Jacqueline Lawton

December 2007


Beading Times: How long have you been making beads? 

Jacqueline Lawton: 3 ½ years

What got you started making beads?

I was making jewelry and using glass beads in my work.  I’ve always loved glass and fell in love with lampwork beads, then decided to learn how to make them.

Were you interested in making beads before that? 

I really didn’t know about it before that.

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

Before that I was into the fiber arts.

Did you take a class?

Yes, I’ve taken many classes.  I think it’s great to experience other artist’s work.

What has surprised you most about working with glass?  

How much I love it.  Just how relaxing and contemplative it is for me.

Whose beads inspire you the most? 

I don’t have a particular favorite artist.  I do, however, have a number of artists whose work has been very inspirational for me.

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

That was my goal.  I put my first set of beads up on ebay and they sold right away.  Then I started doing shows, selling in boutiques, and to friends.

Do you make beads for friends? 

Yes, whenever there’s a special occasion, or they’re just feeling sad, I’ll make a special bead for them.

What does your spouse/children/family/friends think of your beadmaking? 

They love it.  My 16-year-old daughter works with me & helps me at shows.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? 

I use a lynx with bottled oxygen and propane.

What type of glass do you use?

Soda Lime… every imaginable kind!

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

No favorite.  There are lots of good educational tools out there.

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

I’m definitely more of a focal person.  I like sculpture too.  I get board with sets unless each bead is a bit different.  Even then I take a break & work on focals and sculpture.

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 don’t think so.  My moods change often and I like to play around and experiment a lot so things always look different.

What was your biggest obstacle to overcome? 

Mastering stringer.

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

Really round, marble shaped beads.  I naturally make more doughnut-shaped beads.

The easiest? 


What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?

I love making organic beads.  I really enjoy the interplay between all of the different glasses available these days and various metals.

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

Of course I still have them!  I’ll always keep them.  I show them to my students when they’re feeling frustrated & it makes them feel better!

How have your beads changed?

Since you started or over the years?  I know what I like to make and concentrate on that instead of trying to make what I think people will like.

What was your scariest beadmaking experience? 

I read in some forum that you could coat the inside of your kiln with a kiln wash…I forget the reason why…so I did it to my brand new Chili Pepper kiln, turned it on to let it soak in & dry. I went out & when I came home, the ENTIRE house was filled with smoke & the worst smell!  I managed to unplug it and get it outside where it smoldered for hours!  Luckily, the ceramic fiber blanket inside was replaceable so it was ok.   Never trust what you read on forums!!!

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

Yes, when I first started using gold leaf, I had an entire sheet get sucked up into my fan! 

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

I’m sure that I have but I can’t remember any off hand.

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

Not really

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 can’t work without music!  I listen to music that I have on my iPod, which is anything from folk, classical, new age, to African drumming!

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

Relax and enjoy, and know that it will come in time!

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

I can’t think of anything.

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

I’d be happy to.

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

During the summer I spend about 15-20 hours per week in my studio and that will increase a bit as the cold weather sets in.  That is plenty of time 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 homemade light box and a Sony Optical Zoom 15X 8.1 mega pixel camera.

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

I sell only 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’ve gotten away from shows and sell mostly in local stores and on ebay. I sell the beads by themselves.

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 a bit of both.  I’m also a massage therapist so I balance the two.

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you? 

I see myself happily right where I am. 

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

Yes, my Fire Goddess is my favorite bead.  She is featured in the 2005 Bead Review.