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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mikimoto - the First Name in Cultured Pearls

No - a cultured pearl is not a pearl that knows to hold out it's pinky when drinking tea. A cultured pearl is one that is deliberately grown - as opposed to found at random in the wild. Largely - we have Kokichi Mikimoto for creating a revolution in the pearl industry - for endless research - and for realizing a vision that included "adorn(ing) the necks of all the women of the world with pearls."

Ultimately - the Mikimoto name became synonymous with pearls. Read more about this interesting man and his history here. (Click on history in the top menu.) Or just enjoy the pictures of the jewelry!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sneak Peek at Next Week

s20039 Stone Beads - 18 mm Faceted Rondelle - Amazonite (1)More Stone beads - check out these very sexy Amazonite Rondelles. Ooooo - I'm in love. s20070 Stone Beads - 8 mm Faceted Rice - Indian Agate (strand)

Or how about this Indian Agate - look at that range of colours!

Lots more very yummy stone - Wednesday night at midnight!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Who will you meet today?

We have a few more introductions to make today. These artists, plus more will be joining us tomorrow for our Lampworkers Trunk Show - Join us on Saturday from 10am to 5pm - Awesome handmade beads for sale, plus demo's and yummy edibles. Look for one more post later today with a few more lampworkers!

TANK Jewelry & Beads - Amy Johnson & Jill Cribbin

TANK Jewelry & Beads is a Canadian leader in innovative glass and award winning jewelry techniques.
Located in one of the hippest areas in Toronto, the Distillery District, Tank is home to three artists, Amy Johnson, Jill Cribbin and Cynthia Archer providing an ideal setting for the creation of exceptional work.

Amy Johnson
Amy’s unique sculptural award-winning flameworked beads and jewelry are lauded in several publications, museums and galleries across the United States and Europe. Amy continues to innovate, collaborate, teach and learn, wherever glass takes her.
Amy also thrives on working collaboratively with other artists. She and Goldsmith Cynthia Archer have been designing & making limited edition studio jewelry & one of a kind works together for 6 years.

Jill Cribbin
Jill launched herself into the world of glass flameworking seven years ago at an intensive workshop at Urban Glass in Brooklyn, NY. Since then she has studied with numerous recognized beadmakers. Jill finds inspiration from her setting at the Distillery District and the many collaborative art opportunities it brings.

Shannon Scollard

Shannon Scollard is a Toronto artist who specializes in both glass and textiles. She has been working with glass for two and a half years and took her first class with Amy Waldman Smith at the BeadFX Studio. To see more of her work please visit her website at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beadmakers Profiles

A few more profiles from some of our participants for this weekend beadmakers trunk show. Enjoy! - Join us Saturday from 10 - 5pm

Jody Wieler

Jody Wieler is an emerging glass artist, currently living in St. Catharines, Canada. She found a studio in the summer of 2006 that taught beadmaking, and immediately knew she was afflicted with, and addicted to, the sensuousness of the melting glass. She admires the science and technique in the creative process, and the art and beauty that results. The jewellery-making focus literally changed overnight, and now the beads are the centrepiece of the work, often standing alone as a collectible or sculpture.
Wieler works with soda-lime glass from Murano, Germany and the United States. Melting the glass rods with a torch, it is formed around around metal mandrel, to which a myriad of colour and precious metals are applied, creating one-of-a-kind miniature works of art. She has recently acquired a taste for borosilicate glass, of which its muted colour palette is strikingly appealing to her. All of her glass work is kiln-annealed for durability and longevity.
Also a professional classical singer and teacher, she embraces glass as her "physical and visual art" outlet. Her work is often "organic" in nature, allowing for the colours to form interesting patterns, reacting in surprising and interesting ways, reflecting the fact that although she may start with a list of things to creat that day, ultimately the glass and colours are the muse, lending a certain spontaneity to her work. The true nature of the glass is expressed. Another permanent fixture of her work is the full off-centre heart, and tribal-style scrollwork. Murrini (small pictures like flowers and butterflies) are also making their way into her beads as she develops the canes, and finds interesting ones, such as those by Momka. Wieler's work is evolving rapidly - "It's always a surprise to open the kiln the next morning!"
Enjoy the wearable art that is inspired from my heart, made with my hands, and borne through the flame.

Dwyn Tomlinson

About the Artist

Who first tied a claw or a shiny pebble on strip of leather and worn it as a decoration? — or a declaration?

For longer than recorded history, we have defined our differences and our allegiances, carried our memories and our wealth in the form of jewelry — very often in the form of beads. We have collected them, traded them, hoarded them, lost them. We have burned forests to make them, traded worlds for them. They have been the domain of kings, the fascination of children, the comfort of the bereaved, the lure for the greedy. They are pedestrian, they are art, they are ubiquitous, they are magic.

I'm fascinated with the timelessness of personal adornment — and the universal appeal of jewelry. The primal urge that causes us to hang decoration on our bodies. The endless fascination with beads, with glass a unique substance that defies logic, defies description, defines magic.

Glass, in particular, is a strange and wonderful substance. Hard, strong, brittle, clear, transparent, opaque, malleable, immutable, impervious, corruptible — what else is so ethereal and so solid at the same time?

And then, there is the process … is there anything with a more primal appeal than fire? Melting the glass, shaping it with heat and gravity — tools that you can't see, can't touch. One dangerous and the other so ubiquitous it is beyond noticing.

Oh, those golden days when the glass does everything you ask, and more. Magic, just magic!

What else? I can ride a horse, teach a dog to come when called, drive a stick-shift, milk a goat. I can tell a story, paint a picture, change a tire. I can build a web site, bandage a wound, and bake cookies. I read Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. I watch "Torchwood," "CSI," and "SpongeBob." I believe in big bold Cabernets, real butter, and death by chocolate. I know the international phonetic alphabet. I believe in the power of duct tape. Specialization is for insects. I am "DragonJools."

Julie Beverstein

A bit about me....

I currently live in Toronto but grew up in the country. I grew up around stained glass but never was exposed to glass it in its molten form!

One Christmas my mother bought me a weekend glass blowing course which was amazing. Unfortunately not an affordable hobby for me but I love to do it when I get the chance.

I had no idea that lampworking existed until I saw a kit in a store. The kit contained a simple hot head torch - I bought it and was hooked!.
On a ski holiday in BC I signed up for an afternoon lampwork class which helped solidify the basics skills of making a bead!

Once home, I rented some torch time at the local glass shop - Fantasy in Glass and they were super in helping me get started.

I soon invested in a better torch and kiln and set up a little studio at home. I spend much of my free time at the torch and I love creating new things.

I have had the privilege of taking private lessons from Dwyn Tomlinson, Amy Waldman-Smith and later this month a weekend course taught by Kristina Logan hosted at Tank Studios!

Sometimes I use my beads to create wearable art in which I like to incorporate sterling silver and Swarovski Crystals.

I share my workspace with a couple of loyal wiener dogs that are happy to sit by my side and create with me!

Stay tuned on Friday for more profiles and pictures!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

June is Just Around the Corner

It is almost June--who can believe it! That, of course, means that it is almost summer and all of the those kiddies will be home. I know my kids are counting the days but I am NOT. If you are in the same position, you may want to fit in some me time now. We have a ton of classes in June to help you out with that!

The last few days of May look great as well. Angela Peace is back and has one more class on Thursday May 28th from 6-9pm, Snake Knot and Phoenix Knot Cords.

Saturday May 30th is our Trunk Show from 10am to 5pm. There will be a dozen or so artist involved. Beads galore for sale and demo's in the studio all day!

Sunday May 31st is Charmed I'm Sure with Heather Bell-Denison.
If you cannot make it on Sunday, Heather is offering Charmed I'm Sure again on Tuesday June 2 from 10:30 to 5:30pm.

Thursday June 4th Catherine Winter joins us again after a nice long winter in the south. How to Price Your Jewelry: Starting a Microbusiness, from 6-9:15pm.

Saturday June 6th Marilyn Gardiner has two classes:
Basic Bead Stringing

Byzantine Rose Bracelet

Celtic Star Pendant on Thursday June 11th with Rosemary Beasley.

Amy Waldman-Smith is running a two day Introduction to Glass Beading Making course on Saturday June 13th and 14th.

Robert Burton is offering a new class on Saturday June 13th from 10am to 1pm, the Silver Braided Bracelet. This is a beginner/intermediate class, some experience is recommended.

Stephanie Dixon's Wire Bead Crochet Multi-Strand Necklace is also on Saturday June 13th from 2-5pm.

Sunday June 14th is Ring Day. We have 2 different types of ring classes. Stephanie Dixon's Bling Ring from 11am to 1pm

And we have Robert Burton's Wire Wrapped Gem Stone Ring and Pendant class from 1:30-4:30pm.

Robert Burton's Wire Working and Wrapping 101, 3 week class, begins again on Monday June 15th, from 6-9pm.

Don't forget that tomorrow is Happy Hour Torching from 5 to 9pm. Buy one hour get one free, but remember to call and reserve a torch!

I know that the calender for July and August is a bit empty right now, but we do have tons of great stuff coming up this summer. We have been making some computer changes and upgrades over the last couple of weeks and I have not been able to get the new stuff up--but it is coming so stayed tuned for more details.

Happy Beading!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lampwork Artist Profiles - Day 1

We're getting very excited about our beadmakers trunk show this weekend. If you can, join us on Saturday May 30th from 10 to 5pm for beadmaking demos, yummy edibles, and a chance to buy the most fabulous lampwork beads from Toronto's best artists. Over the next few days, I'll be profiling some of our participants.

Elly Peters

My friends call me Elly.

About three years ago, I discovered hot glass! I fell in love with the look and feel of lampwork bead jewelry, and decided that no matter what, I was going to learn how to do this amazing art.
I found a workshop at beadfx, took a class from an amazing teacher (Amy Waldman-Smith!), and hit the ground running! I soon set myself up with a hothead (a single fuel torch) and a kiln.

I find that the process of melting the glass 'grounds' me. I really enjoy the meditation and calmness that this artistic outlet creates for me.

The process of photographing the bead is very important to me. This is the moment when I 'fall' for my own work (or not).

If my work evokes an emotional reaction, whether it's a "oo! I want that!" or a "wow, that really speaks to me!", then it's a success in my opinion.

There’s nothing like slipping a necklace over your neck or a bracelet on your wrist that has beads that:
a) you enjoy feeling
b) are sentimental and significant.
c) are each completely handmade and unique

Erin Maloney

Hi, my name is Erin Maloney. I create handmade lampwork glass beads and lampwork jewelry designs in my home-based studio, here in Burlington, Ontario Canada. Art has always been my passion! My artistic interests and talents date back to when I was just four years old. I had gone on my first-ever family vacation to - no where else other than - Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida of course! I was so amazed at the creativity that surrounded me.

I often think back to when I was four and I now wonder "how could I have been so appreciative of "art" at such a young age?" Somehow, I was! I was drawn to all things imaginative and creative, and inspired by it. Because of my extensive interest in all art and design, my studio has been geared toward many things over the years...painting and drawing, clay, paper maché sculptural work, stained glass and now, flame working! I have finally found the medium meant for me! I have absolutely no idea how I came across searching "lampwork" on eBay, but one day, I noticed some gorgeous works of art. I looked further into it on the rest of the internet and thought to myself it would be so neat to learn how to do this! I enrolled in Dwyn Tomlinson's beginners' class at beadFX and the rest is history! After only four hours of instruction, it was then that I finally realized that my artistic soul mate was, in fact... glass! I was hooked and I am now here to stay!

The decision to pursue lampworking, as opposed to enrolling in another full-time college course, was a major adjustment! I thought family and friends would be disappointed in me for my decision to not attend school, and instead, sit in front of a torch all day to melt glass. When I finally vocalized my vision, the people I love couldn't have been any more supportive! My parents thought it would be a great creative shift for me, my younger sister Sarah couldn't have been more excited for me and my loving fiancé (and best friend) of eight years, Jay, was equally supportive. He helped me realize that life is all about doing what you want to do, and to have fun while you're at it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

One More Pic - that Tree Peony

Last week's fat bud unfurled it's tissue-paper petals on Sunday into a soup-bowl-sized froth of pink.

Ain't it grand? ;-)

Historical Recreations w Beads

A friend of mine likes to make historical recreations of jewellery that she sees in paintings. Being confined largely to bed, learning metalsmithing was out of the question, and so she has reproduced what she sees using beads. Her techniques are all self-taught - she "makes it up as she goes along."

Thanks, Sue B., for these fabulous pieces!

I don't pretend to understand the construction of them - I've included lots of close up pics. ;-)