See Beadshaper Gallery for colorful handcrafted lampwork art glass beads and fabulous fashionable wire wrap jewelry.

Sunday, March 22, 2020



Beads were used in early trading by the Native American communities in Illinois and the Chicago area. Before the arrival of Europeans, beads were made of natural materials like stones, bones, and shells. Beads have been found in excavations of mound dweller sites in Illinois dating back 2000 years. French explorers and traders in the 17th Century and later other Europeans introduced ceramic and then glass beads. Native Americans often used these beads to weave bands for clothing and jewelry. The Native American bead trade added an outlet which helped to stimulate the manufacture of beads in Europe. As bead manufacturing increased, the cost of production and therefore the price of beads declined, making beads more affordable and more widely used in trade.
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Sunday, February 2, 2020


Crystals have been found in prehistoric graves and were known in ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India as well as among early Native Americans. The earliest crystals occurred as natural stones but early civilizations began making artificial crystals by adding lead to glass to give it brilliance. George Ravenscroft improved this method of making crystals in 1676. Daniel Swarovski invented a machine to cut crystals in1892. He moved his crystal company to the Rhine River in Austria where he used the river for energy to run his machines. The crystals he made were called rhinestones after the Rhine River. Now the word rhinestone is used to refer to any small leaded crystal.
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Thursday, January 16, 2020


What was fashionable for women in Viking times? The evidence for fashion in Viking times comes from what was said in the Viking sagas and from archeologic examination of Viking graves. Although the clothing material mostly disintegrated over time in the graves, old clothes were sometimes covered with pitch and used in making ships, thus preserving those clothing articles.
Women usually wore an ankle length inner dress and an outer dress that was sometimes relatively short and sometimes as long as the inner dress. The outer dress was often fastened with 2 brooches, and a chain of beads was sometimes strung between the 2 brooches.

The bracelet pictured above is made in modern times by the Beadshaper.  It is called Viking Knit. This bracelet and other Viking Knit bracelets are displayed on the Beadshaper web site. 

Monday, December 23, 2019


Blue was once considered a hot color but is now considered a cool color. It is found in the flags of many countries and is the color of blue jeans. In the Turkish culture it is the color of amulets worn to ward off the Evil Eye. It now is often associated with sadness as in one is feeling blue. There is a type of jazz music which is known as the Blues.The Egyptians created blue pigment from cobalt thousands of years ago and used it in glass making. It was subsequently used by other ancient civilizations. Later it was perfected in glass making in 18th Century Europe. Azurite was discovered as a source of blue pigment in ancient China and spread to other lands. It became popular as a color in medieval European paintings.Indigo was developed as a blue dye in ancient India. It spread through the Far East and across Asia to Greece and Rome where it was given the name indigo because it came from the East.Ultramarine was a pigment first developed in Afghanistan during the Middle Ages and later was used in Italian Renaissance paintings. It was very expensive because it was made by grinding up lapis lazuli semiprecious stone.The first manufactured blue pigment was Prussian Blue which was created in Germany in the 18th Century.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


In early prehistoric times, people were self sufficient. Each family obtained its own food by hunting, gathering, and later farming. Each person or family made their own tools, vessels, or whatever products they needed and and had the knowledge to produce. Eventually some people came up with the idea that if they produced more of some product than they needed for personal use, they could trade it with someone else for something that they were lacking. Then came the idea that you could sell more of your products by having more exposure to consumers. The best place for exposure was  where roads crossed. Then sellers would gather at those best places for exposure which was the beginning of craft shows. The shows were at first temporary on market days. Later sellers realized it would be easier to just live near the places of selling which was the beginning of towns and cities. So, craft shows are a tradition thousands of years old going back to the dawn of civilization.

The Beadshaper is showing her work and teaching classes at the Pasadena Bead and Design Show in the Hilton Hotel in Pasadena, CA January 17 to 19, 2020. 
For details click Beadshaper (2 lines ablove) and then CLASSES AND SHOWS.

Saturday, July 13, 2019


An English chemist named William Hyde Wollaston was the first person to isolate rhodium. He received some ore from South America and extracted platinum and palladium from it. That left a dark red residue. The residue consisted of sodium rhodium chloride. Wollaston treated the red residue with hydrogen creating a chemical reaction which separated out sodium chloride leaving a bright silver color residue of the element rhodium. Today rhodium is used in jewelry as well as an electical conductor and an alloy in other precious metals.
The intricate metal beads featured in the necklace in the picture are made of rhodium. The blue glass beads are lampwork. You can click on the picture to enlarge it and get a better view of the rhodium beads.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Viking Knit is a technique for making wire wrap jewelry that is reminiscent of chainmail. Chainmail was a type of protective clothing worn by soldiers in battle in the Middle Ages. It consisted of metal links which formed shirts, hoods, and leggings. This type of armour protected the soldier from cuts although not so much from crushing blows. The earliest known chainmail was worn by Persian soldiers in the 4th Century B.C. Later the ancient Celts used it extensively. The Romans learned about it from the Celts when they fought wars with the Celts in the early centuries A.D. Other European people, including the Vikings, soon adopted it. It remained popular in Europe throughout the Middle Ages until more advanced weapons made it less useful. In recent years jewelry artists adapted the method of attaching links together in making wire wrap jewelry and named this technique Viking Knit.

Rose will be teaching classes in how to make a Viking Knit Wire Bracelet and a new class in how to make a Viking Knit Leather Bracelet at the Pasadena Bead and Design show this week (Jan 12 - 15, 2017) in Pasadena, California. For details see