Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today's Blog Theme -- Beads

Today's Theme -- Beads (and one paperweight).
I'm all for an eye-candy day!

The first bead I actually made wasn't a bead at all, but a paperweight. I wasn't sure I could get past the FIRE component of making lampwork glass beads, but I was still intrigued. Up in the mountains of Virginia, I was faced with an enormous furnace, a man who had worked with Josh Simpson way back in the day, and threw caution to the wind and got to work. This is the result. And I was hooked on glass.

I was also hooked on the new-to-me craze of torch-fired enamel and took two classes with Barbara Lewis.  Once again, I had to get rid of my fear of flame, but promptly burned myself when like an idiot I thought a bead that had fallen off a hot mandrel was no longer hot. Do not do that. Nope. 

I highly recommend taking classes twice, if you can, especially if you didn't quite get a part, or rushed, or caught something on fire (I've done all three). The second class with Barbara, I learned even more techniques, felt much more calm, and didn't burn things up. She's an awesome teacher.

I finally (sort of) got rid of my fear of fire and turned it instead into a fear of propane. So essentially, I was still afraid of fire. But I had a studio built in my backyard anyway and started teaching myself lampwork. My favorite glass is CIM, although Bullseye has my favorite colors. Bullseye just happens to be a bit shocky, which means, basically, you never know when a piece of glass will shoot off the rod and onto you. Since I don't recommend taking Xanax before torching and I'm a bit twitchy, I'll go through my CIM before trying Bullseye again.

These are some of my simple spacer beads that came out well enough I felt I could gift them to my friend Cindy. 

No matter how many beads I make, I'll always love Other People's Beads the best. This is a combination of my lampwork and enamel and Barbara Bechtel's faceted polymer clay. Zack is interested in both glass and polymer clay, but he's not over the "GEEZ, the FIRE!" part, so I'm talking to a couple of friends about how to work the clay and come out with original beads.

I love vintage and vintage-inspired beads, such as these from AD/Adornments.  I gave these away during one of my contests, so if you like free beads or books, visit me often!

I love unusual beads, and these are probably some of the most adorable beads I've ever owned, given to me by a friend overseas. They have me completely flummoxed as to how to use them, so right now, they're sitting on a shelf with other neat things.

I haven't been able to make anything for over a year, so I'm putting together beads and bead sets to sell. I'll be sure to announce here and on Facebook when the store is open. It's been difficult to go through these mountains of beads, choosing which to keep and which to let go, but it makes me feel good to know someone else will make something stunning with them. 

Beads have been good to me. They gave me a very successful business for nearly ten years. Illness got in the way but I sincerely hope it won't stay that way, which is why I closed my shop, stopped doing shows, slowly am sorting thousands of beads, start making things when I can, and plan on totally rebranding my jewelry. 

From start to this first finish, this is who I was for ten years. Wondering what the next ten will bring?

(Please feel free to share this post!)


  1. I don't care what you say, I think your beads are absolutely gorgeous! I'll have to see if I have the money to buy myself some of those amazing purple beads if you decide to sell some :D I do understand the struggles though; hopefully you'll be able to get back to your bead making one day!

  2. Hi Lori, Thanx for the eye candy. I enjoy seeing your work. I too am smitten with glass. I have been fusing pendants lately. I took a lampwork class a couple of years ago and i am signed up for my second one now. Hopefully this time I will keep going.The tiny shoes are adorable.

  3. Yay! I recognise my sweet wee shoes here :-) Bought on the Isle of Skye x

  4. I'm so glad you're feeling well enough to think about reopening your store. The world needs your creations! I absolutely love love love those enamelled beads, I've been wanting to have a try at them myself. Good luck with the rebranding.

  5. Always great to see pictures of your stash. I really need to make something too. At least there's a friend's bday coming up and she's a jewelry girl :)

  6. You are amazingly creative, Lori. I followed your Bead Soup Blog Hops with great joy. I have had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia for years; I'm 71. So, I well understand how illness throws crazy boomerang symptoms (that keep coming back!) in our paths. I've been trying to open an Etsy store for so long, it becomes embarrassing saying "shop opening in [approx. time here]," and then I reach that time and change it again. Here in NY lots of folks have Lyme; a good friend/neighbor suffers from it. I guess I'm trying to say, I wish you well and hope for your recovery. Best wishes with your "rebranding!" I'll keep track on your Facebook page and this blog for the chance to see some great bead offerings. Peace, Judith

  7. Lovely beads Lori, so glad you are making headway now and things are looking up. I couldn't work with flame, torches are not for me, much as I like flame worked beads and enamels are wonderful but I do love my Polymer and it has ever expanding horizons so keeps me very busy.

  8. Love your enameled beads, I've taken online classes from Barbara Lewis and she is terrific. I'm not scared of the torch but my enameling needs more practice for sure. I hope one day soon you will be able to get back to bead work if that is what you like best.
    Hoping you will continue to feel better. Dolores

  9. I love the wood beads, tiny baby shoes. They are very unique and I would use them maybe for a baby shower jewelry gift. very cute


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