Wednesday, January 26, 2011


...when my mind is uncluttered. That's when I am in my zen mode being able to express myself with my sketches on paper and then, working these ideas onto my glass beads. For most of my beads, I plan ahead of time; do my sketches, select the colors I want to use and then execute the beads. I even make test beads before I make the actual beads. Test beads are made and left on the worktable to cool so that I can see whether my ideas will work. These beads are not annealed and they get landed in the trash bin. I do not believe in co-incidences for making beads. Oh, don't get me wrong, when I first started out with making glass beads, I just "jumped right in" without any inkling of what I was going to make on the bead. Whatever glass was on the table, I would have used it. That is natural for all beginners, attempting to make glass beads. A normal step for anything we learn. Then, we move on to the next level. What's that, you may ask. That level is, making things happen on purpose.

What is involved in making designs happen on your beads? Planning, of course. You can't depend on luck or your la-di-da mood or whatever catches your fancy right now; you have to steer yourself onto the right path. Look at it this way, if you can't draw it on paper, then, how in heaven's sake are you going to make it work on the bead? It's hot, it's more than hot when the torch is on, the glass is molten, you can't grab an eraser to erase the mistake you made on your bead like you can with your pencil sketches. You don't have to be a master at drawing on paper, but visuals are vital. They "remind" you when you flamework where to add a line here or there, or put a curvy line instead of a straight line across the bead, add little dots on the left and so on. It may also turn out that it is possible on paper but not with glass; ideas may be totally abandoned or perhaps tweaked a wee bit to make it look even better on the bead. My sketchbook sits next to me whenever I work at the torch.

Believe me, I do not depend on "let's see what happens next" to make my bead sets. My sets tell a story; to make the story work, you have to plan! Remember, the beads we make capture our very essence, our thoughts, our being in a particular moment and that is sealed in forever. Sounds tacky but true!










Cindy said...

Are you going to be in Tucson again? I'd love to stop by.

TesoriTrovati said...

Thank you for sharing about your process, Dora. I think that it is very intriguing to know that you plan these out in detail on paper first. I think that the designs you do are so detailed you would have to! I am more of a winging it kind of gal, but with something like this it would definitely help to have a vision first! Thanks for sharing your inspiration. Enjoy the day!

Dora Schubert said...

Cindy, sorry, I won't be going to Tucson - this year, I will only be going to the Gathering in Louisville, KY.

Erin, visualizing it on paper is for most of us an uncomfortable giant step. We might gaze at the paper when we try it out for the first time and probably abandon the idea of visualizing it after a few minutes. But once you make yourself cross that threshold, it becomes easier the next time you pen it on paper. Like I mentioned, it does not need to be a masterpiece sketching out your ideas, it could be a stick-figure sketch, jot down the colors on the sketch, etc. It makes your actual "production" more productive!

SharDon Exclusives said...

I love your pieces. I must go look around for what I have missed. Each bead is a work of true art,

Jenni C said...

Thank you for sharing your creative process.
I am sort of starting to do this, but can see it would be very beneficial the more complex the design becomes. Will try and give this a more purposeful attempt and see where it may take me...! Thank you.

Dora Schubert said...

Jenni, this process is basically to help keep you focused in your projects or if in the midst of the project, you can adjust and change your ideas. You don't have to stick to it 100% - that way, you might end up with, in this case, glass beads which may differ in designs but have the same color properties that can be used in a set, made into a necklace or bracelet. There would be some common factors which tie the beads together and they work because of that. If you work haphazardly, chances are you would end up with beads that are individual and don't really function together as a team.