Colorado Springs Local Business: New Earth Beads

Michelle Hair, owner and bead artist at New Earth Beads, never thought she was artistic…  At least until she took a class in something called “lamping”.

“Michelle, you’re the best student I’ve ever had!”, said her teacher on the last day of the class.

You see these glass beads?  Our non-artistic friend made each of them.

You see these glass beads? Our “non-artistic” friend made each of them.

Yes.  You read that right.  She doesn’t buy the beads.  She makes them.

They're made from glass rods.  Glass rods and fire, that is.

They’re made from glass rods. Glass rods and fire, that is.

Michelle says she’s surprised by this turn of events.  She had a technical job and was ready for a change.  She discovered her talent for making glass and New Earth Beads has developed organically from her desire to do what she loves.

“I feel like the Universe was leading me in this direction before I even knew what I wanted to do,” she comments.  “It’s moving fast!”

She had seen someone rolling glass at a festival and was curious.  Could she do that?  She took a class and learned to fuse glass.

Fused glass artists adhere glass to glass to make pictures, like the ones on these nightlights.

Glass fusing is where an artist adheres glass to glass to make pictures, like the ones on these nightlights.

When she had taken all the fused glass classes, she moved to lamping, in which glass is melted in fire and reshaped.  Would you like to see how it’s done?

First, Michelle starts up the torch.  She chooses a glass rod and melts the glass around another rod called a mandrel.

First, Michelle starts up the torch. She chooses a glass rod and melts the glass around another rod called a mandrel.

The bead is lumpy at first.  Michelle puts it back into the fire to smooth it out.

The bead is lumpy at first. Michelle puts it back into the fire to smooth it out.

I was really impressed with how the hot bead would be a flaming orange and then cool to the original blue.

I was really impressed with how the hot bead would be a flaming orange and then cool to the original blue.

Next, Michelle makes the decoration on the plain bead.  She takes a thin glass rod in a different color and makes little bumps on the original bead.

Next, Michelle decorates the plain bead. She takes a thin glass rod in a different color and makes little bumps on the original bead.

The bead comes out bumpy and she has to smooth it out in the fire again.

The bead comes out bumpy and she has to smooth it out in the fire again.

She did this a couple of times with different colors and then twisted them with another tool.

She did this a couple of times with different colors and then twisted them with another tool.

When she has the bead the way she wants it, she puts in in a kiln and fires it at 960 degrees.  The firing makes the bead more durable.

The finished bead is smooth and glossy.

The finished bead is smooth and glossy.

Michelle loves making beads and started showing them to her friends.  Like any true artist, she was reluctant to part with them when her friends wanted to buy them.  She had to get used to the idea of letting her creations go to a new home.

She got used to the idea and now you can find her selling her art.

She got used to the idea and now you can find her selling her art.

You can catch Michelle and her glass-work at the Colorado Farm and Art Market on Wednesdays from 3PM – 7PM.  Watch her website for other events.

Stop by and visit Michelle in her brand new life.  It’s full of beauty… and fire too!

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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