I made my first piece of jewelry when I was twelve. I still have it. Well, I sort of still have it…the sewing thread I strung it on has mostly disintegrated. I don’t know why jewelry-making captured my attention back then, but I made lots of jewelry all during that summer; however, when school began, I just stopped. Puberty occupied my full attention for awhile after that.
I was a professional writer and website designer seven years ago when I discovered lampworking. I was visiting an out-of-town friend for New Years, and she’d recently bought a Hot Head torch and a sample pack of glass. Although she is one of the few people I know who tried beadmaking and didn’t like it, my experience was the more common one — I was totally hooked right from the start. I rang in the New Year burning through her strips of dichroic glass (the pricey stuff, for those who don’t know — I’m such a good friend), and then I came home and got on the web, found Arrow Springs, and ordered the basic set-up. A few months later I got a kiln, and a few months after that I started making jewelry. So let’s see…that was about a 28-year break between necklaces. And my first pieces seven years ago greatly resembled the ones I made when I was twelve, except for the fact that the beads on them were made by me.
Beadmaking is deeply satisfying in a way I don’t totally understand. I’m not sure I want to totally understand it, anyway.
I’ve had the great good fortune to study with several gifted beadmakers and glass workers, including Jim Smircich, Kate Fowle Meleney, Leah Fairbanks, Andrea Guarino Slemmons and Loren Stump. My beads have been published twice, in 1000 Glass Beads and in The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking.
Two years ago, I gave up the day job and became a full-time beadmaker. So far, so good.