Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Artist Interview - Marcy Lamberson

From time to time, I like to take the time to get to know other artists working in glass. And it's even more special to introduce you to a fellow member of the lampwork bead team I belong to - The Fire Divas.

Meet Marcy Lamberson of Studio Marcy. She is a super talented glass sculptor with a rockin' sense of humor. If you need a bead to cheer you up....look no further than Marcy's shop! Her work always makes me smile!

What attracted you to glass:
I painted watercolors and loved layering transparent colors on top of others with the light coming through them. I thought glass would be able to do the same thing. And hey, it does!

Many glass artists have training in other art mediums. Do you? If yes, please explain.
In addition to the watercolors, used to dye fibers and weave baskets. I love anything with color. It's like this uber-magnet that pulls me in.

Describe the first bead you made that you were really proud of? Are you still proud of it now?
I think my first bead that I was really proud of was my little vampire that I made for the FlameTree Glass Halloween Contest years ago. I still have him and yes, I still like him a lot. (photo to follow)
Marcy won a bobcat torch for this entry in the Flametree contest...
...and she won a Lynx torch for this entry!

What inspires you?

Almost everything around me. I look at a lot of life as beads. Making whimsical sculptural ones, I find that life has a bigger sense of humor than I originally thought.

Do you have a plan when you sit down to torch? Do you sketch beads or have photos around for reference? Yes and No. I have my list of beads that I'm making for the day, which I work from. I'll have sketches, photos or whatever is needed for those. But some of my most fun times are when I goof off and just start a bead or get an idea in my head without a reference, and take it from there.

Photography seems to be a key element for any glass artist. What type of camera / lightbox set up do you use? I use natural light on a white photo paper for a background. (I know, I sound so old school). And my camera is a simple little pink Sony Cyper-shot 12.1 pixels.

If the issue of finances (i.e. will it sell?) were of no consequence, what would you spend your time making? I would be making experiments all the time. I live for them. A lot of what goes through my mind is, "wonder if I can do such and such" or "what would happen if I did this to my bead?" I enjoy stretching my comfort zone and seeing what I can accomplish. And I've learned that you win some and you lose some.

What kind of jewelry do you wear? Everyday vs. out on the town?
I feel so busted. IF I remember, I wear earrings- usually handmade ones (metals- like sterling or copper) from Etsy artists around the house and for running around. If I'm going somewhere where I need to represent myself as an artist, then it's different. I wear my sculptural work usually on a changeable pendant and layered with other beads in a necklace form and changeable bead earrings (by Cyndie Smith) that won't take away from it being the focal point. Sometimes I'll wear one of my sculptural rings as well.

What is the one skill you wish came easier to you?
Left brained financial matters. I'm a train wreck with that kind of stuff, if I'm not careful.

What do you love about marketing your business? What’s the hardest part of marketing it?
I love it when someone connects with me over my art. They've found me on the internet and we form a bond. I know that they'll have a sense of humor and look at life a little crookedly like myself.

The hardest part is asking for what I want. I'd really love to teach ...everywhere. I know I'm a good teacher and I've seen the results from my classes. But I have such a hard time approaching places and asking for them to book me. I know what I teach gives glass students a lot more in their arsenal-- both through sculpture as well as making more traditionally shaped beads. Heat control, creativity, surface decoration and other techniques can be used anywhere.

Be sure to look for Marcy's incredible sculptures in her Etsy store. And her blog is one of my favorites!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting the Most from a Lampwork Class

In so many ways, I'm a professional student. I'm always taking some kind of class from computer graphics to metal working and always - a glass class. And while I do take a more basic class now and then - I love supporting our local studios and teachers, mostly I take classes from the "big names" in glass.

Someone asked me once when I knew I was a glass artist. It was in my first glass class at Bead & Button '08. I was in a Doug Remschnieder class on making ornaments and it was my first ever class in Boro (hard glass). I watched his demo and then it was "student time" and I sat down at my torch. I happened to be sitting next to Frank Scott, another talented glass teacher (and I was already teaching beginning lampwork). We both fired up and got to work, wanting to make the most of our torch time.

I was pretty well into my piece when I realized that Frank and I were the only ones torching...everyone else was watching us. I was getting a little self conscious when a lady next to me said, "You just jump right in there, don't you?"

I told her, "That's the only way to make have to start."

It was right then that I realized whatever fears, doubts and reservations I ever had where completely gone.

And I still take classes. But in the beginning, I would take copious notes of every little detail. I would return home or to my hotel and type them up. (My ability to read "Holly-hand" decreases within days of my writing it down!) And I would sit at the torch and try to capture every freaking detail. And more often than not, I would HATE, HATE, HATE the beads I made. I found them embarrassing and dreadful. Nothing I would show to anyone!

But in the past year, there has been a shift in my thinking. I still take those copious notes and frequently type them up. But now, in class, I return to my torch and actually take a moment to gather my thoughts and think. I analyze what it is I want to learn from the demo I just saw. What's different? What would incorporate nicely into my own work?

I'm certain many take classes from famous beadmakers to learn to make beads just like that particular artist. But I think, if you do that, in the end, you are selling yourself short (not to mention copying).

So when I do light up, I'm not struggling to keep up, or forgetting a step because there is something I really want to master. I don't stress over surface decoration unless that is the whole point of that particular bead. And the funny thing is, I suddenly like my class beads a whole lot more!

Take for example, my most recent class with Sarah Hornik. She was teaching us her "Barbie Bling Bead." (Follow that link for a photo and a link to the tutorial she sells.)

And I decided I really wanted to focus on getting the glass to twist. Once I got that to happen, I was happy with my bead and stopped futzing with it. And I love it.

I named my bead "Barbie," but not for the reason you may think. I often name my beads after women and that's the BFF's name. She makes me giggle with glee and so does this bead!

So, the next time you find yourself in a class with dozens of details flying at you, stop. Think about what you most want to learn and don't aim to make the same bead everyone else is making.

Ta Daaah!

See, I disappeared and now, Ta Dah! I'm back! So much for my efforts of blogging here every day!

I had to deal with the "day job" a bit. I had new image plates going in to my two engravers (We require deeper etched rubber stamps for the restaurant chain client.) and it was obvious to me that it was just time to run some new images for the company.

And while I inherited enough artwork to keep the company in new images for a decade, there always seems to be something I need to draw. Plus it takes TIME to clean the art files for digital layout for the engraver.

So, I will get back to my beady chat but I thought I would show you the one image I drew last week for the stamp line that I'm most proud of....

This is my godson sleeping when he was about a year old. (He's about to be 19 in a month!) He had the longest eyelashes as a baby...they were dreamy! What I loved about drawing this image was that he was sleeping on his side and it wasn't until after I finished my first draft that I realized his whole face was skewed (drooping) left. So, I had to redraw the left side of his face to make it more even. Then, when I went to size the image - most of our stamp line is sized to fit on a cookie - I realized that my boy has such a wide face...he didn't fit on a cookie! So I had to cut it apart and paste it back together with the eyes much closer.

So, if you are into stamping on cookies, Sweet Stampen will have a whole new line of baby faces and Jack 0 lanterns ready to go in another week.

And I promise, I will be back tomorrow at with a beady post tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making My Day

I love to laugh and it's no big secret - I love beads. So naturally, I love beads that make me smile.

One of my favorite lampwork artists is Lauren May Mazursky of Maybeads. She is a fellow Fire Diva. We both participated on a "Pay It Forward" game on facebook. She won a bead of mine. She wrote me to tell me it arrived and that she liked it. And then, much to my surprise, I found a package from Lauren in my mailbox. It contained one of her signature turtles (in my favorite colors) and a doggie made to look like my beloved Mabel!

I was so impressed seeing Lauren's work in person. Holding her turtle, I realized that each one begins with a perfect bead and then she adds so much detailing... They are each little works of art! And my Mabel bead... just warms my heart!
I normally keep a little bead stand on my desk to keep a few beads to look at in the office. Lauren's turtle quickly claimed the the bead stand (made by wood turner and lampwork hubby, Ed Rose). And the Mabel bead curled up under my monitor.

The other day, reorganizing my office, I decided to add the Mabel bead to the wooden stand for safety. Not only did they look super cute, piggy backing each other... the two beads fit perfectly together. They look so cute this way, I giggle every time I see them.

May Beads on Etsy
May Beads Blog
Ed Rose Lampwork Stands

My bead group, the CA Flame Surfers meets this weekend at Glass Obsessions in Yorba Linda but I'll be back here at on Monday. Hope you have something to giggle about this weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Got Nothing... talk about. Every blog post I had planned for today went strangely awry.

But I do have some new goodies in the olde Etsy to share.

Cute flame thrower kitty...

And full of love big hole bead set.

Hopefully, you'll check in tomorrow on for a more substantial post!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Confessions of a Crystal Snob / Contest

I love working with Swarovski crystals... I think they are the perfect compliment to glass. Why Swarovski? Because I'm a crystal snob!

I can spot a Swarovski vs. Czech vs. other brands from table height. I don't even have to pick them up to know. They look more expensive to my eye. (Should I also confess that when they have a t.v. fashion segment "Which one is real? Which is the knockoff?" ...I can spot the knockoff every time. Odd for someone who is not a fashionista!) And I only use Swarovski in my beginning wire wrap classes... I like my students to know what the best looks like. (I also show them the difference between artisan lampwork and commercial glass beads.)

But while my crystal designs are oh so simple...

Usually as accents in my jewelry...

Or sometimes inside a hollow bead with some cubic zirconia...

or sometimes to play up a color in a bead, I secretly long to be one of those jewelry artists that can make crystals SING. The ones who can put shapes and sizes together and the piece just flows... But I am I won't be entering the $1,000 grand prize Swarovski Crystal Elements and Fire Mountain Gems is hosting. The deadline is September 21st. I'm sure the entries will be stunning....SIGH! I can't wait to see...

See you tomorrow here on

From Ugly Duckling to Swan

Yesterday, I told you with my obsession that led to making many ugly beads this summer. And through persistence (hard-headedness?), I finally got the kinks worked out. Here's my bead.

And here is what I wanted it for.

Yep, I wanted it for my curly hair! A number of Etsy sellers actually sell their big hole beads as dreadlock beads. And since my hair gets caught in EVERYTHING, I thought it would be fun to have one of my beads for my hair. Plus, I've written at length about my idea of jewelry to wear is to just threading a bead on something andGO!

I can wear it all day. It's so cool and I get lots of commnets. And that mottled blue? It shows up so nicely in my auburn hair.

I'll be back here on with my latest listings and more beady news. See you then.

Monday, September 14, 2009

When You Keep Making the Same Damn Ugly Bead

Does anyone else ever strike upon an idea and the results are UGLY? So you try it again and it's even uglier? And yet, everything in you tells you that there "should" be a way to make it...not so ugly???

I've been making the same damn ugly bead for most of the summer... every few weeks at the torch. I fell in love with light turquoise... a known reactive glass. One of my favorite ways to encase is actually with #1 clear frit, which can create a mottled water-color background. I love LOVE the way just a little clear frit looked over the light turquoise. But everything I did to the bead after that... looked like crap!

After making several of these (Why did I keep them? They are so ugly!), I finally realized that the turquoise was seeping through the frit, (uh - DUH! That WAS the point!) and I would need to put down a "benign" glass that would not react.

I should interject... the bead I was making was for me. I wanted a big holed bead in a barrel shape. I put down white before using the rubino and voila... I have my bead.

So keep making ugly beads... it's the only way to learn to make pretty ones!

What's this bead for??? I'll show you tomorrow here on

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Custom Work - A Matter of Choice

Sorry for the posting delay. My computer locked me out after a software download and I was offline over nine hours!

The other day, a jewelry designer asked me to remake a witch's hat like the one I had used in this piece on Etsy.

And so I made three knowing full well she only wanted one.

Why make three??? Because I would like a choice and I assume my customer would like one too. Still when I told the BFF about needing to work on a custom order, she warned me, "Make three and no more!" (See previous post!)

So I did. And it really was a good number. And good practice as I hate making the same bead! But it also gave me a little lesson in pricing.

My buddy Bindy Lambell always determines price on a custom order after making three. And I learned why. My first hat, I was out of practice. I hadn't turned on the torch in 10 days thanks to our fires and I had not made a hat in over a year.

Bead #2... I wanted it to look well worn with a patch...and the brim broke after getting to cold while I was futzing with the ribbon. So that had to be patched and melted.

Bead #3 is another version of #1.

The basic shape and process went like this. Pull ridged flat stringer for the ribbon; cased stringer for the flower. I had stringer for the centers. Make a perfect cone, double checking for height. "Mess up" the base of the cone with wide, wiggly wraps that will melt in as you work on the rest of the bead. This gives a "head mold" to the bead, making it look like it was worn. Heat a generous gather and decide where the floppy part of the hat goes and heat that spot on the bead. Touch down with the gather and twist in and on and around, thinning the glass to a point and burning off. Super heat both sides of the bead where this attaches to the cone. Use commercial stringer for the brim. I used about seven wraps. Heat your flat stringer and wrap around the hat just above the brim and secure in spots with a razor. Add flowers, razor in details and add the center. If adding a patch, use flat stringer and decorate a bit.

I timed myself using the digital timer on my kiln. Bead #1 = 25 minutes. Bead #2 = 20 minutes (even with breakage and that patch!). Bead #3 = 17 minutes.

Bindy would average this out and determine that it takes me 21 minutes to make this bead and use that number to determine price.

My customer took the 1st bead and the other two are up for grabs. #2 on Etsy and #3 on the Folly site.

See you back here on Monday at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bead Maker as Jewelry Designer

I find being a jewelry designer working with my own beads somewhat overwhelming...does anyone else??? Think about it... when you buy a set of quality, artisan-made lampworked beads and sit down to design something fabulous with them, you are limited to that set of beads plus whatever you pull from your stash (or run to the store to buy!).

But when you make the beads yourself and you need one more...or a bigger size... or something with more texture...or stripes...or dots... you just go make it! Now to a jewelry designer, this might sound like heaven - but to a bead maker, it probably sounds like spending a whole lot of time chasing your tail.

You know you'll never use all those beads...but, better make it just in case. Take my last custom jewelry order. Would you believe I made 37 (!!!) unnecessary beads to make that bracelet and earrings? And in the end, I had to fight the urge to make a few more!

Now, the first part of that 37 was my fault. I made a set once the colors had been decided and I liked them. I knew I could make a bracelet I would love. But I'm NOT the customer! And I really couldn't see a big clunky bracelet like I like on the arm of a 16 - year - old.

So I worked smaller. Once I started working smaller, I realized I would need A LOT more beads than I usually need for a bracelet. And then I decided to see how interesting I could make tiny beads....something I NEVER do. Scale is as important to any artist as any other element and my scale is BIG! But I really liked the challenge of doing this and used many of the tiny and medium sized beads in the final project.

So what do you do with all 37 left -over beads? Why, you break 'em up into sets and see if they strike the fancy of any other jewelry designers out there!

See you back here tomorrow with another take on custom work.

Comments [Original comments edited to remove SPAM]
Maybeads said...
I don't make a lot of jewelry, but I can totally see where you're coming from! I make about 6 beads to finally get a good earring pair. I remember you posting pictures of the finished bracelet and it turned out wonderfully - now you need to find something to do with all those pretty leftover beads!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Expert Findings Finder Needed

Do you sign up for emails from every bead magazine in existence??? I do! It's a great way to keep track of trends and contests and happenings in the bead world.

One of my newsletters from Bead Style Magazine sent up a plea for help this week:

"We have an informal but important challenge for you expert bead shoppers out there. Occasionally we buy something at a bead show that we are told will be available online but then isn't. Other times, items are so prominent at a show (or so irresistible) that we assume they'll be easy to find, but it turns out a lot tougher to track down than we thought. So we are asking for your help. Check out the mug shot above and let us (and your fellow BeadStylers) know where the sea creature chain can be purchased (retail preferred). You will have our undying gratitude and an appropriate token of our affection. Send your chain sightings to with the subject line "Bead Bounty Hunter."

That's a pretty spiffy looking chain so if you find it, let me know... There might be a $25 Holly's Folly gift certificate in it for you!

I've been moving all kinds of Halloween Goodies over to Etsy.... It's such a limited time to make jewelry for, I figure I'm better off getting more exposure over there.

In addition to all kinds of Spooky beads,

You'll find lots of ready made pieces ---
Also known as.... Holly's idea of a Halloween costume! LOL!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Amazing Artists - Another Round

Another round of artist that could use a little love, shop hearts, etc.

First up one of my all time favorite artists, Kim Neely, a/k/a Bluff Road Art Glass. Her sense of color and design often leave me searching for a pulley to lift my chin off my desk. This set of Kim's is one of my all time favorites. It fascinated me on a design and detail level but the story got me! It was inspired by a trip to the Baton Rouge zoo... a place where I spent a good deal of time as a child.

This is a more recent example of her work.
She is one of my favorite artists to watch. Glass just sings in her skilled hands!

Kim's gallery of past work is HERE. Her website where she occasionally sells direct (get on her mailing list!) is HERE. And her ebay listings can be found HERE.

Next up is Ginny Hampton Schmidt a/k/a Ginnovations. Ginny is another very talented lampworker. Check out this beauty from her website.

And this pink and fine silver mesh beauty is in her Etsy store.

Ginny's website is HERE. Her items on Etsy can be found HERE.

Finally, our last artist is Pamela Dyer Troutman of TikiBeads a/k/a daisydog7 on ebay. Check out this breath-taking silvery blue set.

And isn't this fall set just lovely???

Pamela's very creative blog is HERE. And her beads are on ebay.

These artists are talented and have excellent reputations. They deserve our support and business!

All photos are copyrighted by the respective artists.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blog Interrupted

In case you don't follow my Creekhiker blog... I am very near the fires and it's very difficult to much anything but sit and worry.

I do have lots of beady things to talk about and some fabulous artists to blog about...but it will have to wait until our fires subside.

Thanks for checking in... Interrupted