Studio Saturdays: The Rainbow Suggestion

Each Saturday, one of the contributing editors of ABS will share with you some of the things going on in their studio. We encourage you to participate by commenting to the post. And as an incentive, we will offer a small prize each week, given to one random commenter!

Last week’s winner is Jean Yates! Jean wins one of Tari’s Tie Dye buttons! Congratulations, Jean! Please send an email to the ABS Suggestion Box and Tari will send out the button right away!

Now on to the studio tour for today….Cindy Gimbrone’s flamework glass studio.

Inspiration and innovation is all around us and sometimes directed at us, like when someone makes a suggestion. About a month ago, a potential customer emailed me a request: Could I make a rainbow colored spiral? Interesting suggestion, I thought and sent back an email saying,”Absolutely! Give me two weeks!”

The spiral is a style of bead I make regularly so I wasn’t concerned about the shape so much as maintaining the transparency of the colors. All worked out and I was so happy with the results that I’ve add the Rainbow Spiral to my regular line.

I appreciate suggestions from customers, sometimes they lead to a new bead! My question for readers today is:

What is the best suggestion you ever received?

The prize for today’s comments will be one of my Rainbow Spiral beads! Good luck! I look forward to reading your comments!

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32 Comment

  1. sewandso
    March 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Inspiring! This is definitely your best work so far.
    As far as customers inspiring me: Once I made a set of ‘bubbles’ for a client. All the beads, both acrylic and glass, were irridescent and transparent and looked like bubbles. She had fair skin and it was gorgeous on her.

  2. Christie
    March 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Now that spiral is just AWESOME. Talk about bringing an idea to life! So so cool!

  3. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you, Sewandso! The bubbles sound beautiful – what a great idea! Customers have the greatest ideas sometimes!

  4. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you, Christie! What was the best suggestion you ever received?

  5. Charlene
    March 8, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    The best suggstion a customer gave me was in the form of a request – could you use pearls instead of seed beads on a twisted herringbone necklace? Of course, why hadn’t I thought of that? I used seed pearls, of course, and sold it to her for about 5 times my normal asking price. Best suggestion yet! LOL

  6. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Sounds like it was a lovely necklace, Charlene – and profitable! What a superb suggestion!

  7. Faerie-Jeweller
    March 8, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    The best jewellery making suggestion I ever had was someone asking me ‘can you make that in gold’. The answer was no, but I did discover gold filled (which is VERY uncommon in the UK) and have been loving it ever since – while I adore Sterling, there’s something special about the warmness of gold and I don’t like using gold plated.

    The best advice I ever read was from Paul B. Downing’s book Opal Cutting Made Easy. Obviously the advice was specifically pertaining to opal cutting but I try and keep it in mind with anything I make. It went:

    Rule 1 – GO SLOW

    Rule 2 – GO SLOWER

    I’m way too impatient with a tendancy to rush and mess things up, so keeping that in mind makes a huge difference to the quality of my work.

    That bead is absolutely stunning. I’m a total colour junkie and your bead has it all!

  8. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you, Faerie-Jeweller! I love the simplicity “go slow, go slower” – it’s great advice in any situation.

  9. SweetWillowDesigns
    March 8, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Very beautifuly design, I love the way the colors flow one into the other.

    Best advice – I never throw any of my beads away. Anything I don’t like goes in a “junk bin” next to my work table. Recently I had a friend over and she was rummaging through the bin and found several beads she really liked and that with some tweaking could be great, not junk. She encouraged me to redefine my “junk bin” as a “prototype bin” and to periodically go through it with fresh eyes, looking for ways to improve the design, color, etc. So, no more “junk” only “prototypes” waiting to be great. 🙂

  10. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Sweetwillowdesigns! Good advice from your friend!

  11. Tari of claybuttons
    March 8, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    I love the rainbow of colors Cindy! Your spirals are just fantastic.
    We share ideas a lot as artists and craftpersons.
    Making clay buttons and beads, the clean up is something you dread. Clay dust is very bad for you and I was sanding my buttons and putting clay dust into the air.
    Melanie, my fellow ABS editor, colleague and fantastic all around artist, asked if I had tried wet sanding. I went “huh?” After she explained I did the smack to forehead “I could have had a V8!” It made so much sense and why didn’t I think of that!
    Thanks Melanie! You have helped to save my lungs!

  12. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Sometimes suggestions make so much sense it a wonder why we never thought of them before. Thanks for stopping by, Tari!

  13. Brenda
    March 8, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    I have only tried lampworking once, I hear you have to do it more than that to get the hang of it. This spiral is exquisite.
    I also make bath and body products. I have a booth at our local renaissance fair. Staying with the spirit of the renaissance theme, we decided one year to wash people’s hands in rosewater before they came into the shop. Well, they loved it. You could see them walking away smelling their hands and smiling.
    Several hours went by and a young girl came up to me and asked if we sold the rose water. I looked at my partner, bewildered. But then calm as could be I turned to her and said we were all out and if she would come back the next week we would have it for her to purchase.
    Since that fateful day, we have sold thousands of vials of rose oil for people to scent their own water. Not quite a suggestion, but it had the same effect.

  14. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    You’re quick thinking, Brenda! The customer made a suggestion without knowing it and you were smart enough to know you should jump on it. Wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to share your suggestion.

    Yes, you do need to do lampworking more than once to get the hang of it. It’s like rubbing your tummy and patting your head – you heat the glass and keep the mandrel turning Thank you for the compliment on the spiral!

  15. Sarebear
    March 8, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Go with the flow. Since I was working with a blue pallette, it was especially appropriate!

    I was making a bracelet for my SIL, as part of a mutual challenge we were doing for each other. I had settled on the honeycomb pattern in Fire Mtn Gems & Beads’ Catalog, and was going to do a graduating lights to darks and backs again variation I had painstakingly worked out a while back.

    Well, as I started the bracelet, and we chatted, I kept going along, and decided that for this instance I preferred a more semi-randomness to the spread of color, instead of my patterned version. What I hadn’t noticed as we’d talked is that I had messed up the honeycomb pattern, and I had a “jog” in the “hexes”. I decided to leave it.

    It’s where I attached the butterfly, with wire. It’s hard to tell from the pic, since the bracelet isn’t laying straight on the scanner, but if it was it’d be easier to tell. When it is worn, this unexpected detail just sets off the whole piece, and gives an oddly assymetrical balance to it, with a sense the the butterfly is fluttering up and away in a sky of pure crystalline blues . . .

  16. LampworkDiva
    March 8, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Sounds like the bracelet is just beautiful, Sarabear! An unexpected suprise that added to the design. Go with the flow is always good advice! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Jean
    March 8, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    I love your spiral ! I shall let another person have a chance of winning because I am so excited that I JUST won Tari’s button!

    in fact I am bowled over!

    it IS cause for celebration!

    I am dancin around here!

    love you all, ABS!

  18. Sarebear
    March 8, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    You can click the linky and go SEE it, you know (hee hee!). I love your rainbow spiral . . . it reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, and believing in yourself, and in your dreams. Things I have HUGE problems with, in large part to health issues. Anyway, we’re going to watch the Wizard of Oz tonight, so I’ll be thinking colorful thoughts! Er, wait, that could sound not quite right . . . . more along the lines of colorful language @#$@% and @#$@$@$# if you know what I @#$@$@$@ing mean! Which isn’t how I meant it! Lol! Now I’ve got Kermit’s Rainbow Connection song going through my head, and an urge to hold hands with everybody . . . .

  19. Stacia
    March 9, 2008 at 3:27 am

    I love love love your new spiral.

    Best suggestion: Or maybe more like advice. A teacher once told me after a disappointing outcome. “There are no mistakes, only new opportunites.”

  20. Gaea
    March 9, 2008 at 5:28 am


  21. Gaea
    March 9, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Oh! And… A customer suggested I organize my color chart in alphabetical order!

  22. LampworkDiva
    March 9, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    There you are Jean! Congratulations – Tari’s button is cool!

  23. LampworkDiva
    March 9, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Sarabear – hope you had fun at the Wizard of Oz.

    Stacia – thank you! I love the suggestion you received! There are no mistakes but new opportunities – what a great perspective on the world – to be a little less hard on ourselves.

  24. LampworkDiva
    March 9, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you, Gaea! A common sense piece of advice, alphabetizing a list, can make a big impact.

  25. Carlene
    March 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    The suggestion I got was in the form of a hint. A gal in my chakra class was tired of dealing with reading glasses and commented at break that she’d love a eyeglass chain but wouldn’t wear one that made them look like “old lady” glasses. (A previous request for them I had from someone else got an outright No) But the thought to make them fun (her nickname was “groovy chick”) was what I needed. Now I still don’t have them in my regular inventory, but will make one to suit your requirements. Thank you “groovy chick” for a new idea!

  26. Janel
    March 10, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I’d have to say the best advice I’ve gotten is from a quote I found about 7 years ago – “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Elliot. I framed that quote and it has hung above my desk ever since. It always reminds me to push through the “fog bank” of self-doubt because there is usually something wonderful on the other side.

  27. Silver River Jewelry
    March 10, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Beautiful! One of my goals is to learn lamp work although it is in the future as I am working on my lapidary and metal smithing skills at the moment. Only so many hours in the day ( I need about 48 per day instead of 24). The best advice I every received was to never say “I couldn’t learn how to do that.” And it’s true I have discovered I can learn anything as long as I am patient with myself. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

  28. LampworkDiva
    March 11, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Janel – I love George Eliot (who is a woman by the way)! Great advice – it isn’t ever too late. Thanks for sharing and stopping by!

  29. LampworkDiva
    March 11, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Carlene – yes, closely listening to what people are saying can lead to the best advice without knowing it! Cool! Thanks for commenting!

  30. LampworkDiva
    March 11, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Silver River Jewelry – true-er words were never spoken. Patience with ourselves is so important. Great advice! Thank you for sharing it!

  31. Anonymous
    March 17, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Cindy, love your rainbow spiral. It’s beautiful.

    I’m a lampworker too. My recent favorite suggestion came from a customer who asked me to do her pet’s portrait on Pandora type beads. I already have been doing pets- especially dogs as focal beads, but this brought something I was already doing, into a new direction. I’ve done some dogs, and have a parrot to do next. I’ve found quite a market in custom beads and love doing them.


  32. LampworkDiva
    March 17, 2008 at 10:40 am


    Don’t you just love it when a suggestion can take you in a new direction? The dog portrait sounds awesome and so special for the customer. Thanks for stopping by and sharing it with us.


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