This may become a recurring theme of mine, but I think it is important that people know how the creative process can manifest itself to motivate an artist to generate a particular piece of art.

I did a blog many months back (click here to read original blog) about how I came to teach myself different traditional Italian bead designs by looking at museum catalogs of very old Italian lampworked beads.  In this blog, I am going to talk about how and where I look for inspiration for new bead designs.

I personally enjoy lampworking beads because it seems to me that the creative evolution of bead designs is infinite and I find this very comforting, kind of like there is no end to the fun.

I am constantly searching for images and objects that stimulate my imagination.  I keep huge files of creative information to draw upon for when I want to branch out and make something new.  For an example, I will tell how I was introduced to an African bead culture from Mauritania called Kiffa beads.

Photo of old Kiffa Beads

Photo of old Kiffa beads courtesy of Thomas Stricker.

Frantz Art Glass did the winter Tucson Gem & Mineral Show for 17 years and the first year we were there I met a jeweler who was heavy into ancient beads like those made by ancient Rome and Kiffa beads from Northwest Africa.  I did a trade of my lampworked beads for some Kiffa beads to take home with me, so that I could study them.

When I got my newly acquired Kiffa beads home, I took them to my studio and place them around the base of my torch, to look at while I made beads.  At first I made a bunch of lampworked copies of the Kiffa beads and then I started to make my own variations off of the traditional Kiffa designs.

Kiffa like Eye Bead

Here is one of my Kiffa inspired Eye beads which employs the traditional Kiffa colors scheme.

Dichroic Kiffa-like bead.

A Kiffa-like bead with dichroic eyes and goldstone decorations.

I find this process very inspiring and it helped me come up with a bunch of new bead designs.  I find it fun to work this way and you might also.

Cone dichro Kiffa-like bead.

A dichroic bead made in the traditional Kiffa cone style.

Cone shaped Kiffa bead from Mauritania.

A group of old cone shaped Kiffa bead courtesy of Thomas Stricker.

If you would like to see some more Kiffa beads and find out about this interesting bead tradition check out these links.  Tasart and Kiffa Beads.