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by Carolyn Jankovskis

D Lynne Bowland

Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

506 747 2009

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?  
Lynne Bowland: I think I started in 93 or 94!

What got you started making beads?  
I had a commercial flat and fused glass studio and the wholesaler had hot head torches.   I bought one, always a sucker for new toys and tools… (especially if I can steal the latter from my husband!… My studio in SK was called Black Hole Glass because I kept borrowing his tools and he claimed they just disappeared into my big black hole!)

Were you interested in making beads before that?  
Not really, and because we’re talking ’93 or ’94 there was almost no info available so I played.  My first beads were all made from strips of 2mm window glass.   I didn’t get any Moretti glass for almost 18 months after I got the torch!

Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the bead making, if at all? 
Yes I would say so…  I was a weaver and knitter from quite early on.   I took my first flat glass class in ’81, but really didn’t do much until the late 80’s when we left Saskatoon and moved to Bradwell.  I got my first kiln in ’88 just after we moved and started making  small fused pieces to sell… the hot head torch was supposed to be used to make components  for my fusing….That really never happened.    I’ve really only done one or two fused pieces that  used more than stringers pulled in the torch.  I went to Pilchuck in ’91 and there was a sculptural lampworking class  going on … one of the women taking it  had some glass beads that she made.. I thought they were kind of neat!  I also took a blacksmithing class in the early 90’s and volunteered at the local museum in the blacksmith shop … demonstrating for a number of years… The ‘lady’ blacksmith was somewhat of a novelty!  Also did some handformed /hammered copper work… Both of which helps in the silver work for the jewelry!

Did you take a class?  
My first class wasn’t until May of 2000, by which time I’d developed a lot of bad habits.  My class was actually a 10 day class on blowing boro goblets too not making beads!  However I got Kate Fowle’s intro tape in ’95 which was a real help as I actually got to see someone make beads… not to mention see what a finished bead was suppose to look like!  I actually took a class from her in March this year.  She is a really good instructor!

What has surprised you most about working with glass?
How durable it is. Most properly annealed beads and fused glass pieces will bounce when dropped, however there is always the exception to that rule.

Whose beads inspire you the most?  
Shortly after I first started,  Heather Trimlet  was teaching at Series in Red Deer AB, and had some beads on display in the instructors show.  I later developed a wholesale line of beads called Electric Jellies that were inspired by her beads.  Remember that was in ’94 or ’95…  Now I just make beads…. I mainly do  jewelry.   I love bright colors and prefer to sell my beads as finished jewelry, doing all my own silver work.

Do you sell your beads?
I like to sell them as finished work rather than loose beads.. but will make custom beads if asked.

Did you intend to sell your beads when you first started?
What got you started selling them?  I was already selling ‘stained glass’ and fused glass so adding in a few pairs of earrings made with my own beads just seemed like a logical progression.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)  
I have 4 Nortel minor Burners, In a shop that was built facing the water specifically to make beads in!  I use propane, mostly I use a concentrator but have bottled O2 for when I teach or want to make bigger beads.  I have one of the Arrow Springs kilns and a small Jenkins bead kiln, I also have a 22 inch JenKens kiln for fusing, which I used to batch anneal when I first started.

What type of glass do you use?  
Mostly Moretti/Effretti, some vetrephone and lauscha, but I also have Bullseye and Caliente, which I have set up on different torches… the advantages of having 4 torches, one for every type of glass!

Emmy the Evil (or Evil Em) sporting  beautiful  beads.

Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.  
I have been using the original Mike Franz bead release every since I bought my first glass from him the summer of ’95 (my first Moretti!). I just bought some bucket of mud and am quite pleased with it for transparent beads.  I mainly use Moretti glass because it’s what is set up on the torch hooked up tot the concentrator and bottled O2 here is really expensive!

Do you have a favorite technique?  
Not really I actually really like variety and since I make beads to sell, will make 8 or 10 of a style of focal and then not make another one for months.  However I made so many small hearts  when I first moved here that I find them one of the easier beads to make, and actually have a heart tutorial on my website!  I like using silver wire and chunky raku, but don’t really use any other frits!

Are you a “set person” or a “focal bead” person?  
I consider sets to be beads the same size and shape.   Tepeating color and design isn’t my thing so I often will make my earrings out of two similar beads in different colors with the accent beads complimenting the other earring.

Have you developed a “signature” bead, a unique type of bead that is recognizably yours. Tell us about it, how you developed it, etc.  
Cute Puffins sitting on ice cubes… So far I haven’t sold any,  I just give them away on my website, Puffins are a ‘local’ bird and I just started making them… Although now they end up with green bills for Saint Paddy’s day etc…   I also have a line of ‘sea’ glass beads which start as nice transparent tabs  that get mushed while hot and then acid etched.  I also do scallop shells and star fish to keep the ‘sea glass’ company.  I got into the frog kick a couple of months ago so now have frogs all over the house … keeping the Puffins company!

What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?  
Starting in ’93 there were no books, no glass… I started with strips of art glass and window glass.   I was doing a lot of fusing then and the bullseye should have been compatible but on a hot head it just turned grey!  I had never really even seen a bead when I started…

What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Stringer and scroll work beads, because I am virtually self taught I didn’t realize that the thin lines people like Heather Trimlet were using were done using stringers… so I have always used full size rods.  Plus I work left handed so have to reverse everything I see! I’m actually not left handed but not long after I started I broke the scaffoid (SP!) bone in my left hand and discovered that I could make beads if I stuffed the glass down inside my cast and twirled the mandrel with my right hand… I never switched back….

The easiest?

What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?  
I still like little round beads even with the advent of all the presses, and yes I’m a press junkie.   I still like what I refer to as electric beads, or white heart beads (white transparent color or colors decorated and then encased in clear or encased and then decorated….)

Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?  
Actually I do have a set of my window glass beads that I made into a necklace, and I do still wear them,   I also have a set of very early moretti beads that I made into a necklace.  When I don’t like beads I throw them into the aquarium.. so I have rather unique aquarium gravel… but on the other hand if I say something looks like aquarium gravel it isn’t a compliment!

How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?  
They keep getting smaller! And I finally figured out how to do hollow beads… There was a picture of a hollow in the first Cindy Jenkins book but I didn’t make one that worked until 2000!
When I first started the bead release was basically a form of shelf primer… and since I was a fuser and you removed the kiln wash off of kiln shelves  by sanding. Well the  first couple of months I would remove the beads dry and then sand the mandrels to get the bead release off. Just think of all the fun things new bead makers miss now, by not having to figure things out for themselves!

What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Well it's not exactly scary but it certainly was an experience: I have corplast in the windows to block  out the sun... well my rod rest has been moving closer and closer to the corplast and yesterday I managed to light it on fire.  Being plastic I assumed it would just melt... WRONG it burns very nicely, so I grabbed the corplast and stomped on it...   I hardly ever wear shoes, but I was that day!  Although my husband figures I could do one of those walking in hot coal stunts no problem, so stomping out flames with bare feet should have been no big deal! 

Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working – some revelation or understanding? What were they? 
I have lots of those always at night and I can never remember them in the morning!

Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
I have a heart tutorial on my web site… It actually also works for dog bones too if you have a burning desire to make those!  My favorite marver is the top half of my ‘bead squeeze’  It’s got a slight curve so fits the shape of most beads better than a flat graphite paddle.

Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?  
I made a buttonhole mandrel where the two mandrels were loose but I used plasticine to hold it together and the plasticine kept getting so hot that it melted….

Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up? 
Sure. I have 4 minor torches, three are visible on the 'bench' shot.  The bench is 18 feet long. The cupboard beyond the 39 inch glass rods  is also full of shorter rods  Since  most of the glass is now sold as 12 or 13 inch rods I had to change my storage system!  I do not have a neat bench and saw no reason to clean it for the pictures!

How much time do you spend making beads, in, say, hours per week? Is it enough?  
Probably on average 12 hours on the torch 2 to 3 hours at a time and then there’s cleaning and making jewelry and marketing etc…..

What about photographing your beads – what do you use to get your pictures?  
I use a Kodak digital camera and a really old scanner.  Neither of them gets the quality of images that I would like!

Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell your beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.
I sell off of my own site  but I don’t do any on line auctions.  Even on my own site it’s more ordering custom beads than finished sets.  Most set get turned into jewelry they don’t show up on my fresh from the flame link!

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’ve never really sold loose beads although I do make custom beads for people. I like making beads and then making them into jewelry….  Making the jewelry is half the fun of making the beads!  I sell in a number of galleries in the Maritimes, and a couple in Maine.

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?  
I started a glass studio in ’88 so have been a full time glass artist now for 18 years so this Is a job.   I doubt if I’m qualified to do anything else any more!

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glass working in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?  
To a white sand beach somewhere in the tropics????


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

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