I am dedicated to advancing the art and science of glass beadmaking as well as the creative use of lampwork beads in artisan jewelry. Glass beadmaking is an ancient art reimagined for today’s world.
The Glass Bead Studio is home to my work. Located in Center City Philadelphia, the Glass Bead Studio is a focal point of the areas flameworking community.
I began making jewelry more than a decade ago and from the moment I made my first misshaped little bead I was hooked. I still find the process of making glass beads as fascinating and mesmerizing as I did on that first day.
I am especially thankful to have been able to study at The Studios of The Corning Museum Of Glass. I have had the good fortune to lean from some of the finest lampwork artists in the world. Among them, John Winter, Sandra Seaman, Lori Copeland, Tink Martin, John Cramer, Douglas Remschneider, Margaret Neher, and Caitlin Hyde. All of these artists have shared their knowledge most generously.
Feel free to check out my blog, where I will share with you the exciting techniques used in creating my work. Hopefully it will add some background and story to the Paul Spencer jewelry you are already wearing or thinking about investing in. The videos will invite you right into my studio and you will see the glass in your jewelry actually being made.
The tutorials may inspire you to try and make some jewelry or lampwork beads yourself. Consider taking a class or a workshop with me for an introduction into the world of lampmaking.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions and I hope to see you at The Glass Bead Studio soon.
Beads are a part of our collective memory
Archeologists have discovered shell beads that are 40,000 years old and glass beads have been produced in the Mediterranean since 2,000 B.C. With that kind of history it is fair to say that the making of beads for decoration and commerce is one of the earliest human achievements.
Since beads are a part of our collective memory it is little wonder that so many people are fascinated with beads and find them compelling and addictive.
From Murano Italy to Haight Ashbury
For centuries the mecca of glass beadmaking was found in the studios of Murano, Italy. Famous for their Venetian glass, these studios were run by families of artisans who closely guarded their glassmaking secrets and traditions.
Then came the 1960’s, the hippies and the flameworking movement in America. Some very dedicated artists decided to take matters into their own hands and reinvent the glass bead.
These early mavericks would teach themselves the basics and then work to develop their own techniques. Little by little the movement grew and so did their audience as jewelry designers discovered the creative benefits of incorporating lampwork beads into their jewelry designs.
Artisan Jeweler Paul Spencer