Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?

Jacqueline Keller: I started beadmaking in march 2004.

What got you started making beads? Did you take a class?

While in search of beautiful recycled glass for my tiffany work, I stumbled on glass beads… I never knew that you could make them yourself and I was so excited when I realized that!

So I searched the internet for info about beadmaking and I was overwhelmed what wonderful works of art I saw in the world wide web. For me it was clear, that I also would like to do so!

I started with lots and lots of books!

My first one was from Cindy Jenkins and then the holy bible “Passing the Flame” from Corinna. There where many books, I think I have them all!! Lol

I took my first class two years later with Corinna Tettinger.

Were you interested in making beads before that?

Nope! I didn’t even know that I could make them…

Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all?

No, but I was always creative. I have tried a variety of things; felting, pottery, tiffany and painting. I painted a lot.

Can you share a photo of some of your other works with us?

I don’t have many photos, but I found one tiffany light and painted beadbox.


What has surprised you most about working with glass?

The infinite possibilities that arise with glass ... the colors ... how glass flows ...
It is very meditative... it calms the nerves after a hectic day.

Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell us about them.

No. But my husband has always supported me and I am very thankful; I love you!

Whose beads inspire you the most?

Oh, there are so many wonderful bead makers out there!

I would have to say that Kimberly Affleck, Andrea Guarino and Jennifer Geldard are my favorites.

Do you sell your beads? Do you sell the beads by themselves, or already made up into jewelry?

Yes, I sell my beads on ebay and etsy.

Mostly I sell them as sets or focals. I sell my jewellery exclusively on my homepage or directly in my atelier. 

Did you intend to sell your beads when you first started? What got you started selling them?

No! Not at all! My first beads were dreadful but my girlfriends rushed on them and I gave them all away. But over time there were so many that accumulated that my husband pushed me to sell them, and I was surprised that anyone would want to buy them… ;-))

Have you ever taken part in a bead or art/craft show?

No, we don’t have many around here. But once a year (just before Christmas) I’m in an art craft market and show my work.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered? What did you enjoy most?

To try to educate people what lampworking is.

Do you have any tips for first time exhibitors?

I can only recommend to everyone, to bring along a working station if possible, and work directly on the stand.

Do you sell your beads in stores or other venues?

Not anymore. I used to sell my jewelry in a fashion boutique.

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. My website is and I also sell on ebay and etsy my seller name is “Creartelier”

What do your friends and family think of your beadmaking?

They are excited and happy about my success. And of course the are my best customers, especially my daughter.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)

My preferred torch is an isiheat (a German torch) and I also have a minor, both working with an oxygen concentrator. My kiln is an Uterm BA2 and of course I have a professional exhaust system.

What type of glass do you use?

All 104 Coe like Moretti, Vetrofond, CiM, Double Helix, Reichenbach

Do you have any favorite colors or combinations of glass rod to work with?

I love reactive colors and silver glass! So for example; ivory, opal yellow, EDP, rubino oro and many others.

Do these colors (or combos.) create a special reaction when used in a certain way? Tell us about it.

I love to create organic beads and those colors are perfect for that type of bead.

Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.

For big and time consuming beads I use Sludge Plus. And my new favorite glass is CiM because they have wonderful bright colors.

Do you have a favorite beadmaking book or piece of instructional material (video, etc.)?

“Passing the flame” even after years of reading it I still like it.

Do you have a favorite technique?

I love to make organic and stone beads. Working with enamel, silver, copper and all those materials.

Are you a “set” person or a “focal bead” person?

I think I’m a focal person. Making sets bores me quickly.

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’m not sure if I have a signature bead. There were so many wonderful techniques to learn that I can’t make a decision. What makes me perhaps recognizable, are my skull beads. Beads full of life, rich detail and sparkling.

I was inspired by a great French fashion designer.

What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?

Stringer control!

What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?


The easiest?


What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?

I love to do sculptural work!

Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?

Yes of course! They are a bit wonky... but I can still remember the feeling I got when I held my first bead in my hand.

How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?

They are more detailed, richer and bigger!

What was your scariest beadmaking experience?

Lighting the burner for the first time.

Do you have a humorous beadmaking experience or moment to share with us?

When people ask me, how you get the hole in the bead…

Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working – some revelation or understanding? What were they?

Figuring out how to make large stripe beads.

Do you have a technique, method or tip to share?

Don’t be afraid of color. Try a variety and mix them to get unusual combinations!

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?

It depends on what mood I am in. I love meditative music as well as jazz and pop.

Do you have any advice or encouraging words for someone who is just starting out in glass?

Try to understand the glass and learn from the mistakes you make… the rest will come on its own.

Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?

No, but I have a parmesan knife that is pretty cool, and lots of dental tools.

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

Yes of course

How much time do you spend making beads (in hours) per week? Is it enough?

It depends... 5-8 hours a day to 30 hours a week.

What about photographing your beads – what do you use to get your pictures and do you have any tips or tricks to share?

I have a professional photo studio and a Canon ixus, but no tricks, I just take ordinary photos…

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?

It’s both a job and a great passion in my life and... life without beads would be truly unimaginable.

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future?

I will probably always make beads until I'm old and gray ...

Or, where do you see it taking you?

That it will hopefully establish me, among all the other great glass artists.

Do you have a favorite bead, a “best bead.” Can you share a photograph with us?

It may not be my best bead but it’s my favorite at this point in time.


NAME: Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier

LOCATION: Wintersingen, Switzerland

0041 61 401 13 30