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Jerri Roey, aka beadbimbo

Georgia, U.S.A.

by: Dwyn Tomlinson

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?
Jerri Roey: About 7 years.

Beading Times: What got you started making beads?
Jerri Roey: I used to do stained glass. With a small child at home, I got frustrated with how long it could take me to complete a project. After seeing a demonstration, a friend was going to take a beadmaking class, so I decided to go with her. I was the worst one in the class, but I was hooked!

Beading Times: Were you interested in making beads before that?
Jerri Roey: I was curious to understand how they were made, but I don't think I was really interested in making beads until I took a class.

Beading Times: Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all?
Jerri Roey: I've always had an artistic streak. After high school, I really wanted to study art, but coming from a practical family who encouraged me to major in business or become a teacher, I became an RN instead.

Beading Times: What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Jerri Roey: How obsessed I became with it!

Beading Times: Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Jerri Roey: No. I've taken a few classes and would like to take more, but I haven't spent time learning from any one particular individual. A lot of my learning has just been trial and error. I enjoy classes because it seems like when I get into a rut, just taking a class and being around other bead people gets me excited and enthused again.

Beading Times: Whose beads inspire you the most?
Jerri Roey: I'm not sure. There are a lot of great bead artists out there.

Beading Times: Do you sell your beads?
Jerri Roey: Yes, I have a website:

Beading Times: How did you come by the name "beadbimbo?" ;-)
Jerri Roey: I got the name, "Beadbimbo" from my husband. He was joking, but I liked it and it stuck. One friend of mine thinks it's so funny because she said she could never picture me wearing stiletto heels and having big hair. (I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl.) I've really had fun with the name though, and I've found that people remember it. I've gotten e-mails from customers, a year or so later, saying how they'd tried to remember my name, but couldn't, but they remembered Beadbimbo and then just did a google search for me. I think, occasionally, hubby's been a little embarrassed, when he's had to give someone his e-mail using the He's always quick to say, "That's my wife's business."

Beading Times: Do you make beads for friends?
Jerri Roey: Yes, for friends and family. I'm lucky that I have a lot of girls in my family. They usually let me know what they want for Christmas. It sure makes my shopping easy! I do have one brother-in-law who likes my beads too, though!

Beading Times: What does your family think of your beadmaking?
Jerri Roey: My husband is my biggest fan, critic, and support system. He's also the geek who takes care of my web site.
My daughter, who's now 11, likes having a mom who makes beads. Where else could she find someone to make a bead that looks like her guinea pig? Her friends like coming over and going through my junk beads. They know they can always take some home and that I'll always make them a little something, too.

Beading Times: What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
Jerri Roey: I have a Phantom torch and a Paragon kiln.

Beading Times: What type of glass do you use?
Jerri Roey: Mostly I use Moretti, Bullseye, and Lauscha. I would love to take a class in Boro one day. I have taken a class and learned to make some little boro animals, which is a lot of fun, but I've really only worked with clear boro.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
Jerri Roey: Not that I can think of.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite technique?
Jerri Roey: Not really. I enjoy doing so many different things.

Beading Times: Are you a "set person" or a "focal bead" person?
Jerri Roey: Both. I enjoy making focals because each one is like a little piece of art in itself, but I enjoy making sets, too.

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.
Jerri Roey: Several years ago, when a friend's wife was pregnant, I got the idea to make a pregnant bead, so I made a goddess with a baby inside. I call them "Expectant Goddess Beads." This is definitely my most unique bead and one that people know me for.

Beading Times: What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Jerri Roey: As a newbie, I was afraid of encasing. I'd tried it once and thought I was no good at it. I waited until I'd had more experience on the torch and then I found out I love encasing!


Beading Times: What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Jerri Roey: I know one that was a challenge for me was a horse. A couple of people had asked me to make a horse head, so I gave it a try. I love sculpting, so I was up for a challenge. Not being a horse person, I studied a lot of pictures and my first one looked more like a stuffed animal! I tried another one or two, and finally got one I was happy with. They must have been decent because I sold them all.

Beading Times: The easiest?
Jerri Roey: I think some of the raised flowers are really easy, and they're really popular.

Beading Times: What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
Jerri Roey: Probably my favorite bead to make is a tree bead. I love playing with different backgrounds and then decorating with a tree. I have a woodsy yard, and I've always loved trees. There's something soothing about making tree beads.


Beading Times: Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Jerri Roey: UGH!

Beading Times: How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
Jerri Roey: I started out doing a lot of sculpting. I liked making animals, insects, etc., and over time I've gotten away from that a little bit, but I still enjoy it. I think, as an artist, I'm consistently changing over time. I guess that's just the nature of being human. I like to think that I will keep learning and growing as an artist.

Beading Times: What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Jerri Roey: Probably the interest my daughter has taken in beadmaking! When she was about 7, she wanted to try to make a bead. I went over everything with her, and then stood behind her, ready to grab her hands if I was afraid she was going to hurt herself. She has her own glasses, and had watched me so many times, that after I turned on the torch, she made a little bead and actually looked like she knew what she was doing! She really surprised me.

Another one, was when I was new to beadmaking and only had a few tools, I was using a pick from a nut cracking set. I thought it was perfect for poking beads until the pick caught on fire! Apparently it wasn't really metal!

Beading Times: Have you had any "glass epiphanies" while working - some revelation or understanding? What were they?
Jerri Roey: I can't think of one specific one, but when I was a newbie, I had a lot of them. I would see beads and try to figure out how they were done. Sometimes, on the torch, or, other times, away from the torch, I'd be thinking about a technique and I'd have one of those "Aha!" moments where all of a sudden something clicked.

Beading Times: Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Jerri Roey: Probably my favorite tip is about storage. My husband cut and glued PVC pipes together to make storage for glass rods. I can't tell you what a difference this made for keeping rods sorted!

Beading Times: Have you "invented" any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn't ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
Jerri Roey: I'm always keeping my eyes open for things that will work for tools. My husband builds and flies RC planes. Once, I was making a red hat bead, to go into a necklace that was going to be a gift for a friend. I wanted to indent the underside of the bead, where the head would fit into the hat. My husband had a little motor that had a perfect little round metal top and it worked beautifully for the indention.

Beading Times: Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?
Jerri Roey: My studio is a corner of the room over the garage. It's not fancy, but it works great for me.

Beading Times: What about photographing your beads - what do you use to get your pictures?
Jerri Roey: I have a simple setup with a plastic sterlite box. I put the beads inside the box, and I have a desk lamp outside the box, to soften the glare. The main thing to remember is to put the camera on the tungsten setting to adjust for the lighting since it's not natural daylight.

Beading Times: Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell you beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.
Jerri Roey: I sell some on ebay, but mostly through my website: My ebay id is beadbimbo.

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?
Jerri Roey: Mostly I sell beads to people who make jewelry, but I have done a few art shows. I may try to do a few more in the future. It's kind of fun meeting people and hearing them comment on your work. Since they weren't bead shows, I did have finished jewelry for those shows.

I've also been taking a class every year in wire jewelry, at the William Holland School, and the wire jewelry goes well at shows too, but mostly I prefer to make beads. Right now, I have a pretty busy life, so spending weekends doing shows is not something I want to pursue too much.

Beading Times: Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
Jerri Roey: I would just like to keep learning and growing as and artist.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite bead, a "best bead." Can you share a photograph with us?
Jerri Roey: I think my expectant goddess beads are my favorites. They are definitely my most original!



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