First of all, my apologies for not being around for some time. And my deepest apologies to Chet, as this interview was planned for April. A lot is going on in my family after my dad passed away last year. It seems disaster struck every time we think we are a bit back on our feet.
But I’m not posting this to bother you with my personal problems, but with the good stuff. Yes, finally another interview.
My guest this month is from the country where my mother was born: Thailand. You can imagine it holds magic for me. So I am so happy I discovered Chet. He makes absolutely gorgeous lampwork beads, which I have been collecting for quite some time now. To be honest, I hesitated to introduce this artist to you. That way I could keep him all to myself and still would be able to snatch up all his beads. But that would not be fair to you nor him. So I hope you will embrace this artist and his work as much as I did.
Chet asked me to correct spelling mistakes, which I did as best I could (I am not a native English speaker myself).
Q: Can you tell us more about the beginning of your career as a bead artist? Were you always an artist? If not, what made you decide to change your career and how did you experienced this transition?
Personally, I think it's started when my close friend suddenly passed away. He died while laying down, watching TV with his little daughter who was sitting next to him. She didn't notice her father passed away that morning till she was trying to wake him up for lunch. Totally sad.
I started looking back at myself then ...what am I doing?
At that time, I worked as a computer graphic and didn’t know much about glass beads. I searched for video clips on Youtube to get to know how they make such pretty nice things. Yes, I had a crush on it, but not serious until my friend passed away. Then I just realized a nine-to-five job should be enough.
So I began to study more seriously. Along with saving money to order all tools and equipment which mostly must be imported from USA and Europe. It took nearly a year for all this to be done.
After that I quit my job. It was on my 40th birthday anniversary.
I could say...I've discovered a new world. I'm a self-taught glass bead maker, there are many things for me to learn everyday. I really enjoy sitting behind my torch, staying alone working in my room. It is like meditation.
Above all, I can spend more times together with my little daughter. I realize these golden moments would not last long. Just in the blink of an eye she will grow up and goes her own way. So she does not want to stroll on beaches with me anymore.
Q: Do you work full time as an artist?
Yes I do full time as a glass bead maker since 2010.
Q: Is it challenging to be a bead artist in Thailand?
As far as I know, there are only a few glass bead makers in Thailand and they're all skillful bead maker.
Yes It's challenge, but in term of how can you make a living with what you are loving to do.
Now in Thailand the daily minimum wage is only about 8.5 US dollars. Yes, a very low income!! May I picture you, 1 cup Starbuck Latte is $3. So while most people in the country are still struggles to survive, I have no idea who wants to buy my beads? Most of my customers are outside this country. Anyway I do have some customers here.
Q: At the moment you work glass. Why did you choose this medium? Are you planning to explore other materials as well in the future, like metal, polymer clay or ceramic?
While I studied in the College of Arts, I had opportunities to play with different types of medium but not with glass. For me glass is very unique.
Think about it, you put it in a flame with super heat, then melt it, spin it, press it, poke, rake, squeeze, or whatever more!! After that you are not finish yet, you have to put her in a hot kiln at thousand Fahrenheit’s for annealing about 4-6 hours.
The next morning after it cools down. Awesome!! At the end, it comes out to be a beautiful piece of art. Remains her characteristics of "Glass", optical transparency, glossy, shiny plus the reflections of your love inside her. She’s the one for me.
And for your question about exploring other materials. Yes, ceramic is what I try to play with lately as well.
Q: Are you self-taught?
Yes I am.
Q: What inspires you in your work?
I was once inspired by watching cartoons on TV with my daughter. Theirs funny characters made me feel to make something for fun, so it became this " Pretty 6 & a Mummy" glass bead set.
It could be anything that comes into my life. Color and pattern of someone's dresses who just walk by, a sparkling sea on a full moon night, songs from Thee Chaiyadej (my favorite artist), works of many creativity glass bead makers, movies, feeling, cup cake, my love, quotes, bad ass, a word, etc.
Q: The name of your brand is Lonely Bead. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this name.
As if have told, I'm a self-taught glass bead maker. It was very difficult in the beginning. There were a million questions that I needed to know to getting started but it seemed no one in this country could answer me. I visited several universities, libraries, bookshops but there was no clue of any glass bead things in Thailand.
Well that is where the name "Lonely bead" came from.
However, I would recommend www.ISGB.org and www.lampworketc.com for the newbies.
A forum for the lampwork community. The people are so friendly and generous. They've helped me a lot. Many thanks to all you guys there.
Q: Can you tell us what a typical day in the life of Chet looks like?
I would say "not interesting".
I am just an ordinary man, low profile, no friends.
Mon-Fri I wake up early in the morning to make breakfast, pack it in boxes for my daughter at her school. Then back home, from now on is my time to make glass beads. Till about 4 pm. I go to prepare a snack for my hungry little girl who's getting back from school. I go out in the evening to exercise, swim, jog, play football etc.
I once spent my live on the Island for years. So if it possible, every weekend I take her to a quiet beach to stay over, hanging around, eating, reading a good book, playing guitar, swimming. Well, That’s the simple way of my life.
Q: Is there a particular bead and/or jewelry artist you admire or who you consider a role model?
Imagine this, If the Galaxy has a competition for making glass beads and each planet must submit
three of theirs best glass bead makers.
Here is the top 3 from this World : (Not in that order)
Astrid Reidel, Anja Basan (AnastasiaBeads), Regis Teixera (MagmaBeads).
Their amazing work make my beads just only pieces of glass. I'm truly admire them.
Q: If you were not a bead artist, what would you be doing?
A street vendor of BBQ pork
Q: Do you have a life motto and if so, would you like to share this with us?
Enjoy the little things that comes into life and do not annoy your life with the little things.
Q: Do you have tips, tricks or advise you like to share with us?
I am so sorry, I don’t. But I really like to hear from you. Thank you.
Thank you so much Chet for this wonderful interview. I do hope you will be able doing what you are doing so well: creating gorgeous, amazing beads.
This month we have two wonderful gifts to give away.
Chet is contributing these two wonderful beads for the first give-away
I made this bracelet with one of Chet's beautiful handmade beads.
How can you enter this give-away?
If you are a regular reader of my interviews you know the drill by now.
If you are here for the first time: entering is very simple, all you have to do is comment on this post, to get a change to win one of these gift-aways.
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:
· Share this give-away on your own blog
· Share this give-away on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
· Subscribe to my newsletter (see top of page, to the right hand side)
· Subscribe to my email-list (to receive special promotions)
· Become a follower of my facebook page
· Follow me on Pinterest
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· Like my Etsy shop
. Like the Etsy shop of Chet
. Add Chet to your favorite sellers on Ebay
· 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!
Don't worry if you don't see your comments appear immediately. I need to approve them first, otherwise spamrobots will be able to enter the give-away as well.
The draw will close at 10am GMT on Sunday September 11, 2016 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.