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My name is Amanda Toliver Cunningham, and I create designer lampwork glass beads for you to use in your jewelry creations.

Using a flame to manipulate glass into a bead is like magic. The solid glass becomes a viscous liquid, which can be manipulated into untold numbers of objects. As an art form, bead making is unique. The results are immediate and the art is wearable and can be used in creating beautiful jewelry or home decor.

My beads are made of high quality Italian, German, and American glass, and my genuine love of working with hot glass. Not to mention all the fancy inclusions, such as .999 pure fine Italian Silver, Copper, Gold, my own handmade millefiori (murrini), and anything else compatible with glass that I think will give it that extra flare. My beads are meticulously made and kiln annealed for a lifetime of enjoyment.

Flame-working (also called Lampworking) is not an “easy” art form. However, the rewards that come from -not days, or weeks, or even months- but years of practice, persistence, practice, research, trial-and-error, studying, and … hmmm… I feel like I’m leaving something out… Oh- yeah— practice, go far beyond any frustration felt during the learning process.
To be a successful lampwork artist, one must not only know how to manipulate the glass in the flame, but must also learn what each type of glass does while in the flame and how it reacts with other glasses, which, of course, each have their own different set of flame characteristics and chemistry.

Here’s a quick little rundown of my process:

Immediately after I form my creation in the flame of my torch, I place it in my kiln, which is soaking at 950-1050°F, to undergo a process called annealing.
Annealing controls the rate at which the glass is cooled. It is during this process that the glass is slowly cooled over a period of 8 hours, which is twofold— It aligns its crystalline structure and relieves molecular stress, ensuring maximum strength, durability, and longevity.

After annealing, I thoroughly clean the release agent from the bead hole and inspect each and every bead for any signs of damage or imperfection, or imbalance.

All of these factors (annealing, cleaning, inspection) along with the artisan’s personal artistic style and technical skill… is what sets Handmade Artisan Lampworked Glass Beads apart from the mass-produced glass beads available from importers and resellers. Artisan Glass Beads unequivocally cannot be mass produced in a factory.
They are unlike any glass beads you would ever find at a big box store, thereby setting you, the designer, apart from everyone else by having the absolutely highest quality components for your own designs and creations.

Thank you for supporting an indie studio artist Ü

Need more info about me? Here is a list of my other sites:

https://amandatoliver.com/
http://www.etsy.com/shop/AmandaToliver
http://www.flickr.com/photos/amandatoliver
https://www.facebook.com/amanda.tolivercunningham
http://kissmyglassbeads.wordpress.com/
https://plus.google.com/107887596558884718279/posts/p/pub?fd=1

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