2/14/17--My shopify store is temporarily closed while I build inventory for the Bead n Button show in Milwaukee, WI in June 2017. Thank you for your patience!
7/1/16- I just opened a brand new Shopify storefront! Easy to find items, safe payment methods and a streamlined checkout have helped me to elevate my customer service! Faster FREE shipping, convenient communication and a personalized experience.
Click below to visit my Shopify store:
Certainly, I do! I'm happy to work with you on a customized transaction. Use the Contact Me link in the menu at the left, or click here!
Yep! All you need to do is join my mailing list and/or follow me on Facebook!
There is a form at the right of this page, and on the home page!
This form also subscribes you to my newsletter that is a random, no more than once a month dealio. I don't send it until it is full of enough to make it worth your while. ;-)
At this time I accept instant and credit card payments through PayPal.
Absolutely! Some of my best customers are beyond my borders.
Please note that you are responsible for knowing and understanding your own country's import policies. If you are charged VAT, broker fees or import duties and taxes...they are your responsibility. I have no control over what your country imposes on your packages.
For Glass Items:
If you don't like it in person or it arrives broken, email me within 2 weeks. I will send you a prepaid return mailing label. When I've receive the return, I refund your purchase price in full.
Handmade beads and sculptures are made of glass which by its very nature is fragile. I've taken every precaution to make the item as sturdy and durable as possible, but if you drop it or bang it against a hard surface, it could break. Please handle with care.
If a piece breaks after the 2-week refund period, still contact me. I stand behind my work and will remake a similar item for you.
My lampwork beads are lovingly made by me in my home studio, kiln annealed for durability and thoroughly cleaned for your convenience. I work hard to be sure you're satisfied with your purchase. I’ve been a full time lampworker for over 9 years.
I'm sorry that I do not offer a return policy on digital products. There are ample sample pages and a supply list available for each tutorial that will hopefully give you enough information to make a solid decision about purchasing from me. If there is something technically wrong with your digital download, I will work with you to fix it.
I use thin rods of colored transparent and opaque glass and a blow torch to make these beads.
Basically, I dip a thin steel mandrel into clay slip and let it dry. I then melt the glass rods in the flame of the torch to wind the molten glass around the mandrel to form the beads. The hot beads are placed into a kiln to be annealed and to control their temperature until they have cooled. The cooled beads are removed from the mandrels and the clay slip is cleaned from inside the holes. That is the nuts and bolts answer!
If you take a very close look at some of the 'craft store' beads you will notice big differences. Some of the differences you can't SEE.
First- look at the insides of the bead holes. You will recognize something as lower quality if the hole is still filled with dried clay. This is the bead release that nobody bothered to clean out. This is something they didn't feel worth the effort.
Second- look at the edges of the bead holes. You will notice that they are sometimes rough or sharp on cheap beads. These beads are made in a hurry--quantity over quality and the time needed to refine the hole edges is not a priority.
Third- if the beads have raised designs like dots or stripes, look at the point where the raised element meets the base it is sitting on. A dot should look like half of an orange sitting on a table. No undercut edges. If it looks like a tennis ball sitting on the table, it has not been melted in enough and in a short time that dot will pop off of the bead.
Fourth- artistry aside, because frankly some of the craft store beads have been looking pretty good- look for originality. There is a use for many levels of arts and crafts. Perhaps your target customer wouldn't be able to afford a higher end bracelet. A whole strand of handmade (because even the cheap beads ARE handmade by a human) beads for under $5 is pretty tempting! But, even customers with a small jewelry budget want something special. There are loads of affordable, artisan-made lampwork beads available now. Everywhere from personal websites, to Etsy and eBay. Take some extra time to hunt down something special. Your customers will thank you for it in the long run.
Fifth- what you can't see. Annealing is tantamount with glass beads. You can get away without annealing an 12mm solid color round bead. Sure. It's not the best option, but it would probably outlive us all. But if you get into larger beads or sculptural pieces or beads with raised elements--it is worth it to make sure you are buying beads that have been properly annealed. There is no way to validate this with craft store beads. A huge ratio of them haven't been annealed. If they've been thermally protected at all, it was a rush job, poorly done to increase productivity--not to increase quality.
You aren't saving you or your customers any money if you have to repair work for broken beads. Plus, there is your reputation to think of. Yes, artisan made beads sometimes break--even annealed ones! But you know who made it, you know where you bought it from. They will make it right. The makers of the craft store beads never think about those beads once they've been distributed. They don't care. Artisans do!
All that being said, those are also things to look out for with artisan made beads! Be informed. Look carefully at images of handmade beads you're purchasing online. Can you see the holes? Can you tell if the raised elements are solidly attached? Does the artisan say they are annealed and cleaned? It matters.
Still have questions? Please contact me anytime! I look forward to hearing from you.