Featured Artist: Amy Houston
A few months ago, I was watching a video of a woman giving a tour of her jewelry-making studio online. During the tour, she paused to pick up a package she had just received from a friend who was a lampwork artist and pulled out a few very pretty glass beads. I was intrigued as the beads looked quite different from the lampwork beads I was familiar with. I stopped the video and immediately went to this artist’s Etsy store (online) to get a closer look but was disappointed to find that her store was on a break and I couldn’t view her products. I decided to see if there was anyone else selling lampwork beads on Etsy. I typed in “lampwork” and suddenly my eyes were flooded with the most beautiful images of glass beads that I have ever seen. One artist in particular caught my eye, her name was Amy Houston…
I spent a few hours on Amy’s store and finally narrowed down my favorites to just five different bead choices to make jewelry with. I placed my order but was back a week later, ordering four more. They are just so beautiful!
The beads arrived a few weeks ago. The jewelry is now made and everything is available here on our online store. As you can see, I kept the jewelry designs simple so as not to distract from the beads themselves.
As I promote the new jewelry, I decided that I wanted to know more about Amy so I sent her this message:
I absolutely LOVE your lampwork beads and am so happy with my two orders.
I would like to do a small write up on you to feature on the homepage of my store to promote your business and also tell the story of where these beautiful beads come from for my clients.
Also, ONLY if you have time, could you answer these three questions? And feel free to keep it short if you're busy.
1. How did you first get interested in working with glass?
2. What do you love most about working with glass?
3. What is the most unusual thing you have ever made with glass? Or what is your favourite project?
Thanks so much, Amy! I look forward to ordering more of your lovely beads in the near future!!
Here are Amy’s responses:
Hi Delena, this is awesome thank you so much!
- I started in 2004 so I was about 20. I had always been very fascinated with beads in general and beaded jewelry, and my mom got me a course in bead making as a Christmas gift. I took right to it and set up my own shop very soon after that!
I find working with glass in a torch to be almost meditative and very relaxing. I love the experimentation involved and of course all of the beautiful colours. Glass is so beautiful to look at.
3. I can’t think of any one thing that was all that “unusual” but I do a lot of “cremains” beads which is where I embed cremained ash in the glass. Link is here with some photos and a demonstration on youtube.
Amy lives in Victoria, British Columbia. She makes her beads in her home studio and sells them on her Etsy shop, madeforyoulampwork.
If you are not already familiar, lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is used to melt the glass. Once the glass is in a molten state, it can be formed by blowing and shaping with various tools and hand movements. Amy explains, “My beads are made out of art glass (mostly Italian), on a special table top torch. I do all of my work by hand in my studio which is in my garage. Each bead is kiln-annealed in a digitally controlled kiln straight out of the torch, carefully cleaned, and inspected for flaws.” Amy shares her knowledge and experience with lampworking through instructional videos and demonstrations on her youtube channel. Here you can join Amy in her studio to watch the magical transformation of glass into luminescent beads.
Amy also creates Goddess lampwork beads and has written a book called The Goddess Journey, which is "… a collection of photographs of my goddess beads with some of my writings about the story behind each one. It’s available for sale through Blurb. I am so proud of this piece of work as it had some very special meanings for me. I worked on this project while I was going through a difficult period, and it really helped me to find my strength and safety in my life amidst a lot of chaos….."
You can also find Amy at her website, Two Glassy Ladies In case you’re wondering, the other glassy lady is Amy’s mom, Elizabeth Wellburn, who is also an artist creating works of art with recycled glass.
When she’s not making beads, creating tutorials and videos, tending to her online store, Amy also works full time in the health care field, is a musician, and has two dogs that are the love of her life!
“…I grew up with many chances to express my own creativity, which I think has influenced me a lot.”
Amy grew up in a creative family. Her father, Deryk Houston, is a successful artist whose work focuses on peace. He has had exhibits locally and internationally, including creating the Peace Garden at Woodwynn Farms. As I already mentioned, Amy’s mom, Elizabeth Wellburn, is also a glass artist. An example of her work is “Solstice”, which was a joint project with Deryk and their son, Samuel, and is located at the Peace Garden. Samuel, makes guitars by hand.
If you’d like to learn more about Amy or her family, I’ve left some links below. I close with a beautiful video of Deryk’s “Love” project, which features Amy playing cello at the centre of the Peace Garden.
More about Amy Houston
Amy’s Etsy shop madeforyoulampwork
Amy and Elizabeth’s website Two Glassy Ladies
Amy’s youtube channel
Purchase Amy’s book, The Goddess Journey
Read Amy’s interview on Fire Divas
Addicted to Beads by Amy—article on Craft for Health