My name is Ali, I am a lampworker and silversmith. I love beads and colour and my passion is designing and making lampwork glass beads and jewellery. In 2009 I set up All About the Beads and have not looked back. There is lots of beaded jewellery out there, so I know I have to work hard to make my creations stand out from the rest. Most of my pieces are one-of a-kind; my inspiration comes from the changing colour and beauty of the natural world around me as well as from the beads themselves. I love mixing lampwork glass with natural gems and I choose the stones to compliment the beautiful, subtle colours in the glass.
I started making jewellery in 2006, creating pieces with tiny glass seed beads. While searching for new beads online I discovered the amazing world of artisan lampwork glass and was hooked. Initially I used beads made by other lampwork artists in my designs, but encouraged by my lampworking friends, in 2015 set up a torch and kiln in my garden studio and now make my own lampwork glass beads too.
I am mostly self-taught, but am ever grateful for the guidance and tuition I have had over the last few years from some of my experienced jeweller and glass artist friends. I am always looking to learn new skills and techniques which allow me to take my designs further. I started out using wire wrapping and cold connection techniques, moving on to fine silver fusing and ultimately silversmithing. I make the majority of the silver components I use in my designs, including headpins, hammered rings and discs, hook and toggle clasps, bezel settings and formed silver beads, from scratch. My makers’ mark is registered with the Birmingham Assay Office, so my larger silver pieces are all hallmarked.
I have a passion for the materials I use in my work and use the best quality gemstone beads and pearls I can find, sourcing them from gem sellers from far flung corners of the globe from whom I can buy beads strand by strand. I am always looking to build up my knowledge of gemstones and make sure I do my research. I believe it is important for me as a designer to be confident of the quality and authenticity of the materials I use in my designs.
I want my jewellery to be worn by people who will love it as much as I enjoy making it and the personal connection with my customers is important to me. I love having the opportunity at events to talk to people about the glass and gemstones I use, and for them to see and try on the pieces in person. Details of events I'll be at are on the News and Events
My jewellery is available at the lovely Emporium Gallery
in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Edgbaston, Birmingham. My work was also showcased at the new Library of Birmingham during its opening year and at the Court Barn Museum in Chipping Campden as part of its 2015 Christmas Selling Exhibition. I am also a member of Warwickshire Open Studios (I'm a bit of a gatecrasher as my studio is actually in Birmingham!).
Online All About the Beads is on Facebook
It's here you'll see the latest pictures of my work and other interesting and/or random bits and pieces