Archived Featured Bead Artists
Ania Karolina Kyte, Amy Waldman Engel, Barrie Edwards, Jodi Lindsey, Rebecca Voris, Karen Elmquist, Allison Turner, Debbie Dimoff, Margaret Zinser, Slava Popov, Faith Davis Ferris, Helen Harvest, Dwyn Tomlinson, Kristy Naray, Connie Paul, Rosemary Tottosy, Jennifer Gurganux, Jinx Garza, Nikki Lynn Carollo, Cathy Lybarger, NLM Glass Artists, Linda James, Kandice Seeber, Jocelyn Pappadakis, Anne Ricketts, Shari Bellamy , Shari Slonski, Gina M. DeStevens, Jerri Roey, Dianna Craig, Lori Peterson, Sheryll Hubbard-Anspach and Jim Anspach, Greg Chase. Grace Edwards, Amy Johnson, Christopher and Jacquelyn Rice,  Aimee Kennedy, Lucie Kovaraova-Weir, Nancy Waddleton, Dawn Schannell, Manuela Wutsche, Melanie Mortel, D Lynne Bowland, Lyn Richards, Deborah Reed, Ayako Hattori, Sabrina Koebel

by Carolyn Jankovskis

Ayako Hattori

Nagoya City, Japan

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?
Ayako Hattori: Ten years. But seven years were not seriously, but just as a hobby. Seriously for three years.

What got you started making beads?
I like craft making in general. I chose bead making as a hobby because I thought it must be interesting to melt glass and make something... and it is easier than glass blowing because I need only a torch and small amount of glass.

Were you interested in making beads before that?

Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all?
I like painting and drawing. I did watercolor, oil painting, paper cutting, etc. But since I started to sell my beads I have concentrated on bead making.

Can you share a photo of some of your other works with us?
No. I am sorry.

Did you take a class?
Yes. In Japan on-going classes are very popular. I took a local on-going class and sometimes I go to workshops of major artists.

What has surprised you most about working with glass?
I knew only Japanese glass beads. When I found out there is bigger bead community in the USA it was a surprise for me.

Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
I took some classes of Akihiro Ohkama. You must know him, he is famous in the USA also. You know he is a wonderful artist, but he is also a very good teacher. I learnt many things from him. He always challenges new things. I admire him so much.

Whose beads inspire you the most?
Many Japanese artisits such as Akihiro Ohkama, Daisuke Takeuchi, Yuko Kawakita, Akiko Isono, Toshiki Uchida, etc.

Do you sell your beads?
Yes. I sell my beads both in Japan and the USA.

Did you intend to sell your beads when you first started? What got you started selling them?
When I started ten years ago it was just hobby, but I have a dream to move from Japan after I retire from my real job. Several years ago, Japanese glass beads were getting popular. Many part time artists started to sell their beads. I thought it would be a good idea to sell beads to make money for my dream.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
Two Japanese torches with an air pump. One has wide and soft flame, the another is a bit narrower and has a stronger flame. I have a small Bunsen torch also. Natural gas is from a public gas service. I have two kilns. Big one is for annealing products. Small one is to warm murrini.

What type of glass do you use?
Mostly Satake lead glass. Sometimes I use Satake soda also. Recentlly I started to try Moretti.
I think Satake lead glass is best to encase murrini. It has much viscosity. You can change the shape of cut murrini on the bead base. I can make many kinds of flowers and leaves, spreading, raking or plunging murrini. I would like to introduce it to artists outside Japan.

Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
“Fusion+” is my favorite bead release. A Japanese supplier sells it. I think it is the best one for Japanese torch and Satake glass.
Satake special colors. They are very useful.
“Kegaki” is Japanese tool to shape. It is good for Satake glass.
Do you have a favorite beadmaking book or piece of instructional material (video, etc.)?
Not particularly.

Do you have a favorite technique?
I LOVE murrini making and I like encasing them to make many kinds of flowers.

Are you a “set person” or a “focal bead” person?
I am focal bead person. In Japan most bead makers are focal bead people. Beads sets are not popular in Japan because Japanese Satake lead glass is too heavy to make a set of many beads. We usually try to make a very detailed focal bead. We make it into simple jewelry with a leather or fabric cord. So Japanese bead making depends on technique rather than design.

Have you developed a “signature” bead, a unique type of bead that is recognizably yours. Tell us about it, how you developed it, etc.
I am trying to make my flowers real. My techniques are common in Japan. But I try to combine them to make my flowers original. I always observe real flowers. I try to observe the details of petals, stamen and pistil, leaves and cane. I am always considering how to make them from glass. It is very interesting to me.

What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Satake clear glass loses clearness in flame easily. Keeping clearness is always the most difficult part when making an encased bead.
Making thick murrini is always difficult and I need to cut it to encase it. I use a cutting machine, but it is still difficult.

What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Latticino making is popular in Japan but very difficult for me. I have never made a good latticino bead.
Dotting technique is also popular but I am not good at dots either.
I recently tried a mosaic technique, but I can’t do it well. I need more practice.

The easiest?
It is a difficult question. I think making something good is always difficult. I can make a simple plain bead. It might be easy but not beautiful. Besides, I can’t enjoy making such a bead. So my bead making is not easy for me.

What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
Murrini making! I think I like making murrini more than the bead. My bead friends think I am crazy, because murrini is just a part for a bead. I know they are right, but I still like murrini. I think my most favorite part of bead making is to consider how to make murrini for particular flower.

Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
No. It was many years ago. I remember the simple beads I made, but I think I lost them.

How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
When I started to make beads seriously I got good tools. (Before then, I had only a small torch without air pump.) It made my beads change so much. Using my current torches I can try many techniques. But after that, I haven’t changed my style, I think.
Recently I started to try Moretti. With Western glass I can try 3D flowers. I think Satake lead glass is very good to encase murrini, but it is too fragile to make a sculptural bead.
I like beautiful real flowers. I think technique depends on material. I choose a different technique for each type of glass.

What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Japanese bead maker anneals bead in reducing flame, then breathes on it to cool the surface, before annealing it in kiln or annealing material. When I breathed on my bead, my hand moved and I kissed it! It was the hottest kiss I ever had. I hurt my lip. (LOL)

Do you have a humorous beadmaking experience or moment to share with us?
I am afraid I can’t remember one.

Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working – some revelation or understanding? What were they?
When I found how to make the wings of a dragonfly, I was so pleased, because dragonfly murrini had been my dream. We call Japanese glass bead “tonbodama.” It means “dragonfly-ball.” (I hear it comes from dragonfly’s eye looking like glass bead.) So I had thought a dragonfly-ball of a dragonfly would be interesting.

Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
I think I do. My technique is common in Japan mostly, but new to you in the USA. But my English is too poor to write it down here. I am sorry. Maybe I can share them with you somewhere.

Do you listen to music when you work, or prefer complete silence? If you listen to music what is your favorite type of music or artist to listen to while you work?
I usually watch TV. Of course I don’t watch it seriously, but I still enjoy it. I sometimes listen to music. Mostly classic music. I like string music and chamber music.

Do you have any advice or encouraging words for someone who is just starting out in glass?
Japanese bead making depends on technique more than Western style does. When a beginner asks me the question, I suggest she/he take a on-going class, go to a workshop sometimes, and practice everyday. When she/he wants to make a flower, I recommend observing a real flower.

Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
No, I am afraid I haven’t.

Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?
I make beads in my room of my small apartment. I don’t need cylinder of gas or oxygen for my Japanese torches.  

How much time do you spend making beads (in hours) per week? Is it enough?
Over 20 hours. I am a part time artist. My time is limited and not enough to do what I want to do. It is the most difficult problem for me.

What about photographing your beads – what do you use to get your pictures and do you have any tips or tricks to share?
I use a digital camera, and computer application to edit the photo.

Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell you beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.  
Here is my Japanese web store. I sell my beads through it in Japan.
I have also an English one.
Here is my ebay account. I sell my beads through it in the USA.

Do you sell at shows or in stores or other venues? Do you sell the beads by themselves, or already made up into jewelry?
I usually sell my beads by themselves.
In Japan I sell only focal beads usually. In the USA I make them into sets sometimes. I sometimes sell jewelry. I enjoy making jewelry but I think I am not good at it. I am a bead maker anyway, not a jewelry artist.

Is this a job, or a passion? Or both? How much of making beads/playing with hot glass is about just making them, vs making a living?
Bead making is my second job. I love making beads. But I also like other craft making. The reason I choose bead, is that I can make a business of it in Japan. I can get some money for my dream, and I enjoy selling my product. When I can please my customers, it is an honor for me.

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
I want to try some other techniques to make my work more advanced.
I want to introduce the Japanese technique to artists outside Japan someday. I am proud of Japanese detailed glass beads, and I want to let you know the beauty of it.

Do you have a favorite bead, a “best bead.” Can you share a photograph with us?
I will show you my favorite one. It is not a bead, but a marble. A marble of a flower floating on water.

Beading Times is pleased to present a monthly article spotlighting a lampwork bead artist. If you, or someone you know is interested in being featured, please contact

Copyright 2007 Carolyn Jankovskis. Photos by and copyright by the interviewee, unless stated otherwise.

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