Let me take you on the journey of how I got started making in the mesmerizing world of fused glass and chainmail jewelry that a whopping 18 years ago. It'll be fun and full of twists and turns.
THE TRUE BEGINNING
Picture this. I saw an ad for a class that promised the chance to create my very own piece of fused glass art. I jumped at it. The teacher handed me a glass tile and a bunch of colorful scraps of glass. Off we each went, eagerly creating our “masterpieces”. We glued the pieces onto the tile and the teacher took them home and fired them. The class was an absolute blast! I loved the colors and feel of the glass. And guess what? Here is the piece I made! Ta-da!
Don't get too excited...this item sold years ago. I had called it "Beginner's Luck".
That first experience was so much fun that I couldn’t resist diving back in for more. But this time the class was all about making sparkling dichroic jewelry. I had previously admired dichroic jewelry and bought some pieces at craft shows myself. But this was my chance to actually make my own. I knew this was going to be a grand adventure. And it was. But you know what? It left me wanting even more.
I was determined to take this newfound passion to the next level. So, off I went to a real glass studio and learned about the properties of glass. I learned how to cut glass and the tools that are required to create a finished piece. I leaned that there were different ways to fire glass to create different effects, and oh-so-much more.
Let me tell you, I was absolutely HOOKED!
MY FIRST SALES
One day, as I proudly displayed all of the creations I had made, Steve asked “What are you going to do with all of this jewelry? You can’t wear it all.” Wouldn't you know that just a few weeks later I saw a craft show advertised where I could get a table space for a mere $25. Can you believe it? That was a steal, even back then. I knew I had nothing to lose. I laid everything I had on the bare table because I had no display supplies. Not even a table cloth. It was nothing fancy, just dazzling glassy goodness. And guess what? People actually bought them. It was like that iconic Sally Field moment when she said, "They like me! They really like me!" Okay, they liked my glass, but still…it was a thrilling feeling!
CREATING A STUDIO
But wait, the story doesn't end there, my friends. Oh no, far from it! After creating so many pieces in that studio where I took my first real class (and paying studio fees and firing fees that I had to pass on to customers in my pricing so I wouldn't go broke), I took a leap of faith and invested in my very own kiln! Now, I could work in the comfort of my own home and create pieces whenever inspiration struck. I could even fire just one small piece if I wanted to run a little experimental test of something. Talk about artistic freedom.
Then in 2016, I went to a craft show as a customer. I came across a wonderful display of beautiful, colorful chainmail jewelry crafted with a combination of metal and rubber rings. In an instant, I knew this type of jewelry was a match made in heaven with my fused glass. So, I went online and taught myself how to do a couple of different weaves. But alas, my first attempts were a complete fail. They looked nothing like the beautiful pieces that inspired me. Instead they looked like something a crafty kid would make. The rubber rings just weren’t doing it for me. But I wasn’t going to give up. I was determined to find a solution. And I did. I discovered that the metal rings came in a rainbow of glorious colors. Yippee! That was the solution and not only did my work no longer look like that of a 6-year-old, I could do so many more different designs!
WELCOME TO FACEBOOK
At this point, I sold my work mostly at in-person shows. I had a website, but let’s be real…it was a custom built affair, far from fancy. I finally made a more official site around 2018.
And then, BOOM! The pandemic hit in March 2020. I wondered how on earth I could keep my business going without the joy of in-person shows, which also made up the lion’s share of my business. I needed to find a solution. So, in August 2020, I created my Facebook page. I started from scratch with zero followers (obviously) and now have over 1,000. Can you believe it. I love my online community!
MY ART TODAY
I never really thought of myself as an artist...because I couldn't (and still can't) draw. But once I found both of these mediums, I felt like I belonged.
I have so much fun working with glass and chainmail. I thrive on meeting customers (in-person and online), and I am glad to have you along on this crazy and colorful ride!