Archived Featured Bead Artists
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by Carolyn Jankovskis

Nancy Wadelton  

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads? 
Nancy Wadelton: I have been making beads since January of 2000.

What got you started making beads?
I have worked in fused glass for over 10 years.  Kiln work led me to lampworking where I used the torch to create inclusions to use in my fused glass pieces.  From there I progressed to making beads and the “addiction” is now history.

Were you interested in making beads before that? 

Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all? 
I have done water color painting and this has helped me with the choice of colors for a bead and also aids in composition.  I enjoy photography and I am mechanically inclined.

Did you take a class? 
I am totally self taught, although I read as much as I can about glass working in books and on the internet.

What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Glass is a magic medium…it is definitely not a WYSIWYG art form.  Interactions between the glass and techniques used often result in surprises upon opening the kiln after the annealing cycle is complete.  

Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them. 
I haven’t really worked closely with any other bead makers.

Whose beads inspire you the most?
There are so many talented beadmakers that it is hard to choose but I admire the work of Loren Stump. I think Cindy Jenkins has written the best books for information on beadmaking.

What else inspires your creativity? 
I look to nature for inspiration.

Do you sell your beads? 
I sell my beads at juried art shows and on the Just Beads auction site as TQTIME.

Did you intend to sell your beads when you first started? What got you started selling them? 
I had no intention of selling my beads when I first started making them, but after a while I had an ever expanding bead collection!  Selling them seemed like the best way to share my beads with collectors and enable me to purchase supplies to make more.

Do you make beads for friends?
I have made custom beads for others.

What do your spouse/children/family/friends think of your beadmaking?
They think it’s an interesting craft.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.) 
I have a minor burner and an oxygen concentrator.  My beads are annealed in a computerized Chili Pepper kiln.

What type of glass do you use?
I use both Moretti and Spectrum System96 Glass.

Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc. 
I always use my “Mandrel Master”, a tool I designed and market on my web site.  I also make my own bead release.

Do you have a favorite technique? 
I enjoy working with glasses that interact in the torch.  Silver foil and wire is also a great addition to a lampworkers bag of tricks.  I enjoy making organic beads with these techniques.  I also like to make animal print/safari beads.

Are you a “set person” or a “focal bead” person?
I make both focal beads and sets.  Most of my sets are formed around a focal, such as a lentil or a hand shaped bead.  I’m not overly enthused about “pressed” beads.

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 like to make scenic beads of the ocean, often with the moon in the night sky.  Living 3 miles from the ocean is an inspiration in itself.  I made lampwork bicone beads for my kitchen cabinets.

What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you? 
I find it somewhat boring to stay disciplined enough to make dots that all line up.  

The easiest?
I enjoy making my scenic beads, animal prints and also sculptural fish.

What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
I like focals where the different glasses interact.  Intense black is a great glass to work with for interesting results.

Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now? 
I have a few of the first beads I made…some of them are quite nice while others are technical disasters. Experience is definitely the best teacher!

How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years? 
I have changed from making round beads to various hand formed shapes.

What was your scariest beadmaking experience? 
I’ve never really had a scary moment… unless you consider spending the money on supplies!

Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working - some revelation or understanding? What were they? 
Understand the glass you are working with and expand your knowledge of its’ capabilities… reading the heat in a bead is important.

Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?. 
I remove my beads from the mandrel with a plastic tipped tool grabbing the bead and twisting gently while holding the mandrel with a vise grip.   Even the toughest bead can be removed this way… it’s just too hard to grab and twist most beads with your fingers.

Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking? 
I have invented a mandrel support tool the “Mandrel Master’.  It helps to relieve hand stress and is infinitely adjustable to match the angle of your flame.  Flame annealing and making multiple beads is a snap with this tool.  It helps to keep your bead spinning and correctly positioned in the flame while you reach for tools or glass.

Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?
The only one I have at this time shows the “Mandrel Master.”

How much time do you spend making beads, in, say, hours per week? Is it enough?
I try to spend about 10 hours or so a week making beads.  I also work in fused glass so I share my time between the two.  

What about photographing your beads - what do you use to get your pictures? 
I have a photo tent and color balanced lights and use a tripod to steady my camera, a trusty Kodak.  I am in the process of purchasing a digital SLR as I have worked in photography in the past.  It will come in handy for more than bead photography!

Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell your beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.
I sell my beads on Just Beads, a great user-friendly auction site under the seller name TQTIME.

My web site is

How did you get the name “TQTIME” beads? 
I am a fan of Jimmy Buffet and he has a song “Living and Dying in Three Quarter Time” that describes his laid back lifestyle. TQTIME is derived from this.

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 sell most of my beads as focal beads or sets.  I do make some of them in to jewelry, fan pulls and cabinet hardware etc. that I sell at art shows and in galleries.

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? 
Bead making and fused glass is a passion, always fun, never a job.  The fun begins and the money just seems to follow.

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you? 
I would like to keep learning new techniques and perhaps working with a glory hole and glass painting.

Do you have a favorite bead, a “best bead.” Can you share a photograph with us?
I especially like my scenic ocean  beads


Nancy Wadelton

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

Copyright 2006 Carol Yntema. Photos by and copyright by the interviewee, unless stated otherwise.

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