Archived Featured Bead Artists
Ania Karolina Kyte, Amy Waldman Engel, Barrie Edwards, Jodi Lindsey, Rebecca Voris, Karen Elmquist, Allison Turner, Debbie Dimoff, Margaret Zinser, Slava Popov, Faith Davis Ferris, Helen Harvest, Dwyn Tomlinson, Kristy Naray

Connie Paul

Ontario, Canada

fpaul1@cogeco.ca

by: Dwyn Tomlinson


Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?
Connie Paul: It was in 1998 that I finally gathered the necessary equipment to begin this fascinating journey of bead making.

Beading Times: What got you started making beads?
Connie Paul: My first passion was sewing, which lead me to embellishing with beads, which then on to more elaborate bead projects. In 1994, my husband and I attended the Bead Expo in Santa Fe as part of my now new passion for beads. There, I witnessed lampwork beads being created and that was the turning point. I knew at some point, I too, would create beautiful beads

Beading Times: Were you interested in making beads before that?
Connie Paul: I had no idea that glass beads could be made in your own home. Once I took an introduction course with Kristina Logan in Toronto, there was no stopping me.

Beading Times: Did you take a class?
Connie Paul: My first class was a 2-day intro with Kristina Logan during a Bead conference held in Toronto. Since then, I have taken classes with Caitlyn Hyde, Loren Stump, Amy Johnson, and Jen Zitkov. I am presently studying silver-smithing with Ruth Pallek.

Beading Times: What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Connie Paul: The whole process was a surprise! Who knew that I would become so immersed in the bead-making process that I could leave one profession, as a Dental Hygienist for 29 years in one wonderful practice, to develop a business making beads??!! As for surprises working with glass — how much time do you have? After all these years making beads, I am still amazed how I feel I am just beginning, the best is yet to come.

Beading Times: Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Connie Paul: Certainly locally, two names come to me. Lezlie Winemaker and Kirsty Naray.

Beading Times: Whose beads inspire you the most?
Connie Paul: There are so many wonderful bead makers in this world, I find it difficult to name names. I guess I can also add that my very own beads are an inspiration to me.

Beading Times: Do you sell your beads?
Connie Paul: I sure do sell beads. Currently, I sell my beads in finished jewelry in stores across Canada. I also supply several jewelers with custom and production work.

Beading Times: Do you make beads for friends?
Connie Paul: That is the most fun, making special beads for special occasions for special friends, or for one who needs a special occasion, "here's a bead!!"

Beading Times: What does your family and friends think of your beadmaking?
Connie Paul: My husband, Fred, is my biggest fan — he even wore a lady bug bracelet I made for him to a meeting at city hall! I could not have accomplished what I have without his support. Fred has also attended most of the courses I have, and although I keep inviting him to make beads, he leaves that to me. His biggest complaint is the late nights I keep. It seems the later it is, the more creative the bead! Of course, friends think I have created a unique profession.

Beading Times: What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
Connie Paul: I have had a few work sites. Currently I work in a renovated basement that I call the "down down stairs" as it is too nice to call a "basement." We put down cork floor for comfort, (over concrete), lots of lights, big tables. I have a jewelers' burn-out kiln that I picked up when I was taking silver-smithing. I had a stainless steel rack built for it so I have 3 levels to stack beads. Since January, I added a new dual torch that is connected to the tanks outside, and my original minor is connected to a concentrator. Since I spend so much time there, I want it as comfortable as can be.

Beading Times: Can you show us some pictures of your studio?
Connie Paul: Should I tidy up first?? Its always in a state "creative mess." There are always layers of projects on the go and … sure!

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
Connie Paul: Not related to bead making, my favorite thing in my studio is my Love bird Kiwi. He is happy to sleep on my shoulder (poop too! unfortunately!) and greet those who venture in.

As for other favorites, my dental scaler, that was so much of my past as a hygienist, is like an extension of my hand when doing delicate details.

Beading Times: What type of glass do you use?
Connie Paul: I mostly use Moretti. In the beginning, I was so curious about glass, I would make beads out of wine and even beer bottles, and stained glass. I do have boro but just haven't had time to play with it, but look forward to experimenting with it.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite technique?
Connie Paul: Not that I can recall, I find it all my favorite techniques.

Beading Times: Do you make sets?
Connie Paul: I do lots of "production" work where I am making many beads exactly the same, but not "sets."

Beading Times: Which do you prefer to make, a pile of beads or a single perfect bead?
Connie Paul: A single perfect bead is always wonderful, but any and all beads work for me.

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.
Connie Paul: My "full bummy" hearts are recognized mostly and are requested a lot. I do love making my "Love your body" beads as well. Every one loves hearts and I feel after listening to the news at any time, what the world needs right now is more love, so the heart is a wonderful symbol to help us to remember to express that.

Body image is another topic, so my body beads are there to help us accept ourselves as we are. Though at a prompting of a friend, my latest body bead opens at the front to expose "that thinner self" — very interesting!!

Beading Times: What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you? The easiest?
Connie Paul: To me, a bead is a bead, in that each one takes a certain commitment and concentration to complete. Perhaps, it's the time of day that dictates the difficulty in bead making. As I am a night-hawk, the later in the day, the better I can perform. I do work in the morning but I am slower.

I am especially happy making beads with "eyes" or ones I call my "critters." I often receive pictures of personal pets to "capture in glass." Love the challenge.

 

 

Beading Times: How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
Connie Paul: I feel there is a confidence to my beads that has grown since the beginning. I like my beads for their form and simplicity in structure and color, sometimes less is more.

Beading Times: Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Connie Paul: Somewhere in a drawer are my first beads. As I love all my beads, I would probably be proud of them and enjoy observing the journey of growth that has occurred.

Beading Times: Have you had any "glass epiphanies" while working — some revelation or understanding? What were they?
Connie Paul: A few days ago, my epiphany was, as I was cleaning my last night's beads, that as I mentioned before, I feel there is a confidence to the beads, especially in the very simple beads.

Beading Times: Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Connie Paul: Nothing new in techniques, but perhaps in attitude. Just enjoy the process, don't rush when making beads, take your time, and practice, practice, and there are no mistakes

Beading Times: What about photographing your beads — what do you use to get your pictures?
Connie Paul: As usual, I want to wear all the hats. I have great cameras and everything I need — but good knowledge — to do great pictures. Mostly for records of shipments to clients, I use the scanner on the computer.

Beading Times: Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell you beads on?
Connie Paul: I have two domains for a website that is currently under construction. Mid summer is deadline to be on the web.

 

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?
Connie Paul: Twice a year, in Toronto, I have a booth at the Mode Accessory Show, where I sell wholesale jewelry to stores and boutiques across Canada. I also sell single custom beads and do production work for several other jewelry companies.

Beading Times: Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
Connie Paul: It excites me to think that after all that I have accomplished in this business, I feel that all the previous experience only makes me feel like I am just starting. I have so many beads to make yet, and look forward to combining my bead skills with my silver smithing skills to make some of the most amazing things yet to come. These pieces I see in Galleries.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite bead, a "best bead." Can you share a photograph with us?
Connie Paul: Currently, my favorite beads are the ones that are what I call the Body Emerging series. I was motivated by the ad for Lubriderm body lotion, a women inside an oat kernel. The beads I make are of bodies emerging from shells and pods. I enjoy sculpting the human form in glass. They are, indeed, a work in progress. I am signed up for a portrait drawing course this summer to get friendly with the human face, as I would like to explore faces in glass. The best is yet to come.

 


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 dwyn@beadingtimes.com.

 

 

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 dwyn@beadingtimes.com.