I began bead stringing several years ago when my sister Helen Peake introduced me to the fun of this fine art when my friend Marilyn Hayes and I were holidaying with her in Darwin. Not keen to learn the skills at first, I quickly became excited by the process and outcomes.
Designing jewellery was just a hobby at first, but as time passed and Marilyn and I worked together, two small businesses were born. Helen has been our mentor during each step of our adventure and her business and work ethic have inspired us. Our businesses have grown and evolved into exciting enterprises of which we are very proud.
In late 2005 Helen taught Marilyn and I the exciting art of hand-flaming glass beads. I make each bead from an intricate combination of fire, glass and often precious metals. Each bead is an exquisite design creation in its own right; a kaleidoscope of colors and metals is captured in each flame-worked bead. No two handmade beads are exactly alike, making each piece of jewellery truly unique. I adore making beads, buying beads and designing jewellery.
When designing and stringing I use only the best quality fresh-water pearls, semi-precious gems, crystal and findings. I source these components from around the world, both on the Web and on the frequent overseas trips I take with my husband. I frequently make necklaces with a chain and clasp at the back which allows the item to be worn at different lengths. I design long necklaces that can be worn once, twice or sometimes three times around the neck and in some cases they can also be worn as a very elegant belt.
When making my glass beads I use American Bulls Eye, Italian Moretti, New Zealand Gaffer and German Reichenbach glass. I frequently use fine silver foil, gold leaf and fine silver wire and mesh on my beads as these give the beads depth and a distinctive, expensive look.
I find hand flaming glass beads addictive and am frequently still sitting at my torch at 3am! I am passionate about the mediums meditative qualities and of the possibility of producing beautiful, wearable beads from the raw glass and heat of the flame.