Archived Featured Bead Artists
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Allison Turner, aka "White Raven"

United States

by: Dwyn Tomlinson

Beading Times: How long have you been making beads?
White Raven: Since August 2002

Beading Times: What got you started making beads?
White Raven: Being a seed bead artist since 1999, I not only was spending a lot of money on lampwork beads from other artists but also seemed to have a hard time finding beads that really talked to me. I had pictures in my mind of what I wanted to create and decided that if I made them myself then I could really make my pieces my own. Once I started making them though, the seed bead work was suddenly put on the back burner. I have to say that Lampworking is the ultimate addiction!

Beading Times: Were you interested in making beads before that?
White Raven: Not really. I read about it back then and thought it was something that was way out of my league. Boy, was I wrong.

Beading Times: Did you take a class?
White Raven: No, but I have had a lot of help from many of my peers on the internet.

Beading Times: Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
White Raven: I can't say that I have a mentor. There aren't many people around here that do this, so most of my learning was through books and over the internet. I could call all of the people on the art forum "Wet Canvas" my mentors. They have been a tremendous help to me!

Beading Times: Whose beads inspire you the most?
White Raven: I have to say Sharon Peters. She is a riot and has such a fun attitude. I love her.

Beading Times: Do you sell your beads?
White Raven: Yes. Mostly on ebay.

Beading Times: Do you make beads for friends?
White Raven: Yes I do. I love to see their faces when I hand them a fun dragon or monster face bead.

Beading Times: What does your family and friends think of your beadmaking?
White Raven: They have all been really supportive. Many of my family and friends have not yet seen me in action (they live in another state) so they haven't grasped the idea of how I get the glass to do what it does. It's all a big mystery to them.

Beading Times: What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
White Raven: I now work with a Bobcat torch. It runs on Oxy and propane. I have an Aim kiln that I use to anneal the beads. I can also Fuse glass in the kiln.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
White Raven: Hmmm, Foster Fire bead release or Anne's are the best!! And I go through Laushca clear like water!

Beading Times: What type of glass do you use?
White Raven: Right now I am using soft glass. Moretti/Effetre and Laushca. I have dabbled with Boro and am saving for a bigger and better set up so I can really play hard!! Boro is something I will use for sculptures in the near future for sure.

Beading Times: Do you have a favorite technique?
White Raven: I love Gold Ruby glass mixed with silver and reduction frits for all kinds of cool color affects. I also love making Gargoyles!

Beading Times: Do you make sets?
White Raven: Yes.

Beading Times: Which do you prefer to make, a pile of beads or a single perfect bead?
White Raven: I prefer to make single little sculptured beads. Little dragons, gargoyles, goddesses, animals, bugs…. But people want the sets, so I make them most the time.

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.
White Raven: I don't know if I really have a signature bead,  I guess maybe my gargoyles. They have a cute little dog like face to them. These were something I wanted to have long before I started making beads. I started off making baby Dragons. They were little cute pot belly things and they just got bigger and bigger. Next thing ya know, I gave them a hunch back and big bug eyes and then I had a Gargoyle.

Beading Times: What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
White Raven: Turning on the torch for the first time. I shook like a mad woman! I took me over a week to get the nerve up.

Beading Times: What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
White Raven: Anything that requires perfect stringer work, like scroll work and little fancy designs. I shake WAY too much.

Beading Times: The easiest?
White Raven: Regular plain round beads are the easiest I guess, but to do them over and over would just drive me insane. Give me a blob of glass to poke at and I am happy.

Beading Times: What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
White Raven: You guessed it. Gargoyles! Anything with a face.

Beading Times: How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
White Raven: Oh wow!! Aside from the fact that I used to burn them to death… I would have to say they are bigger and brighter. I think the word I could use is "Busy"

Beading Times: Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
White Raven: UGH! Yes. It is hanging up over my work area with a bunch of others that I killed. I have to laugh.

Beading Times: What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
White Raven: Making a giant boro spider. It came out great in the end and yes… I shook through the whole thing. Then when I went to pick it up later to show my boyfriend. I almost dropped it because it gave me the creeps!

Beading Times: Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
White Raven: I love to share. I will tell anyone anything I can. Just ask. Right now all I can say is that my very favorite thing to do is put Gold Ruby on top of silver leaf or foil. Dot's, squiggles, what ever. And if you encase them….. BLAM!! The colors just pop! Try it on different base color beads and see the reactions you get. Fun!


Beading Times: Have you "invented" any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn't ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
White Raven: I haven't invented anything but I live for my dental tools.

Beading Times: Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up?
White Raven: Sure. It's in my basement and I call it the Laboratory!

Beading Times: What about photographing your beads - what do you use to get your pictures?
White Raven: I have a digital camera. It's a Sony Mavica FD100. I like taking my pics outside most of the time.

Beading Times: Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell you beads on?
White Raven: I do most of my sales on ebay.*turner/ and my site's addy is…

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