Lampworking, or flameworking, is the process of shaping glass by softening it over a flame using simple tools. The earliest evidence of this process dates to the 5th century BCE for making beads. In the 18th century, small figures and glass tableaus were created in Nevers, France and parts of Italy using this method. Oil or fat burning lamps were used for beadmaking until 1843 when Domenico Bussolin invented a gas torch in Venice. This technology increased the consistency of the heat and expanded the ability for makers to work. When paperweights became popular, lampworking provided another method for making interior designs, with flowers among the most popular Victorian motif. As the technique became more popular in the 20th century, artists have encouraged the use of the term flamework to eliminate the reference to oil lamps that are no longer in use. The process provides much flexibility to create small objects without the investment in hot glass equipment. This has provided an economical way for artists to create with glass.
Bob Banford attempted and mastered a very difficult design in which the red and white layers of color are cut in an intricate gingham pattern. This was inspired by the extraordinary work of 19th century craftsman.
The red and white layers of glass are applied hot completely covering the clear glass and floral design: first white, then red. When cooled, it looks like a red ball until the cutting begins exposing the other layers.