We’ve always been inspired by the glass beads Tammy Kerber from T-Beads makes. They are so versatile and easy to use! You can see them featured in a few of our inspiration projects: Honeyflower Bracelet, Copper Canyon Bracelet, A La Mode Necklace and Solaris Bracelet. Tammy has been perfecting the art of glass bead making for over 10 years and was kind enough to answer a few questions about her process, how she got started and where she finds her inspiration! Here is what she shared with us:
How did you start making beads?
I have always been fascinated by glass. I looked online for glass classes and found a shop right in town. So, I took a beginner beadmaking class back in 2002 at Flametree Glass. I enrolled in classes from many different instructors from all over the country and practiced the techniques they taught. Ever since then I have been in love with beadmaking.
Tell me a little about the process of making your beads?
I start with a steel mandrel dipped in bead release. Heat up the glass rod and start to form a bead on top of the bead release. This is so the glass does not stick to the steel. Once you get a nice base to your bead you can start shaping and adding different colors of glass on to it. There are all kinds of tools that can be used to shape the glass or drag color around on the bead. When you’ve completed your bead it gets placed into a computer controlled kiln at 940 degrees and the temperature is brought down gradually to strengthen the bead.
Are there any new shapes you are working on?
I’m always trying to come up with new designs and shapes. I’ve really enjoyed working on my spree shaped beads lately, like the hearts beads you carry.
What other mediums do you enjoy working with?
When I’m not in front of my torch I like to make jewelry with wire incorporating my glass. I love all of the things that can be done with wire – from viking knit, wire wrapped rings and coiled beads.
What inspires you?
My husband and I go to a lot of zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens when we travel for shows. I think that is where I get most of my inspiration. I love nature – I would have my torch outside in the sun if it was possible.
When you aren’t creating beads, what do you work on?
I love working in my garden. I grew up on a 400 acre vegetable farm in NY and I really miss it. I tried to create a small garden in the backyard so I could at least grow tomatoes. I’ve been adding a lot of flowers around my house as well. I’m always trying something new. This year it is all kinds of geraniums and we are trying to grow a lime tree. Next is an avocado tree. Wish me luck!
Thanks for sharing with us Tammy! Good Luck on the avocado tree!
Happy Beading! – Katie