Have you ever seen something so inventive or ingenious that you said “Not only do I have to have this, but I must meet the person responsible for it!”? That’s what a lot of lampworkers are saying these days about the Bearfoot Tools by Studio Pro Line and here is your chance to get the inside scoop on the creative mind behind Bearfoot Tools.
We are so excited about this line of lampworking tools because it not only showcases the pure creativity of the artist who created them but Diamond Tech’s versatility as a tool manufacturer. The Bearfoot Tools by Studio Pro line consists of a line of fatigue reducing, productivity increasing Electric Mandrel Spinners, marvers, hand stabilizers and the cross functional Powder Vibe.
Scott and Monica Bouwens, owners of Bearfoot Art Studio, have long been known in the lampworking industry for their 14 years of contemporary lampworking, bead making, jewelry design and tool construction. In August of 2012 a creative collaboration occurred between the Bouwens and Diamond Tech International where in Bearfoot Tools; the Bouwens line of lampworking tools was purchased by Diamond Tech.
Take a moment to get to know Scott Bouwens, the inventor of Bearfoot Tools and take a look at this fantastic line.
- How did you get started in lampworking?
I was first introduced to Lampworking in 1996. My girlfriend, now my wife, Monica was managing a bead store in Wenatchee Washington. The owner of the bead store gave Monica an appreciation gift of a bracelet that was made with simple lampwork beads she had created herself. I think that is the first time I ever heard the term lampwork. I remember being quite taken with the idea of working glass in a torch. It must have been obvious because Monica gave me a book, Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins, a torch, some glass, and some basic tools as a gift for my birthday present that year. I don’t think she had any idea how directly that gift would end up shaping our future. I think she simply expected to get some cool free beads from me to use in her jewelry. She got a lot more than that as I seemed to have a natural talent for lampworking glass beads. Not long after I started making beads, we started to do local shows selling jewelry made by the two of us. I traveled to sell at “Bead Shows” and Ebay was getting going at that time as well. I found I could sell things as fast as I could make them. I was a self taught newbie practicing my craft and selling the beads that I was learning from. I liked what I was making and it blended so well with what my wife was passionate about that eventually we made the switch to being full time artists.
- How did you get started inventing tools for lampworking?
I started making tools for working glass right from the beginning because my nature is to invent. I look at a need I have and I instinctively design a process or make something to answer that need. With glass the needs I had fell into three main categories; Spinning, Marvering and Hand Control. Most of the tools I designed fell under one of those headings. I found them incredibly helpful to me and I started to show and sell them at the bead shows I was attending. Others started to use them and I got a reputation for my good designs and the quality of my work. Well, for someone like me, I am off to the races inventing more and more at such news. I like to help others and I like that I have found a unique way to use my natural talent to do so. “See A Need-Fill A Need”
- How have your other interests/ hobbies/ career influenced your glass designs and inventions?
I used to be very deep into model airplane building, the RC kind. I would build them, fly them, crash them, fix them and fly and rebuild and fly them some more. Needless to say I spent a lot of time and money in hobby stores back then. Many of the designs for Bearfoot Tools include materials that I became familiar with back then. I got more than knowledge of good materials from that hobby; I learned about electronics, physics and I fell in love with science too. I pursued what I was interested in and followed it to the end and beyond. I do that with my glass designs too. I get an idea, try it out, if I like what I have then I keep working it over and over until I get it right how I want it to be. I do that in my designs, my glass art, and my life to the best of my ability.
- What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, science, experience, and story-both the hearing and telling of.
- What makes your work different from everyone else’s?
I use a lot of silver in my work and I have developed a technique for creating many color effects with it. Not very many people know how to do what I do and those who can choose to make their own style of bead. So I would say it is a cooperation between myself and other bead artists, each of us striving to be uniquely our own, that makes us all different.
- Who’s work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?
Kerri Furr, Glass beads & Jewelry – Alex Kargopoltsev, Fine art painter–
- Do you sell your work? If so, where?
I own Bearfoot Art Glass Studio, a retail store in LaConner WA. We sell beads, jewelry, gifts, and Bearfoot Tools by Diamond Tech there and on our website. We are also selling on Etsy, and we are looking for Galleries to show our Bead Creature lines like our beaded Dragons or Caterpillars.
- What are some upcoming exhibits / shows are you excited about?
I am looking to get back into shows more as we transition from being a tool manufacturing company that also makes beads to being a full time glass artist that also invents and sells tools. I am not sure what events I’ll be at so there isn’t anything specific for me to be excited about right now, but I will say that wherever I go I will be excited to see some of my old friends from the bead show circuit. They are great people.
- What advice would you give other artists?
Follow what you are passionate about and try to do that to the best quality you can. Look for opportunities and obstacles. And when you can, turn obstacles into opportunities.
Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BearfootArtGlass