Jackie Simpson

A very long time ago, when I was a child, I can remember loving glass figurines. But it never crossed my mind that I would some day be making jewelry with glass.

It all started when my husband took me to Tucson to the Gem and Jewelry Show and I came home with some natural stone beads. I stared out making beaded jewelry, and after a while I took a wire wrapping class at the Bead Museum. One of the other ladies had the most beautiful cabochon that really caught my eye. It was made of dichroic glass, but with a depth of color and sparkle that was amazing. She told me she got it from a woman named Carolyn Bebee. Of course, I got in touch with her, met her in Quartzite, bought some of her cabachons. and started wire wrapping the dichroic glass. After a short time though, I got really interested in how it was made. Carolyn did not give lessons, but told me everything I needed to know, and was always very helpful with any questions I had. To achieve the depth of color takes many layers of dichroic. Considering you have to fire the piece after every layer, it takes close to a week before you have the finished piece, which is why giving lessons in this technique is difficult.

A few years ago I signed up for a class in enameling, which is a powdered glass. My interest in that continues to grow as I learn different techniques.

We still go to the Gem and Jewelry Show in Tucson. I also always look forward to the Glasscraft Show in Las Vegas and taking classes there. It comes down to the more I learn, the more I want to learn. I really enjoy working in both mediums.

My other passion is dog agility. I competed with my Tri - colored Border Collie, Kodi, for the past 10 years. Running with him was great fun. He was trained for distance and was usually 20 feet or more away from me having a blast running the course. He was awesome but unfortunately I recently lost him. I have started my young blue merle Border Collie, Denali, and at his last competition he qualified 4 out of 6 runs. I look forward to running with him for many years.

Bill Simpson

I am a retired Electrical Engineer, and before taking jewelry classes at Yavapai College, most of my ‘artwork’ consisted of designing semiconductor devices using various computer programs and since I had always enjoyed photography, working in the darkroom. Before retiring I did become interested in Jewelry, learning how to facet and set gems in premade findings. Then I foolishly brought my wife to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows where she developed an interest in beaded jewelry, starting first with natural stones, then Lampwork Glass. She decided at one point to make her own glass beads, but since I had done some scientific glassblowing at Bell Telephone Laboratories, she talked me into making the beads for her. Retiring to Prescott, we set up a studio for her beading and my glasswork. Later I discovered Yavapai College and meandered slowly from Photo Shop, to Guitar and finally to Jewelry and Silversmithing. Not always satisfied with the stones available to me, I finally turned to Lapidary as well. All in all, it has been very satisfying.

Enameling

Enameling is the ancient art of melting powdered glass onto metal. The colored powder is sifted onto the metal and then firing the glass with a hand held torch or in a kiln. Generally, though not always, multiple colors are used for various effects.

Wire Wrapping

Using different sizes and shapes of wire I create cages and designs around natural stone and dichroic glass cabachons. Mostly I use sterling silver wire but I also like the effect of bronze and antique copper wire. Wire wrapping can consist of a simple cage enclosing the cabachon or an elaborate shape up to an including the "Tree of Life".

Metal Smithing

Metal Smithing refers to the act of forming various metals, usually Sterling Silver or copper and bronze into jewelry. This includes sawing, shearing, texturing, soldering, and a number of other forming techniques.

Lapidary

Lapidary refers to the cutting, grinding and polishing of various types of semi-precious stones into finished cabochons used in finished jewelry. The cabochons may then be set in metal using bezels or prongs, or wire wrapped in Sterling Silver, copper or bronze.

Lampwork Glass

Glass beads date all the way back to the Egyptians. Lampwork glass beads were first introduced by the Italians from the 13th and 14th century, the term lampwork referring to the use of coal oil lamps to melt the soft glass and form the beads. While we still use the term "lampwork", today we use a harder glass and work over propane and oxygen torches to form the beads. The glass used is still purchased from the Italians on the Island of Murano.

Fused Dichroic Glass

Several thin layers of metal oxide are evaporated onto a sheet of glass creating the beautiful colors you see as the light reflects off the metallic layers. I buy 4X4 pieces so I can get a variety of colors and textures. It is fired multiple times up to 1490 degrees in a kiln. It is then cut up and fire polished and used in different ways to make the finished pendant. The term dichroic indicates that the glass can be seen as two distinctive colors depending on whether you are observing it with reflected or transmitted light.

Anodized Niobium

Niobium is a type of metal. It comes in different gauges (thicknesses) and may be cut into various shapes. It is then be colored in a liquid bath anodizer which uses electric current running through the solution to oxidize the metal. The color you get is dependent on the voltage you use and somewhat on the time.