Linda Elmore

Tippecanoe County

Jewelry designs featuring handmade lampwork art and glass beads
Website, Lafayette gallery, local art shows

The art of lampworking is centuries old, with roots in Italy that go at least as deep as the 1300s.  Venetian artisans would melt glass over a hot flame and onto a mandrel.  The masters perfected their work over the course of years and years, and Lafayette-based lampworker Linda Elmore continues to pursue that path.

“I was surprised when I found how difficult it was just to make a plain round bead,” she said.  “A friend and I were making bracelets and selling them, when I decided I wanted the work to be more artisanal.  So I tried my hand at making the glass beads for our bracelets, and over time I became increasingly happy with the outcome.”  Now, nearly a decade later, no doubt like the ancient artisans of Venice must have groaned, Linda says, “Still today, it’s practice, practice, practice.”

Inspired by nature and whimsical things like children’s nursery rhymes, Linda continues to focus on wearable works of art using the ancient lampworking technique.  “My glass pieces allow me to express my devotion to meaningful design and craftsmanship through delicate patterns, rich colors and the translucencies of handmade glass beads,” she said.

Made in her studio in Lafayette, home of Purdue University, Linda’s work has been exposed to an international audience, and her location has allowed her to expand her base of clients and collectors worldwide.  Her unique approach to jewelry is what captures such broad interest.  “I love to recycle wine bottles into beautiful glass beads,” she says.  “The colors from wine bottles can’t be found in any other glass.”

And while unique and stunning color is part of her work’s appeal, she also holds a copyright on the Photo Bead, a one-of-a-kind piece of glasswork that springs solely from Linda’s studio.  “Any photo can be put on a glass bead permanently,” Linda said.  “To appreciate the artistry, you need to see it,” she added.  Her Photo Bead has reached a worldwide market and perhaps one or two even adorn a wrist in old Venice.