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How do you make glass beads?

Each glass bead is made one at a time by melting rods of coloured glass and applying to a mandrel.  Beads are shaped by using a variety of tools and techniques.  Patterns are applied using various thicknesses of glass and application techniques.  The beads are then placed in a kiln where they soak at a specific temperature then cool very slowly to remove stresses in the glass that can cause cracking.  You can view the various tools and equipment used to make beads by clicking the Tool Tuesday blog posts.

Why is your glass art so expensive?

New Zealand is at the bottom of the world and unfortunately does not manufacture glass for use in making beads or fusing so it must be imported from other countries at a significant cost.  The tools and equipment required for glass making are also largely imported from other countries.  Designing and making glass art requires skills that must be learned and practiced and I have traveled around New Zealand and overseas to learn techniques, and spent countless hours practicing and honing my glass making skills.  When these are factored into what I charge for my finished work, the prices are comparable to other glass artists in New Zealand and around the world.

What makes your beads different to the beads I can purchase at the craft store?

I am an artist and have spent many years developing skills and techniques to produce quality one of a kind glass beads.  My beads are crafted from quality glass then annealed in a digitally controlled kiln to give them heirloom quality strength.  Store bought beads are generally not annealed in a kiln and the hole still contains the unsightly bead release that is used to stop the bead sticking to the steel mandrel.  Bead release is a sludgy clay substance that with friction from stringing materials will become a powder that can be inhaled which basically turns to sludge in your lungs.  My beads are cleaned of bead release before I sell them or use them in jewellery designs.

Do you do custom orders?

Glass bead making and glass fusing is a hobby and the time I can spend being creative is limited.  I generally don't do custom orders due to time constraints as well as the added costs involved in designing and developing work that the client is happy with.

Do you ship internationally?

Yes I ship my beads and jewellery all over the world.  Due to COVID-19, shipping times have been extended and in some cases it can take several weeks for an order to reach its destination.