Tammy L Deck : ArtWear from Westmont, Illinois
Hats, Purses, Scarves, Shawls, Garments & Jewelery
Felting, Handweaving, Crochet, Knitting, Fused Glass & Lampwork Beads
Tammy L Deck : ArtWear from Westmont, Illinois
Hats, Purses, Scarves, Shawls, Garments & Jewelery
Felting, Handweaving, Crochet, Knitting, Fused Glass & Lampwork Beads
I’ve known Patty for a long time it seems. She makes some simple, beautiful boro beads. She’s a great mentor as well and readily shares what she knows with you. Just ask and you’ve got it. I hope you enjoy what she has to say about lampworking.
I saw it on TV and was intrigued. When Tammy from TLD called me to see if I wanted to learn, I jumped at the chance.
I think it was Jan of 2001 that I had my first class. It’s mostly a hobby, but I do try to sell my work.
Nature is a great inspiration. Nothing is more beautiful than that! It’s tough when the glass muse goes in vacation. Sometimes I look at the gallery at LE to jump start some ideas.
Tough one! There are so many great artists out there who I like for different reasons. Kimberly Affleck for her gorgeous seahorses and great personality; Anastasia always awes me with her unique style; Pipyr because she’s so inventive and really thinks outside the box… and she’s adorable!
There are lots more as well. Too many to list!
Best: Melting glass and playing with fire!
Worst: Not getting to do it full time.
Well, flinging a hot marble into your lap is always fun!
At home I use a GTT Lynx and 2 oxycons. When I’m teaching at TLD I use a HotHead and bulk propylene.
I think silvered ivory is my all time favorite. “Dougie Pink” is always fun to make.
It’s simplistic, but I really love using clear frit over the boro reactive colors. It’s so easy and makes some of the coolest results.
Making good loops on pendants makes me want to scream sometimes.
Bicones! Can’t make ‘em symmetrical to save my life.
The boro frit bead. I really enjoy just making simple round beads. It’s meditative.
I want to become a more consistent lampworker, with my results as well as doing it on a regular basis. I don’t think I have any articulated goals, but I always want to improve. I guess getting better with sculptural stuff is a goal.
I would consider myself successful as an artist if I could completely support my habit by selling my work. I wish I knew the key!
Practice, practice, practice! • Don’t work too hot. • And slow down.
Yes!! I love taking all kinds of classes. I would be a professional student if I could afford it.
I teach classes at TLD Design Center & Gallery in Westmont, IL.
Yes, I’m planning some classes at GiaRosa Creativity Studio & Retreat in Taos, NM.
I like to play with all media. I enjoy paper, fiber, polymer clay,metals, wood… you name it! I also enjoy photography and some digital art. I have Art ADD. 🙂
I am on a hat making kick here lately.A girl can never have too many hats.
Next I need to learn to make shoes LOL! My hat making started all because of
my silly 5 year old daughter Emily who LOVES hats! She asked me if I could make a hat bead
so I had to give it a go!
I love Holly’s work. She gives a new meaning to stringer control. Visit her website and see what I mean. www.hollycooper.com You’ll have a totally new respect for a Hot Head torch! Read what she has to say about lampworking.
A confluence of events over a period of time led me to lampworking.
The first thing that happened was seeing a copy of Cindy Jenkins’ book “Making Glass Beads” at the library. I glanced through it and was intrigued. But since it appeared that a lot of special equipment was needed I set it aside. At this point I had been working in ceramics for several years. I didn’t want to invest time and money in another art form and I was happy with the ceramic work.
One day while I was at the ceramic supply store I saw Cindy’s book on display with the glass fusing supplies. I picked it up to flip through it again when a friend walked up. He told me about the Hothead and Blue Moon Glassworks here in Austin. I filed it in my memory, got my clay and tools and went home.
A few months later I was visiting my mom in Columbus Ohio. We stopped in a bead store and I overheard someone talking about the lampwork beads on the bracelet they were wearing. My mom was fascinated and we hatched a plan to take a class together when she came to Austin in the fall.
I only wanted something fun to do with my mom and to maybe make a bracelet. At first I didn’t care for it and probably wouldn’t have stuck with it except for the guilt I felt every time I saw the HotHead torch kit my mom bought me for an early Christmas gift. I didn’t pick it up again until a few months later and I slowly began to get a feel for what I could do with this new medium. (Not long after, I stopped doing ceramics and recently sold all my pottery equipment.)
The thing that finally captured me was the immediacy of working in glass. With clay there is a broken connection as the clay is fired. The piece is dramatically changed in the kiln and the glazing and further firing change it even more. The time between the initial making and the final work can be weeks. I would often lose my emotional connection to my pieces during this transformation and lag time. With glass my work is started and finished in one sitting. Sometimes a sitting of several hours but the piece changes little from the finish through the annealing if I plan it well. Then there are the nice surprises that also occur in the flame that can’t be planned. That’s the immediacy that draws me to glass.
I’ve been working in glass for about six and a half years.
I don’t really consider it a hobby or a business as such. I’m an artist by trade and it’s one of the mediums I use among many. I sell my work occasionally from my website but I’m not focusing on it as a business at this time. I want to keep enjoying it as much as I do now and I haven’t found a way yet to keep doing that while earning my living from it.
I get inspiration from many sources. My work involves much surface pattern and I look at a lot of art from many periods and places that express it with pattern. Most of the glass works I look at are ancient pieces in museums or books. Lately I’ve been narrowing my focus to Ancient Islamic, Greek and Chinese art.
Another thing that inspires me is looking at my own past work. I often see a new piece to make while looking at an old one. The materials and the process themselves are often inspirational too. Discovering a new reaction or process can send me in an entirely new direction.
If I’m not feeling my work is progressing creatively I take a break. Often it’s a long break of several months until I’m willing to pick it up again. During this time I do other art forms. I value the “fallow” periods because my brain needs time to wander. When I start back up again I’m often surprised with new ideas that just come to me. This wouldn’t be possible for me if I relied on lampworking for my sole income. I’ve learned that this is the only way I can work and still enjoy what I’m doing over the long run.
The artists I look to for creative inspiration are the anonymous artisans of the ancient world. I’m also awestruck by the 19th century French artists such as Émile Gallé and the Daum brothers.
A contemporary artist I admire is Toni Lutman. Her work has such incredible depth and luscious color. Her beads are like fascinating pools with undulating layers of color and pattern suspended in them. Perhaps it’s partly because her work is so different than mine that I’m drawn to it. Toni’s beads are transparent little worlds that change as they turn while my work is mostly on the surface. I’m also fortunate to call her my friend.
I also love Shane Fero’s birds. The fanciful nature of the subject and the use of surface texture and color make me smile.
Best thing: I get completely lost in the making.
Worst thing: It’s hot in the summer!
I’ve only had one scary/funny thing happen. One day I had been using transparent colors for a while. I switched to Ivory and while I was heating the rod I looked away for a while. I had forgotten how fast Ivory heats up because I had been used to the transparent colors. I looked back just in time to see a molten gather ready to fly from the rod into my lap. I dropped the glob onto the tile and the crisis was averted. :^) I’m very slow and focused so I rarely have anything exciting happen. (Knocking on Formica)
I use a HotHead with a bulk propane tank. Up until last year I used the one pound camping tanks. I like the simplicity of the HotHead and it suits my working style.
Vetrofond, Effetre and a few CIM colors.
Stringer work is my favorite technique. I like working with line. I also like the reactions I get from silver leaf.
Vetrofond Black and Ivory with a bit of Copper Green for color. I’m still fascinated by all the different ways these three colors work together.
Finely detailed stringer work. It’s my favorite and it makes me crazy. Two for one. ;^)
There aren’t any shapes that I “hate” to make but I don’t make true bicones because I don’t like the look of the shape for my beads.
I can’t say I have a “comfort bead” but I enjoy making small round beads with intricate patterns when I’m playing around. It helps me get focused for the larger more complex beads that take up to four hours to complete.
My plan is to keep doing what I’m doing and see where that takes me. I want to keep open to what comes my way. Sometimes there are wonderful things waiting for us we can’t foresee.
Success is so personal. For me it’s doing what I enjoy doing exactly as I want to do it. The key for me is to follow my inner desires. Sometimes this requires me to pay very close attention. It’s easy to be swayed by outside influences.
1) Become very familiar with a limited palette of colors, say three or so. Do everything possible with these colors and you’ll learn a lot about glass.
2) Limit your tools for a time to the bare essentials. This will teach you how much you can do with each tool. (I have very few tools and use few colors. My set up is very low tech. I think I’ve learned more working this way than if I had every color and every tool made.)
3) Do it, keep doing it, over and over. If you do this you can’t help but get better at it.
The only class I’ve taken was my initial beginner class. Maybe one day I’ll take another but it’s not a priority for me right now.
I’ve just begun to consider inquiries about teaching. Travel is one of the perks of teaching! I love seeing new places and meeting new people.
Oh my, what a great class! JC is an absolute sweetheart, a fabulous teacher and makes some beads that are just TDF. Know those gorgeous egg shaped beads of hers? I know how to make them. hahahaha! LOL Know that amazing stringer control she has? I don’t have that at all but I got better. LOL
She does the most amazing enamel work. It’s different from other classes I’ve taken where we’ve used enamels and I loved what we did. She’s also a stickler about safety. The nurse in me loves that. No one should ever be using enamels without an N-100 mask on. Breathing in minute glass particles is a really bad idea.
I think I’ll just show the pics. I’m not going to give away any of her ‘secrets’ here. I can’t wait to have some torch time to just sit and play and take notes.
Front row: Jennifer, Mari and JC
I fortuately was the photographer. I wanted to get a picture of all of us with our masks on and forgot. I was so fascinated with watching JC actually make the beads that I don’t have pics of those either.
If you ever have a chance to take a class with JC, DO IT!
EDITED to ADD:
Come on everyone, I know you do more than just glass! We all do! I’d really love to have to go through 10 emails a morning putting them on here telling us all about you. I’ll even beg. LOL I’ll even tell you what I’ve started now. 🙂
All of us at MCC do more than glass and I would guess that most people who are involved in glass do other things as well. These include bead stringing, PMC, ACEOs, bead crochet, wire work, fusing, resin, chainmaille and I’m sure a ton of things I’m just not thinking of right now. I’m starting to do felting and I’m interested in doll making as well. We are a diverse group!
I’m wondering what our readers enjoy doing as well as some of the other people in MCC. I always feel like I know this group so well and then they continue to surprise me.
So will you pop us a comment and share the things that you like to do? If you’ve got any favorite magazines, books or websites that are related please share those as well. I can’t wait!
Featured Artist—JC Herrell
Pura Vida…If you know JC, you know that’s her ‘mantra’ for life…pure life, this is life…satisfaction with life. It must be what gives her that amazing ability that she has with hot glass. Her beads are beautiful and unique. I always have to smile when I see them because they are so colorful and cheerful. And apparently perfect…did I say perfect? J I hope you enjoy MCC’s interview with her.
JC will be teaching at Blue Fire Beads in New Lenox, IL May 24 and 25. I can’t wait for her class and I know I’m not alone. If you are interested, www.bluefirebeads.com There are still places available.
1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?
I’ve always been fascinated with hot things. And I’ve always loved watching flowing liquids. And so I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think that hot glass was awesome. The interest was always there. I started lampworking when my ex-husband urged me to find a stress reliever and dragged me to a stained glass store where he knew the owner had a lampworking studio. Upon starting to order the equipment the owner of the store asked me what I wanted to make. I responded by telling him I just knew I wanted to melt glass but hadn’t thought about what I would make. He then confidently told me I wanted to make beads and told me what I need to do it. Beads seemed like a reasonable reason to melt glass (as opposed to tiny teapots, the other option he offered). And since then I’ve grown to love making beads out of glass.
2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?
I bought my torch in the fall of 2001 but found it so frustrating (and scary) that I didn’t actually start using it regularly or with any real intent until 2004. And when I started to get the hang of it I couldn’t stop. In January of 2005 I quit my job as the director of a non-profit organization and started making beads full time.
3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?
I tend to be inspired in phases of the types and the quantity of inspiration I’m given. I’m either swimming with ideas or feeling creatively dry. When I actively seek inspiration or work to find new ideas I mostly end up frustrated with my self and my glass. Mostly I find that inspiration finds me and that’s a comfortable process for me. It seems that friends and architecture are my two strongest influences, at least of late. I’ve always loved incorporating architectural elements in my work and watching for them in the buildings around me. I also get a lot of ideas from talking glass with friends or picking up a new technique or idea from the people around me. Customers can also be great inspirations with suggestions of what will work for their designs.
4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?
This is a very difficult question. Very. I want to name friends because I love them and I love torching with them and I love their work and being inspired by it. Other than that I’m a big fan of Emilio Santini for his beautiful theories of perfection.
5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?The worst is definitely the physical hazards including but not limited to: back pain, burns, cuts, and all the toxic yucky stuff that covers my bench. The best part? It’s hard to just pick one most awesome thing about lampworking so I’ll say that the lampworking lifestyle is the best thing about lampworking. I love setting my own hours, traveling, meeting people, seeing all the creativity and defining my life the way it works for me. When you consider all this ON TOP of melting glass all day and night… is there anything better?
6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching? Another hard question. Scary and funny stuff happens all the time. I think my scariest moment is when I set myself on fire via synthetic fabric. Big, big flames and many bad smells. Don’t wear fleece when torching. 7. What kind of set up do you use? Torch?
I work on a Bethlehem Barracuda. I love it. It’s just big enough to rage a big bead and the versatility of the pin point flame is a total turn on for me. I used to run it on two Unlimited Oxygen M-20 concentrators (which didn’t quite get the torch to full power, but did get the job done). I’ve been traveling for the last few months and mostly, since then I’ve been using liquid oxygen dewars with my shop hosts and shop mates. I definitely prefer the liquid oxy to the concentrators.
My favorite color of glass is probably electric yellow. I love the glow of it under my enamels. It works so well with cool blues green and just as well with oranges and reds. If you ask me it’s the perfect yellow. I also love dark silver purple plum for stringer work and you’ll find that on almost every bead I make (DSP is much nicer to work with than intense black for very thin lines).
9. What are your favorite color combinations?
I have two favorite color combinations. Of course they involve Thompson Enamels. My first love is electric yellow with an orange to orange red to cherry red to dark red enamel fade on top. My second love is an enamel combo that I adore on all kinds of different base colors: grey green to gray blue green to blue green.
I have two favorite techniques: drawing with fine stringer and sifting enamel. Making flowers (raised, encased or any form) makes me want to scream.
11. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?
12. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?
I don’t have a particular bead that comforts me but I do have a few beads I’m very comfortable making like berry beads or rainbows. I make these beads when I haven’t torched in a while or while I’m getting used to new surroundings.
13. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?
I just love glass. I love melting it. Ideally, sometime a long time in the future, I’ll have the skills and equipment to execute any idea or concept I can conceive of. That’s the ultimate goal. Long term I want to learn more about glass casting on a large scale, and laminating, and furnace work. Short term I have some fusing projects I would like to get the facilities to work on more and I would like to have the time to improve my blown boro skills, too.
14. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there? To me, success is happiness. If I’m happy and content I’m as successful as I can be. The key to happiness? I’m still working on figuring that part out…
15. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?
Do it because you love it. Do what you love and not what you think you ought to do. Don’t let fear or judgment stop you.
16. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?
I’ve sat in and acted as TA in a class or two but I’ve never taken a class. I typically learn in my own classroom of experiments and errors.
17. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?
I do teach occasionally and will travel to do so… after all, that’s one of the great parts of the lampworking lifestyle. I love sharing, being shared with and traveling to do so. 18. What other creative outlets do you have?
Glass is kind of all consuming for me. Though, I recently bought a skateboard. But unfortunately I spend most of my time melting glass so I haven’t really gained many skills on the board… Just scars.