I first met Laney through her Flickr account. If I remember right, her whimsical designs were the first ones to catch my eye.
When looking at this "Hot Dawg" she made, you might get an idea why.
Let's hope however she doesn't stick her Izzy into a bun! ;-)
Laney's beads just make me smile, be it the chicken, frogs or her flowers. As she was away on a show when I did my lampwork finds post last week, I couldn't show them to you then.
I'm sure this interview will more than make up for that.
Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.
My name is Laney Mead, Izzybeads, and I now live in Hereford, UK, with my husband, two teenage children, my two golden retrievers, two elderly cats and four chooks (chickens). I make lampworked glass beads, mostly sculptural, beads to make you smile.
What's your art and how did you get to do it in the first place?
Lampworking and more recently glass fusing as well.
I came into lampworking by accident. My ex-sister in law wanted to learn about glass bead making, she found a place near me that gave lessons, her and my brother in law (hubby's brother) stayed with us that weekend. As it was a small class, only three places, my husband asked if I wanted to go along, too. It was either stay home and tidy up or go with my brother in law. I chose to go. I lit the torch and the rest is history. That weekend we learnt how to make just a round bead, I have never had another lesson, preferring to teach myself techniques.
Glass fusing is something I came across, again by accident, whilst searching our rather sparse library for lampworking books - they had none - and found a glass fusing book, the rest I figure out as I go along.
I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from everything. A song on the radio. A picture or photograph. A book, just about anything.
I do though take a lot of inspiration from the animals that live with me, my two golden retrievers, Izabel and Defi, my two old cats Megan and Claude - now 20 and 18, my girls - my chooks (chickens), Frankie, Poppy, Ever-Ready (ex-battery hen) and Dave - my son named Dave! - and the farm animals that surround where we live, the sheep, pigs and cows.
I went to Efteling as a child when I lived in Holland and promised I would take my children there which I did when they were 6 and 4, they are now 18 and 16. Sadly my limited Dutch was gone, but it didn't stop me enjoying it and I would go back tomorrow if I could, I love the world of magic and fantasy.
Tell us a fun thing about yourself.
A fun thing about me? I am rubbish at telling jokes and always manage to tell the punchline before the end of the joke .... that and I can't cook!!
Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?
Before glass I was a painter. More accurately I was a fine line artist, again self taught, but I did have a wonderful artist friend who encouraged me. My preferred medium was coloured pencil, the artist type, and I used to do pet portraits in a very realistic style. Sadly these pictures took hours and hours of very detailed and concentrated work and selling them was usually at a massive loss to my time, I now only draw for me and really only draw my designs for my next bead or glass art.
Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?
I don't have an absolute favourite, but I do wear my original chook bead, based on my much loved Duracell (another ex-battery hen) who died, and my earrings are my two goldens - head beads - Izabel and Defi Dogs.
Hardest bead? I don't think I have a hardest piece of art, if they don't challenge me, then they don't hold my interest, so each piece has to have some degree of difficulty which is what I love about glass. You can't make it do completely what you want, you have to work with it, not against it.
Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?
Over the years, I have loved the work of the Impressionist painters, their use of colour and light, as well as the great masters of glass such as Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka for their amazing work in recreating flowers in glass. Inspiration, for me, comes from so many sources, I wouldn't like to say just one person inspires me.
If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your art, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?
Time. There is just never enough hours in the day to do everything I want. I get very frustrated when I get tired and have to stop.
Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?
Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?
Yes. There is a wonderful poem that I think everyone should follow its advice ...
Dust if you must.
But wouldn't it be better,
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed?
Ponder the difference between want and need.
Dust if you must.
But there is not much time
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear, and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must.
But the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes,
The wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come round again.
Dust if you must.
But bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go, and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.
(Rose Milligan, Lancaster, Lancashire, England)
There's nothing much to add to that, is there? (Especially not when looking at the shelves around me ...)
I hope you'll enjoy browsing through Laney's world of glass just like I do.