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Featured Seller: AvenueBeads

Mar 14, 2007

by AvenueBeads handmade and vintage goods


Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).

My name is Joe Holford and I’m 28 years old. I reside in the great city of Chicago with my partner, his son, and two insane cats.

I’ve dabbled in everything from freelance graphic design, oil painting to carpentry. Basically if it involved creating something I tried it at least once. Two years ago when I happened upon this cheap little hobby kit for making glass beads, I had to buy it and give it a whirl. I was instantly addicted to the ancient art that is known as lampworking. I get so much pleasure taking glass from a solid state, making it molten, and then transforming it back into a solid piece of wearable art.

I am also a proud member of the Etsy Glass Artists street team ( which is a group of very talented glass artists who share my same addictions with glass.


What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

Hmmm, well in kindergarten I’m sure I ate the glue instead of use it to make something. So I’ll have to say the first thing I remember making was in middle school art class. We stuffed nylons with batting and then sewed them into stuffed animals. It was oddly fun 🙂


What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

Color and the interactions between them inspire me a lot.

My head is constantly filled with ideas from things I see everywhere. But as silly as it sounds, sometimes the glass decides what’s going to be made. I can sit down with an idea in my head but as soon as I touch the glass to the mandrel, the bead design will go in a total different direction.


What are your favorite materials?

Glass of course.


What is your favorite color?

No matter what I’m doing, blue seems to always find its way into the design.


What are your most and least two favorite films?

My most favorite would have to be The Others. I’ve seen a lot of bad movies but none of them stand out in my mind, and probably for a good reason.


What are you reading right now?

Right now I am reading the autobiography Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. This book is kind of like driving by a bad accident, you don’t want to look but you just feel that you have to. Augusten grew up in Northampton Massachusetts with anything but a normal childhood. His mother the failed poet was crazy, his drunkard dad didn’t want him and Augusten was a little off kilter himself.


Any tips on selling handmade stuff?

Find your own unique style and never sell yourself short. If you don’t value you work, nobody else will.


Apart from creating things, what do you do?

You will most often find me melting glass. But when I do have the free time I am usually playing with the cats, reading, watching a movie, or taking a bike ride. I also run an online GLBT forum but that pretty much takes care of itself for the most part.


How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?

The glass tags need to be redefined for buyers to be able to find what they are looking for easier. If someone is looking for loose lampwork they have to dig through lots of unrelated listings to find them. Other than that, Etsy is great and I’m glad to be a part of this awesome community of artists.

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