Thursday, April 20, 2017

Glorieta Glassworks

About a year ago I started taking lampwork bead making classes with Julie DeFeo.  She’s an amazing artist living and working in Santa Fe, NM.  Soon after Julie met Linda Sweeney who was in the midst, of opening a glass studio.  Shortly thereafter Glorieta Glassworks was born. 

Linda's Beads
As with any studio, it must inspire creativity.  Glorieta Glassworks does just that, the studio is nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains east of Santa Fe.  The integration of nature causes an immediate creative spark.  The modern, spacious work space and the breathtaking landscape will wow you, just like it did me.  The studio is the site of invention and a creative space where functionality is equally important. 

Linda Sweeney & Julie DeFeo

The studio is equipped with 12 work stations which include torches, an elaborate ventilation system, many choices in glass (COE 104), kilns, books, tools, glass beads and of course Linda’s knowledge.  There are also two pretty pups on the property; Cinnamon and Sage.  Be sure you visit Linda's website to see pictures of what the studio looks like today.

I must mention that Linda is a stickler for safety.  She explains the importance of respecting your work environment and getting to know your equipment.  Which makes sense, we are playing with fire!  So, when you visit the studio know that safety is something that Linda emphasizes in her teachings.  Personally I love this because it’s allowed me to gain a sense of comfort, which of course allows the creative process to flow…..just like the glass!

A picture of the studio before the NEW stations were added 
Glorieta Glassworks is modern, full of light and well equipped.  Linda is always willing to share techniques and insight from her 15+ years of training at various studios in Arizona and across the U.S.  She’s taken classes from many of the Who's Who in the glass world. 

You will almost always find her at the torch practicing her lampworking techniques.  This woman is amazing!!!

Housed next to the studio is what I call Linda’s Special Collection aka the Sweeney Collection which is home to Linda’s stunning medley of glass beads.  This collection is a work of art in and of itself. 

Julie DeFeo at Glorieta Glassworks
When you’re in New Mexico, visit Glorieta Glassworks, you will be wowed by the interesting use of space and the amazing collection of glass beads on display in the museum.  For information on classes, workshops or to stop by the Glass Museum contact Linda at

Keep Creating,


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jade - Yes, It's Greenish

Jade has existed for more than a million years and has been given high regard for generations. Well known to almost all, this durable, tough but beautiful gemstone is part of the colorful history of the Chinese. Since its discovery, a jade’s value has continued to evolve in modern times, often times rivaling that of a diamond.  

In ancient times, jade was a sign of royalty. Many archeological digs have revealed that members of the upper class were buried with accessories made of jade and bronze.

Photo by jacquiscloset on Flickr
Throughout the centuries, jade has come to possess a deep meaning for a person.

Unknown to many, Jade is actually a generic term for two different minerals - nephrite and jadeite. Modern gemologists use the word “jade” as a generic term for both nephrite and jadeite. These two minerals are distinctly different, but their physical compositions are so similar, only an expert using high quality equipment can distinguish one from the other.  The colors of these stones range from dark green, yellow, brown, yellow, black, gray, pink & even white.

Jade is mined around the world.  Nephrite (jade) is commonly found in China, New Zealand, North America, & Russia.

Jade is also manufactured to become part of bracelets, necklaces, earrings or rings. They are sometimes mixed with other gemstones like diamonds.

Because of its hardness and durability, they were mined in prehistoric times to make tools and weapons. When people began to discover beautiful, high-quality type of jade, talented craftsmen turned these stones into ornaments, talisman and jewelry. Today, the value and trade of jade has not failed history. It remains to be in demand worldwide.

Aside from its natural beauty, this gemstone is popular for its association with spiritual healing. It is believed to increase clarity of the mind. Furthermore, it is regarded that this stone links the spiritual and the physical world, creating balance within a person.

As with all gemstones make sure you buy from a reputable source. There are many mining companies that also sell carved stones and art pieces. Search the web, convo people who specialize in this gemstone. Or, if your not sure, start with a small trinket. This is one stone you won't regret buying. It's beautiful, grounding and green is always good for the heart chakra.

Keep Creating,

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lovely Ceramic Beads to Inspire Your Next Jewelry Project

As you progress in designing and translating your visions into physical jewelry, I know for sure that you’ll be looking for more one-of-a-kind beads that’ll make your jewelry far more unique! I’ve been there myself. At some point, you may feel limited with the choices offered by mainstream bead suppliers and that’s ok. 

Scouring for new materials signals a new phase that challenges yourself with newer designs that speak to your own aesthetics. For some, making their own beads become an art of its own apart from the main construction of jewelry. 

Clay has been used to create vessels, beads, tools and other ceramic items dating back to the Mycenaean age.  Clay artifacts are among the most common found at an archaeological site. 

Ceramics now include domestic, industrial and building products, as well as a wide range of ceramic art. My favorite being ART beads and components. These handmade items add a special flare to jewelry designs.

The artists listed below are masters in their craft and a few of my favorite bead artists. I admire their dedication, talent and skill in ceramic bead making.

My raku forms represent a merger of ancient form and technique with the most contemporary of ideas. Through the years, my works have taken many directions, but in retrospect, a path can be retraced to my beginnings with clay. These works developed through a process of elimination, casting off any excesses in decoration or design, yet incorporating everything I know about the clay.”

Xaz Nuggets & Pearls

“Each pendant makes its own creative journey as each work is individually hand painted, fired, inspected and then creatively finished to bring out the fusion of contemporary and folk art drawn from the qualities of the clay, the form of the pressed plant and the artistically applied glaze that brings the impression to life and sets its spirit free."
Young Red Oak Leaves Toggle Clasp

I was introduced to Mary's ART beads & components several years ago.  Since then I've collected several of her pieces.  The quality, color and workmanship is top-notch.



Gaea is a talented artist who creates many things but ceramic beads have been in her shop for years.  Her whimsical style and love of nature make these creations irresistible.  

The turquoise blue and cranberry round beads in this design were made by Gaea.  I paired them with a beautiful polymer clay bird by Heather Powers of Humblebeads

Ceramic Beads by Gaea & Polymer Clay Bird by Humblebeads 

Melissa Gabelle describes her work as "quirky functional ware inspired by 1950’s science fiction.  If you wan to design a jewelry piece with a whimsical touch then The Clay Hen is the shop for you.  

These are just few of my favorite ceramic art bead artists and their beautiful one-of-a-kind work. There are so many talented ceramic artists making unique treasures. This is not a complete list by any means (more for another post). Which are you favorites ceramic bead artists? Please add to the list so that we can share these creators with one another, thanks.

Keep Creating,