I started by learning how to cut gems down in Tucson at the Old Pueblo Gem & Mineral Club. Followed that up by starting assembling jewelry from gems, minerals, and findings from Tripp’s and Rio Grande Jewelry Suppliers. Then I made a serious error, I took my wife Jackie with me to the Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson. She fell in love with the glass and stone beads she found there and quickly started putting together jewelry on her own. When she fell in love with more of the glass than she could buy, she conned me into learning Lampwork Bead making.
The term ‘Lampwork’ came from Italy during the 13th and 14th centuries when glass bead artists worked their magic with soft glass over coal oil lamps. Today we use a harder glass and work with torches using Propane and Oxygen. Looking for even prettier glass to work with, she soon discovered Fused Dichroic Glass and with help from the Dichroic Lady from Meade, AZ, she was soon slaving over a hot kiln. All in all, it’s been a long and winding road with Jackie picking up wire wrapping and me getting into metalsmithing and lapidary stonework along the way. It’s been both satisfying, and at times frustrating.