A love for two art forms: Kathy Sanders leads a new path in the art of glass bead making
BEMIDJI--Even though Kathy Sanders has been making glass beads for only five years, she has been noticed as somewhat of a trailblazer in the field, combining both beadmaking and rosemaling into a single process.
BEMIDJI-Even though Kathy Sanders has been making glass beads for only five years, she has been noticed as somewhat of a trailblazer in the field, combining both beadmaking and rosemaling into a single process.
Sanders was featured in the recent addition of the International Society of Beadmakers' magazine "The Flow." She also is set to be featured in two additional industry publications in the coming months. Although the achievement is a milestone in and of itself, she hopes it will help cement her reputation as an established artist in the field.
The magazine feature includes a step-by-step tutorial for how to incorporate rosemaling-a Norwegian artistic design-into glass bead making. The publication first noticed Sanders when she responded to a "call for artists."
"That was one of my bucket list goals, to get publicized," Sanders said, who is seemingly one of the first to combine the two artforms. "If you did the same thing that everyone else did, you wouldn't be selected." Sanders works out of a small studio next to her Bemidji home. At a bench in the corner, she sits behind a small torch where she melts a stick of glass into the form of a bead. Once the main bead is formed, she flattens it and uses several other colored sticks of glass to melt the design onto the flattened bead's surface.
She wears tinted glasses while making her beads, which protect her vision from the constant exposure to the 2,000-degree flames. They also allow her to examine her work more closely by reducing the orange-yellow glow of the fire.
She prefers the telemark style, which is a free-flowing, asymmetrical sub-category of rosemaling. Even though Sanders has been making beads for five years, she has been painting rosemaling for the past 40 years ever since she lived in the small town of Grygla, Minn. At the time, the local Jaycees chapter held a class on the design.
"I was the only one who wasn't Norwegian up there, but I'm the only one still rosemaling," Sanders said.
Although she's been making glass beads for about five years, it wasn't until about a year ago that she combined the process with rosemaling. She began by researching whether or not anyone had ever combined the two art forms. When she couldn't find any artists who had done so, she undertook it herself-both to set herself apart as an artist as well as to combine the two art forms she'd come to love.
In order to fit the designs on a small bead, Sanders had to modify the rosemaling technique she'd known for so many years.
"As an artist, you're trying to think of something outside the box," Sanders said. "It's a lot of work to design and create something that's brand new (and) that nobody has done before."
While she has already been recognized for the craft, she plans to keep improving. By the time her work appears in "The SodaLime Times," she expects her rosemaling to be even more refined that it was for "The Flow."
And as she continues to hone her skills, she hopes the recent exposure will help solidify her as one of the first to combine the two art forms into a single process.
"A lot of the teachers that I had are noted for a certain design that they started," Sanders said. "My goal was to be in more than one magazine and get to be known as the person who started the rosemaling."