Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lea Avroch-- Glass Artist

Lea Avroch-Ocean Series Earring Pair

Please Welcome
Lea Avroch

Lea Avroch worked as a Dental Hygienist for twenty years until an injury and surgery left her unable to continue in that line of work. She says she was always creative, and was needing something to keep herself busy, a friend asked her if she could rework a necklace for her... Lea ended up making a necklace, bracelet and a set of earrings. She says her friend not only liked what she had made, she encouraged her to make and sell her own  jewelry. 

Lea had been designing jewelry for about ten years and would try to find that one special bead to make her creations stand out. She says that it was difficult to find what she wanted,  and that is how she ended up making her own lampwork beads, and the world is glad she did!  Her creations are quite beautiful. Right now, she has what she calls the Ocean Series. It is reminiscent of cool ocean waters with depth and sweeping beauty!

Necklace- Focal- FreeformBellflower- Lea Avroch
Lea's first classes in lampwork were at a local art league, she and a friend attended the classes and she was hooked. Lea says she has always been mesmerized by glass work of all sorts. She and her husband collect glass in varying forms, scultures, vases, etc.  She says she likes the thrill of watching the solid glass rod turn to liquid in the flame and then back to the solid state.  She says the entire process is fascinating to her still.
There are not many well known glass artists on the Northeast Coast, where Lea and her husband  live, and classes were not readily accessible to her.  Most are on the West Coast, where the thriving art glass community is mainly based. It seems that before the 1960s art glass as we know it was not around. The styles of Tiffany Studios  and Stuben Glass Works were predominant, and glasswork from Europe was available, but until Harvey Littleton, the professor of ceramics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison gave a workshop in 1962, it was not produced in individual workshops... then came Tacoma-born Dale Chihuly---and others, like Fritz Dreisbach, and the West Coast revolution in Art Glass began.   Today, Seattle and the whole Northwest coast is widely known for it's widely popular art glass.

Lea went to Glass Stock, in Oregon,  one year. Run by Deb Crowley, it is an event, in it's 13th year, that is host to glass artists that teach classes including flamework, fusing, sandblasting, coldwork and much more. Lea says she learned a lot working in soft glass and in boro(which is a glass with silica and boron-trioxide mixture as the main ingredients, it is more resistant to thermal shock)
Lea says she also took a beginner 'boro' class at Bead Fest  one year, but has mainly learned  through tutorials and lots of practice and play. She says she is looking into taking a class with an  artist from Murano, Davide Penso. He makes hollow blown beads and will be teaching at Corning next summer.

freeform bellflower by Lea Avroch--
One of the questions that I ask each artist is if they have a favorite piece of their own work. Lea says that yes, a crocheted necklace that has the very first of her own freeform bellflower glass focals featured on it, is her favorite. It was also published in June 2007 Bead and Button magazine.  The glass Bellflower was her own design, one that she had an idea of what she wanted the focal to look like and she set about trying to make it. Ends up, the focal (the Freeform Bellflower) became one of her top selling items.

Making glass beads is not simple, there are many steps that must be followed, if not, the glass can stick where it isn't supposed to, or can be inferior and shatter.
 Lea creates  glass beads through the use of a propane/oxygen torch to melt glass rods. The molten glass is rolled onto a steel rod called a mandrel, which has been dipped in bead release to keep the glass from sticking to the mandrel. The beads are then placed directly into a digitally controlled kiln where they anneal overnight. 
What isn't mentioned is the creativity that goes into producing each bead.. it takes years of practice and patience to perfect a pattern, and practice to make a  bead  that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also sturdy enough to be used in jewelry.

I asked if there were any tips for someone who wants to work in glass, and Lea mentioned the 3 "P's" --- Practice, practice, practice.  She said it is hard to control the end result without practice, and lots of play thrown in! She says the better you become, the better you'll be able to get a feel for the glass.

As many know, I have been struggling personally about what to call myself, and I'm curious about what each of the people featured in this series, would call themselves...  When I asked Lea, Do you consider yourself an 'artist'? She answered with this quote, which is by -Helena Bonham Carter

I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel.
Lea Avroch- End Caps- Topaz Iris scrollwork

Life is art. 

How very appropriate for this question.

Please visit any or all of Lea Avroch's pages!

Boro Focal, Coral-- Lea Avroch

Terrecotta Rustica End Cap Beads- LeaAvroch


  1. thank you so much Maire Covert for this beautiful write up! <3

  2. I am honored to be able to include your work. It is beautiful and timeless, thank you very much for allowing me to intrude into your life and for allowing me to share your beauties!