Lampwork beads - Interview with bead artist Judith Billig, with give-away

Lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Lovely readers, I’m thrilled and exited that lampwork glass artist Judith Billig agreed to do the interview for this month.

Judith is well known for her gorgeous lampwork glass beads (yes, I do have a few) as well as her jewelry. Her work has been published in numerous bead magazines.


Q: Can you tell us a bit of  the beginning of your career as a glass artist?
A: My passion with glass started originally on “the other side”: my hobby was jewelry design, and sold my finished designs in a local gallery in Auckland, NZ.
When I discovered lampwork beads through my local bead shop and Ebay, I was hooked right away and fell in love with glass beads and lampworking.
I was determined to learn it, however, at that time there were no classes available in the country that we were living, New Zealand. But when we moved to the US in 2008, I signed up right away for a lampworking beginner’s class, and the second weekend after our move to Redmond, WA, I was already melting glass for the first time.
From that moment on I could only think about glass beads, and it took just a couple of weeks to set up my first studio in our garage.

Handmade necklace with  lampwork beads Judith Billig

Q: Do you work full time as a glass artist? On your blog I’ve read that you started your career in IT. Was the transition to your new career as a glass artist difficult?
A: Yes, I do work full time as a glass artist – or let’s say after being a mom, my second full-time job is being a beadmaker. Yes, I was working in IT as a database programmer and Project Manager, before our first daughter Charlotte was born in 2005.
Once I was a mom, I did not return back to the “corporate” work force, as we planned from the beginning to have more than one child and also it was always clear for us that I want to be for a longer time a stay-at-home-mom to take care of the children.
Lampworking slowly morphed from being a hobby to a part-time job once our second daughter started preschool and kindergarten. I had more time at hand, and it was just a natural progression, as I knew that lampworking was my passion and I did not want to return to IT, if possible.
The transition was not difficult, as it was just a very slow, but natural process from being an IT professional, to a young mom, then starting off as a hobby, and over the years increasing the time that I spent with my lampworking business up to the point that I realized, this is now a full time job.

Handmade lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Q:  Why did you choose glass as a medium to work with? Are you planning to explore other materials as well in the future, like polymer clay, ceramic, metal?
A: I was always a crafter and “maker”, started already young with knitting and crochet, as a teenager I sewed my own outfits. Later I tried my hands at painting (not absolutely successful) and interior design as well as calligraphy and photography.
But I was never as fascinated with any other medium as I am with glass. It is difficult for me to explain, what exactly it is – but I can completely relax while melting glass, and I always call it my “Zen”.
I also worked shortly with polymer clay, but didn’t find the same kind of fascination in the material, as I find it with glass.

Handmade artisan lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Q: Are you self-taught?
A: Not completely – I did a 2-day-beginner’s class, and that was for many years the only lampworking class that I enrolled in. I was too scared of the safety aspect of lampworking to start off without any kind of guidance and education, which was for me the main reason to do the beginner’s class.
Only recently did I start to sign up for other classes, as I realized that some techniques are easier to learn in person, than trying to figure it out by yourself or learning from tutorials.

Handmade lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Q: What inspires you in your work?
A: I’m the most inspired by color and color combinations. I’m just drawn to certain color combos that I see – mostly in nature, but also in photography or magazines. Sometimes I see a knitted jumper and the color combinations “speak” to me, or even the exterior paint color of a house.

Lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Q: Your facebook business page is called Icarus Beads. Could you tell us a bit more why you choose that name?
A: Already as a child I was fascinated by ancient Mythology, mainly by Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. The tragic story of Icarus and his father Daedalus was always one of my favorites. Icarus and his father wanted to escape from an island with the use of wings made from feathers and wax. Icarus was warned not to fly too close to the sun, as not to melt the wings. However, Icarus ignored those warnings, flew too close to the sun, and once the wax melted, he fell into the sea and drowned.
When I was looking for a business name, that had to do with heat and melting (glass), somehow this tragic story came back into my mind, and I thought it was quite fitting. 

Lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Q: What does a typical day in the life of Judith looks like?
A: Oh my, pretty boring and uneventful, to be honest.
Of course I first get the kids ready for school (they are both still in Elementary School). Once they’re on their way, I usually first get the business paper “stuff” out of the way. I send out Paypal invoices, package beads and get them ready for shipping. Once that’s out of the way and the dogs had their morning walk, I normally head out into the studio to check on the beads from the day before.
While the kiln ramps up to temperature, I clean yesterday’s beads and make already the photos for later in the day, and as soon as the kiln is on temperature, I’ll sit down and start melting glass. My favorite time of the day!
In the early afternoon the kids come home from school, we do homework, and after-school activities as well as me starting to prepare dinner.
Sometime during the afternoon I usually start listing the beads that are ready to sell. Nowadays I’m selling almost everything through Facebook.
Often I spend the evenings with networking, marketing, communicating with my customers, and checking out some new glass colors or new trends. Sometimes I browse Pinterest or Instagram for some new color combos or inspiration for the upcoming days.

Judith Billig beads

Q: Is there a particular bead and/or jewelry artist you admire or who you consider a role model?
A: I do admire a wide range of glass artists for their outstanding skills, innovative ideas or out-of-the-world talent, but don’t really consider them or use them as a role model.
There are so many bead artists that I admire, for a variety of reasons, it’s really hard to select just a few. But the names that come into my mind without even having to think about it are Lydia Workman-Muell, Joy Munshower, Harold Williams Cooney, JC Herrell, Sarah Sally LaGrande, Astrid Riedel, and Larry Scott.  

Handmade beads Judith Billig

Q: If you were not a bead artist, what would you be doing?
A: It’s hard for me to imagine doing anything else than lampworking, But if for whatever reason I could not continue it, maybe I would return to one of my earlier hobbies, interior design. I was always drawn to interior design because I like the challenge of turning an uninspired, maybe even non-functional room into something beautiful, which works better for the requirements of the people living in the space.

Lampwork glass beads Judith Billig

Q: Do you have a life motto and if so, would you like to share this with us?
A: Yes, I live by the motto “Never look back”.
Never regret the decisions that you made, try to make the best of the current situation without thinking all the time “what if”. Live in the moment, not in the past.

Lampwork glass beads, artisan beads Judith Billig

Q: Do you have tips, tricks or advise you like to share with us?
A: There are so many questions that beginner in lampworking ask, and quite often it simmers down to one simple advice: practice, practice, practice. That applies of course not only to lampworking, but to almost every craft or art form.
It sounds super boring, but if you wonder why your round beads are not round – it’s a matter of practicing hundreds of beads, and then hundred more, to really learn how glass moves, how gravity affects the shape of the bead and how to turn the mandrel properly, to get that round bead.  
The same if you’re working with a new tool or a new technique, and it doesn’t work right away as you’ve seen it with others. It’s because they almost certainly put already 100, 200 or 500 hours of work into this particular skill to develop it to the point where it’s now.
The same with a business plan, marketing, networking, or developing a strategy for your glass business: there are unfortunately no real shortcuts. We all need to put the time, heart and energy in it, to see progress and success.

Lampwork beads Judith Billig

Thank you so much for this wonderful and inspiring interview Judith.

You can buy Judith's gorgeous beads through her facebook page were you can also find the latest news.

Judith has her own website where you can find a gallery of her work as well as her blog.

And of course this interview would not be complete without a give-away.

Judith is generously giving away not one, but two bead sets! Look at these beauties. I wish I could enter this give-away myself.

Give-away 1
Beadset from Judith Billig

Give away, lampwork beads, glass beads, Judith Billig

Give-away 2
Beadset from Judith Billig

Handmade glass beads, lampwork beads Judith Billig Give away

Give-away 3
I have made 3 bracelets with beads from Judith Billig. The winner can pick her/his favorite.

In the first bracelet I combined her beads with amethyst, pyrite, vintage lucite, Greek ceramic and brass washers and Czech glass.

Bracelet Esfera Jewelry, Janine Lucas, handmade

handmade bracelet, jewelry Esfera Jewelry, Janine Lucas

The second bracelet is more ethnic. I combined her beads with horn beads and old mala prayer beads from Nepal: Naga shell, bodhi seed bead and carved bone.

Ethnic bracelet Esfera Jewelry

Ethnic bracelet Esfera Jewelry

In the third bracelet I combined her beads with wood, resin, vintage lucite, copper and Czech glass.

Handmade bracelet Esfera jewelry, Janine Lucas

Esfera jewelry, handmade jewelry

All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, to get a change to win one of these give-aways. yes, it is that easy.

There are lots of ways you can increase your chances of winning too...

Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one (yes you will enhance your changes of winning, so please do):

·    Share this give-away on your own blog
·    Share this give-away on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
·    Subscribe to my newsletter
.    Subscribe to my email list to receive special discounts
.    Subscribe to the blog of Judith Billig
·    Become a follower of my facebook page
·    Become a follower of the facebook page of Judith Billig
·    Follow me on Pinterest
.    Follow me on google+
·    Like my Etsy shop
·    Anything else you can think of to spread the word.

Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximize your chances though!

Please don't let the captcha scare you off. It is to prevent the spam robots enter this give-away as well.

The draw will close at 10am GMT on Sunday November 23, 2014 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later that day.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope to see you next time.



Followed Judith

Followed Judith

simply mouthwatering! All!

simply mouthwatering! All!

Judith Interview

What a fantastic interview--really well-done and interesting! It's funny, I just bought some more beads from Judith and got to wondering what her day was like, ...and now I know! :-)

Fabulous bead and jewelry work, as well as photography, from both you! (And, of course, I'd absolutely LOVE to win a prize!) :-) Many thanks! --Sharyl

Liked Judith FB page!

Liked Judith FB page!

Fabulous bracelets ... would

Fabulous bracelets ... would be honored to win one! Linked your blog to mine.

I follow Judith's blog via

I follow Judith's blog via email

shared on

shared on Twitter:

I like your FB page (Despina

I like your FB page (Despina Vnt)

I like Judith's page on FB

I like Judith's page on FB (Despina Vnt)

Follow you on Pinterest

Follow you on Pinterest (DESPINA VNT)

Follow you on google+

Follow you on google+ (DESPINA VENETI)

I like your Etsy shop

I like your Etsy shop (Despina Vnt)

Subscribe to your email list

Subscribe to your email list

Subscribed to your newsletter

Subscribed to your newsletter

I was already aware of

I was already aware of Judith's work but this is a fantastic presentation!!!
I'd be thrilled to win ANY of the prizes, especially your 1st or 3rd bracelt, thank you!!!

Fabulous bracelet

Fabulous bracelet creations...I hope I win one! I put a link to your blog on my blog.

Follow Judith on FB now! Such

Follow Judith on FB now! Such a terrific lampwork artist!

Fabulous interview! I

Fabulous interview! I subscribed to Judith's Blog

Judith Billlig beads giveaway!

i have been admiring Judith's beads for quite a while now. Would love to own a set. I sent her a picture as a challenge. Sign me up for the drawing please.

I love all of Judith work

Judiths hand made beads are so amazing, and is a inspiration to everyone i think :)

I've just liked Judith's

I've just liked Judith's Facebook page and already follow you both on Etsy, etc.

I am a BIG fan of Judith's

I am a BIG fan of Judith's work! Great interview, Janine. It's always great to learn about artists we admire and where they started. And mmmm, those beads! :D

Beautiful beads!

Both of your work is just stunning, her beads and what you made with them! I also really enjoyed the interview :)


I already liked Judith's page :)


Just followed your Facebook page! Look forward to seeing your pieces in my newsfeed. :)

Liked your Etsy page

Just favorited your Etsy page! :D

Judith Billig Interview

What a great interview! I love seeing Judith's beads and I'm liking how you are incorporating them into your designs! Great job to you both! :)

Really well done interview.

Really well done interview. Your questions led to fun and interesting answers.

Love Judith's work!!

Love Judith's work!!

Wonderful interview.

Wonderful interview.

following on Facebook

Followed esfera on Facebook

Shared on Facebook

Shared on Facebook

Subscribed to email

Subscribed to email list


Amazing beads!


Already follow Judith on FB!


wonderful interview!


I liked your shop on etsy!

Beautiful beads

Beautiful beads

Inspiring giveaway!

What an amazing opportunity to win art beads or art jewelry with them! Both options are exciting! Not only the pictures are inspiring but also the story of how it's never too late to discover the artist in yourself!

signed up for emails

Signed up for emails


Your interpretation of colours from photos to bead is sspectacular . I especially love the owl inspiration beads xxx

Judith's lampwork beads and Janine's designs

Wow, these beads are absolutely gorgeous. Stunningly clever fusions of colour and organic textures. You are both very talented. Thank you for inspiring me!

Following Judith's blog.

Following Judith's blog.

Shared on Facebook!

Shared on Facebook!

Judith Billing interview

Wow! Talk about an embarrassment of riches.....Judith's glass and Janine's designs! There isn't a thing on this page that I don't love! Great interview. I will share where ever I can. I already follow both of you on most sites.Thanks for another fab giveaway, Janine.

Liked and shared on Facebook

Liked and shared on Facebook


liked and shared on facebook

Lovely Beads

Wow, you are so talented! The colors are fabulous!

interview and giveaway

Really enjoyed this interview and learning about Judith and her gorgeous beads!

Beautiful Beads!

Judith -

Love the colour combinations and the shapes! I have dabbled in lampworking and completely understand the "zen" aspect! You are so lucky to have been able to make your own studio! That is on my dream list!

Is your studio open to visit at all? I sometimes get down to the Samammish area to visit family - I would love to drop around!


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