Jewelry of Interest: Lavender Beads

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America

il_340x270.39884561Jewelry artist Andrea Kiernan of Friday Harbor, Washington, uses hot glass to create lavender flower beads that look like the herb is frozen in time.

“The miniature-sculpted flower heads are, for me, a way of preserving the fleeting excitement of the fields in full bloom so that they can be enjoyed as adornments year round,” says Andrea.  “Each bead is modeled after a specific variety of lavender and is slowly kiln annealed for durability.”

Her pendant series includes vials designed to be filled with lavender essential oil.  “In my studio, I work to recreate the visual beauty of the lavender fields.  The wearer of these pendant vials can now experience another sensual dimension – somewhat like an ongoing aromatherapy treatment.  It’s the next best thing to a summer walk in the fields.”

Q. What gave you the idea for lavender beads?

I am inspired by the organic lavender farm –Pelindaba Lavender — where I have worked for the last 13 years.  We grow many different kinds of lavender, all shapes, colors and sizes on more than 15 acres – more than 25,000 lavender plants – annual blooming inspiration for my work.

lavender beads, mediumQ. How did you develop them?

I was trained as a traditional glass blower and studied glass blowing upstate New York near Corning, and in Italy.  It took me many years to develop the glass-sculpting techniques that I use to make each lavender bead. When I look back on my early work, they hardly even look like lavender.

Q. How did you perfect them?

Over the years I have acquired more hand tools for working with the glass, various torches and a broader knowledge of the botany of lavender.  My main glass bead and jewelry line includes ten colors — several shades of purple and blue as well as white, pale pink and green – colors of lavender that many people are unaware of.

The more I work with lavender, the more ideas I have for jewelry designs.  For example, from studying the long, cylindrical flowers of some of the Angustifolia (IS THIS RIGHT?) varieties, I created glass lavenders made of multiple smaller beads, wired together to mimic the way the flower spikes grow, in separated whorls along the stem.  

il_340x270.757355754_tvtvQ. What is your latest jewelry?

Bud stud ear jackets have been a popular new addition to my line. They are made of tiny, glass, lavender beads which represent the whorls of buds grown in sections around the main flower stem.  The bud-whorl bead is worn on the front of the earlobe with a set of silver leaves hanging behind the ear.  In recent years I have enjoyed creating custom pieces for brides and wedding parties, many of whom get married in the blooming lavender fields.

Q. Where can we buy them?

While I still make each and every lavender bead, floret by floret, my business has been expanding steadily.  You can find my beads and jewelry work at Pelindaba Lavender Farm stores.  For a complete list of lavender farms, galleries and festivals, please visit Lavenderbeads.com.  


Andrea works in her home studio on San Juan Island at the end of a long dirt road, in the Pacific Northwest’s rainforest-like woods where she lives with her husband and two young daughters.  They keep chickens and honeybees and a garden with a ridiculous number unusual lavender species.

 

4 thoughts on “Jewelry of Interest: Lavender Beads

  1. Pingback: Herb Society of America – lavenderbeads.com

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