SRA Handmade Glass Lampwork Beads

Calgary, Canada | 238 Sales


SRA Handmade Glass Lampwork Beads

Calgary, Canada 238 Sales On Etsy since 2010

0 out of 5 stars (159)

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Last updated on May 21, 2014
Thank you for looking at Mitosis Glass! I love all things glass, and am honoured to be able to work with it myself.

It is important to me to promote handmade artisan work over factory-produced items; all the beads you'll see in this shop are handmade by me.

Here are a few FAQ:

Q. Why are those beads so stinkin' expensive? Glass isn't worth that much.

A. Beadmaking is about more than the supplies. My kiln, which anneals the beads so they'll last beyond your lifetime, was $1,200.00. The torch and oxygen concentrator were another $ 1,200.00 or so. That's just the basic equipment. Mandrels are about $ 6.00 for ten, and I need more than ten at any given time. I also have different sizes of mandrels for different sized holes. The tools -- tweezers, mashers, shapers, nippers, pushers, squeezers, presses, rollers, pokers, rakers, paddles -- those add up to almost another $ 1,000.00 or so. The glass itself is something else; I have well over 100 lbs of glass ranging in price from $ 20.00 a pound to $ 120.00 a pound.
Oh, but we don't have the studio running yet. We need ventilation, gas line hookup, dedicated circuit for the kiln and make up air. Even with a handy husband the cost for these things still added up to a fair chunk.
Don't forget glass storage, glass frits and powders, a heavy-duty respirator for working those frits and powders, sheets of fine metals like silver and gold, silver wire, an assortment of murrinis, pixie dusts, cubic zirconias.... I'd hate to add those up, but just off the top of my head we're looking at another $ 500.00.
If I want to run all this equipment, that requires electricity and natural gas, all running for several hours.
Free of charge is the cleaning, photographing and listing, and God forbid I should make pendants which take even more work.
So while handmade lampwork seems pricey, if us glass folk didn't have all the equipment and supplies, we couldn't bring you these little wearable works of art.

Q. Then why are the glass beads from craft shops so cheap? Don't those places have the same setup?

A. Their setups are similar, but the factories utilize cheap labour, people who are paid peanuts to sit in front of a torch and spin out bead after bead. You can buy many of those beads by the pound from online sources; if a pound of beads is $ 3.00, and the cost of discounted glass and fuel are taken into consideration, how much do you think the artists/workers were paid?
The designs are owned by the factory and the artists do not receive ownership of, or credit for, their designs. Their efforts are placed in the same realm as that of milk cows or egg-laying chickens; sit in a seat all day and crank out the goods for the sake of factory owners.
The issues of worker safety are also important. I have expensive ventilation, a respirator, an anti-fatigue mat and also somewhere to rest my arms while I work. I'm not sure the factory workers are so lucky. Years of exposure to glass dust can result in a deadly lung disease called silicosis, which currently sees the most deaths among Chinese women.

Q. So I should just get the cheap beads for my kids, then?
A. Children are the last people who should have the "cheap" beads. Often the bead release, the clay-like substance in the hole of the bead, is not cleaned out in the factory beads, and it can present a health hazard. Some bead released contain crystalline silica which is a known carcinogen when inhaled.
Not all factory beads are uncleaned, but I have seen many that are.

Q. Why can't children have your beads?
A. There is a regulation in the USA called the CPSIA which is geared toward greater safety in products for children. This means that any products for children in the USA need to undergo rigourous testing in order to be considered suitable, which is not possible for me. Therefore I need to add the disclaimer that beads are not intended for children.

Accepted payment methods

Returns and exchanges
I realize that buying online carries a bit of risk in that you may not like the item in person as much as you liked the photo. Returns for any reason will be accepted if mailed back to me within seven days of receipt of your package. A refund of the cost of the beads only will be issued once I receive the beads. I will not have hurt feelings if you don't care for the beads in real life! I'd rather you be happy with your purchase.

The beads are carefully made and annealed and should last a lifetime, and beyond. However, if there are ever any issues with the integrity of the beads, such as dots popping off or cracks forming anywhere in the bead, contact me immediately and please return them. A full refund including your shipping costs from initial purchase and from the return will be issued, along with my deepest apologies.
Payment is due upon checkout. If you are having trouble with the checkout system, or if you need to delay payment for any reason, please do contact me right away. I'll be happy to work with you.
Shipping costs are in US dollars:

Within Canada, $ 8.50
To the US $ 8.50
Everywhere else in the world: $ 10.00

Added tracking and insurance up to $ 100 for Canada and US customers: Add an extra $ 8.00 -- this can't be done through the listings, so just let me know you want an upgrade and I'll invoice you for the difference.

If the shipping costs end up being less, I will issue you a refund for the difference.

I will pack my beads well to ensure their arrival at your doorstep.
Additional policies and FAQs
I will only accept custom orders that could be sold to other people if the original buyer doesn't want them; requests such as particular colour combinations and styles are alright.