Artisan Glass

Paper weight by Akihiro Ohkama

Our lampwork beads are some of our favorite pieces, not only because of their beauty but because each one is made by hand. In a sense, these beads are small works of art! Each lampwork artist trains to master their craft, and having to work on such a small canvas takes a lot of dedication. Because each piece is handmade, these artists’ works are typically not mass produced—meaning that owning one is even more special. Lampwork artisans can use their skills to create everything from beads to paperweights to intricate decorations.

Akihiro Ohkama-profile pic

One of Artbeads owners’ Devin and Cynthia’s favorite artists is Akihiro Ohkama. His journey to becoming a lampwork artist is quite unique. Akihiro lives in Nara, Japan, where he first picked up beadmaking in 1996. After an unfortunate soccer injury forced him to leave his corporate job, he searched for something to occupy his free time. His father, Yashuhiro Ohkama, had been making lampwork glass and offered to teach Akihiro.

Cynthia's own pendant made by Akihiro Ohkama
Cynthia’s own pendant made by Akihiro Ohkama

It only took about a year for him to start selling his designs with his father at gallery exhibitions! After Akihiro healed from his injury, he decided that lampwork was what he wanted to pursue full time. He enjoyed working for himself rather than a company and just liked the whole process, and now teaches bead making classes regularly. He was also selected to be published in 2000’s Contemporary Glass Beads by 20 Japanese Artists. When you see Akihiro’s pieces, it’s no wonder why Devin and Cynthia love collecting his work.

Lotus Pod Bead-Terri Caspary

Take a look at the work of Terri Caspary, another incredible artist whom Cynthia got to chat with at the 2012 Tucson show, here!

Unicorne Beads

We’re also in love with Unicorne Beads and their amazing dichroic glass components. These bright and colorful beads are also made using the lampworking process, but also incorporate dichroic chips in the glass for an extra element of shimmer. Dichroic glass was originally created for the aerospace industry, but many lampwork artists have discovered that it’s perfect for adding brilliant shine in their pieces as well. The wild colors associated with Unicorne Beads are actually custom mixed so they produce the perfect shade needed. Their characteristic shapes often come from customer suggestions—another reason why we love this company! From owls to seahorses, their exquisite collection is full of wonderful shapes.

Of course, there are so many more artists that we adore here at Artbeads. The dedication it takes to produce delicate perfection consistently is a talent in of itself, which is why we choose to only provide the highest quality pieces to our customers. Don’t miss any of our favorite artists by visiting the Brands and Collections page on our site!


Information sources:
Kervin, Jim. Akihiro Ohkama: Introduction to Japanese Beadmaking Techniques. Livermore: GlassWear Studios, 2005. Print.
Akihiro Ohkama.
Unicorne Beads.

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