1996 was a pivotal year for Barbara Becker Simon. The accomplished metalsmith had already spent decades working on commissions with the usual mainstays of gold and diamonds when, totally by accident, she learned to make glass beads. “I fell in love,” she said. “Bam, boom!”
The self-proclaimed ‘color junkie’ was immediately hooked on glass. Barbara was well aware that a metal project can take days or weeks to complete, whereas glass offered more immediate gratification. The unlimited use of color was another huge attraction. “Molten glass is a living thing that responds to movements and actions in the flame. It’s mesmerizing!”
Soon after, she read an article about a new material: Precious Metal Clay. She’d always had an affinity for plasticity and sculpture, and also had worked with polymer clay, so working with this exciting medium was pure heaven.
The marriage of these two new passions, has allowed Barbara to realize quite unusual and striking jewelry designs, that are outside the box of traditional metalwork.
In addition to making, Barbara also teaches PMC and lampwork bead classes throughout the USA and internationally including Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, and the UK.
In 2009, Lark Books published “Metal Clay Beads: Techniques, Projects, and Inspiration.” It is praised for its innovative use of the material, and received glowing reviews to quickly became an essential volume for a metal clay artist’s library.
Barbara’s work has won recognition and awards (Saul Bell Design Awards, 2007 & 2011) and has been featured extensively in periodicals and books, including PMC Decade and the Lark books: 1000 Glass Beads and Showcase 1000 Beads.
Barbara’s glass beads are in the collection of the Kobe Lampwork Glass Museum, Japan and The Corning Museum of Glass, USA.