Tell us how you got started with lampworking?
I got started in lampworking right after I moved to Alaska in 2001. Anchorage has a huge outdoor “market” every weekend during the summer months with well over 300 vendors. It was there I saw my first lampwork beads. I fondled them, lol, as I could not believe what I was seeing. Flowers inside a glass bead??? How could that be? So I asked if there were classes offered and there were so I signed up for one. The rest is history. It wasn’t until 6 months later that I was able to get my own equipment set up and by then I’d forgotten everything I learned in that initial class. I consider myself self taught as, really I am. Years and years of practice before ever taking another class.
Your style is just beautiful and so distinctive! How did your style develop over the years and what inspires it?
Inspiration I suppose initially came from my environment. Much of my work has an organic and unrealistic feel to it. This comes from years I spent living in remote Alaska, a place as organic and wild as can be. It’s like taking a walk on the wild side when gazing into some of my beads.
I oftentimes don’t set out knowing exactly what my work is going to look like, but I am most comfortable watching where the glass and flame take me, much like being in a trance. If other people end up liking my work, it’s an added bonus. I am not saying this is the best and only way to approach creation, it’s just the way I work and produce best, and I’ve discovered through my own experience that my work speaks most clearly when I let it speak on its own.
Do you have any special projects you’ve been working on lately?
I really don’t have any special projects I’m working on at any given time. I don’t have time. My days are allocated to producing beads to sell. It’s my life and how I support myself. I’m single, this is my income and pays my bills. I have to say though, it would be heaps of fun to collaborate on a piece with someone. And occasionally I have visions of something I’d like to do one day but I need to better
develop my glass sculpting skills first. But I would very much enjoy making a totem series that reflects my love for, and time I spent in Alaska.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative business?
Advice….work hard, if you are serious about making a living with your art you need to dedicate your life to it. Become the best artist you can by refining your skills and creating a unique niche in your medium. Interact with your customers, they love it! Be kind, considerate and transparent. And do not mix your personal life with your business life especially on social media.
How do you like to wind down after a day in the studio?
After a day in the studio and depending on the time of year, I’m out with my dogs on a hike or snowshoeing. I finally bought a kayak this late spring and I’m really loving my time on the water in the afternoons when I’m done working. And I do enjoy creating a piece of jewelry now and then during my off time. I travel to Alaska once a year to re-charge my batteries. I work 7 days a week for months on end and I need to get away to get those creative juices flowing again. When I am up there you’ll find me hiking in remote regions, only accessible by boat or plane, camera in tow, snapping photo’s like a mad woman. Photography is my 2nd love.
Where can we find out more about you and purchase your work?
Facebook – Donna Millard Art Glass
Website – FyreBeadz
Etsy – Donna Millard