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Cecilia Labora

Kansas City, Missouri

As far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the beauty of beads and the opportunity that they offer for expressing creativity. As a small child I strung seed beads (or as they were known to me in my native Mexico, “chaquira”). In 2003 I learned about making handmade glass beads, also known as flameworked or lampworked glass beads, and my love affair with molten glass began. I took a class as soon as I could find one. My passion for this art form continues to grow with every bead I make.
I work both with soda-lime and borosilicate glass. Depending on the look that I am after I may also use metal foils, enamels, dichroic glass and/or glass frit to achieve interesting effects. My beads range in color and style from colorful and funky to more organic neutral tones with classic designs. I also enjoy incorporating fresh water pearls, natural stones, sterling silver and brilliant cut crystal to make unique pieces of jewelry.
Lampwork (or Flameworked) glass bead making is an ancient art that has been practiced for more than 3,000 years. This ancient process originally used oil lamp or wax to melt the glass; hence the name lampworking. However, today’s bead makers have replaced the oil lamp with the torch. Each bead is created by melting glass with a torch to a temperature of about 1700 degrees. Once the glass becomes molten it is wrapped around a stainless steel rod and manipulated to achieve the desired look. Once the desired design has been achieved the bead is placed in a kiln where it is allowed to cool gradually.