My latest beads and sculpture work are usually posted here first:
****Facebook Photo Gallery****
A (not very up to date) album of my custom orders can be viewed here:
****Flickr Custom Order Gallery****
A custom bead is special: it’s a one of a kind, piece of glass art made just for you. Custom orders are a lot of work but I accept them because I like the challenge of creating something totally new. I find custom requests really push me out of my comfort zone and help me to become a better beadmaker.
For me, a successful custom order occurs when both of us are happy with the final creation.
Good grief, do i really have to read all this?
No, you don’t. If you know what you want then just use the form at the bottom of this page or email me at (firstname.lastname@example.org) and place your order. I put this page of info together since these are the points that generally end up being covered at some point during the custom order process and i know some people prefer to have all the information up front.
I’ve never placed a custom order before. How do i decide what i want?
First, think of a colour or combination of colours you’d like. Then, think of the shape you’d prefer – pretty much any shape is possible. It could be something i’ve done before or something completely new. Do you want the bead to be wearable or a mini-sculpture?
Perhaps you have an inspiration picture: magazine clipping? photo from a vacation? postcard or painting? Maybe an art project from one of your children or grandchildren? Anything and everything can be your inspiration – from just knowing you want “something blue and white”, to having an outfit or fabric swatch you’d like to match, to having a favourite poem, painting or story that describes a mood or scene you’d like to recreate.
These are just some of the many inspiration options available to you… Once you’ve figured out these basics, I can then work with you to further develop your design. Just collect your thoughts/inspirational items together and contact me to start the design process.
Ok, blue. I’d like a blue bead. Can you do that?
Choosing your colour(s) is a good first step, often that’s the hardest part. That said, i do need more specifics: what shade of blue do you want? navy? turquoise? periwinkle? transparent? opaque? To assist you, I’ve partnered with fellow lampworker Serena Thomas whose site features a fantastic online gallery of basic glass beads in most of the colours I use (she’s also your go-to person if you decide you want lots of tiny beads to match your custom ShebaMakeda focal!). Click the link below to access her gallery, choose your colours, then send me an email with your selections:
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by so many colour choices, then just pick the ONE you like most and i can suggest coordinating colours (if necessary).
How much does one of your custom beads cost?
My custom beads start at CAD$50 each (plus shipping); it all depends on what you want – goddess, pendant, necklace, whatever… I do my very best to create a beautiful, one of a kind, bead made just for you, within your specific budget.
How do i determine my budget for a custom order?
Really, that’s for you and you alone to decide: your options in custom glass are limited only by my abilities and your wallet. Keep in mind that the greater your budget, the more time I’ll spend on your bead with the result that you’ll end up with a much more complex, interesting and unusual custom creation.
Once you’ve decided how much you want to spend, then let me know the range and your preferred style and shape of bead(s). I’ll provide some details of your options at that budget and we’ll then work to some kind of agreement from there.
Isn’t that kind of vague?
Yes very, however, in my experiences that’s how custom glass bead orders seem to work best: you first choose your budget, then we work together to create a design that will suit it. The final bead may cost less or i may provide an option that will cost more, but there will always be beads you can purchase within the range of your stated budget.
So what would i get at the starting price?
You’ll most likely get a fairly simple bead made with standard glass rods, lightly sculpted/shaped with perhaps some basic stringer or frit decoration in the colours and shape of your choice (e.g. Lime Fizz goddess). As your budget increases, then so do your options, e.g.:
- pure 99.9% silver or 23k gold – I use pure silver or gold leaf, foil, wire or mesh to give a little sparkle and/or reactive effect to certain bead styles
- decorative techniques – use of enamels, non standard/hand mixed glass colours, dichroic, embedded gems, flowers, encasing (enclosing other colours under clear or transparent glass), etc.
- advanced techniques– more detailed styling or sculpting, flowers, complex stringer decorations, latticinos (twisted decorative multicolour glass canes), extensive sculptural forming, etc. etc.
Are there any other factors determining the price?
Yes, more interesting glass:
- Reactive rods – most standard glass rods just produce a single, plain colour. There are others though, that can each develop a specific range of colours and effects depending on how I mix, heat and cool them within the flame. Developing those colours and manipulating those effects is a learned skill which i’m continually acquiring.
- Boutique glass – yes that does mean really, really expensive (often up to $100/lb), hand pulled, small batch, artisan glass rods, made with silver crystals, that can be used to create a variety of spectacular, iridescent effects. These silver glasses are much more finicky and complex, requiring extended heating and cooling techniques in different areas of the flame to develop the full depth and range of their mind blowing colours.
- My ongoing skill development – Any time you look through this blog or my BeadArtists or Flickr galleries, you’ll see a sort of chronological display of how my skills with hot glass are advancing. The bead you’re buying from me will represent the best of all the skills i’ve developed up to that exact point in time.
So how will i know the final price?
Hot glass isn’t an exact art. I make the bead and place it into the kiln while it’s still a couple thousand degrees. Since i can’t fully see the design while it’s that hot, it’s impossible to determine the price until the bead cools and I can assess the final result. I ask you to trust in me that the price i’m charging is fair and accurate for the work involved and the techniques i’ve used.
I generally provide more than one bead in your requested design so that you have options from which to select your custom bead. And as I mentioned before, I always work within your stated budget.
I need a custom bead for a certain event in two weeks. Can you do that?
Let me just say that beauty, creativity and tight deadlines don’t play well together – especially in my world.
I have a non-glass day job, i’m a fulltime parent and I try to maintain an active social life – all things that make me very happy. And when i’m happy i make really great beads. Glass beadmaking is my creative outlet/addiction that is the icing on the cake of my happiness. That people actually buy my beads is truly the cherry on top of the icing of that aforementioned cake.
Sooo… in a rush? You may want to consider purchasing my ready-made beads from my Etsy listings or eBay auctions instead. (Or if the bead you like is in a blog post on on Facebook and not marked sold, it may still be available – just ask!)
So then how long does it take?
As i’m only able to torch part-time, I generally request a 4-6 week lead time for custom orders to accommodate my schedule. And if karma and the glass gods are smiling over me, I might even be able to deliver sooner…
Ok. I’m willing to wait four weeks and I’ve determined my budget. Now what?
Well, there are three steps you have to agree to take with me before we can begin:
1. A custom order for me is all about a happy, positive partnership: In order for me to create a bead specifically suited to you, I need you to really make an effort to clearly and promptly communicate with me as much information about what you want as possible (e.g. colour samples, an inspiration picture, a poem, etc.), detailing everything and anything that will help me determine the colour, shape and mood of your custom bead.
I find the clearer my clients are about they want, the more likely I am to make a bead that matches their vision.
2. Please remember that what you’re buying is a little piece of me, reflecting my own developing and highly personal, artistic style and ability. Do take the time to look through this blog and my online photo galleries to ensure you’re comfortable with my style of beadmaking. Nothing leaves my studio unless I am happy and proud enough to send it out into the world as representative of me and my body of work.
3. Ready? Then either use the form at the bottom of this page or email me (email@example.com) directly to place your order.
When do i pay?
Once i’ve made your bead(s), i’ll send you a series of photos from which you can choose your custom bead(s). After you’ve made your selection, you will receive an invoice by email detailing the agreed upon cost and shipping charges.
Payment in full is required within seven days after you’ve chosen your bead, and must be received before I can mail your selection. If i don’t hear from you within those seven days (and we haven’t made other arrangements) i reserve the right to list your beads for sale or offer them to another buyer.
How do I pay?
I accept the following two well established and secure online payment types:
Credit cards: I can now process credit cards over the phone. Just call me, i’ll process your payment and your receipt will be emailed to you promptly.
Paypal:(preferred) – I can accept major credit cards and cash payments from anywhere in the world through Paypal. For more information, click here: http://www.paypal.com/
Email money transfers: (Canadians only) – You can send payment by email money transfer straight from your online account with a major Canadian bank to mine. If your bank doesn’t provide this service (or you’d like to pay by credit card), then please use Paypal or contact me and i can process your payment over the phone.
All of these payment options are very secure. Please don’t send me your credit card and/or other financial information by email. Seriously.
But what if i don’t like my custom bead?
Then don’t buy it – you’re under no obligation to buy your custom order. Just let me know immediately and we’ll work towards a mutually acceptable solution. If you do buy it and then don’t like your bead when it arrives then pls contact me within 7 days of receiving your beads to make return arrangements.
I make beads to make myself happy and i want all of my beads to make their new owners just as happy. There is never, ever any obligation on your part to purchase or keep the final bead(s). In fact, i would be horrified to find out you’d purchased your custom bead and then tossed it in a drawer because deep down you really didn’t care for it.
Hopefully this covered everything you need to know?
I’m both a creator and collector of this art form. I find handmade glass beads (and especially custom beads) are such a personal experience, both in the making and the owning, that i don’t want anyone to buy or keep a bead made by me unless they are completely happy with it…
I think I’ve covered just about everything (if not, let me know).
If you have any additional questions or you’re interested in moving forward with a custom bead order, just use the form below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get things started.