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

by: Dwyn Tomlinson

Beading Times: What got you started making beads?
Jinx Garza: This is a little tale about how one thing leads to another. In 1981, my sister introduced me to Sculpey, the polymer clay you can bake in a toaster oven. It was fun to play with, and I made some beads with it, but I found that I really have no knack for working with clay. I really admire the artists who work in that medium.

Beading Times: Were you interested in making beads before that?
Jinx Garza: Not at all.

Beading Times: Did you take a class?
Jinx Garza: I didnít know what to do with the (polymer) beads I made so my best friend Jill found a bead store (bead store - what a concept!) and we took their three-hour bead stringing class. That class introduced me to gemstone beads, and for the next few months I concentrated on making semi-precious gem earrings and bracelets for family and friends. It was one of those friends who told me about a glass beadmaking class she had taken. Glass beadmaking? I wasnít sure Iíd heard her correctly. "Do you mean you buy glass beads and string them into jewelry?" "No, no," she said, "you actually melt the glass yourself!" I was fascinated. I told Jill about it, and she promptly signed us up for a glass beadmaking class — against my wishes, I might add. I was still having fun with gemstones and wasnít ready to jump into yet another new thing. Luckily Jill didnít listen to me and we took the class.

Beading Times: How long have you been making glass beads?
Jinx Garza: The class Jill signed us up for was a one-day Hot Head class in March, 1995. I bought the kit that very day, and have been making glass beads as a weekend hobby ever since.

Beading Times: What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Jinx Garza: I hadnít realized how accessible this medium is, both in terms of setting up in oneís home, as well as how easy it is to learn.

Beading Times: Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Jinx Garza: Iíve taken several classes with Kate Fowle Meleney and consider her a friend and mentor. I could gush all day about how influential she has been, but suffice it to say, her wisdom and guidance have been invaluable.

Beading Times: What does your husband, family and friends think of your beadmaking?
Jinx Garza: Everyone thinks itís great. I mean, whatís not to love about it? My husband has held and admired each and every single one of my beads Ė thatís over 300 beads per year! He has a really great eye for what works and doesnít work in a given design.

Beading Times: What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
Jinx Garza: Minor torch, Paragon kiln.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
Jinx Garza: Since I make a lot of canes, I love the stability a Pyrex punty provides.

Beading Times: What type of glass do you use?
Jinx Garza: Mostly Effetre, some Lauscha.

Beading Times: Do you make sets?
Jinx Garza: No, but I am so impressed by the work of those artists who express their vision in pieces that go together in different ways.

Beading Times: Which do you prefer to make, a pile of beads or a single perfect bead?
Jinx Garza: Neither. I usually make four to six beads in a session. Iíve never had the desire to crank Ďem out. Each one is a wonderful adventure, whether itís "perfect" or not.

Beading Times: Whose beads inspire you the most?
Jinx Garza: My designs can be inspired by almost anything, from the colors in a television commercial to the atmosphere in a beach town. Oddly enough, I usually donít derive inspiration from other beadmakersí beads; that said, there are many bead artists whose work I admire. Hereís a link to part of my collection:

Beading Times: You have developed a "signature" bead, the "eye bead," that has become recognizably yours. Tell us about it, how you developed it, etc.
Jinx Garza: Many ancient cultures believed that Eye beads were imbued with the power to ward off evil spirits and deflect the Evil Eye, a belief still popular in the Mediterranean today. This perspective on personal power has fascinated me, and Evil Eyes have become one of my trademark beads. I love making my own glass canes that I cut into slices, or murrini chips, to give the irises color and detail.

Beading Times: Have you experimented with making any other "ancient symbols?"
Jennifer Gurganus: I haven't played around with making other ancient symbols, but I do incorporate many hand images into what little jewelry I put together. The Hand of Fatima is also a symbol of good luck.

Beading Times: What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Jinx Garza: I have yet to overcome it! Iíve been taught fuming by five different master beadmakers and have never gotten the hang of it. Which is probably just as well, considering how toxic it is.

Beading Times: What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Jinx Garza: I have found that the more advanced my skills become, the more difficult my beads are to make. Sometimes Iíll come up from a studio session and whine to my husband that beadmaking is so hard. Heís very sympathetic and says if it were easy everyone would do it.

Beading Times: What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
Jinx Garza: One of my favorite techniques is the gravity wave introduced by Jim Smircich at the Corning Gathering. You draw straight lines with stringer on a long bead from hole to hole, then heat until molten hot in sections. Just watch the lava flow!

Beading Times: How have your beads changed since you started or over the years?
Jinx Garza: Other than improving technically, they really havenít changed much.

Beading Times: Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Jinx Garza: I think theyíre adorable. I remember making them as if it were yesterday.

Beading Times: What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Jinx Garza: Discovering that Iíd set my kiln on high then forgot about it! I smelled something burning and ran to find blazing red walls crackling inside the 1500 degree kiln and all my beads melted flat.

Beading Times: Have you had any "glass epiphanies" while working Ė some revelation or understanding? What were they?
Jinx Garza: I was excited when I figured out how to make perfect circles. Not dots, but circles as in rings. Simply wrap a large diameter clear rod with opaque, pull into a cane, then cut slices and place on bead. I use them to let light come through transparent irises.

Beading Times: Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Jinx Garza: Sure! In case you missed it in "Spotlight OnÖThe Inner Child", or Wet Canvas, hereís my Heart Pendant Tutorial:

Beading Times: Have you "invented" any new tools, or recycled something that wouldnít ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
Jinx Garza: I love the feel of my twisted metalsmithís scribe, which I use as a pick.

Beading Times: Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?

Beading Times: What about photographing your beads Ė what do you use to get your pictures?
Jinx Garza: Hereís a link to my tutorial for using the Sony Mavica FD75:

Beading Times: Do you sell your beads?
Jinx Garza: Yes, when I do make beads I sell them on eBay exclusively. I used to sell at shows and galleries but since May 2000 I sell only on eBay.

Beading Times: Do you sell the beads by themselves, or already made up into jewelry?
Jinx Garza: I usually sell single beads, but occasionally I will make up a simple pendant or earrings.

Beading Times: Where do you see yourself going with lampworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
Jinx Garza: I donít have a vision for that. I just make beads when I feel like it. Iíve been on hiatus for six months now, and I donít know if Iíll return to glass tomorrow, next month, or ever. In the past few years, however, my hiatuses have been getting longer and longer. In fact, I havenít made a bead in about six months.
I'm not working glass at all right now.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite bead, a "best bead."
Jinx Garza: Can you share a photograph with us? This bead was featured in the 1000 Glass Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader:

This one was in Beads of Glass by Cindy Jenkins:

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