I started working with flameworking beads in 2003. I had interviewed Sharon Owens, owner of Inspired Fire, for a class project. The flameworking seemed really neat and something that I wanted to try. Mom surprised me with a gift certificate for a beginning flameworking class. Sharon shows you how to make several types of beads, Christmas ornaments, a sculpture, and a marble. Ever since that class I have been hooked. I started going to Inspired Fire almost every weekend to make beads. After awhile Sharon asked me what I was doing with the beads and of course I said nothing. Both mom and Sharon got on me to make jewelry, so I slowly started making jewelry. It is funny looking back at photos of the first pieces I made and to realize how much I had improved.
At that time I was also still trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college. I had dropped out of Purdue because I was not happy with the majors I was taking, so I moved to Ivy Tech to figure out what I wanted to do. One day I happened to go out to the Liberal Arts, Fine Arts site and found out that Purdue offered Jewelry and Metalsmithing classes. I thought to myself this is a sign, something that you are interested in learning, now get your butt signed back up at Purdue.
Just so you all know, I DO NOT DRAW, I DON NOT LIKE TO DRAW and I DON'T EVER WANT TO DRAW AGAIN!!!!
The next metalsmithing class I took was Color on Metals, which was so much fun. We worked with epoxy and then did about two weeks of enameling. That so set me up for the next class I took which was Enameling. The enameling was so much fun except for the Cloisonné and then sanding down the enamel to get the right level you want on the copper. I did like the enamel painting on copper. I used a Georgia O'Keeffe painting for my subject.
The last two metalsmithing classes I took were 362 and 462 which were the more advance techniques in metal works. But there is still so much more I want to take. That is one thing I am disappointed about at Purdue, I want to take all my classes in metals, but of course they want you to be a well rounded student and I can take only 4 metals classes towards my degree, UGH!
I did try and be a good girl and take a couple of other classes that Purdue wants you to take towards your Fine Arts degree. I took beginning drawing, which was a nightmare; I took beginning textiles, which turned out to be alright when we got to the crocheting and the knitting part and I did like my final project; and in the spring semester of 2009 I will take a beginning ceramics class.
In regards to bead making; mom and I bought torches in 2006 and mom set up a studio in her garage. We have a kiln, a place to make beads, and of course an exhaust fan so we don't kill ourselves with the fumes.
I won a Delta Phi Delta scholarship in 2007 and went to Penland, NC the summer of 2007. It was a class on incorporating glass and metal into pieces of art. Once I got over being intimidated, because I don't consider myself an artist, I am a craftsperson; I had really good time there.
So that is how I got started with the bead and metal work. I have not regretted it all, though my checkbook has on occasion :)