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Author Topic: AOTM July 2007 - Helen Prole  (Read 5270 times)
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Posts: 104

« on: July 01, 2007, 04:06:32 AM »

This month's Featured Artist is:

 My interest in beadmaking was first sparked about 3 years ago now.  Whilst bumbling around the internet searching for something beadily different in the UK, I stumbled across Amanda Glanville's site "Earring Cafe", and fell in love with her funky beads and jewellery.  I'd never even considered being able to make my own beads up until this point, only ever having come across the mass produced stuff before.  It was wonderful to finally meet and chat to Amanda at Stourbridge last year and see her work, along with so many other talented lampworkers.

 I've always loved glass in its many forms, the colours, the way light travels through it or plays on the surface - be it a bead, sculpture, stained glass window, or even a simple vase.  So the opportunity to actually be let loose on a blowtorch and melt the stuff (and myself sometimes...*ouch*), was far too tempting to pass up.  And the fact you get to wear your little creations and share them with others, seems to makes beads even more special.  I have to confess, I'm also a bit of a fan of problem solving, and enjoy the fact every bead presents you with a new and interesting conundrum.  And let's face it, a naked flame and molten glass is definitely more fun (and sparkly) than sudoku!

I've only ever taken one lampworking class, which was a one day beginner's course with Laura Sparling in December 2005 at Manchester Stained Glass.  It was my first ever go on a torch, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself - I even had a go at making a marble using a pair of lentil tongs, much to Laura's amusement.  I had no idea what they were for at the time, I just thought they looked like they'd do the job.  And thanks to them my first little glassy brussel sprout was born, along with a small collection of much loved wonky nobbly beads.  (A picture of which is knocking around FH somewhere.)(  But I am hoping to do more classes in the future, including a glassblowing course later this year, where I get to play with some serious fire! ......I just hope they have decent insurance, me being somewhat accident prone.

 As previously mentioned, Amanda Glanville's site was my initial inspiration to explore the subject of lampworking, I love her use of bright colours and sense of fun.  I then discovered Sarah Downton's website and her beautiful sunset beads.  And that was it - I was hooked and had to find out more!  Since then I've discovered many other wonderful glass artists too, like Diana East, Dora Schubert, Emma Green, and Amy Buchwald to name but a few.

As far as a signature bead goes, if I have one at all, it's probably my butterfly, which was borne out of me making some beads for the "Beads of Courage" project in the US.  A collection was organized by FH's own Anna (Beads-on-Toast) last year, and it was the inspiration for me to create a variety of bugs and critters, which was so much fun I haven't stopped since.  I do enjoy making 'normal' beads too, but my day job as a childrens' book illustrator keeps steering me towards creating daft little anthropomorphic critters with googly eyes and a mandrel up their......erm.....middle. Grin

 I  dabble with a bit of fused glass.  My first introduction to working with glass being a six week fusing course at Manchester Stained Glass, a few months before my foray into lampworking.  It was great fun, and I still 'do baking' now when I have the time and the kiln isn't full of beads.  I am hoping to expand my skills and have a go stained glass soon aswell, as a friend of mine has promised to show me the ropes.  It'll seem odd working with glass and not melting it in some way.  LOL!

I also make jewellery - for myself, friends, family and the occasional shop since I was a teenager, and I now sell items made from my own lampwork beads through my website.  But I'd love to learn more advanced techniques, like silversmithing for example, the list of things I'd like to try is growing almost daily.

At the moment I only sell and show my work thorough my website (, but who knows what the future holds!  It still amazes me that people find my site, and that I've been lucky enough to send my beads all over the world.

 Hmmm...plans for the future?  I would like to devote more time to lampworking, maybe even do it full time eventually.  I'd also like to improve and develop my skills, do some courses and meet more glassy peeps, it's such a joy to be able to share this.  I've only been beading 18 months or so, and still have a heck of a lot to learn, but I'm loving every minute of it!

Cheers me dears - thanks for stopping by!

HP xxx
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 05:23:21 PM by mizgeorge » Logged

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