Lampwork glass beads, named for the original method of melting glass rods over the flame of an oil lamp, allows artisan creation of unique glass beads & glass pendants. It rewards us with glass beads with lots of design potential and sometimes quirky shapes, bumps, swirls and colors. Glass beads, lampwork beads, dichroic glass beads and dichroic glass pendants are stunning coupled with gold beads and sterling silver beads as well as pearls.
Our range of handmade lampwork glass beads includes many by a husband and wife team of glass artists in the Czech Republic. AleAle lampwork beads are favorites at Beadworks. The spirit of these glass beads shines through in their exuberant glass bead designs. We are proud to offer these hand-crafted glass beads to you.
Gold and silver leaf is used in the lampwork glass process to create the shimmery effects of these glass beads, but the rich luster at their heart adds sophistication to these foil glass beads. Mix with dichroic glass beads, dichroic glass pendants and striking gold or silver beads.
About a hundred kilometers north of Prague, in the Czech Republic, is an area of particular natural beauty. Its hills and mountains are covered in farms and forests. Historic towns, both large and small, are filled with reminders of an industrious and prosperous past. This part of Bohemia is home to many crafts and skilled occupations the most famous of which is the art of glass work. Since the sixteenth century, the glass bead makers have used the fuel of the surrounding forests to turn simple sand and oxides into one of man's most magical materials. Local artists have fashioned this fine quality glass into exquisite objects, both practical and decorative, and passed their growing skills down through the generations.
Bohemian glass became famous throughout the world and, by the 17th century it was competing with the finest products from the other great glass-making centers. The techniques of glass bead making, learned from Venice, led to a flourishing cottage industry which grew to huge proportions by the beginning of the last century. Famous Czech designers of the first half of the twentieth century helped to give the region a leading role in glass bead design. Sadly, the Second World War brought great tragedy to the region and was followed by forty years of creative stagnation under an imposed communist regime.
Beadworks has been buying beads from the Czech Republic for a quarter of a century. Happily, the classic styles of pressed glass and lamp glass beads, which had served the region so well for decades, have renewed appeal for contemporary customers. But it was only after the fall of communism that a reinvigorated sense of design and entrepreneurial spirit crept back into the hearts of a new generation. It is this revival of innovation, particularly in lamp glass work, which has made Bohemian beads one of the most exciting parts of the Beadworks range.
During one of our annual trips to Bohemia, Beadworks founders were fortunate enough to stumble across the most talented of these new generation designers. Alena and Alex Chladek met at the famous Glass School in Zelezny Brod, a small town on the banks of the Jizera River. After her studies, Alena's creativity was, for a while, hidden in one of the large, communist era glass workshops. But, from the first time we set eyes upon an early design of Alena's glass beads, we knew that we had found an original talent. No one was using color in such a joyful manner. Her hademade glass beads perfectly expressed a spirit of youthful optimism which had become such a key feature of contemporary tastes in jewelry design.
With help from Beadworks, Alena and Alex were able to set up their own production facility. Alex, a fine designer and artist himself, created other sculptural components which she translated into enchanting beads. Their partnership, now formally named AleAle ™ designs, draws on a combination of their design talents and the unique skills of the glass artisans in the region of the Jizera mountains.
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