Category Archives: Featured Artist

Featured Artist–Sheri McDermott

When I think of Sheri, I think of gorgeous fused pieces.  I sure hope she sends me a picture or two of her work. (She did!) She does these amazing puzzle pieces.  I love getting her little bits and pieces for my PMC work.  Her beads are pretty darn good too!  It’s hard to believe she’s just been doing this for a year. Sheri is ‘iwantonetoo’ on LE.

    

1.  How did you get started in lampworking?  What was the thing that made you interested?

I began as a fuser, glass is an awesome medium. The fact that you can sculpt, and get more 3- dimensional pieces with a torch along with the kiln was pulling me in.

2.  How long have you been lampworking?

1 year

Is it a business for you or a hobby?

 Both

3.  What inspires you?

I see artwork, in all mediums, and then wonder if I could make it out of glass. Usually not, but I try to make things that might accent a piece I have seen, and can’t get out of my head.

How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

 Sadly, I wait. And wait….I still torch and fuse, and then a happy accident usually sends me off on another route.

4.  Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? 

 That’s not a fair question. There are way more than 3!!  Brent Graber, AKA Mr. Smiley, is on my list. Most of them I know by their LE names. Mari Johnson from Blue Fire Beads in New Lennox IL, because I watch her during Open torch, and she is so comfortable at the torch. (although not physically comfortable)I’m hoping for a low ratio class with her one day soon!  I can only say one more? NO FAIR. Why? Brent, because of the colors he can coax out of the Boro. Mari, well, all you have to do is torch with her, and you’ll see what I mean. As for bead making Lampworkers, I think Sara Hornik is high on my list. Sislonski…there I go with the LE names. I could go on and on….FIG, Hagstrom, Sheila Morley…..

 

5.      What is the best thing about lampworking?

 Watching the glass flow into something other than it began.

The worst?

 When the mojo exits the building, and I still have plenty of time at the torch.

6.  What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

Flying hot glass would answer both. I haven’t yet (knock on wood) had any major excitement yet. Just minor burns and I mixed boro and 104 once, but that odd sound was inside the kiln, so I didn’t witness that.

7.  What kind of set up do you use?

Torch? Mini CC with tanked oxy for boro, and an oxycon for soft glass

8.  What is your favorite glass?

 I like the soft glass for the vibrant colors, but the boro provides the ability to sculpt. They both have their strong points. I can’t choose one, that’s harder than 3 artists.

9.  What are your favorite color combinations?

 Vibrant bright colors, things you’d see in beach stores. Or, the simple black and white. You can NEVER go wrong with that.

10.  What is your favorite technique? 

Discs. It doesn’t take much to impress me.

What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

Inside out beads. It sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Makes ya feel like one too if you try the technique. One day soon though, it will click for me.

11.  Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

 Boring round. I like more organic freeform shapes. I don’t like to make anything that I can duplicate exactly. Then it’s not art, and it becomes rather boring to me.

12.   Do you have a comfort bead?

Discs and brightly colored spacers.

13.    How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future?

I don’t have any long term visions. There are a lot of things I’d like to learn to create, but at this point I am still learning so much.

What are your goals?

 To have other people like my work. It does a lot for the mojo when someone else says “Ooohhh, how’d ya make that?”

14.  What do you consider as successful? 

 Success is defined differently for everyone; it’s a tough word to define. For me it would be doing something I love, which includes being a good mom and wife, and living my life in a way that will make God proud. What is the key to getting there? The ability to accept what we cannot control.

15.    What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

 Don’t put limitations on yourself. Practice techniques, ALOT. Be patient, and let your heart help you create.

16.    Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

YES!!!

17.   Do you teach?

I haven’t done any official teaching. I will teach classes, but I prefer to call them “workshops”. “Class” and “teacher” imply knowledge. 

Will you travel to teach? Sure

18.   What other creative outlets do you have?

 Mostly glass work, jewelry, and *whisper*….I like to shop

 

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Featured Artist: Patty Pulliam

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.

*Featured Artist Patty Pulliam

1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?

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.

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2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?

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.

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3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

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.

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4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

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!

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There are lots more as well. Too many to list!

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5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?

Best: Melting glass and playing with fire!

Worst: Not getting to do it full time.

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6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

Well, flinging a hot marble into your lap is always fun!

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7. What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

At home I use a GTT Lynx and 2 oxycons. When I’m teaching at TLD I use a HotHead and bulk propylene.

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8. What is your favorite glass?

BORO!!

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9. What are your favorite color combinations?

I think silvered ivory is my all time favorite. “Dougie Pink” is always fun to make.

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10. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

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.

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Making good loops on pendants makes me want to scream sometimes.
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11. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

Bicones! Can’t make ‘em symmetrical to save my life.

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12. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead

The boro frit bead. I really enjoy just making simple round beads. It’s meditative.

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13. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?

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.

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14. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there?

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!

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15. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

Practice, practice, practice! • Don’t work too hot. • And slow down.

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16. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

Yes!! I love taking all kinds of classes. I would be a professional student if I could afford it.

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17. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?

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.

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18. What other creative outlets do you have?

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. 🙂

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http://www.rusticstudio.com

Interviews

I am asking for your help, our readers, with this as well as asking the members of the Collective.  I have a glass interview that I pretty much like and would like to keep as it is.  But we now have people who do glass but they also do PMC, Felting, wirework, jewelry making too.  I’d like to interview some of those people as the thing that they most like doing.  I can’t imagine interviewing Tammy Deck about beads.  I want to hear everything she has to say about felting because she’s awesome at it.  So help my everyone who reads this please.  Tell me what you’d like to know from people during an interview.  It can be as mundane as the kind of tacos that make them want to felt a Mexican motif.  It can be as essoteric as the art they saw over the last three weeks that all congealed in their brains and now we are going to get …this.

Please let me know what you want to know.  No question is too silly, to invasive too anything.  That’s because I have the editorial approval for them.  LOL  So wanna ask ‘that’ question…we’ll see how it can be phrased to be worked in–or we won’t.  Just give me the question, OK? 

I’d like to do an interview a week with someone.  Doesn’t have to be just glass but it does have to be with us, with outside people, with people who do other things that fit in this groups things.  If YOU’d like to be considered as the Featured Artist, let me know.  Just keep the questions coming, please. And let us know your inspiration too.  You never know what that can start!

 

 

Featured Artist Holly Cooper

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.

1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?

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.

2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?

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.

3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

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.

4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

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.

5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?

Best thing: I get completely lost in the making.
Worst thing: It’s hot in the summer!

6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

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)

7. What kind of set up do you use?

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.

8. What is your favorite glass?

Vetrofond, Effetre and a few CIM colors.

9. Do you have a favorite technique?

Stringer work is my favorite technique. I like working with line. I also like the reactions I get from silver leaf.

10. What are your favorite color combinations?

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.

11. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

Finely detailed stringer work. It’s my favorite and it makes me crazy. Two for one. ;^)

12. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

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.

13. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?

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.

14. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?

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.

15. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there?

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.

16. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

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.

17. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

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.

18. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?

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.

Featured Artist–Brent Graber

Featured Artist Brent Graber

 

What can you say about Brent? He’s funny. He’s a wonderful teacher. He’s in love. He makes beautiful hearts. He’s a wonderfully talented glass artist. He’s a great dad. He’s just one of my favorite people. Have fun getting to know him a little better!

 

 

 

 

How did you get started in lampworking?

 

I had a friend in south Florida that made marbles and sculptural stuff in his garage. I saw the set up one day and asked what it was. He had a Carlisle CC and an Aim front loading kiln. I asked if it worked and if I could melt something. He handed me a clear glass rod, lit the torch and pointed to a pile of crushed colored glass he called frit. Funny name, but what the heck, I’m game… I melted the clear, rolled it around in some of that frit stuff and I was hooked!

 

What was the thing that made you interested?

 

The fire and the weird tingly feeling I got when I melted glass… it was a rush and it was definitely not easy. I knew I had to figure it out… I just had to!

 

How long have you been lampworking?

 

I’ve been lampworking for about 8 years I guess. Time really doesn’t matter when you’re doing what you love, so it may have been longer. Sure doesn’t seem like 8 years!

 

Is it a business for you or a hobby?

 

This is my sole source of income. I’m a single Dad with 3 kids. I have custody of two and this obsession feeds us all. I am very grateful for everything I’ve been able to do in this industry and look forward to a lifetime of melting glass.

 

What inspires you?

 

I am in love with glass. I love everything about it. The way it moves… the way it captures light… the way it looks while I’m working with it. It truly is awe-inspiring. Most of my inspiration comes from the glass itself. I make objects resembling other things, but it’s because the glass lends itself to the shape or design so well. Some of my best work has come from an “Awe crap” moment… like… “What am I going to do with this now?”

 

How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

 

I play. I don’t set out to make anything in particular. I sit at the torch and melt something. It will eventually become something interesting and if it doesn’t, I throw it into the woods. Some people think it’s a shame for me to launch a good portion of my work, but the truth is, most of my work wasn’t made to sell. It was the process and I learned what I needed to from it. That was it’s purpose and I am happy to set it free.

 

Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

 

I don’t have 3 favorite… I have at least 100. There are so many talented lampworkers and wonderful human beings in this industry; I couldn’t possibly name anybody my 3 favorites.

 

I can name 3 people who make me weak in the knees when I see their work…

 

Paul Stankard… that in no mere mortal. What he does with glass makes me shake my head. He is living proof that there’s no end to what we can do in glass.

 

Luccio… I’d really just like to know how he gets those tiny fingers all perfectly positioned without melting the one next to it. Mine would all look like burn victims. Mutilated freaks and that’s why I don’t add arms to my human forms yet.

 

Robert Mickelsen… If you’ve seen his work, you know why. 😉

 

 

What is the best thing about lampworking?

 

Everything!

 

The worst?

 

Running out of propane…

 

What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

 

It’s the same story… funny and scary! I’ve got to give you the back-story first. My Dad used to be a welder and we live in Florida. We have bugs… big as your head… biting bugs. I used to do a lot of lathe work and I have two hand torches as well as a bench torch on my lathe. One night after a session, I came inside and told him the bugs were eating me alive. He said they used to kind of swat at the bugs with their torches when they were welding. He explained that the bug’s wings were so delicate that they would burn up and it didn’t hurt you, if you did it quick. This fascinated me…

 

Ok, so now fast forward a few weeks or so. I’m on my lathe and there is this yellow fly. It’s a deer fly type bug on speed. I swear these things are part psychic and part Ferrari. He was chewing on me left and right. I had about 6 bites to my legs and every attempt to smack the hellhound resulted in more humiliation. He finally pissed me off! He landed on my big toe (I wear flip flops all the time). He devoured my innocent soft flesh, just happily trying to grow a toenail. I had my Carlisle premix hand torch blazing. I knew what had to be done… I had never been so clear about an objective… I was gonna cook his little butt!!! So, in one fell swoop, I poured the full fury of my 18” blue flame of death onto his fragile little frame. His little world came crashing down and the biblical hell fire and brimstone stories came to life for him… I rejoiced… I was smiling from ear to ear, until I remembered what was under the bug… and as the flame shot sideways, deflected by my toe, I realized I hand forgotten about the most important part of my Dad’s story… “It won’t hurt you, as long as you’re quick!”

 

I managed to finish the piece before the throbbing set in. The toe was black for a good long while and the blister can only be described as enormous. The bug didn’t recover. 😉

 

What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

 

I use a Bethlehem Barracuda and power it with two concentrators from Unlimited Oxygen. I love it!

 

What is your favorite glass?

 

What ever I’m melting at the time, but I do predominately work in boro.

 

Do you have a favorite technique?

 

Not really… It’s all fun!

 

What are your favorite color combinations?

 

Amber Purple over Egyptian White Sands…

 

What’s your favorite technique?

 

See the question before last… I guess you didn’t like that answer, so you’re trying to trick me. I’m on to your crafty games. LOL

 

What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

 

The more challenging the better… why would I hate anything? Just because I can’t do it right yet? A real challenge gives me something to look forward to. If I could do everything, I wouldn’t be interested in doing any of it.

 

 

What is that shape that you really HATE to make?

 

Butt plugs. That always made me a little uncomfortable. Oh, by the way… I made sex toys out of borosilicate glass for years. So I’m being serious when I say they were not my favorite shape… 😉

 

Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?

 

Hearts. I figure there can never be too much love in the world and I really enjoy making them.

 

 

How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future?

 

My goal is to explore every thing I have time for. I love doing larger sculptural work. I’ll hopefully be healthy enough to do this in some form or fashion, for a very long time. Right up until the day I die would be perfect!

 

What are your goals?

 

To be happy and raise my kids with love in their life. To never stop caring about the people around me…

 

 

What do you consider as successful? 

 

Look in the mirror… if you like what you see and there’s a smile more often than not, you’ve achieved it.

 

 

What is the key to getting there?

 

Love yourself enough to do what you need to do for you… love others and give what you can, without expecting anything in return… realize that you are unique… and you deserve to be happy… just like everybody else. Forgive others when they do you wrong, but it’s ok to avoid their evil asses if you can. You don’t have to like everybody… but you do have to like yourself. 

 

 

What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

 

Don’t compare your work to anybody else’s. There will always be folks who have more skill that you and there will always be folks who can’t do what you can do. If you compare your work to your work, it’s the only fair comparison… if it’s getting better, you’re successful!

 

 

 

Some times the very best ideas come from a mistake you didn’t give up on… it comes from playing and trying new things. Realize that there are no limits to what you can do and you don’t have to do anything in particular… PLAY!

 

 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself…

 

Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

 

Yes, it’s a lot of fun!

 

 

Do you teach? 

 

I do and I love it. It’s one of my passions. I absolutely love it when a student figures something out or realizes that they really can do something difficult. It’s a magical moment and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

 

 

Will you travel to teach?

 

“Have torch will travel!”

Featured Artist–Jennifer Ross

Jennifer is one of our own!  She makes bright, beautiful beads and then makes them into bright, beautiful pieces of jewelry.  Unfortunately, she didn’t send me any pictures yet but when she does, I’ll be very happy to show them to you!

 

 

Featured Artist–Jennifer Ross

1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?

My mom and I love to go to fine art shows/fairs and several years running my purchases at those shows were all lampwork bead jewelry. My birthday was approaching in 2005 and my husband asked me what I wanted as a gift so I decided to take a beginning lampworking class to see if I liked it.

‘Like’ was an understatement. One four hour class with Julie Rose and I fell madly in love.

2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?

I’ve been at it for almost three years. It is a business for me, slowly but surely.

3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

I’m inspired by color and pattern in artwork, fabric, dishes, architecture, just about anything. I’m at the torch about 35 hours a week on average so if I find myself in a slump the best thing I can do is get away from the torch. Go out into the world and shake up my surroundings.

Then I can come back to the torch with fresh ideas.

4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

It’s tough to choose just three, but in no particular order… Heather Trimlett’s work always brings a smile to my face. I love her use of color and although some of the dots and other patterns she uses my look simple, hers are perfectly executed. I was lucky enough to take a class with her last year. I learned so much about her techniques and about the importance of patience. I’m blown away by Sarah Hornik’s beads. I love the flow to her beads and she has a great eye for color too. I’m beyond amazed that she works on a hot head. Andrea Guarino’s beads have a phenomenally unique look. I admire any bead maker who gets to that point in the journey. Her beads are wonderfully organic, colorful and whimsical. Her use of enamels and textures blows me away.

5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?

For me there are lots of ‘best things’ like working with a silver glass and seeing the colors develop, pulling the prior day’s batch of beads from the kiln and loving them all, discovering a new (to me) color reaction or combination… I could go on and on. The worst for me is probably when I think I really rocked a bead and when it comes out of the kiln the colors didn’t do what I wanted them to do or the bead cracked.

6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

I’ve picked up the wrong end of a rod or two and I’ve been hit by hot flying glass more times than I can remember but nothing too serious.

7. What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

I use a MiniCC with a 5 lpm concentrator and I also use tanked oxy for boro or silver colors.

8. What is your favorite glass?

I have too many to list. I love working with the silver striking and reducing glasses, so many of those are favorites.

9. Do you have a favorite technique?

All that I’ve learned and some I don’t even know yet!

10. What are your favorite color combinations?

I love high contrast in color and pattern so black and white is a favorite. I also love purple red and carrot red together, pea green and dark periwinkle, just about any bright combination. I also love raku and black, terra and chocolate brown, khaos and … somebody stop me!

11. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

I love making focals with lots of colors raked, swirled and twisted. I also absolutely love twisties, black and white especially. Basic, I know, but beads with twisties make me smile! Regarding banging my head against a wall… see my answer to number 12.

12. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

I really don’t enjoy hollows. I even took a two day class to learn the technique but I’ve never really practiced it enough to turn them out consistently. I’ll keep trying but I’m perfectly happy admiring other bead maker’s hollow beads.

13. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?

Not really a comfort bead. I usually do some ‘warm up’ beads with my marble mold. When I’m not sure which direction I’m going I tend to make rounds with dots and swirls… a few of those and I’m off and running.

14. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?

I’ll continue to take classes and practice to improve my skills. My main artistic goal is to develop my own look or niche in the lampworking world. I’m still searching for that signature bead/design/look that is uniquely mine.

15. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there?

I suppose one measure of success is sales. I would be thrilled to make a little living making glass beads and jewelry, nothing too extravagant, just a modest and somewhat regular income. I’m working toward that by consistently applying for juried shows, and developing my sales on Etsy, eBay and my own web site, flamingheartstudio.com. On a personal level I consider myself successful in that those who know me well know that I am true to my word, I do what I say I’m going to do and I say what I mean.

16. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

Be Patient

Practice, practice, practice

Keep burn salve very close by

17. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

I love taking classes. I have a list of bead makers I want to learn from. The list keeps growing so I know as long as I’m lampworking, I’ll be taking classes.

18. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?

I don’t teach. I was recently asked to teach beginners classes for a local studio. I’m flattered but I don’t think I’m ready yet. I’m still trying to find my own way.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.flamingheartstudio.com

Featured Artist–JC Herrell

Featured Artist—JC Herrell   

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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.

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8. What is your favorite glass?

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). jcherrell1017615.jpg

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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.

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10. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

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?
Hearts.

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.