Get to Know Scott Bouwens: Inventor of Bearfoot Tools by Studio Pro

801000-EMS-3-SLEEVES-WITH-BOX-WEBHave 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_Daniels Deal

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?

02_Scott_BouwensI 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 lampworkcuffbraceletinstinctively 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.

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  • 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. 

Tulip Fields in Skagit beadCheck out some of Scott’s work or get in touch with the Bouwens using the links below!

Website: http://www.bearfootart.com/

Blog: http://bloggingbearfoot.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bearfoot-Art-Glass-Studio-Lampwork-Beads-and-Tools-by-Scott-Bouwens/138751361232?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BearfootArt

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/bearfootart

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bearfootart

Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BearfootArtGlass

Ebay Shop: http://www.ebay.com/sch/bearfootart/m.html?_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

Bringing on the Bling with Mark Montano and the Fuseworks Kiln

Big Ass Book of Bling If you haven’t already noticed, there is a jewel of a new book on the market and its glistening above all other craft books currently on the market! The ever talented Mark Montano, the brilliant mind that brought you Dollar Store Décor, Pulp Fiction: Perfect Paper Projects, The Big Ass Book of Crafts, has just released his latest and greatest collection of jewelry and fashion accessory projects perfect for beginners and experienced crafter alike.

The Big Ass Book of Bling is like a multi-faceted diamond, each facet represents countless cute and clever jewelry and accessory projects which involve upcycling, and using plenty of stealthy craft supplies you probably already have on hand, from paper, plastic bags and pins to leather, rhinestones and lace this book features it all!  But our favorite part of this brilliant new read is the chapter– Glassterpiece. In this chapter, Mark uses our Fuseworks Microwave Kiln to put his unique shine on fused glass jewelry as well as giving readers a completely new way to look at jewelry findings!

We absolutely love Mark’s style and his genius crafting resourcefulness, we just had to sit down and ask him all the dirty details on all of his “craftpertiece.” Read on to find out more about Mark’s style, inspirations and what he’s working on!

How did you get your start in the crafting industry?

The crafting industry found me actually!  I wrote my first DIY book 12 years ago based on my articles in Cosmo Girl!     magazine.  It was called “Super Suite” and it was a bedroom makeover guide for teen girls filled with home decor DIY projects.  I kept writing books, and doing TV and the whole time I was getting known for my DIY projects.  I got invited to a CHA show in California  and found an entire world of people who enjoy what I do. That’s how it happened.

What inspired you to write the Big Ass Book of Bling?

20 Years in the fashion industry in NYC.  I was a fashion designer and I owned boutiques and had  huge runway shows and I would make the jewelry that we sold and used in our shows.  I left fashion for TV and writing and I missed it so I thought it would be fun to revisit my fashion career and write a book about the jewelry I used to make.

What was your favorite creation using the Fuseworks Microwave Kiln?

Mark Montano Fused Rings

 Probably the rings, they are simple and truly show of the unique qualities of the fused glass pieces.  I love adding the brass stampings to them and even though they are clearly for women, I can’t help putting them on when I’m at home and wearing them around the house.  They make   me feel good.

What inspires you when you are creating something new?

Gosh, inspiration is a process for me.  It comes from working with the materials and letting my imagination take its own road.  Inspiration is a gift, don’t you think?  I mean, when you really think about it, it’s something that comes to you.  So, I work with the materials and wait for the universe to be generous with me.  Sounds much more “new age-y” than I really am, but there you go!

What makes your designs unique from everyone else’s?

I think it’s because I don’t care about trends.  Trend has the word “end” in it and by the time something is a trend I believe it’s over, at least for me.  I don’t pay attention to them and just do my own thing.  When people follow their heart and their own individuality, I think they are much more apt to find something unique and wonderful.

Who’s work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?

To be honest, because of Fuseworks and my microwave kiln, I now admire all glass artists.  It’s   such a wonderful art form and I don’t think people realize how complex it can be.  Now when I see hand blown glass or intricate glass pieces I’m much more blown away by them. I recently visited the Met in NYC and saw some terrific ancient glass and thought, WOW, that took some real talent!  Before I wouldn’t take the time to really look at it.

What advice would you give other artists/crafters?

Dive in and get dirty.  Nothing truly interesting comes from planning.  When you’re creative, it   comes from DOING!

What’s next for the fabulous Mark Montano?

I’m working on television project and have 2 books planned for this year.  Actually, I’m already tired just thinking about it!  I am going to be continuing my Youtube channel Make Your Mark! series because it’s just fun to do.  Other than that, I’ll be getting dirty in my studio and seeing what I can come up with.

When out for drinks with your pose, what’s your favorite cocktail?

A vodka gimlet, straight up with Kettle One.  It’s delicious and very 1950’s.

And there you have it folks, the inside scoop from the sparkling and illuminating artist – Mark Montano!

Mark Montano

Stay up to date on Mark and his crafty happening by clicking the links below!

WEBSITE

YOUTUBE 

BLOG

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

MARK’S BOOKS

Fusing with Featured Artist Svetlana Kunina

fused glass and metal heart pendantThis month our featured artist is Svetlana Kunina an artist who makes beautiful fused glass and metal work! She is featuring the Diamond Tech Fuseworks Microwave Kiln in her book Stunning Jewelry Made Easy due out in October. We just cant wait to make one of her beautiful designs!

 

 

How did you get started in glass fusing?

• First, I started making one-of-a-kind glass beads on a torch. Then, as I worked more and more with glass I became interested in fusing, creating different designs, playing with shapes and color combinations.

Why did you get started in glass fusing?

• I already had all the necessary equipment and it was the most logical thing to do. I had a lot of inspiration from geometrical shapes and designs that I was already making in beadweaving, so it was an interesting addition to my designs.

 How have your other interests/hobbies/career influenced your glass designs?

• Mostly lampwork beads that I was making, there is always something that doesn’t turn out the way you want it or develops a crack.  Fusing gives me another possibility of how turn it into something beautiful. I also, incorporate fused pieces into beadwork and that adds a unique touch to the whole piece.

What inspires you?

• Glass and metals are fascinating materials to work with, there are so many things possible and I love to push boundaries and experiment by combing different mediums. This challenge is very inspirational to me.

 What makes your work unique from everyone else’s?

•  My perspective, I sometimes see things from a different angle. Also, my cultural background, growing up in Russia was a great experience, rich culture and art & craft traditions.  Travelling in countries around Europe and USA brought an interesting influence, so it’s like a mixture of different elements that need to be balanced.

 Who’s work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?

• It’s hard to pinpoint, there are so many talented artists out there. I love Sarah Hornik’s Glass Beads, Beadwork of NanC Fused Glass and Copper Artifact by Svetlana KuninaMeinhardt, she was one of my teachers. Kate McKinnon’s work – just to name a few.

 Do you sell your work? If so, where?

• On my web site www.NecessaryJewelry.com and in galleries, boutiques, art shows.

 What are some upcoming exhibits/shows that you are excited about?

•  I am planning to do more shows next year. This and last year I primarily concentrated my efforts on my new book, Stunning Jewelry Made Easy due out in October 2011.

What advice would you give other artists?

• Apply your unique vision to everything you create. Stay different. Study different techniques and make them part of your designs. Observe what other Artists are doing and learn from experience. Keep an open mind.

Contact Svetlana Kunina:

Svetlana Kunina Artist Designer Educator Necessary Jewelrywww.NecessaryJewelry.com

www.BeadKnots.com  – web site that sells Patterns to her original designs

www.www.etsy.com/shop/NecessaryJewelry

www.bead-knots.blogspot.com/

Fun with Featured Artist Barbara Lewis

 Here at Diamond Tech we love sitting down with the artists who use our product on a daily basis. Enameled Jewelry by Barbara LewisWe found out that one of our favorite artists, Barbara Lewis, just released  new book Torch Fired Enamel Jewelry – A Workshop in Painting with Fire in which she exclusively uses the Diamond Tech Fireworks Torch and we just had to talk to her and have her share a little more about herself.

 How did you get started in torch fired enameled jewelry?

 • I took a workshop with Joe Spencer, creator of Multi-Torch Fired Enamel and things started to click.  I applied my ceramics education and knowledge gained from 20 years of firing gas kilns to adjustments in the flame. Who could imagine that white enamel would be my BFF! Simple torch adjustments create the most astoundingly beautiful results!

Why did you get started in torch fired enameled jewelry?

• While recovering from two rotator cuff surgeries, as a result of loading heavy kiln shelves, I began the intimate task of making jewelry.  First using my ceramic beads and then my enamel ones.  I took a lampworking class during this recovery period.  Enamel seemed a natural progression for an artist attracted to the flame! These experiences have led to my book, Torch Fired Enamel Jewelry – A Workshop in Painting with Fire. My Painting with Fire method exclusively uses the Diamond Tech Fireworks Torch.  It makes the art of enameling fast and affordable. The self-igniting feature of the torch is great for workshop students who may have no former flameworking experience.  But even better than that is how simple it is to adjust the oxygen flow to the flame.

How have your other interests/hobbies/career influenced your glass designs?

• I began sewing at the age of 12 and started college as an apparel design major.  My desire to make as many of the beads and components for my jewelry as possible, stems from this original creative urge to make the dresses I visualized.  Now I integrate silks, leather and other fabrics into my jewelry designs. I encourage jewelry artists to spread their wings and not be captive to what’s available at the store.

What inspires you?

• Because I love color, enamel is a natural fit.  It’s all about color!  In college I studied color theory and some would say that they are attracted to my work because of my use of color.  I have always enjoyed introducing the offbeat … a little bit of unexpected color that might make you say, “I would never have thought to use that!”

What makes your work unique from other artists?Enameled Jewelry by Barbara Lewis

• I work spontaneously from the things around me. I get a thrill from incorporating seemingly disparate objects into a single piece of jewelry.  My “Bench Collection” necklaces are a snapshot of what’s on my worktable at any given moment.  I love this type of challenge.

Who’s work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?

• I love the work of Mark Rothko and the Color Field painters.  Enamel artists I admire would include Deb Lozier, Jan Smith, and Jan Harrell.  I love their use of color and texture.

Do you sell your work? If so, where?

• I sell my work primarily online at my website, but also at the Juxtacenter Salon and Gallery in St. Petersburg, Buttons Bangles and Beads in St. Pete Beach and at All About Beads in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

What are some upcoming exhibits/shows that you are excited about?

• The thing I’m most excited about in the immediate future is Bead Fest Philly in August, where I’ll have my book available for the first time.  I’ll also be doing a book signing and teaching two workshops. In September, I teach at Art and Soul, Portland.  In addition, I teach about 25 to 30 workshops a year … I’m pretty busy.

What advice would you give other artists?

• Stay true to your aesthetic. Your work will remain original and inspired.  Connections will be easy … things will feel right.  When you find yourself straying from your path, you may need to limit outside influences. My word for the year has been “Steadfast.” 

What else would you like to say about yourself and your work? 

• I struggle with a mind racing with ideas.  When I go into the studio, I’m definitely ADD and have to focus my energy and attention.  Working from a list is not a bad idea, but I usually misplace the list … 🙂

I invite you to join me at www.paintingwithfire.ning.com, where it’s all about torch firing.  It’s a great place to go with questions, to network and get inspired.  We also have a weekly chat on Thursday evenings at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Contact Barbara Lewis:

Barbara Lewis Phone: (301) 643-3151

blewis@md.metrocast.net

website for supplies and jewelry: www.paintingwithfireartwear.com

book website: www.torchfiredenameljewelry.com

blog: www.paintingwithfireartwear.blogspot.com