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Murrini Signature

Its been 7 years in the making, and it finally happened! I made myself a lampwork glass signature murrini. Now I can sign my work like a real artist.

I’ve wanted to make myself a signature murrini for many years. Setting aside the time to actually accomplish it though was always the problem. Making a letter murrini involves many steps and many hours to complete. Another thing this takes a lot of, glass. Lots and lots of glass.

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There is a special project that I’ll be working on the next couple of months and having the pieces “signed” will make them all the better. See I’ve been working on the same torch for the past 7 years and I realize that If I want to keep growing in my artistic abilities, I need an upgrade. There are so many things that I want to make but I can’t because my trusty little torch can only get so hot, and the flame only so big.

My studio 2.0 overhaul is going to be a pricey undertaking, to the tune of 4 grand or more. So I’ll be attempting to raise the necessary funds through a kickstarter campaign. This is the main reason behind me finally biting the bullet as they say and making my signature cane.

Do feel something is more collectible or value a piece higher if it includes an artists mark?

Lampwork Tube Bead Necklace

A lot of the time when I sell a bead, pendant, or what have you, I don’t get to see what great things it has gone off to become. Each piece that goes out the door feels like a piece of me and I’m saying good-bye to it forever.

Once in a while I get lucky and I receive an email from someone and get to see that bead or pendant again and what the buyer decided to create with it. Like seeing an old friend my face lights up with joy as I take in what has become of that bead I brought to life.

A couple of days ago I was lucky enough to get a conversation on Etsy showing off one of my long tube beads.


Tube Bead Necklace Lampwork necklace

Thank you Chris for brightening my day with these photos and your beautiful work with the necklace and lampwork focal bead.

If you’ve used one of my lampwork beads  or pendants in a jewelry design of your own, please send me an email at joe[at]avenuebeads.com and It’ll be showcased here on the AvenueBeads.com blog.

Do you prefer to use large focal pieces like my lampwork tube beads or several normal sized beads when designing a necklace?

Lampwork Spike Necklace Continued

Having too many options can be a bad thing sometimes. In this case, having too many jewelry findings just begging to be used can make putting a necklace idea together harder than it should be.

I dug through my ever-growing stash of semi-precious stones, sterling findings, seed beads,  constantly getting side tracked by shiny things, before settling on several options.

Note to self, buy more strands of stones :)

So many choices

The first possibility (above) is a mix of green lampwork accent beads, black seed beads, and round black onyx stones.  I like this one a lot but you kinda have to like green, a lot!

Black square jasper

Round two gave me a more striking classy look with square jasper, black seed beads, and just a couple of the lampwork green accent beads.I like the contrast in shapes on this one over using all round objects.

Green and white agate stones

The last one I put together went for light colors yet eye-catching. With those sterling silver spikes thought, I think anything I use will be eye-catching. This design has white and green agate rounds, along with the black seed beads, and six of the green lampwork accent beads.

Now the big problem is, I like all three of them! Of course I can make all them into finished pieces but I’m out of silver wire for the spikes at the moment. I’m afraid to go look at the cost of silver. Someone, please tell me it’s selling for $1 an ounce. No? Wishful thinking I guess.

If you were standing at a jewelry counter and were given these three above choices, which one would you be wearing and showing off?

Necklace Design Sneak Peek

I’ve been brainstorming a lot lately. I call it “creative insomnia” since it mostly happens while I’m trying to fall asleep. It gets annoying not being able to shut off and drift away to sleep, but I’ve come up with lots of good ideas in the process.

If you watch the Avenue Beads facebook page I’ve been posing questions this week in preparation for this new design. Mainly I’ve been curious what colors were the most popular. Seems green is right up there so I decided to go with it for my first necklace.

I guess you would call this necklace a statement piece, whatever that’s suppose to mean. All jewelry should be a statement, shouldn’t it? Makes it sound more special I think :). In the end though it will be quite eye-catching with all the silver spikes showing off glassy jewels. There will be two versions of this necklace, one with less spikes (read more affordable) and one over the top necklace with a full neck of spikes.

Spikes Of Color

spike necklace

Simple Elegance

This is just the beginning of the necklace so it may appear a little underwhelming but even with the way it stands right now, I kind of like it’s simplicity. I’m also using old patina-ed sterling silver findings that I’ve had for a while, so once I tumble the pieces it’ll be all sparkly and pretty.

The plan right now is to use beading wire as the stringing base. With all the spikes this will probably be a weighty piece so the stiffer beading wire will in theory give the necklace its structure. The closure will be one of my handmade clasps.

As the best laid plans sometimes go, they can always change. Stay tuned for more updates!


Lampwork Bead Blowout Sale!

My bead stock has reached critical mass and they are taking over the studio! Someone, save me! After some thought I decided that I will no be selling at any bead shows this year for many reasons. So instead of all the pretty beads collecting dust, I am blowing them out at unbelievable prices. Most are being listed for 50-70% less than I normally sell them for at my shows and online. As the saying goes, my loss is your gain!

Avenue Beads Etsy store

Avenue Beads Etsy store


I am clearing out old stock and new. I want my bead boxes empty, or close to it :).

All the on sale beads are being listed in my etsy shop. There is no need to enter coupon codes or any other thing. All listings have already been discounted for the easiest buying experience. All you have to do is click the “add to cart” button.

To see all the beads that are on sale together, while in my etsy store you can do an in store search with the word “sale” and all the beads that have been drastically marked down will be shown.

Avenue Beads Etsy Store

There are about 200-300 beads to photograph and list so you will see many new listing being offered every day. The selection will consist mostly of focals and a hand full of sets here and there.

So come take a look around and help me clean out the bead boxes. If you don’t see anything you like, check again later or the next day for new listings.

Happy Browsing!


Blowing A Lampwork Glass Vessel

I came across an old video I made in 2010 of me blowing a glass vessel during one of my live studio broadcasts. I thought it would be fun to bring it back to the light as I am sure there are plenty of  lampwork artists out there who would find this tutorial of sort very helpful in getting started with blowing glass vessels on a torch. An artist can never have too many skills in their bag of tricks, right?

Seeing this old video brought back some good memories of my old studio. I now feel the need to start blowing my little vessels again.

View and purchase my lampwork blown glass vessels.

If you have any questions please leave a post in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.


Watch, learn, enjoy, and share!

Watch live video from Playing with fire! on Justin.tv

New Lampwork Supply: Streaky Stringers

You may have seen the sneak peek of these awesome new stringers a week or so ago either on our facebook page or here on the blog. If not, say hello to the newest addition in our 104coe Streaky Stringer line.


Lots of color!

These new Rainbow Streaky Stringers pack a colorful punch. Each stringer is overflowing with a rainbow mix of purple, red, yellow, blue, and ivory. All these colors packed inside gives you a lot of different color with minimal amount of work. Those new to bead making or seasoned vets will enjoy working with this color.

As an example, just check out this fantastic streaky crab focal bead created by Joy Munshower.

Rainbow Stringer Example

These new Rainbow 104coe Streaky Stringers are now available on the website.

Have a great rest of the week!

New Lampwork Supply – Flower And Leaf Canes

Summer is almost over, at least here anyway, but no matter what time of year it is floral beads seem to always be in style. If you like making flowers or would like to try your hand at making some, you’re in luck. With our new flower canes and leaf canes your work just got a little easier. Why spend hours making the components when you can buy what you need ready-made for you.

As always these are 100% handmade in our studio so you know the quality and consistency that you will receive from our products.

1o4coe rose and flower canes

Variegated Red Flower CaneRed Flower CanePurple Flower Cane

Pink Flower CaneVariegated Red Flower Cane

Don’t see a color you need? Please contact me about requesting other colors to be added to the line.

Along with the flower cane I’ve added a really neat leaf cane to the website. This flat cane creates a light green leaf with a dark green edging and a black spine. To use all you need to do is heat a tiny ball at the tip and swipe on the surface of your bead. Pull leaf end to a point and you have yourself a very detailed leaf for trees, flowers and vines. Can be left on surface or encased when making encased florals. I rarely make a flower bead that doesn’t use this leaf cane. All the photos above show the leaf cane in use.


Lampwork Tutorials

I’ve been asked for years how to blow shards and more specifically how to make my ever popular special effect mottling shards. Well if you’ve been wanting in on the secrets you are in luck.

Originally I was going to make one big tutorial for learning how to blow shards and how to make mottle shards but decided to break it up into separates for those that might already know how to blow shards, thus lowering the price of the Mottling Shard Tutorial.

I had a lot of fun putting these tutorials together. I hope you enjoy them as well and learn lots of new techniques.

Enjoy and have fun!


How to blow shards

Blowing Shards

How to Blow Shards

Instant download PDF tutorial that teaches you how to blow shards and apply them to your work. 18 pages and 45 photos that include easy to follow step by step instructions accompanied by full color photos.

Included in this Tutorial:

How to Blow Shards
How to Make Your Shards
How to Apply Shards
Shard bead examples










Creating Mottle Shards

Creating Mottle Shards

Creating and Using Mottle Shards

Learn how to make and use the original striking Mottle shards that was first created by Avenue Beads.

Instant download PDF tutorial that teaches you how to make your own mottling shards like our Dragons Breath, Skystone, Ethereal Blues and Lunar Moss Mottle Shards. 28 pages and 55 photos that include easy to follow step by step instructions accompanied by full color photos.

Included in this Tutorial:

Making Mottle Shards
How To Use Mottle Shards
Mottle Recipes
Bead Examples From Artists