How AngelinaBeadalina Was “Born” at 40

wmc070704a1.jpgAll my life, I’ve been Angie or Angela Faye or AnFaye, but last year AngelinaBeadalina was born. After 40 years of gestation, I think my true self was born in the flame of a lampworking torch. Unlike lots of artists, I don’t really have any childhood stories about my artistic inclinations. I’ve always been creative, always been the one to fix the bulletin boards or make a special card, but I never felt like an artist until I started sculpting glass.

I’m the high school valedictorian who wouldn’t take art because the highest possible grade the teacher would give was a “C”. I’m the psychology major who graduated with honors but wouldn’t take any art classes because I didn’t know how to draw or wear funky clothes. I’m the woman who learned to use whatever materials were already on hand to create nursing home or daycare bulletin boards and sets but never thought to try a scrapbooking class. I’m the mom who drew dozens of pictures for kids (my own two and others) to color in the early morning at the daycare but wouldn’t dream of letting grownups see those same simplistic sketches of Thomas the Tank Engine. In other words, I’ve always felt creative but never felt worthy of artistic endeavors. . . until I started melting glass!

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Then, in February 2006, I turned forty and got my lampworking setup. A month later, the kids and I “retired” from the daycare job and lampworking quickly became my obsession. I spent most of the spring and summer making small round beads and trying to “find my voice” in beadmaking.

Late last summer, a teenage friend of the family asked for a peace sign bead and a yin yang bead. While looking for a yin yang symbol to use as a pattern, I discovered a whole world of inspiration in a single paperback volume. God: A Brief History by John Bowker became my creative and spiritual guide to the world’s different religions and cultures. I started using glass stringer to “draw” Tao symbols and Buddha faces on bigger and bigger beads. Before I knew it, I was sculpting more and more every time I went to the torch. I made tiny sculpted glass temples with intricate stringer decoration. An especially ugly Nefertiti (and a well-timed snarky remark about studying museum sculptures) goaded me into figuring out how to do faces in glass.

Over the course of the fall and winter, chinless Nefertiti evolved into sexy Cleopatra with sculpted eyelashes. Chunky goddesses became curvier and grew long, seductively flowing hair. Standing in line for the safari ride at Disney World the week after Thanksgiving, masks practically jumped off the walls and into my brain. The only way to get them out was to start making my own masks in glass, and I’m still hooked on making masks inspired by everything from Ganesh to Mahakala to Maori warriors.

wmc070704a3.jpgThemes come and go with me, sometimes taking center stage, sometimes resting in the back of my mind while another dances to the forefront, but the ones that return most often are those inspired by spiritual pursuits. I feel like the world just invited me to a cultural and spiritual buffet, and I’m gonna sample just a little bit of everything if I get the chance!

Add to these inspirations a more than occasional insistent urge to try to distill an emotion and pour it into the glass. Another recent obsession? That would be finding ways to make my overgrown beads into finished pieces of art, some with a functional role, some just very evocative pieces of glass. This is where I am as I jump onto the Watch Me Create ride. You wanna come along?

I’m quiet in person, but AngelinaBeadalina is fearless when it comes to glass so you’re guaranteed all sorts of ups and downs and sideways twists and turns as I explore ideas. “Wasted” glass, not-quite-what-I-expected’s coming out of the kiln, and big-time WoooooHoooooo-I-finally-got-it’s are all coming your way!

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2 Responses to “How AngelinaBeadalina Was “Born” at 40”

  1. Sheila Morley Says:

    I am so glad you are here! Your stories are open minded, truthful, and absolutely “fearless” and fabulous! Your art is beautiful! You are going to make an awesome addition to Watch me create!

  2. nancysellsglass Says:

    What a great intro! Can’t wait to see more from you….


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