My motto has always been “Why ‘buy’ when you can ‘make’?” I inherited that attitude from my mother and my grandparents. The three of them instilled in me a deep curiosity for new things and the patience and skill to actually accomplish them.
I was born and raised in Northern California where I continue to live with my husband. Together, we spend our spare time with family and friends or on crafting projects – he with his woodworking, and me with one of my various projects, which range from cross stitching and crochet to lampworking.
Ahhh, lampworking. My turn as a lampworker was born from my love of jewelry making and a desire to find the perfect color or shape of bead for a particular project. My mother gifted me with a glass bead necklace and told me that the beads had been handmade. That started me off on an internet search to find out how one makes glass beads, which is how I found out about lampworking. At the time, I didn’t have the resources (financial and logistical) to actually try lampworking so I put the notion aside. Years later, I was finally in a position to explore glasswork.
I purchased a second-hand starters kit off of craigslist that included the basic materials needed to make basic beads. I will never forget the trepidation of lighting the hot-head torch the first time and seeing the large flame. All the how.com articles and YouTube videos didn’t prepare me. The first piece of glass I ever melted was an unfortunate piece of sky blue semi-opaque rod that never stood a chance. I was holding it too close to the face of the torch, trying to work it too fast and too hot. It drooped off the mandrel and I kept heating. I ended up with a shriveled black puddle on the floor. Looking back, I was sooo lucky that it hadn’t ended up in my lap. Also, I know now that starting with an alabaster (frequently called alabastards on lampworking forums) glass was just unwise for a lot of reasons.
Despite all of that, seeing how the glass turned from solid to fluid, then back again and how a blue glass could look almost pink in the flame, captivated me. So I kept at it. A few days later, I achieved something that actually looked like a bead. And I was off.
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I’m proud to be a Self-Representing Artist.