The Inspiration Glossary

What is this Inspiration Glossary? It is a guide dedicated to the things and people who inspired some of my bead designs. It also contains the terms for most of my designs, wherever it was they came from. It's a work in progress. I will add little bits here and there as I find the time.

The Toggle

In 2003, after 5 years on the Hot Head, I finally procured the complete flamework apparatus. Coincidentally or not, my skill and current design repertoire reached a certain level that pushed me to try different things and build on what I had already developed. And since I had more heat at my disposal than ever before, I wasn't focusing on waiting for the glass to melt, so I had more time to piddle and try some new stuff. I already knew that dots were my thing, and at this point, decided that I wanted more dots than ever before. So I challenged myself to make a bead with 4 main dots on the base bead, and build it up from there to where I had about 28 layers on each main dot. I applied each layer to the opposite side of the bead - in other words, instead of applying each dot in order, 1,2,3,4, I would apply them in 1,3,2,4 to make sure the layer underneath wasn't too hot when I applied the glass. (I was still in the early learning stages when it came to heat control, and that seemed to help.) That's when I realized that the bead looked really cool with larger or more bulbous dots on opposite sides of the bead, and its shape resembled these cool old wooden toggle buttons in my collection. This was when I learned to see alternate possibilities of a design, and began to notice how this happened just about every time I was making a bead... if I was paying attention.

(Top Left: bead by Michael Barley -
(bottom left: Disco Stew by ME)

Disco Stew

I never got into the habit of studying other peoples work and emulating it. I only knew what was in Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins, where I not only learned how to make beads, but found at least a good few years of inspiration and basic instruction. Michael Barley is one of the artists in MGB, and he started selling on ebay in 2003 (I think, it could have been earlier). So, of course that jumped out at me and I ogled his stuff whenever he would list something. This is one of my favorite beads of his, I liked it so much that I actually saved the photo. It was When I asked Mr. Barley for permission to use this image and told him my story, he couldn't see how his bead inspired Disco Stew... but that's kinda how inspiration works for me.

(Top Left: beads by Julie Ferguson -

Triple Toggles

Back in 2004 Julie Ferguson (some of you may know her as fergiebeads) bought some beads from me, the Pinstripes and Pastel set to be exact. Those are simply round beads with a dot on each side, which is essentially the basis for my Toggles and a slew of other designs. She thought she would try her hand at the Toggles, and sent me a picture of what she had come up with. Not only had she tried the regular two sided toggles, but she also made some 4 sided ones. What happened here is that I inspired her, and she inspired me back - so I thought I would give the 4 sided ones a try, myself. I was not jazzed with what I came up with and decided that the base bead would have to be significantly larger for me to get the layers clean and spaced far enough apart from each other. It dawned on me that three would be a nice compromise, and I wouldn't have to scramble to control the heat the way I would with 4 protrusions. Plus, I was pretty accustomed to triangles at that point, so it was very comfortable.

I'm working on it....