Close

michaelbarley's Profile

About

In 1977 I sold my car to buy a kiln. I was twenty years old. Sleeping on the couch in a small two bedroom house in Mt. Vernon, Washington, I began a career as a potter. I threw pots in the bedrooms, glazed them in the kitchen, fired them in the back yard and delivered them on my bicycle. Eventually, I bought a van, moved into a commercial space and continued on for many years making pots. In 1990, I moved to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. On five acres of land with a view of the foothills of the Olympic mountains, I didn't think that life could get any better. I thought that I would make pots there for the rest of my life until I was introduced to lampworking and the world of glass beads. A lesson from my friend Sage in Bellingham,Washington and I was immediately hooked on the process of melting glass and shaping it into a bead.

Basically, making a glass bead is fairly simple. It…

Read more

  • Male
  • Born on March 23
  • Joined January 1, 2010

Favorite materials

Glass and Clay

Shop

About

In 1977 I sold my car to buy a kiln. I was twenty years old. Sleeping on the couch in a small two bedroom house in Mt. Vernon, Washington, I began a career as a potter. I threw pots in the bedrooms, glazed them in the kitchen, fired them in the back yard and delivered them on my bicycle. Eventually, I bought a van, moved into a commercial space and continued on for many years making pots. In 1990, I moved to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. On five acres of land with a view of the foothills of the Olympic mountains, I didn't think that life could get any better. I thought that I would make pots there for the rest of my life until I was introduced to lampworking and the world of glass beads. A lesson from my friend Sage in Bellingham,Washington and I was immediately hooked on the process of melting glass and shaping it into a bead.

Basically, making a glass bead is fairly simple. It requires glass, a torch to melt the glass and a stainless steel wire to melt the glass onto. After melting the glass onto the wire, shaping the bead and allowing it to cool, it is removed from the wire. It's the wire that makes the hole in the bead. Of course it's a little more complicated than this but with practice almost anybody can learn to make glass beads.

The glass that I use comes from Italy. It is in the form of a rod, about a meter long and the diameter of a pencil. It's available in hundreds of colors. Like a painter who blends their colors on their palette, I mix two or more colors together to create new colors. As you can imagine, the color combinations are limitless.

Wanting to live in town, in 2000 my wife and I built a house in Port Townsend. My studio is attached to the house where I continue happily making beads. In addition to making beads I paint and fuse images onto glass, draw and once again work in clay. I also teach classes in making glass beads in my studio as well as in other studios throughout the world. Please contact me if you are interested in a class.

Thank you very much for your interest.

Michael

Unfollow username?

Are you sure you want to stop following this person?