Before I join in the regular rotation here on the Art Bead Scene blog, I’ve been asked to introduce myself! So… here’s a big hello!
I’ve been an avid reader of the Art Bead Scene blog for quite some time now. I always look forward to seeing the new posts. I have to tell you though, my very favorite thing is the Monthly Challenge.
I’m a glass beadmaker, and I’m always looking for new inspiration to use in my work. Last month, I was mesmerized by the beautiful, bright colors and leaf motifs in the challenge painting. I took a break from a big project I was working on, and had a play day. Every once in a while, you REALLY need one! I was so excited when I pulled these big hollow beads out of the kiln the next day! Hollow beads are one of my favorite things to make, and they’re magical to hold, because they are so surprisingly light for their size.
Since I had all those *gorgeous* colors out on my worktable, I awarded myself another play day (when you’re the boss, you can do that!), and carried on with a series of funky disk-shaped bead pairs. I love the combination of the bright colors and the bumpy, imperfect organic shapes!
I’ve been making glass beads since 2001, and it is now my full-time job. But of course, it’s my passion too. I think about beads… way too much. Glass beads are a double whammy: of course I’ve had a nearly lifelong obsession with beads, but as a material, I also find glass endlessly fascinating. Strength and fragility… transparence and opacity… cool reflection and fiery, molten movement. It’s such cool (hot) stuff.
Aside from making as many beads as I can (despite the ridiculous heat that the summer weather brings… ladies who work with torches and kilns, raise your hands…), and spending time with my amazing husband, I have been working on a very personal side project. This weekend, I’ll be attending my first local arts market
, where I’ll be selling….. jewelry. That’s a big, scary, new adventure for me! (Any wise advice for calming the pre-show jitters? Let’s hear it!)
Usually, I make the beads, and that’s where my contribution ends. I leave the designing magic to my very, very talented customers. But about 8 months ago, I began making a series of small lampwork pendants. Something about them really captured my attention.
I couldn’t resist keeping one and wearing it myself, gradually picking out beads and stones and other materials I could wear with it, investigating its amuletic properties. Since then I’ve done a lot of exploring. Through my research and reading about amulets, charms, and talismans, I’ve become totally fascinated (read: obsessed) by the history and lore of objects that people all over the world have worn for personal protection or good fortune.
For a long time I’ve been experimenting, struggling to discover my ‘thing’ when it comes to jewelry. Beads, I can do. But jewelry… is a challenge. If you’re in the beginning stages of a new creative journey, like me, you might identify with that. Maybe you’re a jewelry maker who wants to learn to make your own components – or a weaver who wants to learn how to paint! We all run into that feeling of not quite knowing where to begin. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the amazing work out there. It can be very intimidating!
After thinking about it a lot, I realized that I do know a few things about beginning. I mean, there was a moment when I sat down at a torch, with no clue, and made my first bead, right? No matter what it is you’re learning, whatever medium or form of expression you want to explore, you have to start somewhere. And starting with something that has personal meaning to you, that makes your heart happy when you make it or wear it… that’s the way to go.
And that is exactly how I feel with my amulets. I feel like I’m onto something BIG. Something that goes really deep and connects to who I am, right at the very core. And that’s where the creative magic happens, you know?
Will they get better over time? Of course they will! It’s just the beginning. But we have to celebrate the first steps too. They’re important, and they’re special.
Here’s one of the first amulet necklaces I made; designed to bring me inspiration and good creative energy. I’ve been wearing this one almost daily. I think it’s working!
That’s one of my mini pendants (right), an etched lampwork ring in the middle (I made that too), some gorgeous African beads, and a bit of hammered and wrapped copper wire.
I look forward to sharing more with you in future posts, but for today, I’ll leave you with another amulet necklace. Some of my own beads, a large recycled glass bead from Africa, river // beach rocks, and bone. This one, for strength and courage:
Ok, and one more bead photo! Because I am after all, still a beadmaker at heart 😉
If you’d like to read more about my process, my inspirations, and how I became a beadmaker in the first place, Janine Lucas of Esfera Jewelry interviewed me >> here
<< a while back. She did a really fantastic job. I invite you to take a look!
Before I go, I’d like to say what a pleasure it is to join the group of talented artists who make Art Bead Scene what it is. Each and every one of them does amazing, inspiring work, and I’m honored and humbled to be part of such a great team!
i n s t a g r a m : @jules_sontag