Influences on my work include the natural landscape – trees, water, rocks – as well as man-made images (architecture, tool forms, classic paintings, Asian art). Sometimes an event or person will inspire a lampwork series. I like to make abstract, painterly beads and find that elongated shapes are a “comfortable canvas” for my renderings. I think about each bead as a small three-dimensional scene or story when I am working, and use a 6x6 ceramic tile “palette” beside the torch to out enamels and foils as well as threads of glass to quickly “sketch” shapes and outlines. I use metal mesh for “grain” sometimes.
I like to get a lot of texture into my work and tend to use subdued colors or calm tonal schemes with small, bright accents (red!). My husband’s sculpture has helped me see mass and line in new ways, and I think that looking at work by greats such as William Turner have helped me see light in exciting ways, Kandinsky’s paintings are the inspiration for my “mosaic” beads. I like the interpretations a single piece may receive and a number of people have bought beads to “have” as objects which is very rewarding.
There is an emotional as well as intellectual connection with a “good” bead (i.e., one which feels and looks pleasing to the individual); a strong base form is key before ornamentation, and “knowing the material” frees me to let expression flow on the surface of a bead. Being able to put one’s hand to what is in one’s spirit is the challenge.
My beads are largely about texture and form. Most relate to the natural landscape or things made from natural materials. Anything can be a springboard for color and shape ideas – lichen covered bark, rusty ship hulls, ancient axes and adzes. I enjoy making abstract landscapes in glass and the process of refining a body of work. Beads make a very personal statement on a number of levels, and their small size allows me to work closely – a friend calls my beads “intimate objects of contemplation”. I like the fact that you can hold a bead in your hand or pocket and carry a piece of art with you.