Hello.... I am Elzbieta Gerla, User Name ElzBeads.
First, I'd like to thank Just Beads for choosing me as the June 2006 Featured Artist. What an honor!
Second, I have discovered I have quite a bit of difficulty writing
about myself, so I am going to have my alter ego (AE)
interview me and ask some questions I would have asked when I was just starting out. Hopefully it will make this more interesting
than just listing my accomplishments.
Elz: It was a surprise to me too! I have always been an old crow and loved shiny things so I got into beads…..
I'll never forget the first Lampwork Beads I saw…Love at first sight! And then I looked at the price! Whoa! A little out
of my league. That was 4 or 5 years ago….curious, I did some research and found Bullseye Glass, right here in Portland,
Oregon. This led to a class with Larry Brickman and the rest is history. It went from hobby to full time profession
when I was laid off from my position as Cost Account, (yes, I'm a fully degreed accountant!), and there has been no looking back.
AE: Many people interested in Lampworking wonder how to get started…. What do you suggest?
Elz: The initial set-up for an adequate workshop will run about $2000 before glass….so it is best to make sure
it is something that you are really interested in. Even after all these years I think "Making Glass Beads" by Cindy Jenkins
is about the best all-round book to help decide that beadmaking is something you really want to try. Then try and find a local
beginners class. Not only will you get a handle on all the safety issues, but you will also get a feel for the torch and the
glass. (I believe it was Sharon Peters who suggested I try and keep a blob of honey on a wooden skewer to get the feel of
glass on a mandrel. Try it!) If you are still really excited, start with a Hot Head Torch (or one of its siblings). I know a
lot of people turn their noses up on these $50 noisy things, but it gives you a little more time to decide if you want to go and
spend the big bucks.
AE: When I was starting out I was curious about who used what equipment. What
do you use?
Elz: I have a GTT Bobcat (in fact, I have 2…one for backup…. I have backup for all my equipment). I
use an AirSep Oxy concentrator from Suncoast Beads and a Paragon kiln with Controller and Bead Door. I am really comfortable
with this set-up even though there are far more expensive options.
AE: How about glass? There seems to be a huge selection out there.
Elz: I'm a creature of habit…. I started on Bullseye and have stayed there. They have a good
selection, it is clean with few air bubbles and the staff at the Bullseye Resource Center here in Portland is really super. I
use a little
Uborous when there is a compatibility issue with some of the frit I use, (from Val Cox…her stuff is really great, she
has a fantastic eye for color!). Plus, because of compatibility issues I feel it is easier to stick to one COE.
AE: Style. How would you best describe your style?
Elz: I'm Color driven…. My sets are usually very symmetrical and somewhat monochromatic. I love
blending frit and get color ideas from just about anything: fashion magazines, flowers in the park, fabric.….. It seems
impossible that I have one or two basic set designs and have used them for almost 3 years…. Only the colors change. But
that is the part I really love, seeing how different a set, or even a frit blend can be changed just by the interaction with
other colors. Glass is interesting though because its color is based on chemicals. When you mix blue and yellow you
don't necessarily get green. It adds to the challenge. Every morning I love to run down to the kiln and see what
really happened to my beads!
AE: And the future?
Elz: I hope to torch until I'm old and decrepit and they have to pry my torch out of my hands!
AE: When you are not behind your torch, where are you?
Elz: Walking my Supervisory Staff…. Curious George and Lily Lullaby… through my wonderful 21 acre park
here in Wood Village, (I sit on the Citizens Park Board to make sure it stays as perfect as it is!), or I am out Ballroom Dancing
on some of the great floors we have here in Portland.
AE: Anything else?
Elz: YES!! I would like to thank all of my wonderful customers from all over the World for their
generous bids and their many compliments. What would I be without them?
Please visit my
current auctions here at