Fishy Art Glass Necklace
Sue wearing her little cactus glass earrings!

I have long had a love affair with beads and fancy colors and styles of glass. It has been a dream to learn (or at least try) glassmaking since I was a young girl and saw people working glass in a blowing demonstration at a Renaissance Fair. I was mesmerized and stunned at the fragile beauty of the amazing pieces they would turn out in-front of gazing spectators every day.

You can imagine though, glass blowing is not an easily picked-up hobby. It’s generally not something you can learn how to do at your home, or just by reading a book, and instructors and facilities are not always available in your immediate area. So when I saw that the Mesa Art Center not only had ongoing glass classes, but instructors in a variety of techniques – I knew I had to at least TRY IT, right?!

It’s been a few months, and I am loving Torchwork/Lampwork bead making. Here is a very quick video of me making a bead to put in the kiln. Its a timelapse, that probably took about 20 min in real time, and I didn’t do a great job of showing the end product, but if you scroll to the bottom, there’s a few pictures of what I’ve been able to produce (that both look like something AND survived without cracking.)

While I still have a LOT to learn, this new journey is sparking the inspirational creative juices, and I hope to be producing some really beautiful components in the years ahead.

I made these fun cactus earrings for my friends and family holiday gifts. They are all so unique and different, this gave me an opportunity to practice making consistent size and shape elements, playing with frit, and embellishing. There are saguaro cacti all around me in AZ, so I wanted to send a little desert love to everyone!

One of my favorite parts of working with glass is seeing how the colors come out after the annealing process (kiln cooling). Sometimes it is hard to see the color and intricate details while the glass is hot. I try to take copious notes on what was mixed together so I make matching beads when something actually stays in tact! Glass is fickle. Air bubbles, temperature changes, and of course – GRAVITY – are all plotting against me!

Interested in lampwork beads and art-glass?! Stay tuned to see what’s next!

Published by arcabeadies

I am an internationally known beadwork designer, instructor, and artist. I specialize in creating project patterns and kits that help fine-tune bead stitching techniques and show customization options for the at home crafter to make for personal use and individual sales (not mass production).

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