My name is Tina Smith, and as a Lampwork glass beadmaker I get to play with fire all day long! I have been making beads for over 14 years, initially as a hobby, but then realising my dream and going full-time just over 5 years ago.
Every bead starts as a rod of glass, which is then melted in a flame and transformed by manipulating colours and shapes, with sometimes unexpected results. Once finished, the bead is then put in a kiln overnight for controlled cooling, which ensures there are no molecular weaknesses which could cause it to crack later.
Next, I clean and inspect each bead, to make sure that they are of high enough quality. I then either put them up for sale to jewellery makers all over the world, or I turn them into wearable jewellery which I then sell. I supply jewellery to a number of retail outlets in south and west Wales.
My designs are often influenced by the beautiful coastline and countryside of west Wales, where I am lucky enough to live. I am a member of the Contemporary Glass Society and Glass Beadmakers UK.
In 2022, three of my beads were selected for the Inaugural Bead Biennale at the International Festival of Glass.