Beads I Love: Handmade Lampwork Glass Beads

Jan 15, 2012

As a recovering lampwork glass addict (I still have the torch, the kiln and all the glass in my garage workshop!) I have a soft spot for fabulous handmade lampwork glass beads. At a bead show, my first instinct is to check out which glass bead artists are there and see which treasures I can scoop up to add to my growing collection of artist beads. So imagine how thrilled I was a few weeks ago when, during an episode of insomnia, I was lucky enough to stumble across a few great treasures from the Beadin' Path's online bead store. 

Now, I don't usually recommend shopping for beads at three in the morning when you probably aren't possessed of reason, but these beautiful lampwork glass beads were too good for me to pass up! Look at the beauties that I added to my stash that sleepless winter night:


Nancy Tobey: This "bowling pin" bead by glass artist Nancy Tobey was made with borosilicate glass, and contains all of my favorite colors. The shape of this bead is quite unusual, and I'm thinking it'll lend itself well as a focal for a stunning (but subtle) beaded rope. Nancy's handmade glass beads reflect her love of nature and organic shapes, and she is an absolute master at capturing the exquisite color of the borosilicate glass in her beads.

Joyce Rooks: Joyce's background as an artist working in ceramics and clay, as well as her experience as a professional musician, have led her to create unique glass beads full of unexpected lines, colors and effects.  This beautifully textured bead has been fumed with gold and lightly etched. Her use of bright and vibrant colors just makes me want to sing (or laugh!) when I get a look at her beautiful glass beads!

Amy Johnson: While some people might look at Amy's beads as "weird", I am drawn to their shapes and colors. Her sculptural prowess with glass is apparent when you actually get to hold one of her beads in your hand and marvel at it's well-formed appendages and lines.

Mix lampwork glass beads with beadweaving in Colorplay Bangles by Barbara Richard from Beadwork magazine 2010!

The real test came when my package of beads arrived a few days later - would I be as happy with my beads in the harsh light of day as I had been in the middle of the night? I was pleased to discover that yes, these beads were just as beautiful in person as they had been on my computer screen while I was half asleep!


Now comes the fun of figuring out how to use these beautiful lampwork glass beads! It's always a challenge to mix off-loom beadweaving with gorgeous glass beads like these, but having a great resource for all things beadweaving like Beadwork magazine definitely helps.

Of course, if you're like me, you find yourself going back to your copies of Beadwork over and over again for techniques, ideas and inspiration. If you're worried about how those magazines will hold up over time, there's good news: now you can get all six 2010 issues of Beadwork magazine on a searchable CD! All of those fabulous projects, tips and techniques from the experts at Beadwork magazine in one, convenient CD. It'll take up less space on your shelf and leave you more room for - what else? - beads! Pre-order your copy of Beadwork 2010 on CD and find out why it's so convenient to go digital!

Do you have a favorite glass bead artist? Tell us about them and share a link to their online store or website here on the blog! Let's spread some beady love around!

Bead Happy,


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on Jan 16, 2012 4:14 AM

Thought you may like to see these!

on Jan 16, 2012 8:02 AM

I use hundreds of buttons and beads in my art quilts, so I'm I'm always on the lookout for sources. That often means shopping at 3am, too. I've learned to clear my eyes enough to look at the zoom in or enlarge pictures and that kind of shine from the flash of a camera means "that kind" of look. It's sort of like learning to read vacation destination ads...this means this and that means that. So, with experience and LOTS of early morning orders, I find that I'm rarely disappointed with my orders for my button and bead stash....

Nancy Smeltzer

on Jan 16, 2012 11:50 AM

These beads are not glass, but their detail, intricacy and whimsy bring them to the top of my list: check out

She makes ceramic/porcelain beads and will be at B&B 2012.

Bobbi helms wrote
on Jan 16, 2012 12:06 PM

i so hear you on the "shopping at 3am..." thing. Though I usually don't shop that late (early?), I am becoming a bead-a-holic - and proud of it. I must have a collection of close to 3000 beads right now - and If I use a handful a  week, that's a lot. But i LOOVVVEEEE them so!

I've discoverd quite a few remarkable lampwork bead artisits - all of whom have shops on etsy, and other sites. LABeadlady is a is Debbie Sanders...and Catalina Glass. IrinaS is incredibly talented from Slovenia...Nadineco is from Israel. All are different and all are worth a look!

Bobbi Helms

Fat Dog Beads

P.S. - i hope to get into lampworking myself some day soon!

nancytobey wrote
on Jan 16, 2012 3:15 PM

Jennifer- thanks so much for including me in your blog and for your vey kind words!  It's good to know the bead lived up to your expectations!


Nancy Tobey

nancytobey wrote
on Jan 16, 2012 3:15 PM

Jennifer- thanks so much for including me in your blog and for your vey kind words!  It's good to know the bead lived up to your expectations!


Nancy Tobey

Shell62 wrote
on Jan 18, 2012 9:52 AM

I love lampwork beads take a look at carl's work at

cjconstien wrote
on Feb 5, 2012 1:12 PM

I absolutely love glass beads!! They are so beautiful! I am amazed by these talented artists that create such beautiful beads!! One of my favorite artists is Wendy Willmott. I first found her creations on Ebay and have since continued to purchase her lovelies from her website, ebay & etsy. She has also become a friend!! You can see what I mean by going to her website and she has links from there to her creations also on ebay & etsy.

Another favorite, 5 Fish Designs, husband & wife artists, Karl & Krista Tseu.

I can't seem to get enough of handmade glass beads and will continue to incorporate these in my jewelry creations!!