Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Glass Bead SRA Movement

ABS recently caught up with Melinda Melanson who hosts the web site for glass lampwork Self-Representing Artists. What's that? Read on...

What is your name and what are your web sites? Personal and SRA.

Melinda Melanson

Tell us about you, outside of SRA. How did you become a glass beadmaker? How long have you been making beads?

I'm 42 yrs old with a retired Air Force Hubby and an 18 yr old daughter. We love animals and have a bunch. Dogs, cats, birds, snakes, lizards, tortoise, and a frog. I've always been drawn to beads and glass work. As a child I remember finding beads in the road or school play area and gathering them up to make my own jewelry. Way back then, I strung them on fishing line. I am always looking for something new to try, and in the early 90's, I bought a booklet and some beads and started making seed bead earrings. From there, my collection of beads has grown to take over my house. I don't do a lot of stringing work. I prefer bead weaving, loom work, bead embroidery. I started making Art dolls and was getting frustrated in not being able to find just the right beads for my dolls. Around 1999 I saw a bead making kit in a book club and figured I could make simple beads to adorn my dolls. Well, I had no idea there was a market for the beads I was making, they kept piling up and after a quick search on eBay, I decided to sell them there. I didn't start to sell them until 2001, but I was making them in late 1999.

Where do you sell your beads? Do you sell finished pieces?

Most of my work is sold on eBay and my website. I occasionally sell finished items, but mostly they are donated to a worthy cause. Some of my work has been in beading magazines and websites.

How did the Self-Representing Artist (SRA) site come about?

Basically, a bunch of [glass] bead artists were discussing how we could let our buyers know that they are looking at work that is made by the artist and not mass produced. Before a couple years ago, this was easy, there were very few mass produced lampwork style beads and it was easy to distinguish between SRA and mass produced. But then the overseas mass producing factories started to produce the same designs and styles that we were making. We decided a badge or logo would help us stand out from the mass produced beads.

How does it work?
Very easy to join. Send in some basic info. Once we verify that the applicant is a SRA, the member will get a membership number and a copy of the logo to use. I retain the rights to decline or pull anyone's membership at any time. The logo is used by strict permission only.

How many SRA’s do you have listed?
I've lost count after 1000, I think we are about 1500 strong now.

What are the requirements to be an SRA? Is it just for glass? Are there other organizations of this kind?
Our group is very easy to join. We only require the members to sell their own or immediate family members glass work where they display the logo. We do not require the member desist from selling other work. But they may not display the logo on this other work. Because our basic mission is to help buyers find genuine glass work, this group is for glass only. There are groups out there that represent the self representing jewelry designer.

Are you affiliated, endorsed or recommended by any other organizations? (ISGB? Local guilds? Etc).
I'm not sure if we've gotten any official recommendations from other groups yet. I believe The Angry Mandrel is linking to our site now. I know word is spreading like wildfire and the group receives new applications almost daily.

Is there anything you’d like to say to art bead makers and designers that use art beads?
To the bead artists out there, stand up and proclaim you are a self-representing artists. Make it easier for new customers to find your work. Be proud to be an SRA. Educate your customers about the differences between SRA work and mass produced work.

And to the designers......A HUGE thank you for supporting the SRA's. I believe the quality in the glass work made by SRA's is greatly superior to the mass produced items. And by supporting the SRA, you are directly supporting the artists and not a bunch of middle men/importers.

Is there any advice you can give for other art bead makers in other mediums that might want to follow your lead in the SRA movement?
Stand up and be proud of being a SRA in whatever medium you work in. Search for groups in your medium that can help you find your customers. If there isn't a group, think about starting one. Help others along their path.

(All beads in this article are by Melinda Melanson. Click images for a larger view).

Lori Greenberg is a glass beadmaker who blogs from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

by Joel Phillips
owner: American Coast Title

Just watching the news from London is a reminder that we’re living in an age of terrorism. And, sad to say, almost all terrorism has something to do with Islam and Muslims, you just won’t find much of it that is not in some way connected.

Just look at a few:

First World Trade Center Attack: a blind Egyptian guy was behind it. No one contests it.

Oklahoma City: don’t forget that McVeigh served in the first Gulf War. There is good reason to think he was recruited by jihadists in Iraq who were active at the time.

9/11: Islamic suicide extremists, forget the other theories. They were Taliban zealots hoping for 172 virgins and palaces in Islamic heaven.

Spanish train bombs: more Jihad extremists, basically the same bunch as the 9/11.

London train bombs: not the same 9/11 and Spain guys, but more British Muslims from Pakistan.

Virginia Tech: This one is so sad. Psychiatry started Cho out. Then Islamic recruiters told Cho he would get infinite sex in Muslim heaven from the 172 virgins so he converted. By trying to destroy Virginia Tech he thought he was attacking Bush’s aggression in Afghanistan.

London night club bombs: Good for the Brit cops, they have caught some of the guys and it is more of these Pakistan guys and doctors at that, some of them were even psychiatrists. Maybe it is time to have a serious think about what to do about Pakistan. Mixing up Islam, Muslims, psychiatry and Pakistan is a recipe for mass murder and terrorism. Trust me on this one.

It is no accident or coincidence the bigots who oppose religious freedom are inspired by Islamic thought.

Just look at some of the fine people on EVERY SINGLE PERSON on there is a zealot, bigot or extremist and you will find that most of them have extensive criminal records. Take a look at these criminal records and you will find the influence of Islam.

Charlotte Kates: this young woman is a card-carrying member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. They are kind of the poster child for Muslim terrorists and an inspiration to Islamic murderers all over the world. What is her problem?

Peter Alexander: this man makes hate films. He is also building some kind of an amusement park in the Arab Gulf. Is is clearly doing the bidding of Islamist extremist jihad promoting masters all the way around.

Patricia Greenway: this woman is Alexander’s business partner and lover. She likes to live the high life and Arab money helps out there. Word in Ybor City is that she has her eye on an Enzo.

Kristi Wachter: she puts out a daily hate newsletter. She has paid for the theft of materials from churches. She says she used to run a record company but how much money could it make? It seems to me she is getting her money from bin Laden and his friends.

David Touretzky: don’t be fooled. This man is not a mouse brain researcher, he is a bomb expert. Who is really paying for his research? Could it be the same bomb makers loose in Iraq?

Keith Henson: first, don’t forget that but for this man would still be on the loose. He’s not just a bomb expert but a proved bomb maker. And who wants to pay for bombs? Jihad extremists! Who is paying for him to be able to buy toothpaste in jail? Could it be a guy called Osama?

Tory Bezazian: she walked away from her husband of many years to engage in hate activities. Where does she get money? The answer is Islam. She is a directly funded agent of the Los Angeles Koranic Council.

Andreas Heldal-Lund: the man is proud to support Lars Gule who was behind bombings in the Middle East. That sort of speaks for itself now doesn’t it?

As to the site,, it is paid for 100% by my company, American Coast Title. I am one of the owners. The other two owners, Frank Berriz and Linda Blood are 100% behind what I am doing as is our parent underwriter Stewart Title. We also get pretty good support from our employees although it would be illegal of me to impose my political beliefs on them.

Does it surprise you that I am being attacked by Indonesians? Not a coincidence that Indonesia is an Islamic country. The company is willing to pay a nice reward to the person who will stand up and help me stop them. Please look at my site for details.

Props to George Ramirez. These guys came around to poke fun at the company. He stood up like a real man and sent them on their way. Can’t say for a fact that they were Islamic jihadists but the truth always comes out!

Expect without doubt a lot of trouble in Glendale. That’s where American Coast Title is located as well as a dense population of Armenians. The Armenians don’t like Arab Muslims so the area is getting very tense as the clock ticks down for Islamic terrorism.

So I am calling for the total elimination of Islam. Many other religious choices are available to those currently in Islam. Islam must go and no Muslim can be allowed to remain anywhere in the world.

All Mosques must either be destroyed or made into something else. The other day we did a title for one that was converted into a shopping center, now that’s a good use for one!

All copies of the Koran must be rounded up and burned or otherwise destroyed. If libraries insist on keeping them for historical reasons they have to be under lock and key and they have to post a guard to make sure no one copies them.

Conversion to another validated religion or acceptance of atheism are the only options I see. No other religion is associated with state sponsored terror as documented by the US State Department Report on Terrorism.

One thing that has to happen after is that women have to wear normal clothes. No more of these Islamic things. I mean local clothes are fine and kind of cute but no symbol of Islam can remain as it will just get cause restimulation of what started out as the worship of a giant magnetic stone by savage nomads. So get rid of all those crescent moons and so on!

This is a strong statement but it is time to end these attacks with bombs full of nails and gas. No other group does this. It is all and always back to Islam, Muslims, the Koran and groups like the Taliban and various sleeper cells.

Stand up with me on this one. Stand tall with me against Muslims who kill in the name of jihad and Islam and the false words of the Koran hoping for 172 virgins in a palace. Stand shoulder to shoulder with me to stop the next bunch of suicidal bigots and zealots from burning down your city.

Proud to be an American and a Scientologist

Joel Phillips