Sunday, June 29, 2008

Look what someone did with my bead!

I was so excited to receive the convo (ETSY term for email) from Robyn of Sidney Austin Designs! She wrote me to tell me that she had made a bracelet using a bead she had bought from my ETSY store. She sent me a photo of the bracelet she made! Oh, my goodness! I was absolutely thrilled! This was the very first time anyone had sent me a photo of what they did with a bead they had purchased from me. I could hardly believe my eyes! What a gorgeous and dramatic bracelet Robyn had made with my Not A Shell Bead! Absolutely stunning! Robyn is obviously a very talented designer. (There is a link ot her ETSY store and to her Flickr page in the sidebar.) Please take a look at her work! It is awesome! I am thrilled with the result of her vision in design. Wow! That bracelet is beautiful!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Today is a Rainy Day

I love rainy days. Being a native of New Mexico, I learned to love the rain at an early age. Rain was rare in those days. We could actually see a storm coming. You could smell the rain coming. You could even watch a storm from a distance. It was absolutely awesome! Even though I lie in the midwest now, where rain is much more frequent, I still love and thrive on a rainy day. I want to embrace the rain. I want to touch it. I want to feel it on my face. I want to hear it as it splashes on the windows. I want to smell it as it hits the ground. I want to watch the tree leaves bounce as the rain pelts down from the sky. In my mind, there is nothing like it. I simply love the rain! Can you see the rain in this photo? I wish you could, then you would understand my feelings! Love it! Love it! Love it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Dog Daze Are Here

I'm not complaining, it was very warm and very humid today. It still is. When it comes to making beads, this hot weather makes it somewhat difficult to do. However, rather than be frustrated, I decided that I would simply look at my dog, Spike. He doesn't care. He's not complaining. He's been like this all day. He's soaking in the warmth. Go with the flow, or, in this case, the heat. Good boy, Spike!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beads Gone Bad

As a glass bead maker, you come to realize that every once in a while you will have a bead that you cannot get off the mandrel. Lately, it seems, that I have many beads gone bad. I have tried to do everything from soaking the beads in plain water to soaking them in water and WD-40. They are now in the last stages of soaking before they become plant pokes. They are soaking in water with a fabric softener sheet. After that, my choices are limited: plant pokes or the release of frustration by cracking the beads with a hammer. I will probably choose plant pokes. Since the photo was taken, one bead has broken because I dropped it on the cement floor in the basement. It came off the mandrel in about 8 different pieces. Yes, I counted them. One bead cracked in half when I plunged it into very warm water. Another one cracked when it started to come off the mandrel. The survivors are just beads gone bad. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I want today to stay!

I'm sitting outside on this wonderful day in Minnesota. I can't say that all days are wonderful days in Minnesota. There are so many bitter cold days, and this is what I tend to remember. I remember more days full of ice, show, and wind than I care to contain in my brain. I remember days of looking across the street and not being able to see my neighbor's house because there was so much snow blowing. In the spring and summer, I remember thunderstorms so strong, that they actually become frightening. I remember the sirens going off to let us know that somehwere within five miles of us, a tornado or funnel cloud has been spotted either by doplar
radar, law enforcement, or a trained weather spotter. I remember going to my hairdresser's shop, looking outside of her window, and seeing a large wall cloud with rotation. Through all this, though, we have been lucky. We have not been involved in a tornado, knock on wood. Nor has our home been damaged by straight line winds. No, thank God, the worst that could happen with weather, hasn't. Today, as these memories come back, and I find myself clinging to this day, I only know I want today to stay. The humidity is low. The breezes are gentle. The clouds are soft and whispy. I am grateful for today, and I want today to stay!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

We're Having a Summer Sale!

I belong to a fantastic street team on ETSY called LEST which stands for LampworkEtc Street Team. Those of us on the team melt glass and have a passion for that process. We also all sell our products on ETSY. We are all Self Representing Artists. What that means is that we make our own beads and stand by their quality. We make each piece of glass individually. We do not mass produce. My SRA number is H99. As a member of LEST, we participate in many ways. This week we are having a start of summer sale. In each cooperating store, we have marked down some or all of our goods by 10 -20%. Take a look at our stores. Here's a mini version of mine. Click on any bead and it will take you there.
Buy Handmade

Visit our LEST homepage at:
We are just starting our July challenge. Come and see all the beads. It's a great sale, too.
Use the search engine on ETSY and plug lest sale into it. You will see many great works of art that are on sale.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Cousin's Bracelet

It's amazing what you learn about your family! I have a cousin named Evie who is a wee little thing. She just turned two years younger than me. I was amazed at that because I thought I was about 6 years older than she. I also learned that her address had changed a bit. Today I learned that if I had sent her belated birthday gift to her at the old address, it would have gone there anyway. As adults, we have reconnected, and I am glad. She is fun to speak with, and I have learned a lot about her. One of the most important things I have learned about her lately is that she has a 5 1/2 inch wrist. Now, that's tiny. The reason I learned this is because I wanted to make her a bracelet for her birthday. Obviously, I needed to know the size of her wrist. It's really small. I made her a woven bracelet with beads that I made. I sure hope she likes it, because if she reads this blog, she will see her bracelet for the first time. I'm mailing it out tomorrow. I am going to call her now and tell her that I posted her bracelet in my blog. Maybe, now, she's learned something about me. I like to put things in my blog.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bernadette Fuentes at the Bead and Button Show

At the Gathering last year in Minneapolis, I had intended to meet Bernadette Fuentes. In all honesty, I don't know how I missed her, but I did. She was an artist who's work I admired and had intended to find her at the Bead Bazaar, but I didn't. Even though I missed Bernadette at the Gathering, I was able to touch base with her on line. She had a bead that I absolutely loved and wanted to buy. It was a turquoise bead with a lizard on the front. In the description, Bernadette had said, that the lizard on the front of the bead reminded her of the lizards she used to see when she was growing up in New Mexico. I immediately emailed her. I told Bernadette that I had grown up in Albuquerque and wondered where she grew up. She told me Albuquerque. As our contacts continued, we discovered that we grew up within blocks of each other. She grew up on one side of the tracks, and I grew up on the other. We went to the same church. It was amazing that we had not known each other.! There is a 9 year difference in age, and that might explain why we did not meet personally. What amazes me is that our families do not seem to know each other at all. Through a few more emails, Bernadette and I found that we have many things in common, including the love of a delicious soup called posole. We both have memories of places that we used to know in Albuquerque. We both remember the wonderful Mexican food that we learned to cook watching our mothers and grandmothers cook. Posole is one of those foods. We both know what it means when a waitress asks you at a restaurant--red or green? In a more modern day, we are both lampworkers. The biggest difference is that she is Bernadette Fuentes, an internationally known artist. I am not. She is a superior lampwork artist, I am not. However, we do think that there might be a familial relationship somewhere, but we don't know where. We do have some facial similarities. I think she looks like my Aunt Sally. She thinks my son looks like her nephew. We would like to find that connection, but I'm not sure we can right now. It might take a little more time than we have right now. Now, fast forward to the Bead and Button Show. I found Bernadette's botth right away. I walked over and looked at her beads. I asked a couple of questions. She looked at me like I looked familiar. I finally said something to the effect of "Did you make these in Albuquerque?" She realized who I was. It was wonderful to meet this elegant woman in person! We visited, but she was very busy, so there wasn't much time. I bought one of her world famous lampworked hands. I LOVE IT! That aside, I found Bernadette to be a kind and loving woman. When my son came to meet me at the Bead and Button Show, she took an interest in him. She took him around to visit some of the glass blowers and taught him, (and me) a few things about glass work that didn't involve beads. I was touched by her kindness to him! He enjoyed her attention. I'm not sure he realized who this outstanding artist was who was showing him around the world of glass, but I did. This kind gesture helped him to understand a little bit more about the work I do when I make glass beads. I told Nick before we left the Bead and Button Show, "She grew up to be Bernadette Fuentes, and I grew up to be your mom. We are both incredibly blessed!" If you look in the picture, I am wearing Bernadette's hand. What I have read about Bernadette is that she had a dream about hands, and then she began to make them. Wow!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Michelle Marie Lusk - Caliente Art Glass

I had seen Michelle's work on Lampworketc. forums in the Gallery section. The first thing I noticed was her signature: If you have boobies, you need beads. I loved her signature, and became a fan of her work immediately. Michelle makes wonderful hollow beads, skulls and hearts. Please check out her website She is an amazing and talented artist! She is also a wild and crazy woman! (In the photo, I am the one who looks wild and crazy.) Her sense of humor attracts you to Michelle. Notice the rubber chicken that accompanies her on her travels. She is ready to laugh and enjoy life and the people she meets along the way. Michelle is also another artist who is very generous in the information she is willing to pass along about the art of glass bead making. Take a look at her beads! Enjoy them! By looking at them you can almost feel the textures. I love her skulls, and I now am the owner of a wonderful skull bead made by Michelle. In a later blog, I hope to show the beads and bought from these wonderful artists at the Bead and Button Show. I only wish that I could have afforded to buy from everyone there. Wow! Keep making those beads, Michelle. I want to own more!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sharon Peters at the Bead and Button Show

I finally arrived at Booth #1219! This is where glass artist, Sharon Peters, was situated at the Bead and Button Show. Sharon is a fabulous bead artist! I have put a link to her website in this blog, so, please feel free to visit her website. As a person, Sharon is fun! Her art reflects that attitude in her life. The characters that she brings to life are whimsical and amusing. Each character, whether it be a butterfly, an alien, a fish, or an animal shows it's unique and distinct personality. Sharon is involved with the Beads of Courage Organization which helps children and families who have devastating illnesses cope through the use of beads. Please check out the Beads of Courage Website for more inspiration and information. Sharon is also involved with the ISGB--the International Society of Glass Bead Makers. On display at the Bead and Button Show was the Out of the Box Traveling Exhibit. I saw two entries by Sharon. My favorite one was called "First Contact." In the box was an alien which looked like a large bug on 6 legs and a small dog making contact, nose to nose. All I could think of was, "Who else but Sharon could have come up with this idea!" It was great! I have wanted a bead made by Sharon for a long time. This time, I took the leap of faith and bought a butterfly from her. You can see that butterfly in the photo. In a later blog, I will show some of the beads that I bought at the Bead and Button Show. I enjoyed the visit with Sharon. When my son arrived to visit for the day, I took him over to meet Sharon. The first thing she said to him was, "Now, don't worry, the trauma from your childhood will disappear!" I just laughed. Whether making beads or bunny ears, Sharon is an amazing woman!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Bead and Button Show

I just returned home from the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What a mind boggling adventure that was! With over 1200 vendors in the show, the challenge became to visit vendors and buy what was on my list. I honestly made a list. The artists who were there were well known. Not only were there lampwork bead artists, but there were also artists who made jewelry, used polymer clay to make beads, artists who blew glass, artists who worked with fiber, and PMC (Precious Metal Clay). These artust were the best of the best. Whenever you turned there were vendors to help you find the supplies you needed. Everyone was at their best. I learned so much about glass in the time we spent at the Bead and Button Show. Even though we were at the Midwest Airlines Center for a day and a half, I know that I missed many opportunities to learn more about all the crafts and to make more wonderful friends in the world of art. As I wandered down the rows and rows of vendors, I was truly overwhelmed. The basic supplies that I needed were available, and there were many wonderful and unexpected finds, too. For a long time, I have been trying to incorporate fiber into my glass work. A stop at one booth helped me with the information and tutorial I needed. As I wandered through the maze of artists and asked questions of these wonderful people, through their kindness an willingness to share their knowledge with me, I was given the information I needed to improve my skills. Tomorrow when I turn on the torch, I will be able to apply the lessons I learned at the Bead and Button Show to my bead making. The weather was terrible. There were tornado warnings. At one point in the show an announcement was made that no one would be allowed out of the building because of a tornado warning, so everyone had to just stay and shop. The attendees at the time were delighted with that announcement. We made on final stop there on Sunday morning. We set a departure time for ourselves and only overstayed that time by 15 minutes. We were proud of that because it was hard to leave this mecca of great art and supplies. Next year, I hope to be able to be at the show for one extra day. Even though the trip was tiring, the journey was well worth the price we paid.