My name is Jamie. I'm married, have 2 children, 3 grand children, one crazy dog, and one insane cat! I work full time at a health insurance company as a billing analyst, please don't hold that against me! And at home I enjoy my hobbie/business of beadmaking.
Long ago, in a land far, far away...one of my good friends had asked me if I wanted to take a bead making class. "Hell no, what am I going to do with a bunch of beads!" I exclaimed. Well, she asked, and asked, and pestered, until finally, just to quiet her down, I looked into it. But really, being of the mind that I have to succeed in something I'm either afraid of, or don't think I can do, ultimately swayed me to sign up. Since I was up to the challenge of hot melting glass and a flaming torch, which kind of made my heart bead a little out of rhythm, and the idea of pretty shiny beads of my very own, we were off to class.
I left the shop that day with a kit under my arm and smile on my face, and the rest...is beadmaking history. Much to the chagrin of my husband, and his wallet! Not only was I spending money (something he hates me to do. lol) buying supplies and little one-pound tanks of MAPP gas, but I took his wood scraps, built a work bench, and took over a corner of his garage. Something I still haven't heard the end of yet, after all these years!! Oh, the loss of his quiet hideout!
I've taken 3 classes: beginner bead making, floral bead making and fish bead making. The rest of my bead skills are self taught through books and tons of trial and error. But what fun it is!
I started out on a hot head torch, with my MAPP gas. Now I have a Mega Minor Torch by Nortel. It's so purty, and shiny red! This is a duel fuel torch that used propane and oxygen. It get that glass super hot!!
Take a peek at my work. Sign my guest book, and feel free to shop at my web stores:My Etsy Shop
Here's a little peek at the grape vines growing on my pergola as you look from my back deck.
Hopefully, by the end of the summer, this will be my new workshop. Of course, some trees have to be cut down, and the whole thing needs to be leveled and rebuilt. But what a place it will be when it's done!!
It will be one and a half stories (storage above), and have a small deck off the front! One side will be all windows.
On the inside, one long wall will be for stained glass. The short wall will be my lampworking area. To each side of the lampworking area will be storage of my kiln and glass rods. Ah yes, I can see it now!! *sigh*
We'll need to do a little trimming of grass, and such! lol
That's a cherry bush at the front door, to the right. It's going to be hard to protect it during construction!
One question I hear a lot is "How is it that your prices are so low?" Well, let me tell you. No overhead! I didn't go out and buy $6,000 worth of equipment and calculate how much I'd need to make to pay it off in so many years. What I do is earn the money before I buy my supplies. That's what keeps my overhead down, and my prices low!
My beads are all handmade, by me! I kiln anneal them in a brick kiln. No, I don't have a digital controller. But my brick kiln keeps my beads hot for hours. I soak the beads from between 950-970 degrees for no less then 30 minutes. Then I shut my kiln off. Everyone boasts of a digitally controlled kiln. Yeah, if you have a fiberglass insulated kiln, it's harder to keep the tempurature where you want it, and a digital controller is perfect. But with my kiln, it's never been a problem. The bricks hold the heat so well it takes at least 8 hours before I can even touch the bead door!
Sure, I can buy the digital controller for around $300, but then my bead prices will have to go up. And quite frankly, the quality will still be the same!