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Customer Showcase - November/December Featured Artist - Erin Maloney - AirWynn Glass

About the Artist

 

Art has always been my passion! My artistic interests and talents date back to when I was just four years old. I had gone on my first-ever family vacation to - no where else other than - Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida of course! I was so amazed at the creativity that surrounded me. I often think back to when I was four and I now wonder "how could I have been so appreciative of "art" at such a young age?" Somehow, I was! I was drawn to all things imaginative and creative, and then inspired by it. Because of my extensive interest in all art and design, my studio has been geared toward many things over the years; painting and drawing, clay, paper maché sculptural work, stained glass and now … flameworking!  The decision to pursue lampworking, as opposed to enrolling in another full-time college course, was a major adjustment. I thought family and friends would be disappointed in me for my decision to not attend school, and instead, sit in front of a torch all day to melt glass. When I finally vocalized my vision, the people I love couldn't have been any more supportive! My parents thought it would be a great creative shift for me, my younger sister Sarah couldn't have been more excited for me and my loving fiancé (and best friend) of eight years, Jay, was equally supportive. He helped me realize that life is all about doing what you want to do … and to have fun while you're at it!

 

Q - Erin, what type of work do you do?

A - I create handmade lampwork glass beads and finished jewelry.  Describing my specific style is difficult because it is ever-changing.  My inspiration can come from anything such as a natural rock on the ground or a circus clown’s costume!  I have created various collections of beads and jewelry that are composed of natural tones and subtle textures, as well as collections that are composed of bright bold colours and abstract designs.

Q - How/Who got you started?

A - I have absolutely no idea how I came across searching the term "lampwork" on eBay, but one day I stumbled upon some gorgeous works of art. I looked further into it on the rest of the internet and thought to myself it would be so neat to learn how to do this! I enrolled in Dwyn Tomlinson's beginners' class at beadFX and the rest is history! After only four hours of instruction, it was then that I finally realized that my artistic soul mate was, in fact … glass! I was hooked and I am now here to stay!

 

Q - Where do you work?

A - When I started making beads, I felt there was something missing.  I then took 3 days off from the torch and turned a normal spare bedroom in my home into my perfect personal creation station.   My studio is full of the colors I love and the Disney characters I grew up with. I even took the time to paint an inspirational quote by my artistic idol; Walt Disney.  It spans across the entire width of my room and it’s the first thing I see every morning as I enter my studio, giving me the inspiration I need to begin my day creating unique beads!

 

Q - How do you keep your workspace organized? Any tips?

A -Organization is a key point in keeping your work environment comfortable.  It is not uncommon for artists of any medium to work in messy and what most people would consider “disaster” areas.  It is likely that the bead maker would be the first one to say that it drives them mad trying to find their tungsten rake or that particular glass rod that they used yesterday.  I’ve built an 8 foot wide by 3 foot high glass storage shelving system.  The shelving system consists of 68 PVC tubes that are on a forty-five degree angle for easy color identification and accessibility.  On the wall directly in front of my torch, is an array of hooks that keep all of my essential hand held tools at arm’s length, which makes it easier to keep them organized.

Q - Do you sell your work? If so, through what venues?

A - I began selling my handmade lampwork beads and finished jewelry at small local shows and events so that I could work out any kinks before tackling the larger shows and exhibits. I’m a perfectionist and take great pride in everything that I do, which I think is easily recognizable in my work.  Once I was happy with my set up at the local show level, I began to pursue larger and more prestigious venues to distribute my work.  My beads and jewelry designs have been exhibited and sold throughout Canada and the United States at various glass shops and art galleries.  Pictures of my work have also been published in multiple magazines and art-themed calendars. I can be seen proudly standing behind my creative designs at many large shows now, such as the Canadian Bead Oasis Show and The Whole Bead Show, located in the Greater Toronto Area.  An up-to-date list of my scheduled shows can be found on my website.   I also offer my work for sale on a custom-order basis through my website:

Upcoming Scheduled Shows:

November 10 & 11, 2007
Toronto Bead Society Fall Fair

November 17, 2007
beadFX Lampworker’s Trunk Show

March 14-16, 2008
Canadian Bead Oasis "Almost Spring" Show

May 9-11, 2008
The Whole Bead “Spring” Show

September 19-21, 2008
Canadian Bead Oasis Fall Show


Q - Have you taken any classes?

A - As I stated above, I took an introduction class with Dwyn Tomlinson at beadFX to learn the basics of bead making.  Other than that, I am self-taught.

Q - What are your favourite types of beads to work with?

A - Of course, my own lampwork beads!  I like to incorporate textured gemstones and swarovski crystals into my jewelry designs.

Q - Whose work most inspires you?

A - I have always loved Teresa Laliberte’s work!  Her goddess beads and her “Around The World” collections are simply stunning!  I am proud to own one of her voluptuous goddess beads!

Q - What product can you not live without?

A - Every professional has at least one key item or tool that they feel is essential and cannot imagine going through their workday without it.  For a carpenter, it is a hammer.  For a fire fighter, it is a hose.  For me, it’s my Electric Mandrel Spinner (E.M.S.)! I was first introduced to this tool through the online art forum, WetCanvas.  Instead of twisting the mandrel by hand, the E.M.S. rotates the mandrel at a consistent speed which can be adjusted for various effects.  Obviously this takes a lot of stress off of my wrists and fingers which increases the quality of my beads.

Q - Do you have any tips or techniques that you would like to share?

A - If you are doing something that you love, you will never work a day in your life!  I feel that I haven’t worked one day for the last four years.  Of course there is the ugly process of cleaning and dipping mandrels but nothing a little music can’t help you get through.   So with the right levels of organization, planning and desire, it’s possible to make a living out of lampworking … and love it too. 

Thank you Erin! Erin can be contacted through her website at

If you would like to be featured here, please send an email to info@beadfx.com

 

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