Studio Saturday Voice Lessons

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner. This week’s winner is Linda Starr ! Congratulations! Please send your postal address to the ABS Suggestion Box to receive your golden disk beads from Heather.

Today, we take a tour into the glass studio of Cindy Gimbrone….

Good morning, All and welcome to my studio! Today finds me hard at work as I am most days at refining my “voice.” With the large number of glass beadmakers out in the world now, we can rest assured the art of glass beadmaking won’t die out soon yet among the crowd it can be difficult to create a unique voice in your work. I imagine beadmakers in other mediums and jewelrymakers can feel the same way.

My voice begins with the medium. I work in glass because I’m drawn to the medium and the physical properties of the glass. Glass is a liquid in the flame and a solid outside the flame. It allows me to create texture and form in my work, like in the Rainbow Spiral below.

The clear glass gives texture to the layer of color underneath and the whole form of the spiral is sculptural.

The uneven ovals of the Love Links with Bling and the Purplicious Love Links breaks up the monotony of an even, identically shaped chain and creates a unique rhythm of its own.

So when I’m in the studio, I’m practicing and refining my voice, a voice full of texture and form, one I hope appeals to others too.

What kind of voice do you have? Is it textural like mine? Is it full of color?

Please tell us about your voice by leaving a comment today. One of your comments will be selected at random for a set of Love Links.

I look forward to learning about your voice!

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48 Comment

  1. Deb
    September 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Good question – I'm still finding my voice. So far it is earthy & tribal, although at times it tries to be full of colour – more often than not it ends up singing of dark forests & damp undergrowth…pretty much "of the land".

  2. Donna
    September 13, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    My voice is color balance and pleasing form, but it is eclectic and elegant. My jewelry is sold under the name “Formal Expressions”. That is my best description of it. See my page at http://www.jewelrygeeks.com/sewandso

  3. SueBeads
    September 13, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I’m still trying to find mine as well, although I really tend toward organics. I love your spirals and links!

  4. LiisaAnn
    September 13, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I tend toward including as much variety as possible in color. Also in other areas too, like size, shape, texture, media; but, to maintain a strong and delicate harmony within the piece is equally important to me. Looking for the “right” thing in the “right” place is a challenge I enjoy.
    Interesting question! Thanks.

  5. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 13, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Deb,

    Yes, I see your voice as tribal and earthy. I love your earthy song!

    Keep developing your voice!

  6. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 13, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Donna,

    Formal Expressions is a good name for balance and form. Sounds like you have a good handle on your own voice.
    Thanks for commenting!


  7. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Sue,

    We are all working and practicing. Love the organics. Your avatar says “B-52’s Fun” to me too! Make them into a set of earrings and let’s go to the Love Shack!

    “I like your tube top, baby!”


  8. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Liisaann,

    Love your point about finding the right part for the right place in a piece. It’s the details sometimes that make or break your piece. The difference between being in the right key and sharp/flat notes.

    Thanks for commenting!

  9. Lorelei
    September 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    That’s a tough call. I think both. For me, I’m starting with color and then move towards textures… interesting and different arrangements of beads and focals is my focus without becoming too busy.
    Sometimes it’s hard to create that balance.

  10. abeadlady
    September 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I’m big into texture and color. I love trying to incorporate focal beads into my bead embroidery and jewelry. For me texture is probably 60% of my work.

  11. Anonymous
    September 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I’d have to say my voice is pretty eclectic. When I first started making jewelry, color was my primary consideration. Now, I’ve become much more interested in texture and form. I also used to be drawn almost exclusively to ethnic-looking jewelry, but now my jewelry has a wide variety of looks.


  12. Carlene
    September 13, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I think that what I hear is what ends up being my voice. Some things speak to me differently and I’m sure I don’t always hear what is speaking to me. I end up listening to the earth and nature sounds the most and I think that is what reflects in my “voice”. Must be why I like browns and earthy colors best.

  13. rosebud101
    September 13, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I think my voice reflects the fun I like to have. My colors are generally very bright. What I make tends to the “non-traditional.” But, then, there are so many other ways to play with glass. I can’t juts say it’s one thing.

  14. AJ
    September 13, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    It’s very important to find a voice as a jewelry designer, too! I started thinking about it a couple of years ago and decided to focus more on the fantasy aspect of my work. My voice speaks of the colors of a forest, the treasures a mermaid would collect on the ocean floor, and the glinting scales of a dragon. Not to mention faeries. Lots and lots of faeries. And recently, my voice likes to chatter on about lady inventors, too.

  15. Maria
    September 13, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Great post Cindy!
    I would say I have a whimsical? voice…most of my beads are sculptured and full of colors…I hope I never lose my voice…

  16. angelinabeadalina
    September 13, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I think my voice has a couple different personalities 😉 For quite awhile now, I’ve been a less is more kinda gal, letting the flame give it all a real melt-over when I’m done sculpting. The thing is, I also love detailed stringer work and never know when that urge will strike!

    I think what’s really neat is to see how other people percieve their own voice, versus how we percieve them. It’s funny how we can focus on one part of our work and almost forget about another aspect of it until we hear someone else describe it.

  17. Gail W.
    September 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I think I’m just now finding my own voice.When I first started working with beads,I tried-on different voices.At the time,that’s all I knew to do.Every magazine or book I had,I tried to copy every piece I saw.I’ve only been working with jewelry and beads for 2 years now,and I’ve spent alot of time and money,searching for my voice.Sometimes I thought I might not have one.But,lately,I’ve put the books away for awhile and spent more time listening,and I do have a voice.It is a primal,deep,rather dark voice,with some bright notes and I’m trying to let them out.

  18. Elaine
    September 13, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    This strikes a different cord for me – in the offline world, I have a minor handicap that leaves my voice a little rough, a little out of tune with an otherwise normal looking petite 30 something.

    I’ve always held that art has been my voice instead of speech – and it certainly translates to my studio work. I experiment with graphics, colours and themes in an effort to build my stories into little beads. My designs are often muted and fairytale-like to reflect the part of the story they’re in.

  19. Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
    September 14, 2008 at 2:50 am

    my voice is one of longing for, and celebration of, the smallest, most unnoticed things. There is great beauty in our ordinary lives, and that is where I find my voice.

  20. thebeadedlily
    September 14, 2008 at 3:12 am

    My voice is our voice– all of our voices– I love to play with primitive techniques that have been around for centuries and give them a little modern edge!

  21. Gaela
    September 14, 2008 at 4:44 am

    My voice sings out with tones of texture and colour. I really love to see how I can mix up Mother Earth beads~the gemstones~with my polymer clay beads, beaded beads, lampwork glass and more. It’s like joining different parts of the universe and melding it into a piece of wearable (or nonwearable) Art. And when its works, it is such a rush. Cindy, I just love your rainbow spirals!

  22. Amanda
    September 14, 2008 at 6:58 am

    My voice is a a mirror of myself, and in that mirror, there are a couple different things. There’s a fireworks show, a little black dress, and a shower of confetti.
    And maybe some glitter, although I personally can’t stand the stuff. (Because you wear glitter one day and even after three weeks of showering daily you’re still finding glitter in your butt crack.)

    My voice is also rather egalitarian, like I am.

    Trying to create something for everyone, but all my somethings are pieces that I myself would, and sometimes do, wear.

    My voice is a melange of my life – the dress I wore to a Broadway show; the pots of creamy, neon hair dye in my bathroom; the earthy feeling I get when I’m out in the Smoky Mountain National Park; the flowers outside the bank that I have to force myself not to pick.

  23. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Hi Lorelei,

    Yes, your lovely work always has a surprise in it – it’s the unique combination of beads and color. I’d say you’re achieving your design goals. Your work is pitch perfect! 🙂

    Keep singing!

  24. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Hi Abeadlady,

    Yes, bead embroidery is very textural – that’s what I love about it. You also have color control that you don’t always have in other beadwork. Seed beads allow you to put in gradations of color to achieve subtle color changes. It’s wonderful! And textural! YAY!

    Thanks for commenting!

  25. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for the comment. Interesting to see your voice grow and change isn’t it? When I first started making glass beads, I chose color first. Certain colors show the heat in the glass better than others. I could see if the glass was getting too cool and ready to crack. Those colors became my favorite and then I moved into form and texture.

    We all grow and change in our work, that’s what makes it interesting! 🙂

    Keep creating!

  26. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Hi Carlene,

    Sometimes we have to be very quiet to hear our own voices. Sometimes we’re in tune with others and that will mix with our own voices. We know in our hearts what tune we’re singing. We just need to sing it out loud.

    If you think it’s your voice, then it is. Earthy is good! Brown is good! Keep your voice and sing it loud! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!

  27. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Hi Rosebud!

    Our voices don’t have to be one thing. Colorful and bright and multi-faceted is a good thing. Sing it loud and proud 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!

  28. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Hi AJ,

    Yes yes yes, it is important for a jewelry designer to find her/his voice. You’re describing a magical and wonderous voice – we really need that in our lives to remember and paraphrasing what Cynthia says that there is magic in our everyday lives.

    Keep creating and singing in your own voice!


  29. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Hi Maria,

    Oh absolutely – whimsical is a perfect adjective for your voice. With that crown on your head in your avatar it’s sweet and whimsical! Color and whimsy is what your voice sings out loud 🙂

    Keep creating your lovely beads!

  30. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Hi Angela,

    Dual personalities in glass is a good thing – I call it talent and versatility! 😉 back at ‘cha 😉 It is interesting to see what artists are singing from their perspective and then how it “sounds” or is perceived by others. It’s a good measure for the artist to figure out if s/he is communicating effectively through her/his work.

    Keep singing, your voice sounds great from here!


  31. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Hi Gail,

    Yes, I think most of us start out that way, it’s learning. You were learning the skills necessary to express your voice. Now, you’re listening and it’s coming out. I like how it sounds, earthy with bright notes. Keep listening and adjusting based on what your hear from the inside out.

    Thanks for the comment!

  32. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Hi Elaine,

    Yes, yes, yes – using “voice” here is simply a metaphor for how we express who we are. I freelance as a sign language interpreter and interpret theater. The sign “voice” is usually signed at the throat but it’s not that limited in meaning – we sign it at the hands, on the body, from the brain. It’s you, it’s how you express what you see, feel from the inside.

    You’re right, Elaine. Your art is your voice, it’s not superficial like a simple movement of the vocal cords, your art “speaks” of you.

    Thank you for sharing your very important thoughts with us!


  33. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Hi Cynthia,

    What a lovely thought and so beautifully expressed. There is beauty in the mundane if we stop to see it.

    Thank you!

  34. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Hi BeadedLilly,

    Well put – our voices mix with others and become our own yet it is still in the chorus with everyone else! Very well said!

    Thanks for commenting!

  35. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Hi Gaela,

    Thank you 🙂 I love that you’ve said your voice sings out – it should! Often I think we stifle our voices but they should be sung out loud. YAY for you! I love texture with color. It’s a delicate balance and mixing it with lots of different kinds of beads is an excellent approach to achieve it.

    Keep singing – your voice sounds colorful from here! 🙂


  36. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Hi Amanda,

    Oooo – I love how you describe your voice – fireworks, a black dress and a shower of confetti! Exciting against a clear backdrop with a bit of drama. Awesome! I’m sure the pieces you create are interesting and dramatic since the way you describe you and your work evokes wonderful images.

    Bravo for you! Keep creating!


  37. Suzann Wilson
    September 14, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I believe my voice is similar to my actual voice in that it is dependent on the situation. Sometimes it is a whisper, like when I make a piece that is light and airy. At times it is goofy, when I make a piece that is full of playful beads. Sometimes it is sophisicated, like when I am designing a piece for a black tie charity ball. One thing I know for sure, when the voice hits, I have to run with it.

    In Beads and Happiness,
    Suzann Wilson
    No e Disigns

  38. Emma Todd
    September 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    My voice is speaking in tounges! I’m doing my best to understand but I seem to create such a variety I haven’t had the discipline to refine this down to one single voice. sooner or later I hope and can define it. for now I’m happy to let them all yell out and once and see what happens 🙂 Thanks for making me look into mine, your voice is stunning and consistent, great inspiration!

  39. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Suzann,

    Cool! Your voice has such wide range that you can seem to create different pieces full of sophistication and fun. Glad you took the time to join the chorus of comments 🙂


  40. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Emma,

    LOL! Variety is good and what is even better is you let your voice yell. That’s awesome! Enjoy your journey with your voice – maybe it’s one but maybe you’re a chorus – either way continue to let it yell 🙂

    Thanks for sharing,

  41. Sharon
    September 14, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I am attracted to so many different styles that I call my Etsy jewelry shop ThistlenThat! A little bit of everything, although I now am being drawn to copper, brass, ans silver links, a more funky, earthy style that I will explore more of in the future. And Cindy, I just bought a torch and set-up to make beads and I am so excited! I hope to incorporate my beads into my jewelry designs.

  42. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Sharon,

    Didn’t anyone ever tell you that glass beadmaking is addicting?!? Welcome to the addiction! LOL! The torch will help you create a unique voice and soon you’ll be singing:-)

    Have fun torching!

  43. Debrasdezinez
    September 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I am a vintage and found object soul my voice comes from the jewelery made back in the 1900’s, I love copper,brass and combining the old with the new.I still dabble with fun pieces like lampwork beads because I also love glass and I incorporate them with my love for polymer clay I am very
    resilient in my colors and textures.
    Happy Beads, Cindy

  44. CreekHiker
    September 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    I can’t say that I’ve found my voice. For now, I love the challenge of making sculptural beads and just making what I would like to wear.

    Holly Dare / Holly’s Folly Glass

  45. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Hi Debra,

    Art Noveau, Arts and Crafts, anything from the 1900’s is lovely. I’m sure your work is inspiring and gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your voice with us!


  46. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 14, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Creekhiker,

    The journey is just as much fun as finding and working with your voice. It sounds like you’re happy in your exploration – YAY!

    Keep exploring!

  47. SueB
    September 16, 2008 at 2:52 am

    I think right now I have no voice – I’m mute. My studio which hubby has been building all summer has just recently been completed. BUT — my torch, hoses and tanks are not set up yet!!! So my lampwork voice has laryngitis right now. I’ve switched my focus back to stained glass for awhile, just to keep the passion alive! Soon, soon, I’ll be singing!


  48. Cindy Gimbrone
    September 18, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Hi SueB,

    Thanks for commenting! Awesome that your studio is almost finished – YAY! I’ll look forward to hearing your song!

    Keep creating 🙂

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