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Anne Ricketts, AMR GlassWorks

Texas, USA

by: Dwyn Tomlinson

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?
Anne Ricketts: 3 ½ years

Beading Times: What got you started making beads?
Anne Ricketts: I was a polymer clay artist and making beads for my jewelry designs and I wanted to find unique glass beads to use so I was looking on Ebay and I clicked on this auction for a lampwork bead, I believe it was a Michael Barley bead. I had no clue what lampwork was and after I saw his bead I was hooked! I just said to myself "I've got to learn how to do this!!"


Beading Times: Were you interested in making beads before that?
Anne Ricketts: Yes, I used beads in my jewelry designs and accents on small quilted items and clothing.

Beading Times: Did you take a class?
Anne Ricketts: My first class was a Christmas present from my family in December 2001. Molly Heynis from Heritage Glass was teaching at Laguna Gloria Art museum in Austin.

Beading Times: What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Anne Ricketts: How mesmerizing it is to work with it! It really relaxes me when I'm working!

Beading Times: Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Anne Ricketts: Well I really don't have just one person that I would consider my mentor. I've been mainly self-taught through the wonderful forums of Wet Canvas and ISGB so I guess you could say they are my mentors!

Beading Times: Whose beads inspire you the most?
Anne Ricketts: I have so many favorite beadmakers that the list is just too long!

Beading Times: Do you sell your beads?
Anne Ricketts: Yes I sell them mainly on Ebay and also I sell my beads at Bluemoon Glassworks in Austin, TX and occasionally off my website.

Beading Times: Do you make beads for friends?
Anne Ricketts: I have made some gifts for my friends but mainly for family as presents.

Beading Times: What does your family think of your beadmaking?
Anne Ricketts: They all think it's pretty cool! They are very proud of what I'm doing by making a living from my art. My youngest son even did a weekly journal for school about my "job!"

Beading Times: What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
Anne Ricketts: I use a Bobcat torch (love it!) that uses a propane/oxygen mix and I use an oxygen concentrator. The kiln I have is a Skutt GM10F with a bead door.

Beading Times: What type of glass do you use?
Anne Ricketts: I use mainly Moretti but I do have some Lauscha and Vetrofond also.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
Anne Ricketts: I started out using Fusion and I've switched over to Fosterfire. I love both of these! I like Dip and Etch (liquid) also for etching my beads. I don't think I can live without my CBS stamps and Zoozii presses!

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite technique?
Anne Ricketts: Well I love making scrolls and they are great practice for stringer control! LOL!

Beading Times: Are you a "set person" or a "focal bead" person?
Anne Ricketts: I'm definitely a set person. I love focals but I seem to do better with sets! I guess too many designs in my head for just one bead! LOL!


Beading Times: Have you developed a "signature" bead, a unique type of bead that is recognizably yours. Tell us about it, how you developed it, etc.
Anne Ricketts: Well I don't know that I have a "signature" style or bead but people do tell me that they recognize my "homespun" plaid beads, my dolls and now my watercolor "chintzware" beads. I was a quilter and decorative wood artist before I became a beadmaker and the plaids and chintz beads sort of sprang from that although the chintz beads actually came from my favorite china called chintzware. The doll was born when Corina (Tettinger) was needing items for her "Spotlight On The Inner Child" publication. She liked it so much that she asked me to do a tutorial on it!


Beading Times: What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Anne Ricketts: Getting over the fear of lighting the torch! I'm over that now!

Beading Times: What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Anne Ricketts: Bicones and encased florals still elude me!

Beading Times: The easiest?
Anne Ricketts: The easiest for me are just basic designs of dots, lines, squiggles, etc.

Beading Times: What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
Anne Ricketts: Gosh, I have to pick a favorite?! I love just about all types of beads no matter what the technique!

Beading Times: Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Anne Ricketts: Yes, they are hanging on the wall over my worktable. When I want a good laugh I just have to look up!

Beading Times: How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
Anne Ricketts: My beads have gotten smaller in size since I first started and definetly more detailed over the years.

Beading Times: What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Anne Ricketts: It was when I was working on my Hothead torch and a fire ignited where it attached at the hose! Scared me half to death! Of course it always scares me when hot glass goes flying in my lap also!

Beading Times: Have you had any "glass epiphanies" while working - some revelation or understanding? What were they?
Anne Ricketts: Pulling stringer, when I first started making stringer I was keeping the rod in the flame and trying to pull from that. Well I got wonky stringers doing it that way so I took the rod out of the flame at one point and noticed when I started pulling the end of the rod with the pliers, the stringers were straight! I was so happy that day!

Beading Times: Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Anne Ricketts: Something that I think helps me is using a black tile on the table in front of the torch. It helps you be able to see the flame better!

Beading Times: Have you "invented" any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn't ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
Anne Ricketts: I haven't but there are so many people that have come up with great ideas so kudos to them!!

Beading Times: Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?
Anne Ricketts: In the picture I'm sure people will have some questions about some things on my table, first off the extension on the front of my table is called a Creation Station, made by Bill and Vicki Harrison (Vicki's Front Porch or vglampwork on Ebay). It is a really great item that has helped with my hand control considerably! The next thing that you might be wondering about is the "rod warmer" in the top corner of my table. It is actually a ceramic hair iron warmer that keeps the iron warm in between uses but it works great as a rod warmer! That tip came from Wet Canvas!

Beading Times: What about photographing your beads - what do you use to get your pictures?
Anne Ricketts: I use a halogen lamp and put the beads on white paper and the camera I use is a Nikon Coolpix 5200 . I use Microsoft Picture It to lighten and sharpen my pictures if they need it. 

Beading Times: Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell your beads on?
Anne Ricketts: I sell my beads on Ebay (user id is aricketts) and my website is

Beading Times: Do you sell at shows or in stores or other venues? Do you sell the beads by themselves, or already made up into jewelry?
Anne Ricketts: I haven't done a show yet but I do have some focal beads in my friends' Jim and Rose Berry's shop. They own Bluemoon Glassworks in Austin, TX. That is also the place where the Austin Fireflies meet each month.

Beading Times: Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
Anne Ricketts: I hope to be teaching in the very near future! I've had some interest from people that would like to learn some of the techniques that I do. I do teach one-on-one classes in my home now but I would love to travel and teach when the opportunity comes up!

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite bead, a "best bead." Can you share a photograph with us?
Anne Ricketts: This is the chintz set that is my favorite!! LOL!!


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Copyright 2005 Dwyn Tomlinson. Photos by and copyright by the interviewee, unless stated otherwise.