Terri Caspary has been making beads since 1999, but has been an artist all her life. Her lampwork beads are incredibly detailed and always changing. With each new bead she designs, Terri learns more about form, color and the mysterious beauty of glass. As she molds and shapes the decorative beads, she enjoys watching their beauty naturally progress and take on new forms. Artbeads co-owner and chief designer Cynthia Kimura has always been a fan of Terri Caspary’s lampwork beads ever since she saw them at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
This beautiful bird bead was the first bead Cynthia purchased from Terri and it’s still one of her favorites.
Cynthia recently contacted Terri and asked her some questions about her work, and wanted us to share her incredible talent with our fans. This amazing artist deserves to be recognized for her work! Here Cynthia shares what Terri had to say:
What is your favorite piece you’ve made so far?
I think my favorite piece is probably the “lotus pod” bead. I like it because it looks like inlaid ivory. It’s also one of my more difficult beads as each segment has to be carefully sealed with transparent individually.
What happened the first time you tried to make a bead?
The first time I tried to make beads I think I immediately pulled the release off the mandrel by trying to pull on the glass too hard. I also think I got the glass too hot and a big ball dripped onto the table. Those were my first lessons in heat control! I still have the beads I made that first day. I have them strung on a little Buddha right in front of my studio. I was already developing an obsession with dots.
Do you still work with fibers?
I used to do silk painting with liquid fiber reactive dyes and resist. I took some week-long workshops with the wonderful John Marshall who taught me traditional techniques in Japanese stencil cutting, fabric dying using paste resist and natural dyes using soy as a dye fixative. I loved the process and the results and still have my old stencils, as well as some antique stencils I collected in Japan. I found it difficult to be productive in this medium with a full time “day job” so to speak, as the dying process is fairly time-consuming and involved. I do love it though, and hope to someday work on some projects using the stencils I created. I found that some of my stencil designs are very similar to the beads I make now. I was always interested in repeating patterns and circular organic forms in nature.
how did you make the transition from working with fibers to making beads?
I think my interest in beads and jewelry probably evolved from my interest in textiles and adornment. I loved glass and glass art, and found the process of glassmaking to be fascinating, but inaccessible. In the late 90’s I began to realize that there was a glass bead movement evolving, and that people were making lampwork beads. Like most beadmakers, I started as a collector. I still have all my wonderful beads from Michael Barley, Larry Scott, Sage & Tom Holland, Caitlin Hyde, Isis Ray, Barbara Becker Simon and many others. Many of these people have become friends and mentors over the years.
I started making beads in 1999 when I took a workshop here in Albuquerque with Eleanor Macnish who has since become a good friend. I found I had an affinity for lampwork and worked out of her studio for 2 years before building my own studio in my backyard. I have taken workshops with Sage and Tom Holland in Arkansas, Larry Scott, Michael Barley, Stephanie Sersich, and Jim Jones & Lani Ching. I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for Caitlyn Hyde at The Studio at Corning Museum of Glass, and for Kristina Logan’s master class at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, WI in 2009.
Lampworking is a great way to work with glass in a more manageable way as it doesn’t require a lot of equipment or access to a furnace. I found I was able to integrate bead making into my life while continuing my career as a full-time nurse-midwife. It’s good to be able to retreat to the studio and find that quiet meditative space after hectic days in the clinic and hospital.
Do you teach lessons anywhere?
This year I’ve decided to start teaching some workshops. I spend a lot of time working alone in my studio, and I think it will be a good way to connect with the bead-making community. Teaching has been part of my job for 20 years, and I am looking forward to extending that to bead making. My focus will be returning to the foundations of good technique and developing skills that can help beadmakers express themselves in more satisfying and complex ways without the use of a lot of fancy tools.
I’ll be teaching at the studio of Andrea Guarino in Port Townsend, Washington in June 2012, and for the Arizona Society of Glass Beadmakers in March 2013. I will have updates of any Etsy listings, shows, and classes on my Facebook artist page.
We love shining the spotlight on incredible lampwork artists, and Terri Caspary is an exceptional designer. She was generous enough to spend some time with us in Tucson and let us in on how she creates. Thank you, Terri, from all of us at Artbeads!
Below is Cynthia’s personal collection of Terri Caspary lampwork beads. Cynthia admits that these beads are so beautiful that she can’t bring herself to use them in jewelry! They are all displayed proudly on her craft table, where she can look at them every day.