Bobbie Pene of Lampwork has been creative since an early age, dabbling in various arts and crafts, including basic jewellery design. As a registered nurse working in a senior role, Bobbie finds that making glass beads is a meditative process that takes her mind away from everyday stressors. She sells her beads and completed jewellery online and in selected New Zealand galleries.
What do you make? I make lampwork glass beads and jewellery.
How did you get into your craft?
It all started when I stumbled across lampwork while doing a Google search for online bead stores. I noticed a link that read “Make your own beads.” When I clicked the link, I discovered it was a local New Zealand site. I booked a weekend beginner’s class and was amazed at what I could do with glass. The following week hubby and I traveled to Whangarei to purchase all the equipment I would need to set up a lampwork studio at home. It has been a rewarding journey.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Aside from a beginners’ workshop here in Auckland, all the skills I have learned, have been the result of countless hours of practice, and many “disaster” beads. Lampwork is relatively new in New Zealand and the tuition just isn’t available. There are some amazing glass bead artists around the world who teach their skills, and one day I hope to travel and attend a workshop.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite material is glass of course, but I also love to play with gemstones, other beads, fiber and metals. Lampwork is an age-old process to create small glass art such as beads. Murano, Italy is the home of lampwork where glass was melted over an oil lamp (hence the name).
Today with modern technology the same techniques apply, but a propane/oxygen gas torch is used. When a glass bead is complete, it goes into a digitally controlled kiln for several hours to anneal. Annealing removes stresses in the glass that are formed during heating and cooling. Annealing strengthens the bead and reduces spontaneous cracking. There is a real science to the art of glass bead making.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I love a challenge and enjoy trying new techniques and using new materials. For this reason, my work is eclectic in design and assembly, and I use many different materials and themes.
Five words that describe your mind? Constantly thinking and never sleeping.
What inspires you?
The glass inspires me – it is a solid and liquid, fragile yet strong, transparent or opaque, inert yet reactive. The creative possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination. I also draw inspiration from nature and enjoy creating beads inspired by flowers, trees and animals.
Describe your workspace:
My workspace is out in the garage and shared with the laundry and my youngest child’s play area. It isn’t a very “pretty” area, but is functional and very organised. I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive with order so everything has its purpose and its place. There is a “hot” workbench for lampwork and soldering. There is a “cold” workbench for assembling jewellery. My dream is one day to have a purpose built studio space. I have a lot of beads and findings – some (hubby) would say too much, but I can’t help it – if it shines, I want it!
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
All feedback is precious and I don’t want to favour one over another. It is feedback that helps me choose materials, colors and styles. It also keeps me motivated to continue along this creative path.
What are you currently listening too? My budgies chatting!
Your favourite childhood book?
The Princess and the Pea. I always found it completely absurd that she would feel a pea beneath so many mattresses!
What are you reading now? The Woman, by David Bishop on my Kindle.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts” – Charles Dickens.
Do you have any pets?
Two dogs (Diesel a Blue Heeler, Toby a Maltese), two cats (moggies Chevy and Max), two budgies (“The Boys” Charlie and Buddy). Do kids count as animals? I’m an avid animal lover and if my husband let me have my way I would own a zoo!
If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I would call myself “Lucent” and I could turn any dull object into a glassy work of art.
What was the last handmade item you bought?
Some delicious soap from Honey and Spice as a gift for my mother. I love buying handmade. I also collect glass beads and marbles from around the world – all made by independent artists. The talking point of my handmade collection is a gorgeous little trinket chest with three tiny little books made by Louise of Bibliographica. New Zealand has so many talented artists and crafts people.
Bobbie has kindly offered us a set of her gorgeous handmade Lampwork earrings, to give away to one very lucky Felt customer. Tell us what you like about Bobbie’s work, or how it inspires you, in the comments section below and you’ll be entered into the draw to win these exquisite accessories. The winner will be drawn on Friday 26 April. The draw is open to New Zealand residents only.