Kanna Glass Studios - Create Your Escape August 29, 2019 13:40

I found the tag line for Kanna Glass Studios. You just know when it’s the one for your business. 

Create Your Escape

I find it really interesting how this tagline is as much about how I want my customers to feel as it reflects my own art journey. As I mulled over this tag line, I ended up writing a long blog post. 

Create Your Escape

That phrase encapsulates how I want you to feel when you wear my jewelry and make your own jewelry designs with my beads. I want these sparkly little gems to trigger memories of your last escape to your most inspiring vacation.


I have always balanced intense mental focus with what I call "Brain Breaks." After a period of serious focus, I like to take a little break and stare at the clouds or trees outside my window, or allow myself to get mesmerized by water. By getting lost in the color or the swirls of my beads and jewelry, it can provide a little mental distraction in order to reset your brain and dive back into deep focus.

How I have been creating my own escape

Create Your Escape also summarizes my own journey with making jewelry and beads. This creative journey started out as a distraction and escaping the stress of a corporate day job. I started making jewelry as a hobby and would indulge my creative side when I got home in the evening. I sold many of my pieces right away. I also ran out of my most favorite beads right away. I don't even have pictures of those pieces!

When I started looking for beads online, at the time, there weren't as many good online resources for the beads as I found at the bead shows. What I did find online were a lot of artisan glass beads. I was intrigued. I starting buying these artisanal glass gems. I heard there was a Fireworks lampworking kit at Hobby Lobby and purchased the kit for $100. I made two hideous blobs of glass, of which I'm inordinately proud that I didn't injure myself or burn the house down. (To date, I have injured myself more while cooking than while working with the torch.) When I mentioned to a friend that I was getting interested in lampworking she said, "If you ever take a class, I'm coming with you." I found the class. We were introduced to the scary bit about lighting our torch and working glass and made our first beads. 

For the next six months, I created a lot of very ugly beads and also made some interesting beads that had potential. I slid down the rabbit hole of bead making and bought more glass, invested in a kiln, found a 20lb container of MAPP gas to allow for continuous torching, and tools. This was also the year a big, intense project at work was happening. I was starting to work 50+ hour weeks, culminating in sustained 60 hour weeks for several months. In the meantime, turning on the torch after a grueling day of work and concentrating on not hurting myself or burning my house down also allowed me to escape that stress and turn off my brain so I could attempt to get a decent night sleep. I started plotting my escape from a corporate existence but the actual ability to do so was still far off in the distance.

Early work with a mix of Swarovski spacers, semi-precious gems, shell beads, silver and copper beads, simple wirework and my own glass beads.


In 2008, I moved to Hong Kong, found a lampworking setup with a dual-fuel torch, continued to make beads and developed my signature swirl bead. I made some forward movement in my business and then a lot of backward, sideways, and sometimes circular movement as I moved 11 more times in the next 10 years. When I moved back to the US in 2011, I was determined to make a go of my business and started seeking out classes that would help me propel my business forward. After an initial class that spun me off into many distractions (indie magazine publishing, course creation, surface pattern design, painting, sewing, upholstery) I finally came back to making beads. I focused on polymer for a bit until I was able to set up another lampwork studio. I also realized the hobby approach would not make a sustainable or profitable business. I had to start making changes.


Early swirls


I learned the idea of creating collections. I applied to exhibit my beads at the Milwaukee Bead & Button show with some polymer clay and glass bead collections. The glass beads got most of the love so I doubled down and focused completely on glass the next year. I remembered back to when it was difficult for me to find the beads I really love and intentionally developed designer focused collections. The foundational Beach Collection I showed contained four colorways in Seaside, Atlantic, Sand, and Twilight and four core shapes. The next year I came back with an additional Citrus collection of Lime, Lemon, Orange, and Pomelo and a total of eight shapes. The purpose of my bead collections is to support jewelry designers with a dependable colors and shapes for their own designs.


Milwaukee Bead & Button 2019

My signature colorway is Seaside. I've been obsessively trying to mimic those perfect green, blue, aqua layers of the water from two of my most inspiring, relaxing and wonderful escapes - a week in Hawaii and a Caribbean cruise. I love to get lost in those organic swirls of Caribbean Green, Caribbean Blue, and Robins Egg. My favorite beads are the Faceted Rounds and Chunky Rounds as they show the swirls in their best light. When I string these little beauties up into jewelry for myself, I find myself transported back to those memories of warm sand and mesmerizing waters.

At the moment, I'm still plotting my escape from corporate and balance my art business with a day job and other volunteer activities. But I'm inching closer. Each bead I make and each person I connect with who wants to Create Their Own Escape helps me move a little closer to that goal.