Desert Trail

Desert Trail Bracelet Desert_Trail2


Studio Time – New Bracelet – Desert Trail

Just like a hike on a desert trail with stops to admire the scenery, this bracelet is a path of luscious lampworked beads.  I like to make beads that are richly saturated with hues of color inspired by the desert.  This is a 2-strand bracelet with each bead capped in sterling silver and separated by tubes of sterling.  It’s adjustable.  It’s classic yet edgy with the use of handmade lampworked beads.  The bracelet shown incorporates the blues and greens found in the desert, but also comes in several colorways.  A selection right now can be seen at Beyond the Torch Gallery and Studio in Phoenix, AZ.  The grand opening will be Saturday September 20, 2014.


the inspiration – the Sonoran Desert………………

Inspiration from desert hilkes


Desert Trails in Tucson

There are numerous trails to hike in Tucson.  There is a wonderful trail near my home on Pusch Ridge called the Linda Vista Loop.  Recently with all the monsoon rains that southern Arizona has been getting, I got to see the waterfall on the Ridge actually flow right from my front porch.  Here’s a photo taken by my neighbor from his telescope.  Waterfall Pusch ridge

creating the desert in glass and metal

Thunder and Bead Crochet

Raining in Tucson photo


Did you know that thunder only happens when it’s raining? It’s thundering right now here in Tucson. And it is trying very hard to rain; little splashes of water, not really a steady rain. Now that I wrote that I am reminded of the song by Fleetwood Mac…”Dreams”. Funny what triggers a memory. Are all those song lyrics stored up there in my brain? Now I can’t get that song out of my mind.

I am home from a glorious 2 week vacation and I am trying to catch up – with mail, with email, with sleep. I need to get into the studio to make some beads, but I have been sidetracked with some bead crochet. I have a love hate relationship with those tiny little seed beads. I love them and I hate that they keep me from doing what I should do….. but I’m the boss right? Plus I usually add my lampworked beads to the crocheted ropes. Haven’t done one in awhile and have some new ideas…. I just finished a 24 inch rope that I plan to wear as a bracelet, but I feel the need to have a coordinating necklace too. This piece was worked in bead crochet as opposed to crocheting with beads. There is a difference. But I will leave that explanation for another day. The colors are yummy – the expensive delicas… 24 carart over glass.

Bead Crochet Bracelet

Another Beautiful Day

Beautiful day


It’s another glorious day here in the Southwest.  I got up extra early this morning as I forget to close the blind all the way; so Homer and I went for our morning walk at 5:30am.  The sun wasn’t quite up over Pusch Ridge so the lighting was glorious, the birds were welcoming the new day, and the rabbits all scattered as I walked down the driveway.  And the sky was that glorious blue.  People think it’s always hot in the desert, but even though it is getting up to 90 in the day, the mornings are still cool and crisp.

This time in May is a little hard for me.  My Mom passed away two years ago this week.  She did not like that we had moved to the desert and brought her here with us.  But all that is another story for another day.  Today is just to perfect to be sad.

I am having 2 friends over today for a little beading workshop.  And I am preparing for the annual “vacation” to Milwaukee, WI to attend the Bead and Button Show where I take a few classes, shop, and visit with lots of friends.

This ocotillo is blooming in my side yard.  Most of them have lost their blooms and some of the ocotillos have even dropped their leaves, but this one just doesn’t want to quit.  It gives me inspiration.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful day.

The Desert is my Inspiration

Some days when I sit down to make lampworked beads I know exactly what I need or want to make.  Other days I pull out some rods and just start to experiment.  Recently I ended up with some purple beads with raised dots.  Just enough for a bracelet.

Purple BraceletThen as I waked back to the house from my studio I noticed this plant in the backyard…

Purple Prickly PearThe desert as my inspiration – again.

The purple prickly pear doesn’t have as many spines as other species and it has a slight jasmine scent which attracts nocturnal insects.  In the spring it produces awesome yellow blooms and then the famous fruit follows later in the summer.  The purple color intensifies in our cooler winter weather.


Desert Pearls

Desert Pearls and InspirationThere are lots of very talented lampwork bead artists out there. I sometimes drool at the design intricacies that I see; so I took classes and taught myself how to do those intricate patterns.

But my voice in glass is organic, and I rely on color and texture to express myself.

I have been making beads for 15 years now and in the first few years I just wanted to try every technique out there. Now the beads I make tell a story about the inspiration that drove me to create them.

Which brings me to desert pearls…. Yeah I know… pearls don’t grow in the desert. A pearl is born within the soft tissue of a mollusk. The finest quality natural pearls are highly valued as gemstones and have been considered objects of beauty for many centuries now; and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable. I love pearls.

There is a night blooming cactus that is native to Arizona and the Sonora Desert. There are numerous romanticized names for the plant such as Queen of the Night and Princess of the Night. The plant is a Cereus night blooming cactus; and it blooms for just one night and dies in the morning sun. It is rare, fine, admirable, and valuable. Its white, delicate and fragrant blooms speak to the beauty in the desert.

Hence, the creation of my desert pearl beads.


See my Desert Pearl Earrings under Gallery – What’s new

Acuna Cactus

picture of acuna cactusToday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to add this cute little cactus on the endangered species list.  It grows only to about a foot high.  The cactus grows in Pima county in valleys on gravelly ridges that are common in the Sonoran Desert.  Drought and climate change are to blame.  I’m lucky to have a few on our property.  Love the blooms!