|A BIG Flamesurfer’s welcome to our latest Hall of Flame honoree…Stacy Lynne Russom.Stacy Lynne came from an artistic family and has been involved with arts all her life. “My mother was a talented artist. And my sister is a very well known artist in New York. She was the one that exposed me to all kinds of art as a child. There was never a day that went by that we were not expressing our creative side with paint, clay, enameling. You name it we did it.” Art is Stacy’s life and with that she developed it into a career as an art teacher for a school district in L.A. County. In addition to this, she has taught glass fusing for several years and has begun teaching beginning beadmaking at Pacific Art Glass.All this creative activity eventually led her to working in stained glass and so began her journey into the vast world of art glass. Within six months after starting with stained glass, Stacy decided to try her hand at fusing. That was a stepping stone that made her realize that glass was a medium with endless possibilities…”It was an eye opener. I fell in love so fast. The great thing about glass is you can do so much with it. Its like no other medium, you can melt it, paint on it, build windows with it, make mosaics with it, sandblast it and of course make beads with it. SO the medium never gets boring.”
In 1997 she came across a book about glass bead making by Cindy Jenkins. Immediately intrigued by another form of art glass, she bought it but other priorities took over, and the book was packed away and nearly forgotten. A few years later while going through old boxes, the book re-surfaced as if it was destiny. This was an art form she was determined to learn and it was not going to go to the back of the closet again. She located another artist that was moving out of state and was selling his equipment. Not one to let opportunity pass her by, she bought it all…and when the first rod of glass was melted, her heart melted along with it. And so her story in lampworking begins.
The first torch was a Hot Head with a propylene tank and a few tools. That set-up didn’t last long. Within a month Stacy graduated up to a Minor with propane and oxygen…and of course more tools. (You know we all need to have those tools so read on; Stacy Lynne HAS tools!)
Initially, she taught herself how to make beads from reading, but expanded her knowledge by eventually taking classes from some not only well known artists but also by sharing and collaborating with friends in our SCFS chapter. Her first official class was with Sue Ellen Fowler, but primarily it was to just watch her make her gorgeous perfume bottles. Kate Drew Wilkinson, Patti Walton, Jen Geldard, Kate Fowle, Michael Barley and many others followed and she’s not stopping. For the next class, Stacy is stepping outside her comfort zone of organic style beads and taking a leap into florals with the master of floral beads, Leah Fairbanks.
An artist and teacher at heart, Stacy continues to share much of her knowledge with the glass working community. “In early 2000 Lapidary Journal just came out with a new magazine and I was one of the first to be in it. Step-By-Step Beads. I have written 3 articles for them. My first one was Half Baked Beaded Bracelets. All were techniques I came up with to help the bead maker learn something new. Also, Donna Strong a writer from an online magazine wrote an article about me and I have a copy on my web site. She sure made me look good.” Not hard to do…Stacy is an excellent bead maker and generous with her knowledge!
Generous not only with her knowledge but discoveries! Did I mention that Stacy Lynne has tools? Yes she does, and hers were developed from an accident while making beads one day. “Years ago while working in a Stained glass shop I found some long 45 degree beveled cut tiles that I thought would work really well with lamp working. At first I used them to place my foils and frit on. But one time I had been shaping a bead with my graphite marver and I dropped it breaking the tool in half. I needed something to finish my bead and I grabbed the tile. I spread the word to my friends and the glass shop sold several to my friends and they loved them. So I just tucked the idea back in my head thinking brass would be a great material to use. Years later I had them made and the rest is history.” For anyone that hasn’t tried her tools yet, these are fantastic and some of my favorites! Thank you Stacy.
What does the future foresee in the eyes of Stacy Lynne’s world of glass? Stacy has experimented and explored many forms of working with glass and it is making beads that have won her heart. It’s never boring and always fun. Even the occasional mishaps with a cracked bead can find a useful purpose in life in a fused design of hers.
And what wondrous words of encouragement does she offer? “Take classes wherever and whenever you can. Learn from others that are willing to share with you their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet and just go have fun with it. But be forewarned once you have had a taste of melting glass you will never be the same again.