Cassie Donlen, lampworking, beads, jewelry, lampwork beads, glass, glass beadle, glassbeadle, glass beads

Pictures are worth a thousand words...
Hmmm, if you asked my husband you'd get a rather humorous story on how I got started in lampworking and jewelry. He equates it something related mildly to ADD (attention deficit disorder). Although, if you saw how him and his buddies behave every time they get involved in something, you'd find that ADD more likely means: Accessory Acquisition Disorder, (buy a jet ski, gotta have that racing helmet, oh yea, and those cool gloves, a racing wet suit and wet boots, might as well add a performance impeller, and that custom pipe and box, Big Shot carbs, need to have the engine bored... and I Can't Ride without an ocean ride plate of course, on and on...)

Anyway, after finishing college I entered the world of pharmacuetical sales. During that time I took up working with stained glass and did windows, doors, entry ways, etc...Usually right in the middle of the family room. Eventually getting married and beginning to have kids, I decided that I couldn't leave stuff like glass, soldering irons, and cutters laying around, so I started in wedding photography. Yeah, a logical leap eh? From there I went to knitting funky hats, scarves, etc, then on to furniture upholstery. This was followed by custom metal framing, and then scrapbooking, which was followed by stenciling...really large scale stuff like scenaries. Stenciling was fun and I began to teach classes locally. It was only reasonable that I should eventually take a lampworking class, No?

My sole motivation was seeing a lampwork bead ring that a friend of a friend had at a party one night. I loved it, I wanted it. When I asked her how much she paid for it I was like "No Way! My husband won't let me blow that much for a bead ring!" So I decided to learn to do lampworking and make my own bead. (He should have let me buy the ring, it would have been way cheaper in the long run : ). And thus, I found my passion. (meaning: I stuck with it.) I loved it so much that my first torch set up was a hot head used with canisters, set up on a folding card table in our garage. There was no heat or air conditioning, no kiln, no annealing. Just cracked beads, practice, and more practice, and....during the summer heat I would work with the crickets, spiders, mosquitos, and trash cans. Lovely. (I was pregnant and thought I had to have the garage door open for fresh air.) During the winter it was simply freezing. I would wear three layers of cloths and plug in a wimpy little fan heater thing to blow on my feet. After I proved to husband that I wasn't going to quit this time and move on to the next interest, he decided to build me a work studio, properly vented and wired. That's when things really started to take off and a number of years we are.