Today I want to introduce you to Paul Spencer, who took me up on my invitation to jewelry artisans to be featured here at the Blog. I'm delighted to do this piece on him because I had previously run across him on Etsy and was SO IMPRESSED!
I saw his work while searching for sea glass, and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how he creates sea-glass-like beads even more beautiful than much of the real thing.
Paul's artistic career began 20 years ago as a painter of large abstract landscapes. In June of 2004, he took his first glass bead-making class and it caused him to switch gears in a big way. He hasn't picked up a paintbrush since then.
He says, "From the moment I made my first misshaped little bead I was hooked. I still find the process of making glass beads as fascinating and mesmerizing as I did on that first day. I remember that my ‘beginners class’ included a take home supply kit in order to continue making beads. That day I drove away with my glass studio packed into a single shopping bag along with 10 brightly colored rods of glass and I knew that my life had changed forever."
During the past five years he has studied extensively at The Studios of The Corning Museum Of Glass. Today he makes Corning his second home and divides his time between Corning and Philadelphia, and has become a master teacher himself.
Now when he watches his own students experience lampwork beadmaking for the first time, he sees the same glow in their faces.
At first they lose their fear of the torch and embrace the finely pointed flame.
Soon he watches them gain confidence as they begin to melt and shape the primordial volcanic and mysterious substance that we call GLASS.
For Paul, glass is the perfect medium for expanding the boundaries of light and color. What he struggled to create with paint and canvas, glass does naturally. When he is working at the torch, he says it feels as though he's "painting with fire".
He works primarily in soft glass and borosilicate, making large focal beads and sets.
He often combines precious metals and glass. Lately, his focus has turned to Borosilicate focal beads and bead sets.
The Boro beads in his Haiku series are made using a multi-layered technique. Recently, he has discovered a way to add some subtle hints of sparkle to many of his boro glass beads.
I would love to see his studio. The Glass Bead Studio is home to Paul's work and a focal point of the area's flameworking community. He and his colleagues are dedicated to advancing the art and science of glass beadmaking as well as the creative use of lampwork beads in artisan jewelry. As he puts it, "Glass beadmaking is an ancient art reimagined for today’s world."
Paul is very grateful to have studied with some amazingly talented people and lucky enough to consider many of them his friends.
His goals are to continue to create uniquely designed glass beads that accentuate the rhythmic beauty of glass and whenever possible, help others realize their dreams.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in our previous posts on Patricia Tyser Carberry: Jewelry Artisan.
Until Next Time,