1. How long have you been making beads and is this your full-time job?
As of right now, yes, this is my full-time job. I learned to make beads about 6 years ago at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and have been selling them for about 5 years now. I started on ebay. I don't sell there anymore, but I sell on my web site (http://www.suebeads.com/) and on etsy (http://www.suebeads.etsy.com/). I also have a blog (http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com/) where you can see my new creations!
2. What are some of your inspirations when you create?
I tend to make earthy-type beads, but I have been known to be inspired by flowers, jewelry I see in catalogs, and dreams I have! Other artists also inspire me to go outside my comfort zone at times!
3. Do you have any tips for buying handmade glass beads?
Buying lampwork beads from china means you will not get kiln-annealed beads. These beads will eventually crack and/or explode. They are cheaper than artisan beads, but you get what you pay for! Buying beads from artisans who tell you they kiln-anneal their beads will mean you get genuine hand-made beads that have been properly heat treated in a kiln. You also want to make sure your dimples (the holes in the beads) are not sharp or pointy, they should be smooth. You should check your beads to make sure they are not wonky - that they are even all around and do not look pregnant on one end!
4. What is your favorite vacation spot and do you take beads to play with when you go on vacation?
Any island that is warmer than here is my favorite place! I do not usually take beads along, because all I want to do is read and lay in the sun and drink fruity drinks! If I brought beads, they would distract me from my main pursuits!
(Photo credit: all images from SueBeads)