When the universe was formed, the chemical elements were formed with it. These elements are what makes up glass, the material I work with. Some elements, such as silver, sulfur, cadmium, and cobalt, are commonly used to color the glass. The chemistry of glass also has widespread effects on how it is worked and reactions between different colors.
When the world was new, there were four elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. I use all three of these elements when creating my beads. The glass is from the earth, formed in fire fed by the wind, with water nearby to quench tools, and as a safety precaution.
I am not particularly spiritual, but there are many ways to interpret the elemental in a spiritual way as well. The elemental aspects of the unseen world are all around us. Some people have a greater connection to these things than others, and perhaps I am influenced more than I know when I create these beads.
When I make the Elemental beads, I do not usually plan what I am going to do in advance in detail. I have an idea for a design element that I want to use, whether it is concentric circles, thin lines, color combinations, curves, or raking. I let the design emerge as I work around one of these essential design elements.
I started making these beads in the latter half of 2010, and I enjoy the challenge and skill needed to make them. One of these beads was in the Flow Women In Glass Issue of 2011, and a couple beads were included in the ISGB’s Venture show in 2012. They take about 45 min to an hour to make and pose many problem solving opportunities including keeping the bead from cracking while applying the decoration, and the precision application and control needed to actually decorate the bead. I prefer the transparent beads where design on both sides can be seen.
These beads were the first design in the series. These beads are about finding glass color combinations that work well together.