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C.N.Y. Glass Studio

Christopher Rice
Jacquelyn Rice

Boonville, NY
Adirondack Mountains
315-525-2802
www.cnyglass.com
cnyglass1@yahoo.com

by: Carolyn Jankovskis

Beading Times: What got you started making beads?
Jacquelyn: Christopher became interested in making beads from watching me. I got started making beads as a natural progression in the medium of glass.

Do you work independently, or collaboratively? Do you divide responsibilities, or are you working as two individuals in the same space?
Chris: We work independently. Jacquelyn enjoys bead making and I enjoy marble making. We also work collaboratively with Sculpture Goblets and Paperweights. We divide some responsibilities, Jacquelyn takes care of all the behind the scenes stuff, website, business cards, logo, bookkeeping, packing for shows, table display, ordering soft glass etc. I take care of phone calls, ordering hard glass and gas, teaching and setting up classes, shop chores etc. Individually we take pictures of our own work, Ebay, Emails, etc.

 

And how long have you been making beads now?
Jacquelyn: Christopher has been lampworking for over 6 years and bead making about 2 years. I have been lampworking 4 years and bead making 3 years.

Were you interested in making beads before that?
Christopher: It took me about a year after Jacquelyn had been making beads to pick up a mandrel. My main focus was marbles and blown work. Jacquelyn never even knew there was such a thing.

Did you have an artistic or craft history before that? How has that translated into the beadmaking, if at all?
Christopher: It has been a completely new experience for me. For years I was unable to unleash my creativity. As a child I was fascinated with a visit to Corning. Jacquelyn attended MWPI Pratt Art after high school. Painting and drawing was her specialty. She says that hand eye coordination, color theory and over all application of painting transfers to lampworking.

Please share with us some of the details of the differences or similarities in your work.
Jacquelyn: Christopher is much more technical almost mathematical. He tends to works from the inside out, for example implosions.
Christopher: Jacquelyn is more sculptural and abstract. She tends to work outside in.

 

Did you take a class to get started? Or since then? Did one of you get the other started, or did you get into lampworking independently? How did you come to be working together?
Jacquelyn: Christopher attended a ten-day class in MA in 2000. It was all down hill from there, with in weeks he had his own lampworking studio set up. Within 6 months he was lampworking full time. Christopher has attended several classes with world-renowned artists such as Robert Mickelson, Milon Townsend and Eric Gold Schmidt.  Christopher began teaching me lampworking in 2001. I originally came to the studio to paint a sign for the front of the building, saying Glass Studio. I’m not sure if it was the flame of the torch or the flame between our hearts that kept me there. About a year or so later I purchased my first set of mandrels. Although I couldn’t figure out why the beads wouldn’t come off the mandrel? Bead release came a week later. I consider myself a self-taught bead maker.

What has surprised you most about working with glass?
Christopher: Solid to liquid, consistency, and you can create almost everything.
Jacquelyn: I never thought that it would be as durable or strong as it actually is.

Have you had anyone that you consider to be a mentor? Tell me about them.
Christopher: Robert Mickelson and Milon Townsend are my mentors. I have always been impressed with both of their attention to detail and pristine work.
Jacquelyn: It would have to be Chris, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. He keeps me motivated and challenged in glass. Christopher's respect and praise of my work is truly my greatest inspiration.

Whose beads inspire you the most?
Christopher: Jacquelyn Rice
Jacquelyn: Sharon Peters

Do you sell your beads and did you intend to sell them when you first started? What got you started selling them?
Christopher: Yes, we were already making a living off of glass in other forms: marbles, jars, perfume bottles, rings, pendants, etc.
Jacquelyn: Yes, same as Christopher’s answer.

What do your family and friends think of your beadmaking?
Christopher: They think we are nuts. But they love Christmas time! They are very supportive.

What sort of set up do you have for making beads? (Type of torch, gas, kiln, etc.)
Christopher: Torch: Delta Elite, Gas: Propane/Oxygen, Kilns: Smaller one is 14x10, Large one a Paragon 24x36.
Jacquelyn: Torch: Bethlehem PM2D, Gas and Kilns are the same as Christopher.

What type of glass do you use?
Christopher: I use hard glass, pyrex.
Jacquelyn: I use both soft and hard glass.

 

Do you have a favorite product, i.e. bead release, glass, etc.
Christopher: As for glass, we love it all! We can get a little particular by choosing symax clear rod, to avoid imperfections in the glass. We try and use local distributors like Tecnolux in NYC and Wale Apparatus in PA for most ordering.

Do you have a favorite technique?
Christopher: My favorite technique is implosions, and I have a recent interest in making murrine.
Jacquelyn: My favorites are surface work and sculpture.

Are you a “set person” or a “focal bead” person?
Jacquelyn: Christopher is the set and focal person. I on the other hand hate the assembly line feel of making sets.

Have you developed a “signature” bead, a unique type of bead that is recognizably yours. Tell us about it, how you developed it, etc.
Christopher: My signature pieces are the implosion style pendants with pansies and butterflies as well as pinwheel focal and sets. Most of my inspiration came from my marble making techniques transferred into beads. As for Jacquelyn, it’s the Critters particularly the Frog! Each critter has it’s own personality and it’s all in the eyes!

 

What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Christopher: Finding the happy medium between production and art, business and play. We are the artists, employees, bookkeepers, promoters, web designers, and photographers, we do everything ourselves. So it’s sometimes difficult to keep up the creativity and play.

What is the hardest kind of bead to make for you?
Christopher: Sculptural Beads, it’s hard for me to just let go.
Jacquelyn: Completely even bi-cones with same size puckered ends.

 

The easiest?
Christopher: Round.
Jacquelyn: Round.

What is your favorite kind of bead or technique?
Christopher: Pinwheel.
Jacquelyn: Sculpture.

Do you still have the first beads you made? What do you think of them now?
Christopher: Nope. Jacquelyn still has her first and it is HORRIBLE a blue blob that was supposed to be a frog, still stuck on the mandrel, too.

How have your beads changed? Since you started or over the years?
Christopher: They have changed a lot. From wonky beads to bad colors to really nice even beads with great colors. Jackie’s work is really amazing, very abstract, very artistic.
Jacquelyn: Over the years my beads have changed in many ways, there are always new colors and tools coming out to try, and its obvious they got better. I’ve always had a sort of double sided approach, either the cartoon critters or abstract of nature. I guess it depends on my mood or I could blame it on the stars, I’m a Gemini.

What was your scariest beadmaking experience?
Christopher: Our first show.
Jacquelyn: In the beginning the torch scared me to death!

Have you had any “glass epiphanies” while working – some revelation or understanding? What were they?
Christopher: There are epiphanies every day, that’s what we love about glass. Everyday is a learning experience, there are so many different ways to work with glass.
Jacquelyn: I find the big revelations came in when I work with tubing. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s almost like your mind, eyes, hands, arms, glass, heat of the flame, everything falls into place all at once when you get it.

 

Do you have a technique or method or tip to share?
Christopher: Pushing a tungsten rod into molten glass then adding a dot of clear over it creates air traps!
Jacquelyn: From the beginning my quote is: “Glass cracks Fire burns”

Have you “invented” any new tools, or recycled something that wouldn’t ordinarily be thought of as a tool for lampworking?
Christopher: We use everything but the kitchen sink. Butter knife, seriated knife, spoons, fork, window screens, hole puncher, 2x4 for glass cooling rest, coffee cans filled with rice to hold mandrels, tweezers etc.

Could you share with us some pictures of your studio set up? Is your workspace shared, or do you have your own workspace?
Christopher: We just recently purchased our first home. It included a 20x30 pole barn that we have turned into our studio/gallery. This past summer we have refinished the exterior, insulated, wood stove and chimney, drywall, ventilation etc. It still needs a bit of fine-tuning but its well on its way. We have a studio set up for 6 stations.

 

How has working with someone changed the way you work?
Jacquelyn: We work more, and challenge each other.

How much time do you spend making beads, in, say, hours per week? Is it enough?
Christopher: Work is 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Torch time is about 8-3 every day and sometimes 6-9 at night too. So 7 to 10 hours on the torch every day, would be 50+hours per week. We consider torch time our fun time! It’s all the other aspects of being a small business that feels like work!

Is this a job, or a passion? How much of making beads/playing with hot glass is about just making them, vs making a living?
Jacquelyn: This is our biggest obstacle. Christopher is making a living and must be reminded to play. I am the opposite, and need to be reminded that I’m making a living.

What about photographing your beads – what do you use to get your pictures?
Christopher: We have built a photo set up using pvc tubing and sheets, to create gradient backdrops, and use professional tungsten lighting system. A Sony digital camera 3.3 mega pixel, in macro mode for small pieces.
Jacquelyn: In the beginning it was a cardboard box with a parchment paper interior and a tungsten light bulb defused with more parchment paper.

Do you have a website or auction site that you regularly sell you beads on? If so, what is the url/id info, etc.
Our website www.cnyglass.com
Ebay seller name: cnyglass2 or here is the link:
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfrppZ50QQfsooZ1QQfsopZ1QQrdZ0QQsassZcnyglass2
Beads and Marbles: http://www.glasswurx.com/
Marbles: http://www.marblebert.com/

 

Do you sell at shows or in stores or other venues? Do you sell the beads by themselves, or already made up into jewelry?
Christopher: We sell everywhere and everything glass! Beads come as singles, sets, focal, jewelry! As well as Goblets, Sculpture, Marbles etc. Shows we attend span across the United States, primarily on the East Coast. From the Urban Glass Bead Expo NYC to The Best Bead Show Boston/Tucson. You can check our events page on our website for up to date shows, classes etc. www.cnyglass.com
Jacquelyn: We also deal with many galleries and shops across the United States from Nellie Bly in Jerome, AZ to Arts A Fire In Alexandria, VA. And of course, our new Gallery in Boonville, NY!

Where do you see yourself going with lampworking/glassworking in the future? Or, where do you see it taking you?
Christopher: Teaching and sharing our knowledge with others. We are also really excited about our new gallery and being able to show our work to the local public.
Jacquelyn: To the moon and back again!

 

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