Fueling The Passion

Wendy Leys and daughter Brooke

Wendy Leys and daughter Brooke
Welcome to our newest Featured Artist(s)… Wendy Leys  and her daughter Brooke. Glass HeartWendy is currently serving on the So. Cal. Flame Surfers board as one of the hospitality chairpersons.  Here is Wendy and Brooke’s bio’s:

We are Firesong Glass. Together this mother and daughter team create lampwork beads and jewelry in our studio in Orange County, California. We are fortunate to work together and have discovered that our different aesthetics and styles have brought a greater diversity to what we create.

I am Wendy, the senior team member, My love of glass is nearly as old as I am. I still have a large collection of those little lampwork glass animals that you could buy as souvenirs at zoos, fairs and amusement parks decades ago.

NecklaceAs a fine art major in college I experienced many media and spent hours watching the hot glass studio. In those days there were no women in the hot glass shop but I was able to find a long-term focus in clay. I loved the process in all its endless possibilities. In the nineties, an injury forced me to give up my potter’s wheel for good. Then in 1997 I saw a program with a lampwork bead demonstration using a hot head torch. The next week I had a torch and glass, and with those and a book, I got started. I think I must have made every mistake possible and my beads were laughable, but I had discovered a medium in which the process was as exciting to me as clay. In high school and college I designed and sold jewelry. When I started making beads the desire to design and create jewelry again seemed a natural progression.

Flower pendantA couple of years after I began, I was fortunate to have my daughter Brooke also develop a love for this medium. What a delight to find that our daughter Brooke had a talent for design and the personality to represent and market our work.

I am Brooke, the second generation of lampworkers and jewelry artists in the family. As I grew up, my mom always tried to get me interested in various art forms; however, I was much more interested in physical expression such as dance and had little patience to develop the skills necessary to have any art I created look the way I pictured it in my head. The first time my mom finally necklace2convinced me to sit down at the torch I assumed I’d react the same as I always had. Instead, I was immediately hooked. It was the first time I didn’t have set expectations and so I was able to simply enjoy the process. The glass itself is so beautiful that I felt I couldn’t make anything truly hideous (oh, how wrong I was)! My first beads were pathetic but I was still proud of them. I have found that I enjoy designing and making jewelry almost as much as creating the beads. I also enjoy the sales and marketing aspect of selling our jewelry. Now that I have stopped teaching High School, I will be spending more time with my children and working on our business. My 2 and ½ year old daughter Makayla is already getting involved and frequently sits and “plays beads” with her Mommy and Noni. She is already very adept at stringing beads and is exhibiting quite a sense of design! We are hoping to bring her and her little brother Dylan (arriving any day now) into the “family business” someday.

Firesongglass StudioThe hero of this team is husband and dad, Doug! He built us a wonderful studio that is not only safe to work in, but is also a joy to spend hours in. He takes care of our technical needs and keeps us from burning down the place.

We have been fortunate to take classes with some of the most talented bead makers there are. These wonderful artists, along with the other lampworkers we have met, are a gracious group that has shared its knowledge and skills generously. We feel lucky to be a part of The Southern California Flamesurfers, an organization of friendly, passionate, and fun artists.

To see more of Wendy and Brooke’s work, please visit firesongglass.com.



champagne necklace


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