What influences you personally and how has that helped you develop your own personal style?
My maternal grandmother taught me how to sew when I was five years old and the first things I sewed were doll clothes. When I started to sew my own clothes, they looked like 1980s Barbie clothes. I was very informed by conventional high fashion when I was growing up because I had a subscription to Vogue magazine from the age of eight until I was eighteen. Also, I started promoting for raves in NYC in my middle teens, so colorful clubwear really had an effect on my aesthetics.
In your opinion, how is clothing an important factor in self expression?
There isn't enough time in the world to thoroughly meet every person. Clothing is potentially a way to communicate more information in less time. We can say who we are or who we want to be, what music we like, what causes are important to us; really anything.
Just for fun, what was the most unusual item you've incorporated into a design?
I don't think it's so unusual because it has a REALLY long history in just about every culture in the world, but human hair. A necklace and earrings of dreads that look like they're blended into the wearer's hair.
How did you get started doing lampworked beads?
When I was five my family took me to the Corning Museum of Glass, where I saw glassblowing for the first time. Two years later I saw a flameworker at a theme park in Southern California. When I was eighteen I ordered a kit in the mail from a catalog of art & craft books. It was called, "Everything You Need to Make Glass Beads for $99". Three months later I transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design to study glass.
Favorite artists and styles?
My favorite lampworkers are the traditional Japanese ones, who are currently doing the tightest and most technically challenging lampwork in the world, like Wakana Ogura and Nobuko Ikuta.
(My current favorite clothing designer is Paul Poiret, and I'm pretty excited about Laotian and Thai embroidery. My current favorite painters are Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Tamara de Lempicka. My current favorite band is The Slits. If you aren't familiar with any of these, please do look them up!)
Advice for those who are new to lampwork or want to start?
I suggest reading lampwork books & online forums, and watching tutorial videos so you can build up an understanding of vocabulary and how to apply techniques while you're not actually using the torch. Practice lampworking as often as possible. Also, a good teacher can help you learn more in less time. If you start making pieces that you want to anneal, rent kiln time at a studio or invest in a kiln.
I love learning and sharing skills.
I want to see things I've never seen before. I aim to make things that satisfy this wish by drawing with glass rods in a torch flame, and by working in other various media: textiles, metal, clay, digital fabrication, printmaking, illustration, music. . .