Saturday, August 15, 2015

Interview with Amber Van Meter of Na0s Glass

Of all the media most commonly used to make art beads, the one I know the least about is, I guess, glass. I've seen the basics of lampworking demonstrated but, looking at the finished work of a skilled lampworker, I can feel like some kind of alchemical magic must be afoot.  One of the things I really like about contributing to this blog is having an excuse to find out more about bead makers that I particularly admire. Today my interviewee is Amber Van Meter of Na0s Glass.  I remember when I first came across her work, when I was still fairly new to the world of art beads.  I was immediately smitten. I love the soft, subtle colours that predominate in her work.  I am waiting for a custom order from her and I can't wait to receive it, although I know that once I do I'll be struggling to prize them from my stash and actually part with them. Anyway, on with the interview...

How long have you been working with glass? How did you get started?

Thirteen years. A co-worker just happened to know a lampwork artist who generously showed me how to do it and I've been working with glass ever since.

What lead you to start making beads?

I have always been an artist but had to give it up (or so I thought) when I had my first child twenty years ago. I was working at a successful marketing firm bet felt I was dying on the vine so I knew I needed to do something in my spare time that was creative. Painting was too intensive once I had a child so I went back to an old hobby - making jewelry. Trolling online auction sites for jewelry components, I discovered handmade lampwork glass beads and, subsequently, fell in love!

What do you love most about working with glass?

The endless possibilities!  Put a few rods of glass in front of several lampworkers and each of them will make something completely different, just like paints or pencils.

What inspires your lampwork designs?

Stones…my father is a retired heavy-equipment engineer who worked in the mining industry for over 40 years.  My home was filled with specimens of every kind you could imagine when I was growing up.  Naturally, my style ended up being organic.  When I started, I wanted to make big, bright happy beads but I just kept picking up the more neutral colours to torch with.

What is your workspace like?

Extremely messy!  I believe right now I have a pile of shorts and half-used rods that is about 5 inches thick…not to mention all the little bits from used stringers.  I clean my space maybe twice a year.

Do you make anything else with glass, other than beads?

No.  I have tried fusing but beads are really my bailiwick.  

Do you make jewellery yourself or is it all about the beads for you?

Just the beads.  Strangely enough, I never wear jewellery made with my own beads.  I’m likely missing an excellent marketing opportunity now that I think about it.

Are there any lampworkers or bead makers that you’ve found particularly influential or that you particularly admire?

The bead communities on Wet Canvas and Lampwork Etc.  We all shared so much information in the early days about glass reactions, new glass, and new designs.  I admire those fellow glass adventurers the most.  I also admire those new to the craft.  They remind me of where I came from and why I keep doing this as my life’s work.

Thank you, Amber, for agreeing to answer my questions!  

And just in case you're feeling a sudden and inexplicable need to acquire more beads, here's another link to her Etsy shop!

Bye for now, Claire


Unknown said...

Excellent questions Claire! I have been impressed with Naos glass for some time now and I would love the opportunity to play with it on a regular basis. What beautifully work!

Divya N said...

These beads are spectacular. They showcase your talent, patience and hardworking tendency Amber, they are fantastic

Gale said...

I love Amber's unique lampwork and so must many others, as I've always sold the pieces I've made with her beads. In addition to admiring her fine work, I appreciate that Amber takes an active interest and shares what we do with her glass after it leaves her hands. Thanks, Amber!

Mary Harding said...

Great interview Claire!! So glade to learn about Na0s glass!! Beautiful colors and beads!!