Welcome to Twisted Chicken Beads, Etc
So – you say my earrings don’t match . . . you’re right! And neither do my ears, and for that matter, I don’t see the earrings I’m wearing and – IT DRIVES PEOPLE WHO LOOK AT ME CRAZY! That is Twisted Chicken Beads, Etc – I want all my pieces to scream “Look at ME!” And that is why most of my work is done in bright, cheerful colors.
“Art glass” or lampwork beads utilize “soft” glass (104 COE). Glass rods are heated in a torch flame until the end of the rod is soft and fluid then wrapped around a stainless steel mandrel previously coated with bead release. The bead is then manipulated (more color added, pressed into a specific shape using brass tools, or just played with) until the artist is happy with the final product. The beads go directly into a kiln and kept at a constant 960 degrees until I’m done for the day. The kiln is slowly cooled to reduce the stress in the glass between the outside of the bead (cools first/faster) and the inside (last/slower). When removed from the mandrel the beads are then cleaned one at a time with a tool to remove the bead release. I then use these beads and other glass/crystal/silver beads to create jewelry.
I’ve been torching beads since 2003 – my introduction was a class at the Peoria Art Guild taught by Teresa Kodatt of Pumpkin Glass in Morton, IL. I could not afford the cool beads I saw on-line so decided to make them myself, thinking I would have unique beads at a reasonable price to restring. I have learned two things – the beads are still expensive and I would rather melt glass than string beads! And now the amount of cool tools and interesting glass (colors and the inclusion of metal in the glass) available to lampworkers has grown – enabling us to make even more interesting beads.
In the past I have participated in the Galesburg Civic Art Center Art in the Park, Wildlife Prairie Park Art in the Park, Spring Bloom Arts Festival in Bloomington, Il, Snake Alley Art Fair in Burlington, IA, Peoria Riverfront Market, Peoria Heights Farmer’s Market, Knox County Scenic Drive and Christmas Show at Walnut Grove Farm, Illinois Art League Show and Luthy Botanical Show, both in Peoria Heights, IL. In 2006 I received a Jurors’ Choice Award at the Galesburg Art in the Park. I was the featured artist of the month in October, 2011, at the Galesburg Civic Art Center. I am so a new member of the Illinois Artisans Program and currently have jewelry in the Museum Store in Springfield, IL.
Several jewelry artists have purchased my beads to incorporate in their original work. These artists have sold their original pieces at the Peoria Art Guild’s Junction City Art Show and other venues.