Hi there! Thank you for being curious enough to read a little about me.
Art entered my life at an early age when I first discovered the power of a pencil. It was then that I found I loved to draw. The ability to draw was and is truly a gift which did not manifest itself to the "public" until I took up lampworking in 2001. I must admit that drawing with glass is a bit more challenging than using a pencil.
Even with my love for drawing and the desire for artistic expression, I found myself pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. I had a knack for mathematics and did well with anything analytical. As a child I also enjoyed taking apart small electronics, playing with the parts and then putting them back together. I was a bit tom-boyish! My parents said engineering was a more "practical" means of making a living than becoming an artist. As a devoted daughter, I listened to them. But, now that I'm all grown up (sort of), I am finally pursing my life's dream in making my artistic expressions the "practical" means of my livelihood.
I grew up in Southern California with both parents deeply immersed in the fashion/textile industry. I had many opportunities as a child to visit the LA garment district. Textiles - fabric colors, designs and textures have greatly inspired and influenced my art. My work is also inspired by nature, ceramics, stones (lapidary), Japanese arts and aesthetics, and Victorian-Art Nouveau jewelry.
With the help of this website, you'll find that I work in several mediums (sometimes at the same time) to keep my artistic edge constantly challenged. It will be interesting how all this develops, as I explore each respective artistic medium, and make new discoveries along my creative journey.
How it all started . . .
In April 2001 I took up lampworking and metalsmithing. I don't diddle-daddle when I am serious about something. Besides, the artist in me was screaming to come out. Within one month of using a Hothead torch, I was set up with a Minor and propane/oxygen tank. I took a hiatus from beadmaking in June 2001 due to an impromptu business trip to the Far East. Upon returning and a month later, the flame beckoned me and I was determined to play with fire once again. In August 2001, 5 months after taking up lampworking, I began offering my glass beads online.
The creative spirit never ends and taking my art to the next level, in July 2003, I began exploring seed beading techniques. Although tedious for some to work with, seed beads have a certain allure because working with them improves one's concepts of color combinations and helps create "visual textures" on a personal canvas. Color is so important to me that I think about it nearly every waking moment! It is so rewarding to finish an elaborately beaded project knowing that you made it with just a vision, a bit of imagination, some beads, needles, thread and your own hands. I LOVE to bead, to design and to share with others, as I attempt to elevate the craft to a new level of appreciation.
In 2004, I focused on developing my skills in the metal arts with the eventual goal of melding glass and metals via enameling. The developments were so very exciting but required lots of time, hard work, education and dedication. In 2005, I decided to set aside metalsmithing and enameling for the time being to return back to what's most important to me - glass. A person can only do so much, with definitive time, even if I have a thirst for knowledge and want to learn everything! There will be a time in the future where all these mediums will be combined into a grand new exploration.
Although I consider myself predominantly self-taught in glass, in July 2005 I began taking specialized workshops with Michael Barley, Andrea Guarino-Slemmons and Kim Osibin to fine tune my skills. In July 2006, I was fortunate to finally meet and watch Kristina Logan, the "dot queen", work in the flame. These extraordinary artists and gifted teachers have provided me with much insight into their glass worlds. There is so much more to learn and explore in glass. I will continue to hone my glass techniques and skills even more in years to come.
Melting glass IS my primary love, however all mediums I find myself working in are all interrelated, keeping things interesting, as well as me very busy. There is simply not enough time in a day to create! I have a gazillion ideas and projects waiting to be made. Sometimes these ideas take many years before they are formalized. The only restriction is finding the time to do everything. Having the right equipment and tools are also very important to me that I spend endless hours researching before making a purchasing commitment. I believe with the right tools, the right materials, the right skills and the right knowledge - the final creation will speak for itself.
With lampworking, imagine manipulating glass in front of a HOT torch (up to 1700°) fed with propane and oxygen, then watching the glass oozing like honey! It's amazing how some of these beads can turn out, as it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish colors and the designs when you have a hot gather of glass in front of you. You have to think a mile a minute. One wrong move or a little too long in the flame and that's it. There are rarely any second chances when dealing with hot glass. Precision, control, technique, focus, patience and meticulous care to details are attributes one needs to master. With metalsmithing, there's nothing like pounding on some metal after a long frustrating day. I think I am just like a moth to a flame. And with both lampworking and metalsmithing, I have fun playing with fire to make beautiful things! And... making beautiful things have always been the drive and focus of my art. This means time and attention to the details, small and large, using the finest materials for the respective design.
In 2003, my glass work began to get noticed and recognized. In April 2003, the Le Fiore Vive beads were selected to be part of James Kervin's Book More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Glass Beadmaking, 5th Edition. In October 2003, Lark Books selected the Serenity leaf series to be part of their juried 1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking book. In February 2005, Lark Books also selected the Le Fiore Vive beads (watercolor versions) for inclusion in Kimberly Adam's, The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking. A few months after, in May 2005, I decided to forego pursuing my engineering job, as a senior quality assurance engineer in consumer electronics, to follow my artistic passions full time, a dream come true. Wow! what a drastic change but so much more rewarding to the creative spirit!
In late 2005, with more time on my hands to finally pursue another dream - writing, I submitted a few ideas to Beadwork and Bead Unique Magazines. Since then, I've had a number of articles and projects published in some wonderful publications. My River's Edge necklace, using a bead from the Fusion series, was chosen for the cover of the Spring 2006 issue of Stringing Magazine. In March 2006, I was selected as Softflex Company's featured designer. Softflex Company has also invited me to periodically write for their online newsletters. Then in March 2007, I went international with my writing and Australian Beading Magazine spotlighted my glass work with a feature on American artists, in their premiere launch issue. In April 2007, the Haiku bead was chosen as an editor's pick and two of the beads graced the cover of Beadwork Magazine's Annual Beads 2007 issue. In July 2007, Naomi Fujimoto, senior editor of BeadStyle Magazine, featured the Serenity leaves in her book Cool Jewels. Then in the Fall 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine, the Serenity leaves were featured as leaves the editors loved! Fellow designer and the very talented Jean Yates of Pretty Kitty Dog Moon Jewelry features one of my first floral series, Victoria, in her first book Links (January 2008)
My biggest challenge and achievement was finally announced November 2007. I don't know how I did it but I managed to keep the project, for the most part, secret - except to close friends and family. I had been writing, designing and beading from August 2006 to June 2007 for my first book, Bead Romantique which is published by the good folks of Interweave Press (April, 2008). All this done while also exhibiting nationwide. Even with so many ideas floating in this mind, it was the biggest challenge to switch hats from glass to seed beads, between shows and balance time.
After Bead Romantique was released, I was chosen to be one of four Designers of the Year by Beadwork Magazine in 2009. The honor of having a project in every issue kept me busy. With a relocation from Southern California to Vancouver, Wa at the end of 2011 I began to think about compiling a second book but was not quite ready until 2013 due to adding textile and fiber shows to my schedule. It was while working on Bead Metamorphosis projects that I came up with the idea of developing Aria Design Studio to offer bead supplies and specialty products that I carefully curated.
I keep a VERY busy schedule (what's sleep anyways?) which makes me focus and value the time I spend creating in the studio! Even when I am not in the studio, I am constantly researching and contemplating the next creation. I also spend a lot of time being the webmaster and photographer for this site. The rest of my "spare" time is used for writing and designing jewelry for the Starman Trendsetters, Toho Beads or e-tutorials. Periodically, I do have extra finished jewelry and will offer them on the site or my Etsy shop. If I can sneak in other hobbies like running, knitting, spinning, dyeing, sewing, cooking and reading, I do. Basically every waking second, minute and hour is utilized for creative exploration! Because of this I DO NOT accept custom orders. I believe by allowing any artist the freedom to create and experiment, letting their muse be the guide to their visions, the artist will perpetually evolve and flourish.
Thank you for stopping by to read a little about how all this madness got started and where I am going next. I hope you enjoy my imagination, artistic interpretation and creativity in each of the treasures I make. I hope you are inspired to discover and explore your creativity from the articles and projects that I write.
From my visions to reality... there are infinite possibilities.
Thank you for enjoying my work!