Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Glass Artist Bonnie Blincoe to Create Lamp worked Glass Beads at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, March 17, 2009  
Contact Information:  Gwen Heffner
Information Specialist, Curator
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Phone: 859/ 985-5448
Fax: 859/ 985-5449

On Saturday, March 21, Bonnie Blincoe of Louisville will demonstrate the exciting process of creating lamp worked glass beads from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Glass beads have been hand made for centuries. They can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations and are still made by hand today. Bonnie Blincoe fell in love with the art of bead making and has been amazing people with her work for years. She began creating hand-made glass beads in 1994 after studying under nationally recognized bead maker Kate Fowle of Washington DC. Bonnie has gone on to study with numerous other glass bead artists including Tom Holland, Patricia Sage, and Donovan Boutz. She has been active in the Society of Glass Bead makers since 1994 and her work is in the international collection of the Bead Museum in Glendale, Arizona.

Egyptian glass beads are the earliest found examples of glass and were created around 2500 BC. Lamp worked glass beads are made using techniques that are a spin off of this early method of forming and include techniques similar to glass blowing. Starting with a propane or acetylene torch and rods of colored glass, Bonnie melts the rods of glass onto a steel rod coated with silica and clay to allow the release of the glass that forms a bead and to create the hole in the center. She layers and embeds colors, patterns and pieces of glass to create complex beads in a variety of shapes, patterns and textures. Bonnie uses glass canes that are made and imported from the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany and Japan. She also uses American glass, including authentic Blenko glass from her distant cousins, who own the Blenko Glass Co. in Milton, WV.

Bonnie, who has taught classes in her studio for over 12 years, is a leader in the spread of glass bead making throughout the state of Kentucky. She has taught and demonstrated glass bead making in galleries and schools throughout the state and many of her students have gone on to become recognized glass bead makers on their own. Bonnie is always encouraging others to explore and enjoy the modern version of the ancient form of artistic expression. She is a member of the Kentucky Art Council’s Kentucky Craft Marketing program and the Louisville Craftsmen Guild.

Works by Bonnie Blincoe can regularly be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center, located at 975 Walnut Meadow Road, just off Interstate 75 at exit 77 (Berea). The Center’s exhibits, shopping, and travel information areas are all open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the café from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from all across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at 

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet.


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Bonnie Blincoe demonstrates glass lampworked beads at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea