Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Beadmaker Interview - Kerri Fuhr
1. What is your personal name, business name, website and location?
Kerri Fuhr , Kerri Fuhr Designs, http://www.kerrifuhr.com/
Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada
2. What kind of beads do you make? What kinds of processes do you use? What is your favorite beadmaking technique?
I am a lampwork glass bead artist and create one of a kind art focal beads as well as intricate bead sets for jewelry designers and collectors. I use a table top torch which is fueled by natural gas and an oxygen concentrator. The glass I use is imported from Italy but I also use glass that is made in the U.S. and Canada. My favorite beads to make are my nature-inspired landscape and animal portrait focal beads.
Dragonflies, honeybees and ravens are some of my favorite subjects to "paint" with glass! Lately I've also been creating horses, swans and herons and there are always new subjects I'm working on. My favorite technique is a bas-relief style of portraiture that I achieve through layering and sculpting multiple colors of glass. I also use silver foil and enamels to achieve painterly effects on my beads.
3. How did you get into beadmaking? What are some of the important things you do for your business?
I started making glass beads in the fall of 2000 and was thrilled when people first started asking to buy my beads! It quickly turned from a hobby into a part time business and now for the past 5 years it has been my full time job and all consuming passion!
One of the most important things I do for my business is travel. I spend a lot of time on the road traveling to bead shows across the US with my friend and fellow bead maker, Stephanie Dieleman (http://www.stephaniebeads.com/). I have found this to be a wonderful way to get my beads seen by a wider audience and I love the face to face feedback from my customers. The internet is also an enormous asset to this business as I can reach customers across the globe as well. I always say that my beads are better traveled than I am!
4. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?
I am very fortunate in that I have the studio of my dreams which I had custom built last year. My boyfriend and I live on a 1 acre property with a large shop at the back and we converted part of it into my little piece of bead heaven. I decorated the studio in a Moroccan-inspired theme with warm colors and colorful tile floors to offset our grey Canadian winters. An 11 foot tile workbench with custom ventilation overlooks the house and pool in my backyard. An idyllic setting in which to work all day! I even have a little fireplace in the corner to keep it cozy in the winter and have just installed air conditioning to offset the heat of our brief yet hot summers. Most days I can be found in the studio and I often roll outof bed, coffee in hand and take my 2 minute "commute" to work with my 3 dogs in tow. They are my studio companions and eagerly curl up in their beds by the fireplace or under the air conditioner to watch me work all day. I often torch for 8 - 10 hours a day - especially right before show season! There is also time needed for computer work as well such as emails, updating my Etsy store and organizing my show schedule. I basically work all day and into the night when I can and Istill never seem to catch up on all that I need to do. Beingself-employed is an enriching experience but requires a lot of hard work!
5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?
I find inspiration everywhere! A starry night sky, a rich west coast sunset, the crows and birds in my yard and the dragonflies that skim across the pool all inspire me. I have more ideas than time and it's always a challenge to find the hours I need to get some "play" time at the torch to try all of the ideas I have!
6. What type of beads and jewelry designs do you feel best compliment your art beads? Do you design your own jewelry too?
I do love to design jewelry but rarely have the time for it these days. I decided a few years ago to stop designing jewelry for my galleries in order to focus more on my beads. That was a wonderful decision to make for the growth of my business as it allowed me to become a better bead-maker. The experience of designing jewelry was good for me though as it taught me how to better design beads to be made into wearable jewelry pieces. One thing I love to do is collaborate with jewelry designers and see the different ways in which they design with my beads. There are so many talented designers and they always amaze me with their creativity and ingenuity. I will still sometimes design finished pieces for gifts, to display at my shows or to feature in a publication but that is all I have time for.
7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designsor ideas you will be exploring soon?
My future is FULL of beads, that I know! I've been working on the teaching aspect of my business lately and have released my first pdf tutorial on how I make my tapestry beads with more tutorials coming up in the weeks and months ahead. I have been asked to travel to many studios to teach and am excited to get the opportunity to travel to some great new places next year. I still find it amazing how many places I've had the opportunity to see because of beads. Never in amillion years did I think that I would get to do the things I do because of this craft. I feel so very fortunate and am excited to see where these little pieces of glass will take me next!
For a listing of shows, tutorials, classes and new beads, be sure to check out my website at http://www.kerrifuhr.com/. I also have a new blog at www.kerrifuhr.com/blog.html