Monday, 22 March 2010
Featured Artist - Shahlaa Walsh
Hello! My name is Shahlaa Walsh, I’m 24 and I have been making lampwork beads now for 20 months. I gained my interest in lampwork as many other artists did by purchasing them to make jewellery with. I got so addicted to buying them that I thought it might be nice to have a try at making them. I was privileged enough to be Sam Halliwell’s (of Aurora beads) first student and learnt to make my first beads with her summer 2008. I then started building up my glass collection and renting torch time in a local lampworker’s studio. This is where I began my lampworking adventure. For the past 10 months I have had my own “studio” in my parents’ garage in Surrey where I make my beads on a dual fuel Nortel minor torch. I don’t get too much torch time but I try to get a few hours in each week. My main job is studying at medical to be a doctor but I grab as much time as possible with my torch as it relaxes me and gives me a creative outlet.
My inspiration for lampworking really varies. There are a couple of artists whose work has inspired me to persevere and find my own style. I have been blessed to have a one-to-one session with Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork; I love her simple but effective styles and her use of colour. I also truly admire Keiara Wells of Wishing Wells Glass. She has a way with glass that I can only dream about; she makes the most beautiful kitties and cupcakes! But I also gather my inspiration from my everyday life. Because of my science background I love to see reactions between different glasses and the viscosity of the way glasses work with each other. I think I’m still finding my style with beads, but the lentil is definitely my favourite shape and I adore my new heart press which makes the cutest puffy hearts! I like to take ideas from what I see around me, I recently made a union jack heart focal from a vintage heart hanging in my living room! I love to work with pixie dust as I love the shimmery goodness of a sparkly bead. I suppose that’s where “all that sparkles” fits it!
Probably my favourite piece I have made so far was a focal I made on my hot head a few months after I started making beads. It took me an hour to make this focal but it was great! I love it because it is often so difficult to make big beads on a hot head without them cracking! My other favourite beads are anything with silver glass! I love silver glass, it shines, its sparkles, and its unpredictable. I’m still experimenting to tame the beast that is silver glass but I’m having great fun doing it!
I love the fact the within lampworking there are so many colours of glass to experiment with but I am guilty of working too much with my favourite colours! I love blues and pinks and can’t keep away from them! When I see new glass come out I can’t help myself if it’s blue or pink to buy loads of it! Eeeek!! The way I work with making new glass totally depends on my mood. I do try and write a list of things I need to make and ideas I’d like to try in a notebook but I often forget to get it out so end up just playing about! But sometimes things just come together and then it works and looks great, other times its a bit trial and error! My strengths definitely lie with getting to grips with presses early on and creating good shapes and colour combos. My weaknesses in glass probably lie with creating bigger beads and having the patience for making sets! Its not that I don’t like sets, it more because I have such a limited torch time each week I try to fit in as much as poss and sometimes sets just take too long!! My goal for my glass art in the future wholly depends on my future career as a doctor! When I qualify I will have less time for it but I plan on keeping it going even if it’s on a very small scale and I will hopefully one day move all my kit over and have a little studio as part of my own home.
If you like my beads and enjoyed reading about me, you can find me here:
Blog: All That Sparkles Beads Blog
Etsy: All That Sparkles Beads
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Thanks for reading, happy beading!