I think the reason glass beads appeal to me so much, as opposed to larger glass sculptures, is because of their size. Working in miniature means that I can make numerous works of art in one session at the torch and never get bored. I live to experiment and try new things; I believe it is the only way we can learn. My obsession with glass began in 2005 when, on a whim, I purchased a glass bead making kit. The very first time I saw the colored glass begin to melt before my eyes, I was completely and utterly hooked. Since then I have immersed myself in this fascinating art form.
I have been fortunate enough to travel the world and study the art of bead making from master glass artists. I have also taught my own style of bead making to students here in the US. Teaching allows me relive that first moment of wonderment over and over in the eyes of my students.
My favorite style of beads to make are Free-Form Organic Focal Beads. Free-form meaning they do not usually contain defined patterns or structure but rather are more abstract; Organic, as in they typically look like they come from nature, and Focal Beads, meaning they are large and would most likely be used as the centerpiece for a jewelry design rather than an accent.
I make my beads by melting colored rods of glass in a very hot flame and then wrapping the molten glass around a steel mandrel. I apply multiple layers of glass in a variety of colors and use various tools to manipulate and shape the beads. Once the bead is finished I remove it from the hot flame and place it in a kiln to rest for several hours. This is called annealing, it equalizes the temperature of the beads and relieves any stress that has built up and may cause the bead to crack. When the beads have finished the annealing cycle they are removed from the steel mandrels and cleaned.
When I am not at the torch melting glass, I enjoy creating mixed metal jewelry, painting, photography and just spending time with my husband and our four furry children at our home in Lowell, MI.
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