I am blessed to have made a career in art, and pursue a passion that began when I was in grade school and summertime art classes. While my adult years brought marriage, children and a full-time nursing career, I was shown a way back to my dream of being an artist and creating work for both myself and others to enjoy art I hope tickles some whimsy and provokes a smile along the way.
My training in lampwork beads began in 2002 under guidance of Ginny Sycuro in Evergreen, Colorado, training that helped shape my current lampwork style. I have also studied with other noted regional and national artists such as Kim Miles from Taos, New Mexico, and Corina Tettinger from Camano Island, Washington.
Inspired by the creative processes involved with bead making, I joined the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) and attended their national gathering in Arlington, Virginia where I was exposed to international artists whose glass bead creations were beyond fabulous!
I was inspired to make art full time, and soon began traveling to shows in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia under the trade name Bluebird Beads.
In 2005, I relocated to Windsor, Colorado, where I was inspired by the beauty of the mountains, streams and wildlife in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. I launched Firenza beads with my husband Tom, and we discovered an artistic synergy with my glass beads and his handy work in silver and precious metals. In January 2009, I was blessed with the opportunity to move to Arroyo Seco, New Mexico, and open Firenza Gallery.
Some of my whimsical creations have been featured in trade publications such as Beadwork Magazine and in the books The Art and Soul of Glassbeads and Passing the Flame – Spotlight on Beads. My jewelry pieces are on view in shops and galleries in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Asheville, North Carolina and Georgia.
While taking my 93 year old dad back to see some of his friends in his home state of Georgia, we happened upon
a little spot on one of Gerogia’s barrier islands. We loved it so much that we opened a little art hut called Firenza Art Hut and began selling various art along with my beads and Tom’s silver.
We closed the gallery in Arroyo Seco due to a large drop in customers and have returned to doing more shows.
So keep an eye out for us in your area during art shows.
~Jill Shank, July 2009