About my beads

I create each bead individually, in my Amsterdam studio. I use a variety of soft glass (COE 104): Effetre, Vetrofond, Lauscha, CIM, Reichenbach, TAG and Double Helix. All my beads are annealed in a digitally-controlled kiln, ensuring a long, durable life.

About me

Well, unlike most people who get addicted to melting glass, I don’t have an art background. I’m not a painter; I can’t even draw.

I was born in Australia, and grew up there, but have lived most of my adult life in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. I have a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Mathematics and Computing.

Until a few years ago I earned my living by writing computer programs and giving training courses. Although I still love programming computers, there are many things about it that have irritated me more and more over the years. In particular, it drives me crazy when I slave for hours or days over a piece of code to produce something that I proudly show somebody. And they look at it, and say, “Is that all it can do? What about this? What about that? And, are you going to do that?” Grrr!

So how did I get to the point of trying to earn a livelihood by making glass beads? By a slightly convoluted route: a few years ago I was hunting around for interesting things to do with my hair. I came across Blue Heron Woodworks. To make a very long story shorter, I purchased a pair of hairsticks with “handmade glass beads”.

But even before I received the hairsticks, I became fascinated with the idea: How on earth do you make a glass bead by hand? I did an internet search and discovered a great page by Jodi Henry showing how to make a lampwork bead. And I knew that I wanted to try it.

I took a beginner’s lesson, and since then have learnt mainly from the internet (thank you!); books; and, hours and hours and hours behind the torch. At a certain point all of my (computer) training courses dried up, and the software project that I had been working on for months was finally declared Finished. So I decided to take the plunge and go full-time with lampworking.

It is an addictive process. Similar to when I’m programming, I find myself busy with one thing, but thinking, “What about doing this?”, or, “Why not try it with that colour combination?” I am fascinated mostly by the results of the chemical reactions in the glass. I love adding silver to my beads, as it does really interesting things with glass.

And you know one thing that I like the most about my new profession? People view the results of my creations and make an immediate emotional judgement. You like it or you don’t, but I don’t have to explain that it took me 10 hours just to debug this one line of code (and wasn’t that clever of me to create the bug in the first place?).

I love my colourful, analogue new world!