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, Rosemary Tottosy, Jennifer Gurganux, Jinx Garza, Nikki Lynn Carollo, Cathy Lybarger, NLM Glass Artists, Linda James, Kandice Seeber, Jocelyn Pappadakis, Anne Ricketts, Shari Bellamy , Shari Slonski, Gina M. DeStevens, Jerri Roey, Dianna Craig, Lori Peterson, Sheryll Hubbard-Anspach and Jim Anspach, Greg Chase. Grace Edwards, Amy Johnson, Christopher and Jacquelyn Rice, Aimee Kennedy
by: Carolyn Jankovskis & Carol Yntema
How long have you been making beads?
About 3 years
What got you started making beads?
I worked in a bead store and became obsessed with beads. I finally just had to try making my own.
I would make my own shoes too, if I could . . .
Were you interested in making beads before that?
I had no idea. In the Czech Republic (my home country) it is all part of a family secret trade and everybody is worried about losing a business and it is tough competition there.
Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all?
My mum tells me I was born with paper and paint in my hand. I have cut everything up with scissors since I can remember. I started sewing when I was 6 years old and have been making my own clothes since I was 10 years old. I even dreamt of becoming fashion designer. I like movies and folk puppet theatre too. I studied art all my life and have a high school diploma (graphic design) and masters degree in art (animation major). I have always been fascinated with folk art. I like to listen to old stories and to tell stories and make books. I think you can see this - my stories - in my glass work. The love or story telling hasn’t changed just the medium I use to tell my stories.
Did you take a class?
No, not in glass. I did a class in the fundamentals of metalsmithing.
What has surprised you most about working with glass?
How limitless it is.
Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Whose beads inspire you the most?
It changes with time, but always Amy Johnson’s and recently I have been admiring Terri Caspary Schmidt’s work. Her bird beads are incredible! I also love Stephanie Sersich’s and Dustin Tabor’s work. There are so many artists work I admire.
My inspirations are many. I look around a lot, I love Mexican folk art, I love Ray Harryhausen movies (Clash of the Titans), but also vintage dishes and furniture, old medieval illustrations, the older the better, French art of late eighteen hundreds, Czech wood cut artist Josef Váchal... and there is never enough books.
Do you sell your beads?
I have to! Otherwise I would drown in them and die of starvation.
Did you intend to sell your beads when you first started? What got you started selling them?
No I did not. I had no idea. I worked in animation studio then thinking glass and beadmaking was only a hobby. But then I had to start selling them to make money back to buy more supplies.
Do you make beads for friends?
Yes I do! That’s always lot of fun!
What do your spouse/children/family/friends think of your beadmaking?
I think my husband understands, I think he is proud of me, but he can only take so much glass talk though. He actually helps me a lot, not really sure if I can say this but he does most of my assembly.
My mum and my dad are proud too . . . I think.
What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
I use red max torch, running it on propane and two oxygen concentrators, sometimes on three. I have two kilns, a smaller one and a bigger one, most of the time I am running both at the same time. I also have a big exhaust fan, kitchen corner and couch in my studio.
What type of glass do you use?
The majority of my work is done in Moretti, sometimes Vetrofond, occasionally Lauscha, (not a big fan, but just couple of irresistible colours). Some of my fusing is Bullseye and also Czech glass, mostly out of nostalgia. I have played occasionally with boro.
Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
I use just plain sludge, watered down. I wish there was something better than Moretti, at similar price and same or better compatibility.
Do you have a favorite technique?
I would have to say my very favorite is probably murrini canes.
Are you a “set person” or a “focal bead” person?
If you tickled me until I peed my pants I still could not make good set! I just do not think in sets, I usually have to make two or three times as many beads to have ten for nice set...
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 am never sure what this question really means, as I do not really make many bead designs in large quantities, I always move on from the design I get bored of. But I guess probably some of my people beads and pendants . . .or maybe the skeleton bracelets?
Some of people beads (murrini face) I have seen in Kirsty Naray`s studio, that she has done, and I wanted to try them too, but I did not know how to make murrini canes for faces then so she gave me few of her murrini faces and I went crazy, first I did a few mermaids and some family portrait beads, but then they were too big and kept cracking because I did not have a kiln, and then Kirsty and Jean started pushing me to get one, and when I finally did it completely changed my life.
And the skeleton bracelet: I have seen puppets and started drawing some ideas how I could do something like that in glass and small enough that it would fit around the wrist? I did few tests and skeletons were born. Also have to say that they are meant as a good luck charm to protect from evil and disease, they do have heart after all!
What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Turning the oxygen cylinder on for the very first time and not realizing that they had sold me an empty tank.
What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
I like the beads that tell a story and I also like making florals.
Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Yes, I do keep all my milestones, I still look at them sometimes, to remember the excitement then.
How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
They have definitely got A LOT bigger! At first the beads were very very big to create the details, then over time I was able to make smaller beads with the same level of clarity and details.
What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Making the tiger face murrini. It was so heavy, the size of a small melon. I broke both of the punties (they were soft glass, I know...) and stuck the broken piece right through my finger. The melon of hot glass was rolling on the floor, and blood from my finger was shooting everywhere. But I knew there was already two days of work invested so far and so much glass that I had to pick it up and stick it in a kiln and then go take care of my finger. I did not make another murrini cane for few months. Oh yeah . . .I use boro punties now (thanks to Dustin).
Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working - some revelation or understanding? What were they?
I guess when Dustin told me I was insane to use soft glass punties for all my murrini canework. When I finally tried using boro punties instead all the work seemed so easy and it made such a sense!!! I do not understand now how stupid I was not to try it before. . .
Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Glass does not have to be dripping hot in order to shape it and the flame can be adjusted from big to small and back while working on one piece. I think this can be overlooked sometimes.
Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
I do not think so. I use lot of small dental tools, small knives and bunch of files, all the stuff that you can buy for buck or two in surplus stores.
Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?
How much time do you spend making beads, in, say, hours per week? Is it enough? it
It is hard to say, I don’t really know, anywhere between two to sixteen a day and it never will be enough. My husband is always teasing me that I actually live in the studio . . .
What about photographing your beads - what do you use to get your pictures?
A couple of white boards, a daylight, tripod, a Canon digital rebel CLR with macro lens and yes we all love photoshop too!
Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell your beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.
www.lunacybeads.com and I also sell on eBay under the name "lunacybeads".
How did you get the name “Lunacy” beads?
My friend Luke and I were standing outside in our garden one summer evening looking at the full moon, it was BIG and very bright, and he asked me if I was able to sleep during a full moon and I told him I could not, that I go totally crazy. So he called me Lunacy and I did not know what this meant as my English was not so good then. So I thought it would be cool name for my glass business and my husband also liked it so we went with it.
Do you sell at shows or in stores or other venues? Do you sell the beads by themselves, or already made up into jewelry?
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 is both, the hearts, strawberries, bees, florals and skeletons bones are my job. All the bigger beads and pendants are part time job. And all the murrini cane work and fusing is my hobby .
Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
I would like to get bigger torch, a bigger studio and a bigger kiln or two so I can make bigger pieces, like fusing glass dishes and lights, but mostly I just want to continue to learn more, and there is never enough time.
Do you have a favorite bead, a “best bead.” Can you share a photograph with us?
The most favorite one is always the last one.
This is named Siesta panel. It is a light panel. It is still not finished as I would like to do a border for it. .It is biggest piece I have done yet, and made with 11 separate murrini canes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2006 Carol Yntema. Photos by and copyright by the
interviewee, unless stated otherwise.