Spotlight Designer - Patricia Lakinsmith9:00 AM
Glass beads are on our mind this week with the Annual International Society of Glass Beadmakers Gathering taking place this week in Rochester, NY. That is why we are featuring this designer article from 2009. Patty is not only a great designer, but a wonderful glass beadmaker!
A scientist by trade, I've been engaged in art all my life. Whether in my drawings, paintings, and stories written as a child, needlework, beading, quilting, gardening or cooking, I have always been driven to engage in things that produce results I can hold in my hand.
I think I am first a bead maker, and second a jewelry designer. Making my own jewelry enables me to sell at venues such as art and wine shows, where I really enjoy meeting people and sparking their interest in lampwork. But I also like to see how other designers interpret my work, so I enjoy selling my beads as well.
In 2003 I happened to take an introductory bead making class. With great stress I produced a number of horrible UFOs (Unidentified Fried Objects). I was terrified, and completely useless. But there was no turning back; my curious passion for bead making was awoken and it has not slept since. It mystifies me to this day that I had never seen a lampwork bead before I took my first class, and would not see any for several months as I practiced cautiously in my garage. Since then I am thrilled to have been able to take classes with some incredible teachers in PMC, electroforming, and bead making, and I'm always trying to expand my skills. And now, instead of feeling fearful, I melt glass to relax.
Much of my work is inspired by nature, where I find familiar themes of symmetry, asymmetry, and repetition. When I am at the torch, the molten glass picks me up and carries me on a journey to exotic destinations, and the ride is usually exhilarating. Learning the various ways I can coax the glass into doing what it wants to do naturally is thrilling to me, and she never fails to surprise me with her desires.
I am very excited about my recent collaboration with metal artist Cyndie Smith, whose organic themes in mixed metals offers the perfect setting for some of my beads, and whose unfettered ideas enable me to play with abandon. Our collaborative neckpiece entitled, "Mean Green Mother Earth" was accepted into the ISGB/Bead and Button Convergence Exhibit this year and we couldn't be more excited. Before we "met" online it was a dream of each of ours to create a fantasy piece featuring carnivorous flowers that threatened to eat the wearer. Our online friendship has allowed us to share this mutual dream and make it real. Cyndie designed it to include her 3-D copper leaves and tendrils, and some of my own glass carnivorous flower heads (with teeth and lips!). It was tremendously fun to do and we're currently making some companion pieces with the same elements.
I am very excited to see where the modern lampwork movement is headed, with so many eager participants, and so much creativity. We are evolving rapidly, and the sky is the limit.