glass beads

Jewellery maker - Lis Simpson

Lis Simpson, hot glass artist and jewellery designer, has been making one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces for about nine years. Her glass beads are made on a torch from rods hand-pulled in the glass factory in Murano, Italy, and accented with shimmery dichroic glass and other unique textural elements, compatible with the molten glass. She puts these fine art beads on handmade sterling silver head pins and adds bead accents and precious metal chain to make her hand crafted jewellery, “wearable art”.

Torchworked glass beads are relatively new and unequaled in the jewellery industry. Although glass bead making was an ancient, secretly guarded art, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the techniques began to be shared in North America. It can take from one half to two hours to create the bead on the torch, without any stopping! If her cat calls to come into the studio, he is ignored or the bead thermal shocks into tiny pieces! It’s a tricky business working with molten glass. Her passion for working with hot glass and her repertoire of skills continue to expand as other artists working in hot glass and in other mediums inspire her!

Glass beadmaking has only been offered at art schools within the past few years, so Lis began with a few lessons from another Toronto beadmaker, and then honed her skills on her own torch. She has branched out into fused glass, making both pendants and more recently paperweights. As well, she became a certified instructor for the innovative fine silver medium of Art Clay Silver, and took the wirework course from George Brown College. She now teaches these jewellery techniques both in her own studio and at various venues in the Greater Toronto Area.