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Author Topic: AOTM June 07 - Lesley McFarland  (Read 4244 times)
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« on: June 01, 2007, 02:18:57 AM »

This month's featured artist is:

Interview with Lesley Mcfarland for FritHappens

When did you first become interested in beadmaking?

I am a part time beadmaker, employed as financial controller/buyer for a high tech company making things for space craft and satellites. I am also the treasurer for GBUK. I live in Cheltenham in the Cotswolds.
 I first got interested in beads when I went to the Stourbridge beadfair looking for spacer beads to use in my jewellery making.  I confess to having had absolutely no interest in lampwork, and that was because the only beads I had seen were on ebay.They were the imported ones, which I thought were dreadful and in my ignorance I assumed all lampwork was the same.  When I saw the lampwork available at the beadfair I was completely wowed by it all and totally hooked. I  got myself on a course with Kate Drew-Wilkinson by the following Monday, and have not stopped making beads since.

What was it about beadmaking that particularly fascinated you?
The difficulty is what fascinates me.  Because lets face it, its not easy, not anyone can do it and I imagine many give up or never even get started.  Firstly, there is all the equipment you need and you have to get your head round all the fittings on a propane bottle, oxygen concentrators, kilns and the the various COEís of the different glasses. You have to understand and learn all sorts of things that you never really thought would be of any interest to you.
Then there is the glass itself, which totally fascinates me and the variety is endless. There is just so much you can do, I could never get bored with it.

Have you taken any classes, and if so, with whom?
I enjoy classes, itís a chance to see how other more skilled people do it. You also get to meet other beadmakers at all levels, and other people can be so inspiring.  I have taken classes with Kate Drew-Wilkinson, Barbara Mason, Diana East and Loren Stump.  Every one of them showed me and taught me something different.  So I think classes are great, and necessary to progression as a beadmaker.  
The other thing about classes is you get to mix with other beadmakers and itís a great way to learn all sorts of techniques.  I am taking a class with Dora Schubert in August and I am really looking forward to that because her style is so completely unlike mine. Should be fun.

Whose beads have you found to be particularly inspiring, and why?
This is a very hard question because I envy lots of other people the style they have, because I can only do it my own way. So there are  lots of other beadmakers  whose beads I admire for lots of completely different reasons.  I love Dora Schubert's precision, Andrea Guarino and Jen Geldard for their originality, Diana East for her research and interest in different processes and her stunningly beautiful beads, Loren Stump for his sheer understanding of how glass works, Theresa Lailberte for her ability to make a lump of glass live and breathe as a sculpture. They all inspire me and in fact so does every other beadmaker, because someone will set off a train of thought or an idea which I will make in my own way and with my own design.
But any beadmaker will admire a bead which they know took great skill and talent to produce even if its not a bead they would buy for themselves.

Have you got a signature bead, or bead style?
I donít think my style is fully developed yet because it takes time but I am told my beads are ďrecognizableĒ so I am happy to settle for that. I most enjoy making organic beads and anything that involves using metals on glass. I love to try new things and sometimes make quirky type beads. I honestly donít know where it's going and what sort of beads I might be making in a years time.  I do know I have improved, and that sets you free to try out the ideas that take shape in your head.

Do you work with glass in any other way - fused glass/ stained glass
I like to make blown glass vessels although my skills are still limited as this is an art in itself.

Do you make jewellery?
Yes I make jewellery as that was my initial interest, however making beads has taken over and I donít have the time I had before. I am currently on a college course to learn silversmithing, enameling and I am very interested in Silver Clay as a way of making my own silver findings and settings for beads.

What are your plans for the future?
For the future I just want to become a more skilled beadmaker as I have lots of ideas but some are beyond my ability at the moment.  I am enjoying the journey so much and am not sure where it will end but I have developed a love of beads that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I canít visualize a life without beadmaking.

Where can we look to see more of your work?
I have my own website where I sell most of my beads, also I will be at the Stourbridge Bead Fair this year and  I have a table at the Harrow Beadfair. I do use ebay occasionally.   When I feel more competent and confident I will take the time to go round galleries and other outlets but I am happy with what I am doing at the moment.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 05:22:44 PM by mizgeorge » Logged

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