DesignerFest: Day One – Grace Lampwork Beads

Lampworking is a centuries-old process by which glass is heated by hot flames and shaped around a metal rod. The result is a truly unique bead full of life and color. Grace Ma who founded Grace Lampwork beads has mastered this process for the modern artisan to create incredible works of art. Grace is originally from Beijing, China, where she worked on computers for a living. When her husband found a new job in the United States in 2001, they moved to San Jose, CA—and Grace first discovered lampwork beads. While visiting her sister in September 2002, Grace went to a bead show and fell in love with the gorgeous glass lampwork beads on display. From then on she knew she wanted to make lampwork beads. Knowing nothing about the process, she taught herself how to make them. She purchased books, videos, and took classes from Kim Osibin. Grace started to make beads in October 2002, and began selling her products on EBay three months later. She did her first bead show in July 2004 and was a hit. She realized she needed to train her employees how to make her beads to keep up with demand!

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What makes Grace Ma’s lampwork beads special is the dedicated time she puts into them. Each bead is annealed overnight—the process of cooling glass to relieve internal stress after it was formed. She does this because if the glass is not annealed, it will retain many of the thermal stresses and decrease the strength of the glass. Each one of her beads takes 5 to 10 minutes to make, just to ensure her customers get the best quality products. We are proud to carry Grace Ma lampwork beads here, and encourage you to check them out and make them part of your collection!
Visit her website, or read the full interview conducted by Alison Schmidt from The Ruby

Check back tomorrow for day two of DesignerFest when we discuss Fire Designs furnace glass beads!


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    • Marguerite Miranda
    • May 13, 2011

    I love your beads. It seems I always pick your beads to look at before any other designer beads.
    Thank you.

    My only wish is that they would be a little larger
    in size. Although I can imagine you don’t make a whole lot of money on the beads because of the
    time you take to design them as well as the costs to make them. I wish you well and keep
    designing new beads.

    Sincerely, Marguerite from Boston

  1. Reply

    Your lampwork beads are by far the most beautiful and creative of any I’ve ever seen. Your prices are also very reasonable, making it possible indulge in a group of them at once. The scope of your designs encompasses a wide range, from old fashioned to very comtemporary. Thanks to you, Grace, and your skilled craftsmen, for creating this amazing line of glass beads! They really work with our plus size clothing designs at xoxo Peggy Lutz

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