CROW MANDALA BEADS of flameworked soda lime glass; pictorial bead process, 5.1 centimeters long, 2010. Photograph by Marshall Hyde.
Caitlin Hyde

Coaxing the Flow

Caitlin Hyde thinks of herself as a glass artist even though she makes jewelry. She likes to create things out of glass, especially small objects. She also loves pattern and repetition. All these passions led her to beadmaking. “And if you make beads,” she notes, “you probably ought to make jewelry out of them.” Her ongoing challenge is figuring out how to take the beads and make the most interesting ornaments out of them. Her goal in glasswork, she has stated, “is to temper the ancient tradition of flameworking with my contemporary design viewpoint.” Based on the success of her glass jewelry, so far, so very good.

Hyde began producing flameworked glass beads around 1996; by 1998 she was able to quit her job in computer graphics and start making them full-time. She and her artist husband, Marshall, eventually moved to Corning, New York, one of the world’s capitals of glass. They have become part of a lively artistic community centered around The Corning Museum of Glass and its international studio. In the beginning, Hyde’s work was all about technique, about trying to get the glass to do what she wanted it to do—a common starting point, she says, for beadmakers. She needed to learn its nature—how it flows—and various ways to work with it, such as applying glass to glass. Working with glass, she says, requires a lot of coaxing. Seeking to create an angular shape, for example, she is obliged to coax the glass to do something it will not do on its own. Glass also does not want to form into stripes, so she pulls it out till it is very thin and then lays it on, melts it and then bends and twists it in different ways.


This article in its entirety appears only in the print magazine.

Keep rich and engaging content in your life, click here to subscribe today.


Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


  Follow Ornament on...