Born in Vancouver to very artistic parents, we had everything from a potter's wheel and looms to a jewellery studio in the house when I was growing up. Originally pursuing a Post Secondary Education and a career in Graphic Arts, I learned Airbrushing and took a detour, selling paintings at Stanley Park and various local galleries. Together with my partner Rick, I spent my 20's designing and producing a line of wearable art, sold in boutiques throughout Western Canada. After a decade of being self employed artists, we happily settled into careers in management with regular pay cheques, along with marriage, a mortgage and a child. In my "spare" time I worked towards a mural painting certificate and other creative ventures, including teaching stamping, card making and community school craft classes to children.
11 years ago I walked into a local glass bead making class and was hooked! After overcoming my fear of the the flame (Rick had to light the torch for me for the first few months), I have found my passion. I love the endless possibiilities of working with glass. The learning curve is ongoing and I am always inspired.
I make each bead by hand, using a torch and rods of coloured Italian glass. I have been fortunate to take classes with some super talented glass artists from all over the world, always inspiring me to try new techniques and push my limits. Once the beads are finished in the flame, I place them in a digitally controlled kiln to ensure long term durability, and finally the holes a cleaned with a diamond bit and dremel tool.
In the past two years I have taken lessons with some amazing flame workers, and have become hooked on making borosilicate glass marbles. I find them a much longer learning curve than soft glass, but so enjoy practicing them - refining my workmanship and designs.
Recently I have been collaborating with talented gem carver, my father Guenter Otto. His amazing hand faceting brings a dazzling brilliance them, enhancing the depth and design, for a truly mesmerizing effect.
Each fused piece is also one of a kind - I hand cut tiny pieces of glass to create mosaics. I also etch designs and patterns into the dichroic glass. Each little tree, gecko and other designs are painstakingly hand etched to create truly one of a kind images. The mosaics and designs are then combined with black and clear glass and fused together in a kiln. After that I shape and add to the piece, often refusing 2-3 times before a piece is finished.