Thursday, February 8, 2007

About Me

I have had a love affair with beads since I was a little girl growing up in Iowa. During the long, hot summers, I discovered seed beads at the local hobby shop, where they were relegated to a tiny corner of a dusty shop that mostly featured model planes and trains.

My friend Lori and I collected tubes and tubes of these beads, which we strung on elastic cord or dental floss - whatever we could find. We even hounded the visiting telephone repair guys, who kept coils and coils of brightly colored plastic-coated wire in their trucks, and which made the coolest rings and stuff. Needless to say, our creations were pretty crude. I used a toy loom to make hip, Native American style headbands (hey, it was the 70's!) and rings. I quit beading probably when I hit my teen years, when most of my free time was spent doing other crafts, reading, and trying to meet the challenges of the adolescent years.

After many years without beads, I rekindled my fascination with them about 5 years ago after discovering bead shops. Imagine - entire stores filled with nothing but beads and beading supplies! I had died and gone to heaven. But wait - that was only the glimmer - the real spark came when I took a glass beadmaking class a few years ago, and learned how to actually melt glass to make my own beads. Hmm, this was dangerous, fun, AND beautiful! What more could a girl want?

I was plain and simply toast after that - there was no going back. My first beads were really, really awful, but something inside me kept urging me to keep trying it. I read everything I could find on the internet on glass beadmaking, or "lampwork" as I learned it was called. I read Cindy Jenkins' book, Making Glass Beads, and also Corina Tettinger's book "Passing the Flame". The latter I found really, really helpful in explaining various techniques and styles of bead decoration, and I practiced everything that Corina wrote about. If you're thinking of getting into beadmaking, I would highly recommend this book - it's well worth the price (about $75), as every page is like a private lesson with Corina herself.

Now I find time several days a week to make beads, and I'm still playing, reading, and learning. One of the things I find so fascinating, so addictive about this art is that the possibilities are endless - countless colors, techniques, styles, and I want to try them all. I have been lucky to have taken classes from some amazing artists, Kate McKinnon, Tink Martin, Jennifer Geldard, Michael Barley, Andrea Guarino, and Trey Cornette, who have taught me a ton of amazing and endlessly useful things about fine silver, glass, electricity, color, and form. I expect to continue learning and growing as a bead artist for many years to come. So, that's my story. I will keep you informed as it evolves.

Don't think for a second that this is how I hang out. A year or two ago our local garden club decided to host a "formal" garden tea party, and requested that we all come appropriately dressed. Not having actually attended a tea party before, I had to run out to the local thrift shop to get a dress and a hat. I decided to keep it edgy and accessorized my dress with my mud boots and gardening gloves, in addition to my pearls.

This is more typically "me". That's a Jack Crevalle from the Sea of Cortez. Yes, he lived.

1 comment:

Free-I said...

Hello Patty,

Really nice web page, love the juwelery and most the video with the dolphins.Keep the good work up and hope to see you both soon again in Zion Country.
One love, Free-I , Zion Country beach cabins, Jamaica.

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