn't it be fun to see her work??! Georgeous!!! I'm definatly going to check out her shop!!!

  11. EB Bead and Metal Works
    August 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I have been lucky enough to watch and take a class with Lucio Bubacco several times. I could spend hours watching him work, he is fantastic! He is a fun instructor and he is very patient with those whose lampworking skills are not as awesome as his. I kept at it and I ended up making some fantastic female forms, not so good male forms, and a swan (the swan was the easiest piece). I kept at it and I also found it was easier to make the forms in boro than moretti. I didn't get a shard in the eye, but a woman next to me exploded a huge rod of glass and some of it went down my shirt -now that was not fun! I would take a class with Lucio again in a heart beat! If you ever have the chance, do it! It doesn't matter your skill level you will have a gret time.

  12. Connie
    August 7, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    haha…i tried glass blowing. there were 6 students….the teacher worked with us one on one in front of the other students. i blew and blew and blew…the glass wouldn't budge…so the teacher blew…and it worked. i tried again….it actually does NOT require great lung power or anything…i tried thinking of blowing up a balloon, …one tiny pimple of a bubble… ….everyone in the class was successful….but me..it was embarrassing…..

  13. Hazel Ward
    August 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I've only seen artists at work from videos, which obviously doesn't have the same energy, but I still find it inspiring.

    (I'm a very newbie lampworker who used to have a fear of exploding glass – but the lampwork addiction soon takes over and you forget about it! Mind you, I'd never wear a low-cut top while torching, just in case)

  14. EmandaJ
    August 7, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I have watched a glass artist create lampwork beads and really got the itch to try it myself, but with all the clutter from several art media/crafts in my house, I would be afraid of burning the house down. Not good! However, I have a definite yen for these gorgeous beads, so you can jus t choose myy name and send them to me. ;^)

    artymezia AT yahoo DOT com

  15. Erin Strother
    August 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Oh, those beads are awesome! I want them!

    I took a lampwork class last summer. Nothing exploded, but I was afraid of lighting the torch. I did pretty well making nicely shaped beads, but lost it when it came to the dots. Also, kept the beads in the flame too long and many of the colors came out mucky. especially orange, which came out brown. Apparently this is a typical beginner mistake.

    Anyway, I could see that I would enjoy this, but its too big a learning curve and too big an investment in equipment. I'm gonna keep doin what I do. πŸ™‚

    Erin S

  16. heather
    August 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I used to visit my sister at her art college. She did glassblowing and would let me come into the hotshop to watch. It was sweltering hot, all the glassblowers were sweating buckets (the men looked quite sexy I must say!). It was a fast paced environment where you had to take charge of your space, or someone else would get in your way. I was always really proud of my sister for holding her own in that environment. She still has the burn scars to remind her of the college hotshop.
    It freaks me right out to think that the glass I am working with could explode. I think I would be in a permanent 'cringe' state! Much admiration to you lampworkers out there.
    I would love to win those beautiful beads…they look good enough to eat…but I wouldn't eat them…I would er, make something with them.

  17. Mellisa - Chinook Jewelry
    August 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I have always been astounded when I watch lampwork artists at work! I have the same respect for people who are skilled at metal fabrication…I can solder but it's sure a lot of effort for me to do a bezel, etc! Love these beads of Kelley's πŸ™‚

  18. Emerald Window
    August 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I have watched glass blowers, but not glass bead artists. I thought about taking some classes in lampwork, and we have an excellant school here, but the classes were very expensive and I figured by the time I took a couple of classes, bought the tools, bought the supplies, etc, I would be out about $1000. I figured I could buy a lot of lampwork beads for $1000, so never took the classes.

  19. Kylie Parry Studios
    August 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I have had the opportunity to watch many artists hard at work. One of my favorite experiences was watching a raku firing. I got to help them fire a few of my pots too- what a fun learning experience. I would love to try raku with my pendants some day!
    Kelley's beads are gorgeous!

  20. Susanm
    August 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I took a glass bead making course a couple of years ago – the woman who taught the course had lots of experience and made it look easy – turned out I was not a natural talent. I did enjoy it but would need a refresher – unfortunately the instructor is not teaching locally.

  21. The Bead Gypsy
    August 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    LOL–Lorelei, I can *totally* relate to your bead making experience! A few years ago I decided to try the torch–I love lampwork beads and spend a ton on them (I own several of Kelley's too :-)so thought how cool would it be to make my own? Well, apparently I am not cut from the same cloth as Kelley and other gifted lampworkers…I didn't actually make anything explode, and I have a few sad little beads to show for my 6hrs, but I did learn that the flame and I are NOT one! I will leave that oh-so-mysterious art to the talented folks out there that I am happy to purchase from! Thanks for sharing your experience, somehow, it made me feel just a little better about myself πŸ˜‰

  22. Mary
    August 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I have often watched demonstrations by lampworkers. I'm totally in awe and I'm sure I look like a child in a sweet shop. I live in the UK and recently I was lucky to meet Sally Carver. I had just bought a set of her beads and she just showed me how she made them. They were implosion type beads but I was just overwhelmed by the sight of her casually pulling a stringer from a rod of glass!

    I use a lot of lampwork in my jewellery and I'm often asked whether I make the beads myself. The answer is that I would love to take a lesson but I'm afraid that I'll be rubbish at it and that will truly break my heart. I just love glass!

  23. Alesha
    August 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I've watched chalk artists at work, but never any artists who worked with beads or glass or such.

    We toured the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis with the Chihully exhibit was there. THAT was magnificent to see up close the beautiful glass chandeliers and globes. I hope lots of gorgeous pictures of it all.

    I'm glad you got to experience the bead making. Thanks for offering the give-away.


  24. Stasha
    August 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Sounds like fun. I would love to learn how to make beads. One day I will take a class.

  25. WireMySoul
    August 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I would love to learn to do lampwork myself. Maybe once the children are grown and out of the house I'll have the nerve to build a studio room with the right amount of ventilation and light to be able to! Meanwhile, I love reading artists blogs and watching jewelry and crafting videos, even if it's a technique I've tried/failed/mastered, I enjoy watching others create stuff!

  26. Sabine
    August 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I had watched lampworkers work before, so I took a class this summer. I have never had so much fun! Some glass popped and landed on my bare arm right off, but I kept on. I may have to buy a torch! Yikes!


  27. GailW.
    August 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

    No oppurtunity ,wait,my brothers ex did glass work,taught me stainglass.Then she can home with those long glass sticks.For a couple of days,I watched.Then I went back home.

  28. Patti
    August 8, 2010 at 1:48 am

    I've never had the opportunity to watch glass beads being made, but it's looks very interesting. Kudos to you for giving it a try!

  29. sasha and max
    August 8, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I've never had the opportunity – looks amazing – glass artists are so talented (and brave – I'm with you Lorelei when in comes to potential explosions!)

  30. Kristi Bowman
    August 8, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Awesome post, love Kelley's beads. I've been wanting to try lampworking…hhhmmm, still think I will.

  31. Art Garden Diva
    August 8, 2010 at 4:14 am

    I have had a chance to watch glass artists on the Oregon Coast, near Canon Beach make their beautiful wares, but soldering is the closest I come to going out of my comfort zone. I do bead and watercolor, but am also wimpy when it comes to possibly exploding something! LOL

    The beads in the giveaway are really beautiful BTW!


  32. Melissa J. Lee
    August 8, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I started lampworking before I ever worked with metal clay. It cured my fear of torches, but you should have seen me try to light my torch the very first time. I think I had my face about as far away from my hand as I could and still have the two attached to my body. Plus, I couldn't get the striker to work properly. It was pretty sad!

  33. Kati Debelic
    August 8, 2010 at 6:38 am

    NEver got to watch an artist at work. I think it would be the coolest!

  34. Higgins Design Studio
    August 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I took a class once in lampworking from Dogmaw Glass… Jo is a great teacher, and I made 20 slightly lopsided beads. But I decided not to pursue it because of space. Most of my work space is taken up by my pottery, and my beading is more easily stashed out of the way when I need to…

  35. Alpha-Mom
    August 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    The beads look beautiful. I really want to try lampwork someday, but I'm too scared of playing with fire.

  36. LLYYNN - Lynn Davis
    August 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Lorelei, you're braver than I am. You know I've said over and over about my TORCH TERROR – and this is one of the reasons I've avoided this particular lovely craft. I wish I wasn't so afraid of the torch – you were very courageous and I admire you.

  37. pyesquire
    August 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Great work I would love to win

  38. cw
    August 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Yes, I have watched an artist make a lampwork bead from start to finish, and was amazed by the process. I had to good fortune to visit the Corning Glass Works in Corning,NY a few years ago and actually make my own bead, choose my own colors, and style of bead. I chose a swirl pattern of reds, black and white. It was no masterpiece, and I found it difficult to do working both hands at a craft very new to me. The end result was a lampwork bead that I am very proud of, only because of the experience, not the beauty. I was able to create a necklace incorporating it as the focal point that was later chosen for publication in a current magazine. The experience is priceless. When something is your passion, do it, just do it! You'll be so glad you did.
    Good luck to all as you try new things!

  39. Lucid Moon Studio
    August 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who has that kind of luck! I took a class on metalworking and watched my instructor easily cut a shape out of sheet metal with a jeweler's saw. I then proceeded to cut my shape out and cut into my thumb as well. Blood gushed everywhere, and it was quite embarrassing, but at least I didn't need stitches! Thanks for the giveaway πŸ™‚

  40. Amanda
    August 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I saw a glass bead-making demonstration many years ago at Girl Scout Camp, and most recently, I saw a glass-blower display his process when we went to the Renaissance Fair in Georgia. I'd love to try both of those things, but unfortunately, I'm not even close to having the opportunity for either. ):

  41. yogavq
    August 9, 2010 at 1:33 am

    I've never watched a bead being made, it sounds like something to stay away from. Would love to win those beautiful beads. Please enter me in the contest.


  42. Off the Beadin' Path
    August 9, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I had the opportunity to watch Cathie Roberts, Farm Girl Cat, work up several of her beautiful lampwork beads. The demo was set up in Galena Beads store in Galena, IL. It was awesome to see, she made it look easy. Would love to win Kelley's colorful beads!!

  43. Kelly
    August 9, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I had the chance to watch a lampwork artist do her thing a few years ago in a beautiful small town in Montana. I asked her lots of questions, and we exchanged emails. She advised me to take a class or go on a retreat to learn how to make glass beads — she tried to teach herself by reading books only to realize how easy the process is when she finally got to watch another artist and learn from her. When I finally moved to that beautiful small town in Montana, I was blown away to find a lampwork artist offering a weekend class at a local art center. I paid my fees and jumped in. It was amazing, but I knew it would take some time to get remotely good at it. I have played around some since then, but I am working overseas right now and only have beads and stringing supplies where I am. I cannot wait to get back to the torch, however!!

  44. Miss Val's Creations
    August 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Glass bead making has always looked so fun to me although I have yet to try it! I have taken a class in fused glass which is so cool!!!

  45. Cillaw
    August 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    My girlfriend is a lampwork artist and I too am afraid of the torch and exploding beads. I love the final result though and Kelley's re beautiful!!
    my blog is http://www.tellyourgirlfriends.com

  46. quiltingjewel39
    August 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I haven't had a chance lately. The closest thing are some tutorial – great for learning but certainly not as personal. I did work with a local jewelry artist a couple of years ago with some silver bezels and that was fun.

  47. custom designed jewelry
    August 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    These are nice pieces of art, very attractive and colorful. Astounding work looking forward to seeing more of your creations.

  48. Judy
    August 9, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I have to agree with Lorelei I would rather watch this amazing craft than actually do it. Thanks for the glimpse into Kelly's world, it amazes me how such little pieces of art are evolved from fire and glass. I love the selections Lorelei picked out, thanks for the opportunity to win them!

  49. Nicki
    August 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Ok, first I want to say that I am Kelley's biggest fan, so I think you should pick me. πŸ™‚
    I am afraid of fire and tools too, but for a reason – I would be the one to know that the glowing red bead is hot, but I would still try to take it off the mandrel with my hands….. I have taken a class once, and it was really cool, but I have no torch, so I did not try it again. I got a small torch for soldering now, and if I won't burn my fingers off with that one, I will take a new attempt at glass bead making again. The soldering really got me hooked.

  50. renee
    August 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    i would love to do lampwork, but i am waaay too accident prone. i probably shouldnt be using needles! i admire those who can do it though.

  51. TesoriTrovati
    August 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Oh! I am so glad that you are okay. I suppose that happens to all lampworkers at some point. But I know what you mean about fire. Love it, but respect it. I had my torch experience the very first time with Susan Lenard Kazmer at Bead & Button. She was so casual about the flame and how it worked, you could tell she was a master. I had to swallow my fears and just jump on in, I loved it and would love to do more with torching metal and playing with things like that, but I am scared too. So I haven't in over 2 years. Maybe someday. Seeing a master artisan like that is always a cool experience and really gives one perspective in what it takes to extract such beauty. Thanks for sharing, Lorelei! Great idea for a Studio Saturday post!
    Enjoy the day!

  52. Betty
    August 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Wow!That was a pretty exciting first experience.I did try glassblowing in college, and would love to try lampworking beads, but seems like getting set up is daunting.

    Would love to win those gorgeous beads!

    [email protected]

  53. Anonymous
    August 10, 2010 at 1:21 am

    I had the pleasure of watching a friend of mine make a lampwork bead and then she let me make one too. With lots of coaxing and reminders to keep the bead in the flame without melting it into oblivion I finally finished it and it was almost round… I was sooo proud!

    I did have some glass shatter but none of it got in my eye!

    I also got to see another friend demonstrate dying fabric and then I got to play with some of my own. It was a great experience, especially seeing how all the colors melded into beautiful combinations. Then I got to put some of them into an art quilt!

    kjkoukla(at ) hotmail.com

  54. Mari
    August 10, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I never get the chance but I tried it anyway… but I give up easily too!!!!! I'm a good shopper though!

  55. Courtney
    August 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I haven't had that opportunity yet. I would love to see Kelley in action – her beads are wonderful! I have watched some glasswork at my LBS as they have recently opened a glass studio next door! Oh, the possiblities!!!!!

  56. amyburl
    August 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I would love to make something fun for back to school with these cool beads

  57. Anonymous
    August 10, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I watched a lampwork bead demonstration at the Harmony Arts festival and I felt the same way you do – way too dangerous for me. The two tanks of I'm not sure what sort of gas was enough to deter me from trying it. Not to mention the heat from the torch. But I have to say lampwork beads are in my current top ten list of most beautiful things. Your friend Kelleys Beads are truly lovely.
    [email protected]

  58. Tara P.
    August 11, 2010 at 4:48 am

    While I would love to watch a lampworker in action, I haven't had the opportunity yet. I'd love to find someone in Phoenix who can show me, though. So other than some YouTube videos, no.

  59. Beth
    August 12, 2010 at 1:19 am

    I love the beads– I keep thinking I want to learn how but I just haven't taken that step yet.

  60. Klassy Joolz
    August 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    I am a big fan of Lampwork Beads…I love Boro Lampwork beads the most and use them quite often in my designs.

    I so admire the talented artisans that create them and always thought I would like to learn this art someday, but after your experience I may have to rethink that desire and just be content to purchase from the "talented ones"!!!
    Smiles, Pam

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