Amber Ballard~ That Bead Girl
I met Amber on Facebook and discovered her beautiful beads and her fun personality. I have really enjoyed facebook & meeting loads of wonderful glass workers through their art work. The nice thing about facebook vs a forum is that you get a better sense of someones personality by the way they interact with friends, by looking at their pictures, etc...Connecting to people in this way brings a whole new respect and appreciation of their work. Please read on and learn about Amber and her gorgeous beads.
How long have you been making beads and how did you get your start?
I took a beginner's lampworking class back in 2001, which seems like forever ago to me now. I had a great teacher who showed us how to make basic round spacer beads on a hothead torch. Tht 4 hour class is the only formal trainig I've had in lampworking. I can't believe it's been almost 10 years already! Today I work on a duel fuel torch (a minor) with on oxygen concentrator.
Do you sell your work and where? What venue seems to work the best for you?
It took about 2 years of practice before I felt like my work was "good enough" to sell the public. I started out selling on ebay, began to build a client base and then expanded online. Today I sell through my personal website, etsy, and I also continue to sell via ebay. Thought it has it's ups and downs, ebay continues to be my most rewarding selling venue.
Where do you see yourself in 3, 5,10 years?
Gosh, this is a hard question. I often ask myself the same thing. Lampworking started out as a hobby, a chance for me to "escape" my life as a full time mom. Having a hobby was so important to me, especially to my identity as a grown woman. Its's become so much more to me after all this time has passed. I've got 3 children and once the younger one starts school this year, I'd like to start taking more formal lampworking classes. In the short term I'd like to expand my skill set, work my way into boutiques and shoppes and in 10 years I hope to be able to pass everything I've learned onto anyone new to lampworking who has a true desire to learn this art form. Will people know my name in 10 years? I hope so!
What has been most challenging?
My biggest challenge has been trying to teach myself. There is a certain joy in discovering things naturally, but I really am a visual learner. It's frustrating at times to have to desire to learn a new skill or technique and not have the luxury of running away for a few days to take a class. I'm not my own best teacher.
What are you most proud of?
My biggest challenge has also been my biggest reward. I certainly am proud of myself for how far I've come. I take great pride in knowing that everything I've learned, I've learned by being tenacious. I'm excited everyday knowing that I am the one responsible for how far I've taken this journey.
What inspires your work and who are some artists that you admire?
I find great inspiration in simplicity. I don't think any of my glass work is overly complicated or overworked design wise. I really like modern, clean lines. Sometimes less is definitly more. I really enjoy finding odd colors of glass and letting them sort of speak for themselves with maybe an interesting shape rather than lots of detail. I am thouroghly obsessed with metallic glass.
I try not to actively look at other lampworker's beads because I'm always worried that something I see will work it's way into my glass unintentionally.
I definitely have great respect for so many artists out there, and admire not only their skill but their intuitive eye for design. They include: Michael Barley, Kate Fowle Meleney, Jill Symons, Mary Ann Williams, Alicia Abla....the list could go on for pages!!
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Joyful, Focused, Unfettered......can I buy three more words? :)
I hope you enjoy Amber's work as much as I do! Please stop back next Sunday to see who the spotlight will shine on then!