Using disk beads to block out the sun.

I’m pulling out another oldie from 2006. A color scheme that I used to like to work with: opal yellow glass with ruby and denim frit and transparent amethyst.

I’ve changed it up a bit, into a more simple design, and I’m finally getting to a project I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I live in Arizona and it seems that nothing I do can hide me from the sun in my own home. That sounds terrible, I know, to those of you with more overcast and cloudy days than sunny. But for me, it can get to be just as monotonous as your experience.

You see, I come from the midwest and I miss basements. We don’t have many of those here. I miss feeling cocooned underground sometimes or cooped up inside on a cloudy/rainy/snowy/miserable day where you have no choice but to snuggle up and watch tv, eat soup and read a book. It’s just not the same when the sun is shining. You always feel like you should be doing something and not wasting it.

Our living space has sky lights and some windows without coverings. Even the thick plantation shutters cannot block out all of the sun during the day. Every room must have some type of window or outlet, according to building code so I can’t get a dark room during the day! And it looks pretty yucky to cover skylights with black paint, don’t you think?

So one of my projects is to at least dim the sun that comes through some of these spaces using these:


Lots of these. I ordered some plexiglass and I’ve been making lots and lots of these large disks in various shades of amber, amethyst and olive glass. My plan is to rivet, or headpin wire-wrap them onto the plexiglass through holes I will drill. The panels which will be 12″ x 18″ will fit directly into the vertical row of windows to the side of my front door.

That is a lot of disks to make and I do hope I can keep up my stamina to complete the project. At the least, I will get one window done and it will look nifty. Luckily the disks are simple and organic.  I’m viewing the end product as the work of art rather than the individual bead. That is a new concept and it’s kind of liberating. I am not usually able to see an end product in my mind but with this project, I do.

I can see lots of applications with this concept. Such as a hinged panel on my bathroom counter to hide cosmetics I leave out. Or one on my counter to shield the big tray of vitamins that rest there. Or maybe just a wall hanging.

One thing I’m afraid of though, that always disappoints me, is that I have all of these great ideas but then I get bored with the process of making them.  ::sigh:: So, I’m trying to enjoy where I am, working as fast as I can while I have the motivation for the project and am already contemplating playing tricks on my mind when it starts to move to the next thing before I finish this one.

My other idea is to make larger disks and make a panel for the skylight too…like the Chihuly Ceiling at the Bellagio. That could be fun.



Glass Patchwork Beads

Thank you for the great response when I posted these beads to facebook:

glass patchwork beadsI have a couple more in the kiln and they should be getting to Etsy as soon as I get out to the studio and get them cleaned up and photographed. Robin Foster said that they indicated that I was a closet quilter. Which reminds me…I need some new bead release.

“Patchwork” is exactly what I was thinking of as this design emerged. Originally they started out with the “end of day” bead concept…using everything laying on your bench at the end of the day.

I have always like compartmentalizing things (if only I could do that with my brain the way men seem able to). Components, boxes, segmenting, etc. Anything modular, stackable, arrangeable, I like. And probably why it drives me nuts when my nesting bowls are not nested properly!

I’ve tried designs that incorporate these themes before but haven’t liked the results. These, I like a lot, but I also know that there is a LOT more refinement that can go on that will make them spectacular. That is, if I can sit with it long enough to get to that point.

glass patwork bicone beadOne bead, four views. Click for a larger detailed look. I’m loving this shape. I also have a couple nice chunky round ones waiting out in the kiln. So far I think I like the bicone shape the best. Maybe I will try a bigger one.

Right now I’m working with the huge amounts of stringer that I already have pulled. I can hardly bring myself to pull more but I know that that is what it is going to take to get better results in the designs. The stringer I’m using now include a lot of experiments and leftovers…not always those that were successful attempts either…but they seem to work. Imagine them when I intentionally pull color for designs and actually have a plan for what I’m doing.

For now, it’s fun, and when that more planned version comes along it loses the spontaneity that you can feel in these and the raw creative energy. Then, they can turn into production beads. That is why I don’t sit with things very long…they get too rote and the process is less fulfilling.



Contemplating lots of sales schemes.

I use the word scheme endearingly. Meaning that with the economy being so sluggish and the world of selling online having changed so much since I was fully in the game, I am contemplating different creative ideas to spark interest. When sales slow, the first reaction can be to lower prices. My prices have always been pretty reasonable because I like designers to be able to buy and resell in their creations. However, I have also always considered that there has to be some mark-up from wholesale for the shops that want to buy and resell, without my prices underselling them. I don’t know why I find it so confusing.


One of the things I’m contemplating again is eBay auction. Ninety-nine cent or $9.99 starting prices. The $.99 thing makes me nervous but also can be fun. Another thing I am contemplating is selling full on wholesale at the Tucson Whole Bead Show in February. If you have a business license, no minimums and full wholesale pricing.

And then, I think, all of that sounds like huge incentives to buy from me but really, maybe the market just isn’t there anymore. Or maybe, Tucson just ain’t happenin’ for glass beads anymore. Not on the scale that it used to be. That is pretty obvious…but I still have fun and still turn a profit so I haven’t gone to total doom and gloom mode.


That is also causing me to re-think some other things. What do I REALLY need/want to make on a piece? Can I cut back my hourly wage and still be happy with myself? I know that I can because I’m pretty efficient. What is my intention in selling my work? Since I don’t need to sell in order to feed my family at this time, do I want to just make art for me, or do I want to sell it at lower prices just to move it? Do I want to create pieces that take more time to create and sell them for higher prices in shops and galleries?

I just don’t know.  So right now I’m going where my heart leads me. If it tells me to work on a piece that takes a week, that is what I sit down to do that day…hoping that the rest of the week will lead me in that direction so I can finish it! If it tells me to sit down and try something new, that is what I’m doing. If it tells me to clean my office from top to bottom and hang twinkle lights, that’s where you will find me.

I am trying to not think about selling.