BEAD­E­LI­CIOUS!

Us­ing hand­crafted beads to cre­ate unique wear­able art

More of Our Canada - - Crafty Canadians - by Kate Clark, To see more of Kate’s work, visit her web­site at www.bead­e­li­cious.ca.

Ihave al­ways been in­ter­ested in crafts. Grow­ing up, my grand­mother was a big in­flu­ence on me. She loved to make things with her hands, so I guess I in­her­ited that from her.

I be­gan mak­ing jew­elry about 15 years ago and glass beads about 12 years ago. I found it hard to find glass beads like the ones I saw in mag­a­zines, so I de­cided to take a course and buy the tools I needed to make my own—i at­tended a week­end work­shop and it just ex­ploded from there.

I make glass beads ( a process called lam­p­work­ing) by us­ing a torch with ei­ther Ef­fe­tre or Lauscha glass rods and a man­drel. The glass rods are heated over a flame un­til the glass starts to move like cold mo­lasses. The glass is then wrapped around the man­drel—the man­drel is what gives you the hole for the bead. From there, I can add more glass, foils, frits and glass enam­els to dec­o­rate the bead. After the beads are heated over a flame, they are put into a kiln to an­neal the glass. (A process that heats then cools the glass slowly to re­move in­ter­nal stresses and toughen it.) I use den­tal tools, a par­ing knife and graphite pad­dles to shape and move the glass, as well as bead presses to give the beads a spe­cific shape or pat­tern.

I also en­joy us­ing ster­ling sil­ver, brass and cop­per to make unique pieces of jew­elry.

I’ve started work­ing with glass enam­els on cop­per, which adds a whole new di­men­sion to my jew­elry. I sift one colour of enamel on the cop­per, then fire it, sift another layer and fire it again. I re­peat this process un­til I achieve a pat­tern or de­sign I’m happy with.

Although I don’t have one favourite bead or piece of jew­elry, I must say, I love the sur­prise I get when I open the kiln to re­move beads or take a metal cast­ing out of the sand. Cre­at­ing some­thing with my own hands that makes peo­ple smile and say “wow” gives me a great sense of ac­com­plish­ment.

Along with mak­ing and giv­ing spe­cial pieces of jew­elry to my fam­ily as gifts, I also do­nate beads to an or­ga­ni­za­tion called Beads of Courage. This is spe­cial to me, as the beads are given to chil­dren who are fight­ing life- threat­en­ing ill­nesses. The chil­dren choose beads that mean some­thing to them, then, us­ing the beads sym­bol­i­cally, they tell their own sto­ries of courage, which are recorded to in­spire oth­ers.

I also sell my jew­elry and beads on my web­site and at­tend lo­cal Christ­mas craft shows ev­ery year. For the craft shows, I make fish mag­nets with big red lips and white teeth— they make ev­ery­one smile.

SHOW off your crafty side and write to us at our­canada.ca or turn to page 64 for our ad­dress.

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