Athan Y. Chilton

flameworked Glass Beads / Kiln-Fired Glass Pendants

weekdays Aug-May
tel 217-367-3115

Originally most interested in painting and drawing, I began to be fascinated with beads in my early teens when I first encountered the silverwork of Yemen and Morocco and the millefiore beads of Murano. I developed a passion for ethnic jewelry and beads which eventually led to the founding of my design company, Firefly Jewels. I began by designing and constructing one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets using gemstone, precious metal, amber and pearl beads in diverse arrangements. Some of these pieces evoked traditional Chinese or Tibetan jewelry; others reflected modern or whimsical ideas.

Later, I experimented with several beadweaving techniques including gourd stitch and brick stitch; making the currently popular amulet bags as well as one large evening bag with these techniques. Most recently I have employed my knowledge of beadweaving to mount my new, kiln-fired Italian glass pendants without using metal bezels; the beads continue or contrast with the design elements of the pendants and become both frame and mounting for the pendant.

In the summer of 2001 I began studying flameworking glass techniques with Claudia Treacy, an experienced beadmaker and instructor in Indiana. I am a new member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, and plan shortly to begin marketing my beads online. Hot glassworking, with its remarkably ancient and varied history, seems to be the culmination for me of a lifelong search for the perfect art.

The Craft League of Champaign-Urbana