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by Carolyn Jankovskis


Sarah Hornik

Tel Aviv, Israel

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?
Sarah Hornik: Since November 2005.

What got you started making beads?
A strange series of coincidences – I was looking for glass marbles to fill up a table I had purchased from Ikea. On one of my Google searches, I noticed a sponsored link for a place here in Tel Aviv, that was offering glass beadmaking courses. Before that moment, I didn’t even know you could make glass beads at home. I had always liked beads – and glass, so the idea of giving it a try was appealing. A couple of months later, I signed up for the course. I was instantly hooked.

Were you interested in making beads before that?
I had tried making polymer clay beads a couple of times, but I didn’t really have the knowledge so the results were not so impressive.

Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all?
I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember – and more recently, trying my hand at photography. Also, I worked as a web designer for 8 years, before becoming a full-time beadmaker. My designer background has been very helpful in many ways – like composition, and choosing color combinations.
Also, being an ex-web designer has given me an advantage when marketing my beads online.

Can you share a photo of some of your other works with us?
Here's one of my abstract drawings – I still like to work on these.

Did you take a class?
Yep – see above. The class was taught by Amnon Elbaz, an experienced beadmaker and awesome teacher.
(Amnon’s gallery:

What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Well, generally speaking – I was amazed at how different it was from anything I’d ever done before. Working with elements like heat, gravity, color reactions, metals… graphic software just doesn’t do that! Working with glass is certainly an intense experience.

Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Can’t really say that I do. Since my beginners’ course, I’ve been mainly experimenting and trying to go in my own path.

Whose beads inspire you the most?
I love the work of Michael Barley, Andrea Guarino-Slemmons, Jennifer Wood, Sherry Bellamy, Ayako Hattori, Anastasia, Melanie Moertel, Antonia Jenner, Amber Van Meter, and I’m sure I’m leaving out a few!

Do you sell your beads?
Yes! I sell on eBay and on my own website.

Did you intend to sell your beads when you first started? What got you started selling them?
Not really.  When I started out I thought it was going to be one of those “hobbies” that I would lose interest in within a few weeks. Obviously, that was not the case. :-)
What I had lost interest in was web design – I always thought I’d be doing that for the rest of my life, but at some point, after 8 years, I really wasn’t enjoying it any more. I desperately wanted to do something different, but I had no idea what – so I thought I’d try selling a few sets on eBay, in the hopes that it would enable me to do less web design. Within a few months, I quit web design altogether.

Do you make beads for friends?
If they’ve been good.

What does your spouse/children/family/friends think of your beadmaking?
I’m single with no kids. I think my family and friends thought I had lost my mind at first, when I told them I was going to be a full-time beadmaker – but I guess by now I have “proven my point” and the people in my life are very supportive of me for following my dream.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
I work on a Hot Head (yes, I’m one of those crazy Hot Head people) with Mapp gas. I just like the simplicity of it.
My kiln was made locally.

What type of glass do you use?
As far as COE 104 is concerned, I use Effetre/Moretti, Lauscha, Vetrofond, ASK-104, Creation is Messy and Double Helix. Lately I’ve been playing around with Japanese Satake, and I really love it.

Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
Do I have to pick a favorite? Well, my favorite glass would have to be Rubino Oro.
I also love using Cattwalk’s presses.

Do you have a favorite beadmaking book or piece of instructional material (video, etc.)?
I think it would have to be Corina’s Spotlight on Magic Color Reactions. It’s just a few pages long, but contains endless inspiration.

Do you have a favorite technique?
Basically, anything that involves color reactions. I find them fascinating.

Are you a “set person” or a “focal bead” person?
Up to a few months ago, I was strictly a “set person”. It just felt right. But one day I decided to try making some focals, and to my surprise, it was so much fun that I guess I became a “focal person” overnight. I still make sets when the mood strikes – but that is pretty rare now.

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 like to think my focals are recognizably mine. They do vary, but most of them have a few elements in common – they are long, sleek and pressed and usually asymmetrical. They are often decorated with poked dots, trails of raised dots and drops of transparent glass on the edges.
How did I develop this style? Good question. I guess it just sort of “happened”, as I was making focals. Now it’s hard for me to finish a bead without adding the drops on the edges. I love them.

What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Like everybody else – the fear of fire. All of us remember being told repeatedly as kids: “Never play with fire! It is very dangerous!” So it sorts of goes against our basic instincts.
After my first class, I thought there was no way I would ever be lighting a torch indoors. After my second class, I sort of forgot why.

What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Sculptural beads have always been difficult for me. Also, I am not very good at complex encased florals.

The easiest?
A spacer? :-)

What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
I like pressed beads – most of the beads I make are pressed in one way or another. I love combining different colors, frits and metals to discover new reactions – trying to get the glass to do the unexpected.

Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Yep, a whole box of them! I like to look at them every one in a while, to remind myself of how far I’ve come. I can remember how proud I was of them at the time – now most of them look kind of clumsy and awkward. They still have a place in my heart though.

How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
The first few months, I was making mainly sets of little round beads, focusing mainly on using color reactions to create different geometric patterns. Then I started making pressed sets, and the beads began to grow larger. Now I make focals most of the time, and they are anything but geometric. I have pretty much lost interest in precision, at least for the time being.

What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
My scariest experiences have been in my own mind… at first, when I had just started working on my Hot Head, sometimes I would start thinking too much… like, what is going to happen if this gas canister suddenly explodes in my face? Will I be mutilated? Will it kill me? Sometimes I would get so paranoid, I’d have to stop working, unscrew the torch and put the gas outside on the balcony.
Thankfully, that doesn’t happen any more – I try not to think about that stuff! Now the scariest thought is running out of gas when I’m in the middle of a really good bead.

Do you have a humorous beadmaking experience or moment to share with us?
Once I made a set of Pac-Man beads – they make me laugh.

Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working – some revelation or understanding? What were they?
All the time, and I hope they never stop!

Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Here are a few:
Put silver leaf over goldstone – you get gorgeous shades of turquoise.
Make a twistie with Intense Black and Silver Plum – you get black with metallic silver stripes.
Silver leaf over Rubino, encased in clear, will give you a wonderful boro effect.

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?
Yes! I am always “plugged in” to my MP3 player, and I crank it up pretty loud so it overcomes the noise of the Hot Head. I mainly listen to Classic and/or Alternative Rock – anything from Pink Floyd to The Pixies.

Do you have any advice or encouraging words for someone who is just starting out in glass?
Hmmm… fire is really not so scary, once you get used to it!
And beware – working with hot glass is extremely addictive!

Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
Nothing comes to mind. Maybe someday.

Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?

How much time do you spend making beads (in hours) per week? Is it enough?
I sit at the torch for approximately 5-6 hours, 4 or 5 days a week. It’s never enough!
The rest of my time is devoted to photographing the beads, posting them on eBay or on my website, and of course – packing and shipping.

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 Konica-Minolta DImage A200, which I am quite happy with. I also use a lot of Photoshop.
I wrote a tutorial about it once – here’s a link.

Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell you beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.  
Yes, I sell on my website:
And on eBay:

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 only sell online, and I like it that way.
I don’t make jewelry (hope to learn how someday) – so the beads are sold on their own.

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?
Definitely both, most of the time. I consider myself very lucky to be able to make a living off something I am so passionate about!

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
I hope to write a lampworking book someday, or perhaps a series, something having to do with color reactions – there is so much to be said on this subject.
Another dream is to learn to make marbles.
But one of my favorite things about working with glass is… who knows where it could take me?

Do you have a favorite bead, a “best bead.” Can you share a photograph with us?
This is one of my favorite focals. I kept it for myself (I rarely do that) and I wear it on a necklace sometimes. It’s called ‘Euphoria’.

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 2006 Carol Yntema. Photos by and copyright by the interviewee, unless stated otherwise.

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