NOTE: Photo is taken from The Prescott Courier Article written 2006 regarding my Raggedy RO Handspun Yarns and my trip to Martinez, California to stay with Kate and Will Taylor who hosted Judith MacKenzie "Spinning with Exotic Fibers".
Lampwork came to me through the adoration of beads. I began collecting African trade beads, stringing beads from all over the world and reading everything I could about the history of beads. Old beads carry their own story; wearing them makes me a part of that story.
Working with glass, forming it into shapes that symbolize my emotional state at that moment, describes the journey I have been on for the last ten years. Beads helped bring tranquility to my life and enabled me to express myself through the intricate designs I end up with after incorporating my shapes into an elaborate world of the seed bead. Off-loom bead weaving provides me the canvas to paint with my beads.
A number years ago I started to experiment with recycled glass after a friend approached me with some broken glass baskets. They had belonged to her mother, who had passed away. The glass baskets were originally made in Murano, Italy, and her mother had collected them for years. When they were shipped to my friend, they had been packed poorly and, of course, they arrived at her home in pieces. My friend pictured a new form arising from these broken treasures.
images/Murano basket bead
My vision was to create unique beads leaving the historic designs undisturbed, resulting in some one-of-a-kind masterpieces. This experience put me on a path of enhanced consciousness for prolonging the life of something broken by using it to create beads.
Colorful bottles come with their own history. Beads created from bottles represent the feelings associated with an occasion of joy, celebration, or even sadness. I create pieces with these beads and name them for the sentiment they give me.
Themes from Arizona are my primary inspiration, testimony to the profound love I have for this beautiful state. This attachment to my creations infuses each piece with its own character and this in turn finds its way into the people's hearts.
"I have had many special orders. I just finished a piece from a bottle sent to me by a farmer's wife in Elwood, Nebraska. She had made a candlelight dinner for their 40th wedding anniversary and she wanted to keep that memory alive forever. With a necklace which looks simliar to the "Loves Merlot," she can now do that."
About twenty years ago I was inspired to venture into the world of glass beads when I visited a bead shop filled to the ceiling with an abundance of beads from all over the world. I soon signed up for a beadmaking class to see what this was all about, and I immediately fell in love with the colors, was stimulated by the creativity, and felt a deep companionship with the art.
For the past six years I have designed bead jewelry incorporating my own lampworked beads.
About three years ago I ventured into the world of seed beads by taking a year-long "Master's Seed Bead Workshop," instructed by NanC Meinhart, hosted by The Bead Museum of Arizona. This encounter gave me an innovative perception of my beadwork, and an opportunity to expand the boundaries of expression for my art.
Using off-loom beadweaving has guided my lampwork beadmaking in new directions.
Wine bottle glass is one of my favorite materials for creating unique beads. I enjoy the idea of recycling used glass. The distinctive colors inspire me and I can't wait to get them to my torch!
In 1998, I wrote a workshop piece regarding one process in beadmaking that was published in Lapidary Journal.
I enjoy sharing my work with the public and explain that beads are a part of our common human history.
Recently I was included in a documentary film about beads called "The Bead Movement," by Wendy Simpson Conner, who also authored The Best Little Beading Book. This film premiered in Beverly Hills and was up for an Academy Nomination.
In February 2004. Bead & Button spotlighted one of my recycled wine bottle necklaces.
My beads have been exhibited in The Bead Museum in Glendale, Arizona, in an exhibit in Japan, at the statewide, juried Yavapai College Gallery show, and at the Phippen Museum Christmas show.
Presently my work can be found at Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery on Historical Whiskey Row and The Artist Gallery in Flagstaff, Arizona.
See more of Rowena's work at her website. www.rowenaart.net or contact the artist at email@example.com
© HandTHoughts. Phoenix, AZ. 2002, 2003. 2004. All rights reserved.
Bead Making, Spinning & Weaving, Jewelry Design, Reading a Good Book, Writing