Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Artist Spotlight -- Lois Oster

I'm kicking off my week-long Artist Spotlight series with my dear friend Lois Oster of Wolf Song Designs. Lois is a lampwork beadmaker who has been in the business since 2002. Before taking up lampworking, she was a jewelry designer (and still is). Due to this background, she makes all of her beads with the thought of how they'll be used in jewelry. This results in beads that hang straight, mesh smoothly with other beads, and are comfortable against the skin. Most importantly, she understands that if you're making jewelry to sell or give as a gift, you want it to LAST. Her beads are durable and well-made. It is this commitment to quality, combined with her artistry, that has won my respect.

Although Lois makes spacers and focals like most lampworkers, she has two special lines of beads that her customers really seem to go nuts over. The first is her "novelty" beads, including the above turkey. Lois has novelties for every season, and usually has several designs per season. Want to do an Easter bracelet? Pick up a chocolate bunny, a couple chickies, and a handful of Easter Eggs -- you're all set!

Secondly, she has "rack" beads (so called because she displays them on beautiful wooden racks designed and made by her husband). These are medium sized round beads in a variety of colors and patterns. Lois always has a wide selection of these, in classic combos as well as colors plucked right from current fashion. Although she sells them individually, most customers opt to buy multiples, so as to make stylish bracelets and necklaces (or a pair for outstanding earrings). I love to match them to focals, to make accents that aren't overpowered by the main bead.

If you live on the East Coast or the South East, you may find Lois exhibiting at a bead show near you. She can also be found at the Tucson Gem Show in February. Beyond that, her beads are also carried by quality bead stores across the country.

Thank you for reading my Artist Spotlight. Tune in again tomorrow evening when I will feature another fascinating artist and their work!

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