Fueling The Passion

Susan Walter

Susan Walter

Linda AmesThe newest addition to the SCFS’s pool of Featured Artists is the talented Susan Walter, currently serving as Secretary on our club’s board.   
Several years ago Susan was a member of the Beach Cities Polymer Clay Guild. As membership dwindled in that club over time, her friend Karen Hardy suggested they take a lampworking class at the San Gabriel Bead Co. Hesitant to start another craft, she caved in and let Karen drag her, kicking and screaming the whole way.

After a 3 hour class on that fateful day, she was hooked on lampworking. She bought everything she needed to begin making beads with a Hot Head torch. Going through Mapp Gas canister after canister like crazy, she decided that was enough and upgraded to a Nortel Minor torch and oxygen concentrator, which she still uses today.

Q. What other arts/crafts are you involved in, and if any, how have they influenced your beadmaking?

A. I’ve always liked making jewelry so most of my focus has been on jewelry no matter what the medium I use is; whether it is metal, polymer clay, paper or glass. I do some paper crafts like making cards but glue is not my friend. I seem to get it everywhere except on the paper.

Q. Besides your very first class, have you taken any others?

A. As Donna Conklin (The Mandrel) knows I like taking classes. Really, I just take the classes so I can eat the weed salad that her hubby Jeff picks up for us for class lunches. There are so many quality teachers that I’ve taken classes from, too many to list. I like to take little bits from every class and apply them to my beads. I’ve learned something new in every class I’ve taken.

Q. Your very first beads…..do you still have them?

A. Okay, I still do have my first beads. What’s funny is I can’t make a round bead. I think my first ones are the closest I’ve ever got. I don’t see marbles in my future!

Q. Where is your studio set up?

A. My teeny space – I wouldn’t call it a studio – is about a four foot space in the garage. My kiln is clear across the garage so I have to get up every time I finish a bead. It’s the only regular exercise I get in during the week.

Q. How much time per week do you make beads?

A. I try to torch about 3 times a week. Mostly on the weekends.

Q. Is your bead career a full time job for you?

A. I only make beads part time as that darn full time job gets in the way. I mostly make jewelry out of the beads I make so it’s nice to have time at work to daydream about my next creation. Don’t tell my boss!!

Q. What new techniques do you want to learn?

A. I really want to learn how to make sculptural flower beads where the whole bead is a flower.

Q. 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.

A. I would like to come up with my own style someday. I’ll probably stick with making beads or smaller glass items. Things that I can make into jewelry is what I’m focused on.

Q. Any final words of wisdom for those aspiring to learn this art form?

A. Keep practicing and get the basics down. Heat control, stringer control and uniform dots and good holes are what makes a bead good compared to a sloppy bad one. Don’t be afraid to waste some glass practicing. It’s all about PPP!!!

Please visit Susan’s website to see a sampling of her many artistic talents…glass, polymer clay, fiber arts, silverwork… www.mewkittie.com




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