Welcome to our new Non-Member Featured Artisan for
Twiggy Thompson of Twiggy's Creations
Your name: Twiggy Leslee ThompsonName of your business: Twiggy’s Creations
Where you can be found on the web:
What inspired you to create the business you own?
Passion. I started to sell my jewelry and beads so I could buy more tools and materials and supplies. I quickly discovered the most exciting part of selling was the idea that I was not the only person who liked what I made. The satisfaction and feel-good factor of selling something that started as a spark of an idea in your head, is a fabulous way to live your life.
How long have you been lampworking?
I started creating jewelry in the late 90’s and evolved to making my own beads over the past 10 years. When I got frustrated because I couldn’t buy the beads I wanted for my designs, I decided to try to make them. I started with polymer clay, but really wanted the look of glass. I decided the best way to make polymer look like a lampwork bead was to figure out how lampwork beads were made. I made a trip to the hobby store and bought a hobby torch kit that included a handful of assorted glass and went home to immediately melt the glass into the most horrible lumps of ugly. I didn’t care. I had melted glass and it was exhilarating! I have been hooked ever since. My original hobby torch is hanging on the wall of my studio to remind me of my roots.
What types of materials do you use to create your designs?
The lampwork beads are mostly made of a “soft” glass, but I occasionally use a hard glass called boro. I use glass from all over the world, mostly glass imported from Italy, followed by American, German and Chinese glasses. The reason you see a lot of Italian glass used by lampworkers is they were the original lampworkers and masters of artisan glass. Along with the historic and traditional reasons to use the Italian glass, their glasses are compatible with each other and they have a beautiful line of colors.
Do you feel that each of your creations expresses a certain part of you?
All my creations reflect a part of me. My start was in beading and wireworking, so most of my inspirations come from what I would like to use in a piece or set of jewelry. Each bead or bead set is a passion. I never sell anything that I didn’t personally enjoy making wouldn’t personally enjoy using.
Have you ever won awards or been published in a magazine or book, or asked to join any type of organization overseeing information distributed to the public?
JustBeads.com invited me to be artist of the month December of 2007. It was fun and my first realization that I had actually started reaching the goal I had set.
What is a typical day in your life like?
When I get out of bed I go straight to the kiln. All my beads are kiln-annealed, they go straight from the flame to the kiln, so I don’t get to oooh and aaah over them until the next day. I have never gotten over the excitement of taking a days worth of work out of the kiln. The only other thing that is on my schedule every day is checking my email in the morning and evening. Everything else is a mad scramble. Fortunately for me, being frantic and undisciplined is part of who I am and helps me create things I might not have created if I had too much time to think about it.
Would you lampwork and make jewelry again if you had a choice? If Not, why?
Not only would I do it again, I would do it the same way. The journey that led me to being a glass artist is essential to how I create my end products and run my business.
What advice would you give to other women who are afraid to take that step toward making their dream happen?
Baby steps are OK. Everything you have done in your life has experience you can draw from, whether it is from going to college and learning to deal with the bureaucracy or working for somebody else or raising a family and running a household. Remember how you want to be treated and build your business around your standards, and the art will follow.
How would you advise them to stay on track so they maintain and healthy outlook?
Take the time and go through the thinking processes that you need to build your business right. For everything you do correctly in the beginning will pay you back many times in the future. If you find that a part of your business isn’t working for you, do what it takes to figure out why. Find the bottom line of the problem, and don’t be afraid to change it. A good example is the way I used to have my shipping set up. It was complicated and took me too much time to simply send a set of beads. I would almost cringe when I sold beads because I had to ship them. Solution: I spent a whole day doing nothing but setting up a small area dedicated to shipping next to my computer in my studio, my printer, multi-shipping in paypal, bought a $15 postal scale and started printing my own labels. Result: No more trips to the post office, no more worrying about getting packages sent on time, shipping takes me about 4 minutes per package, and my clients have a shipping reference number to track their treasures. Was it worth a day and the $15? Ooooh yeah!!
Another piece of advice that I would give is to find a network of people with similar interests and challenges. My friends are indispensable to my outlook. Tera Vermillion and Paula Eibott have been lifesavers for me this past winter when I was unable to work. Your network doesn’t need to be large, and you will find that you have a wealth of information and techniques about your own particular art and business that you can share. The swapping of information and “how-to”s for your business will save you time, frustration and money.
What other types of businesses or Hobbies are you involved in?
I am an education addict. I am unnaturally curious and want to know everything, and of course, the more I know, the more stuff I find to learn about. I am so fortunate to have a business that is my passion, so I would have to call my hobby education. I love history, current events and the sciences. I also enjoy helping others with their education. Education obtained in any form is the one thing that you can never lose or have taken away from you. Once you have it, it is yours forever.
What do you advise about keeping it balanced?
This is the hardest part for me, so I know how important it is. I tend to let my life get unbalanced. I forget to exercise, don’t always eat well, and forget to take care of my physical health in general until I am either sick or hurting too much to keep going. I took a break last winter because I had a serious inflammatory arthritis attack and a cyst on my shoulder. I am not sure if I could have prevented either of them, but my suspicion is that if I had taken better care I might not have been so seriously incapacitated. Anybody that can give me advice is welcome with wide open arms!
Here are some of the beautiful lampwork bead
creations Twiggy has shared with us.
These are amazing to me!
How does she get that flower in there???
Anyone who knows ME would look at the bead above and
know I would want it!
This is a bracelet made by our member
Tera Vermillion, with some of Twiggy's
lampwork beads. Gorgeous!
These are just fabulous!
OK, I give up! How do you get all those intricate
patterns on there!
Here is a bracelet made with Twiggy's beads
by Janice Torres.
Wouldn't this make a gorgeous focal bead!
Another set of beads that amaze me!
A necklace created by Tera Vermillion with some
of Twiggy's lampwork beads!