Kobe - Seattle

Sister-City Exhibit

Kobe, Japan
March 15, 2006 - May 15, 2006

Kobe        Fire and Rain

Seattle, Washington and Kobe, Japan have shared a sister-city relationship since 1957.  When the Kobe Lampwork Glass Museum asked if the Fire & Rain Glass Bead Society would participate in an exhibition of Seattle and Washington State glass beadmakers, we jumped at the chance.

Each artist in our 120-member group was encouraged to send beads for the March - May 2006 exhibit.  Altogether, 27 artists submitted over 130 beads. We also agreed to make a donation to the Museum of a "necklace" of beads which represents each artist's beadmaking style.  The necklace, which can be seen in the gallery link below, includes beads from 38 artists and will be on permanent exhibit in the museum. 

Fire & Rain sees the sister-city exhibit as a multifacted opportunity to gain exposure for American beadmakers in Japan and to foster a relationship with the museum and the Japanese beadmaking community.  The exhibit will run from March 15 through May 15th, 2006.  More information can be found regarding the Kobe Lampwork Glass Museum at http://www.lampwork-museum.com (site is in Japanese).

We were asked to submit a summary of the history of Fire & Rain to the Museum -

(by Janelle Zorko and Larry Scott)

Seattle has long been known as a center of creative glassworking in the United States.  It is not surprising that Seattle has played a prominent role in the development of glass beadmaking as well.  Studio glass beadmaking began simultaneously in several places in the United States in the late 1980's.

In the Seattle area, the pioneering beadmakers included Will Stokes, Julie Clinton, Mike and Pat Frantz, Brian Kirkvliet, and Patricia Sage.  Most of the first local beadmakers had worked in flat panel stained glass and in fused flat panels and bowls before they began to experiment with torch work.  It is important to note since there was no tradition of glass beadmaking in the United States, the first American beadmakers had to discover or rediscover techniques for themselves. This may account for the wide variation in styles among American beadmakers.

In the early 1990's, more beadmakers began to appear.  Kathy Johnson and Andrea Guarino-Slemmons had worked in stained glass; Michael Barley was a metalsmith and potter; Dan Adams came with a strong interest in the sociology of beads; and Isis Ray had worked in fabric design. Each one brought new skills and interests to their beadmaking.

In 1994 the fledgling International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) held its annual meeting, the Gathering, in Seattle.  Following the Gathering, a loose network of beadmakers met from time to time to demonstrate techniques and discuss new glass and equipment.  In the spring of 2005 a group of likeminded beadmakers met in Seattle and formed a new chapter of the ISGB called "Fire and Rain".  This new group consists of about 120 talented beadmakers from Seattle and the surrounding area.  Each artist has a different skill level, set of techniques and style.  However, they all share one thing – their love of glass!"

©2006 Fire And Rain Glass Bead Society

Necklace by Fire and Rain, March 15, 2006
Kobe - Seattle Sister-City Exhibit,