In recent years, Australia has been experiencing an explosive growth rate in the area of Lampwork Beads and Glass Beadmaking. The sparkle and allure, endless variety and unlimited range potential of these Glass Gems has proven irresistible to both Collectors and Creators alike! From the Unique and Unusual, to the Fun and Funky, Subtle or Garish, Luxurious, Awe-inspiring, Glamorous, Amusing, or Simple and Comforting - Lampwork Glass Beads are definitely IN!
An ancient art form once considered unattainable by the majority, creating one's own glamorous Glass Beads is now much easier for the average person to pursue. Many new innovations in the Tools necessary to the Art have made it much more feasible and affordable just in the last few years. Glass Rods, Torches and other tools of the trade are also more easily available in some larger cities in Australia as well as by shopping on the Internet with several online Australian vendors saving the cost and hassle of ordering from overseas.
As a result of all this modern day ease in availability - growth and enthusiasm have blossomed. Internet-based Public Forums have sprung up promoting communications and networking, enabling all interested persons to ask questions as well as get assistance from any number of other Beadmakers. America has certainly led the pack in these areas, but the Aussies are definitely coming into their own in terms of local resources and especially in local talent!
There are (at this writing) 2 Internet-based public Forums for Australian Lampwork Glass Beadmakers.
These Forums have specific areas dedicated to technical help, local and overseas Equipment and Suppliers lists, links to member websites, general discussions about all aspects of Beadmaking, news about up-coming shows or group meets, etc. Probably the most frequented areas of all Beadmaker Forums are the "show and tell" areas where everyone proudly displays their Beads for the entire world to see! In the time-honoured fashion of Beadmakers everywhere, they freely share how they have achieved their amazing results!
Experienced and Amateur alike flock to these Forums to discuss the intricacies of a particular technique, the results of experiments in mixing reactive colours of Glass, new recipes for essential basic supplies like Bead Release, and even where to get an annealing Kiln and how to achieve the best results with it.
You can find these Forums by pointing your web-browser at:
Where you will find the livelier discussions and plenty of "eye candy" to look at. You will find more information on the Yahoo-based Aussie Beadmaker Forum:
You can opt to have on-going discussions emailed as they happen rather than going to the website to read, although you may wish to take the time to peruse the many folders of photographs of members works.
Beadmaking is a fabulous craft and people love it. It's fascinating and addictive!
They want new tools, new supplies, trendy new techniques, famous teachers, books, etc., etc. Look again at the US market, there are over 100,000 people making a living on the Bead craft. Professionals, Bead Shops, eBay, Jewellery-makers/Designers, Teachers, Toolmakers, Suppliers, etc.
Australia is rapidly growing - filling those same niches locally, and still wide open to expansion!
The Australian Beadmakers avidly seek out and consume new products to use in their craft to attain different results. Fine Silver, Gold and Copper in both Leaf and Wire form as well as Enamels applied to Glass and annealed are particularly stunning. There's been strong interest in incorporating CZ's into Beads, creating a very attractive work of art combining a bit of the Lapidarist Trade and dapping Silver or Copper "cores" through Bead holes to combine the Jeweller's Arts as well.
Because these are all individually handcrafted - every Bead is a miniature work of art!
Quite naturally, the response to all this excitement has been the development of a rather large community of talented local Beadmakers spread throughout this country. You can find their artwork in Galleries, Jewellery Shops, Craft Markets, on their own Websites and on eBay. Many market their wares to the USA Buyers as well.
Thanks to the Internet, this same nation-wide Beadmaking community is a very tight-knit and cohesive group with the largest concentration of individuals in the Brisbane area. Out of desire for like-minded people to socialize and share their passion and knowledge with in person, the Brisbane Beadmaker's Group was formed in November 2003 and has successfully maintained a regular and enthusiastically attended Monthly meet since then.
These Beadmakers meet to freely share techniques, resources and ideas. Promoting their own work as well as the growth of Beadmaking and related industries in Australia.
All interested persons are invited to the monthly Bead Meet - please contact this Author for details.
Barbara can be reached on email: email@example.com or by phone on: (07) 3279 0022
Beadmakers from Australia (and New Zealand) even have a "Challenge" to participate in, whereby a theme is chosen for focus and Beadmakers "challenge" their skills according to the theme. Pictures of their works are displayed on-line for 6 weeks or more and sponsored prizes are awarded!
This is a fun NEW event and has generated a tremendous response and participation.
For more information on the BeadMaker Challenge and to view pictures, please point your web-browser to:
From a dedicated core group of the Brisbane Beadmakers, the newly formed "Australian Glass Beadmaker's Guild" (AGBG) was borne. The founding members united to develope this organization in the interest of promoting the growth and recognition of the Glass Beadmaking Art, facilitating communications and mentoring amongst interested persons, as well as providing networking support and professional development.
By the time this article goes to print, the AGBG website should be fully functional with content and rapidly growing!
www.aussiebeadmakers.com (This is us! Right here!)
*About the Author:
Barbara Robinson has been involved in Beads and Beadmaking for over 40 years. She is the Coordinator of the Brisbane Beadmaker Meets, as well as the Initiator and Founder of the AGBG.
Barbara sells her Beads as well as Lampwork Equipment, Tools and Supplies on eBay and on her website: www.ozziebuddy.com