I have always been drawn to glass and loved glass beads. The way light shines through glass gives it a gem-like quality and it is simply beautiful. As a scientist and geologist, I understand the science behind the beauty of glass and crystals. I started my relationship with glass in 1981 when I took my first stained glass class. I made stained glass windows on the side for over 27 years, saving every scrap of glass because someday I was going to make beads out of it! I had no understanding of COE (coefficient of expansion) or glass compatibility. I took my first glass bead class at Scarab Glassworks (Fresno, Ca) and giggled through the entire class. I was overjoyed to finally be making glass beads. After my initial class I was hooked and spent hours working on a hot head torch. After about 2 years I upgraded to a mini cc torch and my work improved dramatically. Today I work on a Carlisle Hellcat, which has the inner fire of the mini cc, which I still have in addition to a few other torches. I continue to take classes today not only to learn but also to recharge my creativity.
My father had moved our family to the San Francisco Bay Area when he got a job as a “rocket scientist” with Lockheed Missiles and Spacecraft and he was an integral part of the Hubble Space Telescope. He was a wonderful man, and his passion as a scientist as well as an accomplished driftwood artist infused me with both my science and art interests. After focusing on art in high school, I attended San Jose State University as an art student, eventually turning my focus to geology and the study of minerals. I was intrigued with minerals and the rainbow colors (birefringence) they exhibited under the microscope. I was frustrated by my inability to get into art classes so I started taking Geology classes. One day I was viewing a student art thesis display at the school and decided I was a better scientist than artist and changed my major to geology.
“I have always been drawn to glass…“
I believe working on the edge had been the biggest factor in my ability to grow as an artist. It’s my plan to take every opportunity that comes my way.
While living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I met my husband Tom and we moved to Humboldt County to obtain my Bachelors in Geology at Humboldt State University. I went back to the Bay Area and obtained a Masters in Geology. From there I began my scientific career as a geologist with the USGS and then a hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service. We eventually landed in the small town of Porterville in the central valley of California where I worked and retired in 2012 as a hydrologist on the Sequoia National Forest in Porterville, CA. We then moved to “paradise”…our beautiful home and studio in Atascadero.
An event that dramatically changed my life in 2008 was a diagnosis of breast cancer and the resulting surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. This experience continues to have a positive influence on my creativity, diversity of design, and willingness to take risks. I am sharing this to emphasize the importance of overcoming obstacles life throws at you and living life to the fullest. Since I was treated for breast cancer I have been inspired to enter competitions, author articles for magazines, teach classes, speak, and travel. I have travelled to Italy twice to take flameworking classes and appreciate the beauty and history of Italy. I have traveled to New Zealand, taught at Fenton Glass Factory in West Virginia, and have exhibited and taught in Tucson, Arizona for the last 9 years. For the past 6 years I have traveled to Canada to participate and instruct at the Molten Experience. I believe working on the edge had been the biggest factor in my ability to grow as an artist. It’s my plan to take every opportunity that comes my way. It is important to live for today.