PUBLISHED: 4:59 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Tasha and Lincoln carry a torch
'Basement Studios' bead artists keep the flame alive

Bead makers Tasha Walen and Lincoln Farabee are the featured artists and newest members of Juneau Artists Gallery First Friday for May. They met playing bass as music majors in college and four years later they are still making music and "carrying the torch" for each other. The torch however is an oxygen propane mix "minor" torch to melt rods of glass for lamp work bead creating. Many of their beads contain gorgeous random patterns, which are made using "fritz" which are tiny shards of glass that melt into the bead body to make the designs. Some appear to look "raku-like" due to minerals used which can be even silver or gold. Some of the beads have added glass attachments becoming sculptural.

" Silver mixed with fritz on different base glass creates an organic look," said Lincoln.

"Bead making", Tasha explains, "is a meditative process. You must be focused on what you are doing. Glass can be temperamental; if heated too fast, it will boil and break."

Lincoln added, "Glass can be dynamic. Each color of glass is different and melts at different temperatures and viscosity." Both agreed the process takes patience.

After the bead is made, it is annealed in a kiln, which controls the rate of cooling and avoids cracking. "It makes the bead stronger and is a quality addition" Tasha explained. Also for quality the couple use "effetre" Italian glass in rods and make their own stringers.

Later, the holes in the beads are cleaned, and beads are made into jewelry using silver wire in a variety of necklaces, earrings and bracelets. They feature "BOB" necklaces, which have a "big old bead" for a focal point. The BOB term is from their teacher, Larry Brickman of The Pratt Institute, Seattle, WA where they attended class.

When not creating beads, they both have day jobs. Tasha recently completed her Masters Degree and works at REACH in Infant Learning. Lincoln plays bass for the Thunder Mountain Big Band and is a CNA nurse at Bartlett Hospital. They use the basement of their Douglas home for their studio, thus call themselves "Basement Studios", however when it reaches 20 degrees in the winter or is too windy, they can't work due to the temperature of the glass and need for ventilation. They said it is so cold even the dogs go upstairs by the heat. They have plans to install a ventilation system after their fall wedding and honeymoon to Venice, Italy where they will attend class and tour glass factories.

The beads and jewelry made by Tasha Walen & Lincoln Farabee are on display at Juneau Artists Gallery opening in May for summer hours every day 9am to 9pm, 175 South Franklin.