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Linda AmesPlease join the SCFS board members in welcoming our new featured artist, LOCO.   

Yes, she has a real name, Bonnie Lawson, (shhhh…don’t let it out) but we all know her as just Loco ! A departure from the norm, she incorporates beadmaking and glass sculpting into her wonderful “alien” figures. Read on for more insight on this talented artist amongst us. artists.

How long have you been making beads?
Almost four years and more than four sanities ago.

What sparked your interest in making beads?
Marbles baby! I wanted to make marbles. Those bead people were weird!

What other arts/crafts are you involved in, and if any, how have they influenced your beadmaking?
I used to make Art Adirondack chairs. I haven't touched my woodworking tools in ages!

Have you taken classes or are you self-taught? If you have taken classes, from whom?
For the last 2 years I have attended Glass Stock. I see it more as workshops, motivation and glassgasm fun rather than a "class." A year ago I took a class with Sharon Peters, Wow what a wild trip that was! I had to be a good girl in class and that's not easy for me. I did learn to make a "solid" bead, and let me tell you those solid base beads in class were difficult. I mean, it had been a couple of years since I made a solid bead as I was sculpting on hollows all the time.

Whose beads or glass work inspires you the most and why?
Can I take a masters final in physics instead of answering THIS question? No, uh… Well, there are glass people whom I love and admire: Ms. Booger for her imagination and skill. Deb Crowley for her laugh and all around technical perfectness (is that a word?). Shawn Turner for all her amazing talent and for lecturing my husband to stop pushing me to make pretty little flower beads. Any and everyone who makes the pretty little flower beads I give to my husband when he asks me again to make pretty little flower beads!

What type of glass do you primarily work with?
104! I like the colors, I like the reactions and I love to burn it! Sometimes the voices tell me to use boro and that's fun to burn too.

What torch do you use?
Right now I'm on a Carlisle Wild Cat, but just hooked up my new Carlisle CC, he's hot, baby!

Do you have a specific technique you use?
Abuse at will… Hot, fast and fun! When all else fails I borrow the neighbors kids bubble machine and turn that sucker on while torching, it's great inspiration! I suppose I should get my own bubble machine…

Do you have a "signature" bead? If so, how did you develop its concept?
Woo THAT'S a deep subject…. Did I miss the lesson on signing beads? Lets see, some people recognize my fishing lures. I started making them because I didn't have a kiln. Once I got my kiln I started to sculpt on hollows because I didn't know any better. I'm now told it's suppose to be difficult and I love a challenge that's different. Some people recognize my Alien Elephants and Dragons. I love to stretch the limits of the glass and torch.

Your very first beads…..do you still have them? Do you want to show comparison pictures from those to your present day beads? C'mon, it'll be inspiration for those just starting out!
Ahhhh no biggie showing them here! Heck they are hanging right above my workbench. I even sold one, yup I sold a bead I made on that first day of torching, it was in a "tribute to bousky AKA Michelle Schomburg." She was very brave saying yes when I asked her on line if she wanted to "show me." Poor woman I watched her make 2 beads, she watched me make 2 beads, then she got in her car and left… I think I may have frightened her!

Where is your studio set up? Home, garage, rented space, etc.?
In my special world… Most people call it a garage, but I have never understood the concept of putting a car in a garage. It works well because my wonderful husband has the kitchen, it's all his! The garage is all mine!

How much time per week do you make beads?
Wow I didn't know this was going to be a test, lets see…. Some weeks lots of time, others not enough and sometimes… Well, my amazing husband asks "Why don't you go torch?" I think it's because he wants me out of his way…

Is your bead career a full time job for you? If only part-time; spare time, what else is your career or your career aspirations?
My beads make half of my house payment each month. The rest of the time I have the pleasure of spending about 7 hours a week cleaning. Dirty toilets, exciting and thrilling, I know, but it gets me out of bed!

Do you teach bead making classes?
My first teaching gig was at Glass Stock this year. So much for offering up myself as a teachers assistant! I had a blast sharing the fun of glass with some very talented people!

Have you had an article published or have been a featured artist in any publication or website? If so, when and where?
Bwhahaha No one has been brave enough to ask, until now…

What new techniques do you want to learn?
Sculpting boro tubing. I've got 100 pounds of the stuff sitting behind me right now. I'm seeing oddities in my head that I have not seen others do so I guess I need to find me a cute boro boy who's brave enough to show me how to bend, color and torture this stuff! Awwww come on admit it, everyone would love to learn from a cutie boro boy!

How would you like your glasswork to develop over the years? Are you content with beads, or would you like to expand into other venues, i.e. marbles, vessels, etc.
Do I make beads? They are made on a mandrel and I suppose you could put them on a string… But why? I see freaky goblets and twisted candy dishes. Or maybe I should call them "salt dishes" as I don't like candy. Weird hanging things, crazy silly stuff that would make others convulse in laughter. Basically ludicrous, absurd dust catchers, that's my goal.

Any final words of wisdom for those aspiring to learn this art form?
You've gotta be a little nucking futs to light a torch and melt glass in the first place so occasionally torture the glass. Make a bead with bad ends and fix it. Let that bead crack and fix it. Dunk that bead in your water jar and fix it. By doing this you will learn not only about your glass, but you won't freak when something goes wrong. You'll know how to fix it. And if all else fails, get a naked Cowboy in your copper tub in the middle of your living room. It may not help your beads, but think of the fun you could have!





 



beads of courage

Donations of handmade beads by Members of the ISGB and other bead artists are greatly appreciated. Donated handmade beads are given to children as they pass treatment milestones that are distinguished by a one-of-a-kind bead. For more info go to www.beadsofcourage.net.