BEREA, Ky. (December 11, 2004) -- On Friday, December 17, Ashley Watson of Lexington, will melt, spin and layer hot glass, creating colorful lampworked beads for visitors to see from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Born and raised in Lexington, Ashley graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts at Lafayette High School. She enrolled at the University of Kentucky as an undeclared major and took numerous sculpture classes. On a day trip to Berea, Ashley’s career was decided when she saw Jimmie Lou Jackson making glass beads in her shop in Old Town. Ashley watched Jimmie Lou work layers of hot colored glass into beads and was instantly mesmerized. Taking a class in glass beadmaking, Ashley then ordered all the equipment needed and left the University of Kentucky to pursue a glass career.
Having always been interested in color, Ashley is especially drawn to the vibrant colors that one can produce with glass. She tends to use bright cartoon-like colors which mimic the character of her drawings. Another attraction to glass was her love of fire and the volatile nature of glass. She explains, “Glass is constantly moving, never stagnant, kind of like life itself!” Ashley incorporates many layers, patterns and colors of glass and uses raised imagery and animals such as frogs on her beads.
Ashley’s glass beads are made using a process called “lampworking,” melting glass rods in a torch’s flame and then winding the molten glass around a stainless steel rod called a “mandrel.” Each bead is then later annealed in a kiln to stabilize and give the glass strength and durability.
Ashley has opened Glitterbug Glass, Lexington’s first glassblowing studio, where she creates lampworked glass beads and is learning hot glass techniques and sandcasting. Ashely is a juried member of the KY Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the KY Craft Marketing Program. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines and she is a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers from whom she received a scholarship in the year 2001.
Ashley’s glass bead jewelry can regularly be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located 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 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 470 artisans from all across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Commerce Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
High Resolution Photos are available. Contact: Gwen Heffner, 859/ 985-5448, email@example.com