My 21 year career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist was very fulfilling, personally gratifying and professionally rewarding. When we moved to Portland, OR in 2004, I happened across an ad in the newspaper for a Glass Bead Bazaar. I had no idea what a bead was! Looking to learn about our new city, we went on an adventure.
Who knew there was a professional organization for glass bead makers? The International Society of Glass Beadmakers met in Portland that year for their annual meeting. A bead show was organized on the last day, for the public. This still happens today! We couldn’t understand how there were flowers inside some of those glass beads; and before we left had purchased two books about getting started making glass beads. I’m an “inquiring minds need to know” person! It wasn’t long before a studio was built in a spare room, a kiln and torch were purchased and the fun began. I had no idea how life changing it would become.
To this day I still find melting glass an amazing process. Taking a molten blob of glass and then shaping it into a form that can be used for jewelry. A hole inside, created by winding molten glass onto a stainless steel rod, is used for stringing these little creations. Beads can also be collected or held in your hand and looked at! Glass is also fun to touch ! All pretty amazing options! They are magical to create and magical to hold!
Beads have been worn as an element of design in jewelry for over 80,000 years. This started with simple things, like shell beads. Isn’t that amazing? Every one of my beads is handmade and designed one by one in a flame. No two are exactly alike and every artist’s creative process is evident in each of their own designs. Beads go directly into a kiln where they are annealed overnight. By controlling the temperature and speed, while cooling, molecules in the glass settle back down into a structured pattern without internal stresses. Annealing hardens the glass in a way that makes the glass stable and ensure a long life. Understanding that molecules were involved allowed me to connect the science of my career into the art of glass beadmaking.
I have also been interested in photography since I was a little girl. I believe this hobby made me look at my surroundings with an artistic perspective. I still take pictures and now my inspiration for glass beads comes from everything I see, especially in the natural world. I’m a science bug and animal and nature lover at heart. Flowers and the colors of all things, are sometimes hard to believe! I also like taking a whimsical look at the wonderful world of animals and birds.
Thank you for stopping by to see some of my fun!