Meet Denise from DKS Lampwork
When Denise Smith decided to take a stained glass making course in 2003 she had no idea it would lead to making and selling glass beads.
“I did the stained glass course and then went on to do the Fusing and Slumping class, which taught me how to join pieces of glass together and then shape them,” Denise explained. “My tutor suggested I could also make glass beads but I was skeptical – I didn’t think I would be all that interested.”
Luckily for the beading fraternity, Denise was wrong – she loved it! “I fell in love with the process. There is just something really special about the melting glass and the flame that really appeals to me.
“I am not much interested in making jewellery, it is the bead making that I really enjoy.
“Lampworking is a centuries old technique of making glass beads. Older traditional methods involved the use of oil lamps, hence the name ‘lampworking’. And even though lamps and bellows have been replaced by propane and oxygen fuelled torches, the magic remains the same. Denise now makes beautiful glass beads with either floral or intricate abstract patterns and sells them via her website, Etsy and the family picture framing business where she works four days a week. All her beads are hand made in her studio in Sydney and go through the proper annealing process. She primarily use soft glass from Italy and the US for their quality, vibrancy and colour range.
She finds that having the beads on display at her workplace and also selling the beads at expos such as the upcoming Bead Show in Sydney is really helpful as customers love to touch and handle the product.
“The beads are fragile so you have to keep an eye on what people are doing with them and, for selling, it helps to not have the stand too cluttered so people can get the full effect of each bead,” she said.
“It is also important to have good lighting on the stand to bring out the vibrancy of the colours.
“My bead making is more of a hobby than a business,” said Denise. “Unfortunately the beads I sell don’t bring in enough money to make it a full time business but they do help fund more glass to make more beads!”