Vivien's first bead making session!

About Me

My name seems well-suited for my passion for glass arts, given my name starts with “V” for Vivien or for vitrum or vitreous. The latin root of my name actually means “alive or life.” Working with glass bring me to life, which is even more appropriate!

I’ve always been interested in the arts: music, dance, painting, pottery, photography, graphic design. My passion for underwater adventures surprisingly led me to my passion for glass art. It was on a diving trip to Saba in 2014 and a spontaneous visit to a glass bead torch work class on the island that I discovered my favorite medium. I continue to do some torch work, but most of my pieces are kilnformed in my bright purple kiln.

While my love of the ocean biases me toward the wide range of beautiful blues available, rainbows of vibrant color combinations continue to fascinate me. My work continues to evolve as I explore various techniques of layering and shaping glass, incorporating chemical and physical properties of glass and additional elements to create new designs. Every step of every project has been interesting and enlightening. The possibilities are endless.

Each piece is handmade through every step of the process, and I am constantly exploring new designs and techniques. Each individual piece of glass is measured and hand cut. The design is laid out by hand by layering glass in the form of sheets, rods or powders. Various techniques are used to produce different effects. One of the techniques producing linear designs involves cutting large sheets of glass into narrow strips and laying the strips on edge to form the design. A completely different technique is used to produce the “corallite” disks which involves multiple steps of sifting glass powders into various-sized circles and using a palette knife to hand-draw spaces that expand during firing. Elements like copper, silver, and other materials are also sometimes introduced for various effects and designs based on their chemistry.

Most projects involve at least two firings in a glass kiln. The first firing goes to about 1490°F to fuse the elements. Then some pieces require a process of grinding, shaping, sandblasting, and polishing. A second firing is then used to create a slumped or draped shape. Each kiln firing can take about 6-12 hours. Every piece is unique because the heatwork itself is an unpredictable and exciting factor of the process.

If there’s something I can help make for you, just let me know! Thanks for your interest.

~ Vivien Lee

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