Glass Onion Bead Company was founded in 1990 by husband and wife team David Johnson and Debbie Austin-Johnson. While starting out as a stained glass studio, we have evolved into a bead store with the largest selection in Northeast Wisconsin. We offer a wide variety of classes with award winning bead instructors.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beach Combing

One of my passions in summer is treasure hunting on the beach.  Since the weatherman predicted a high in the 80's today, I took a little drive, well, actually a long drive to search the shores of Lake Michigan.  It turned out to be a great day.  I found lots of sea glass, broken pottery and of course, rusty metal.
People think there was a ship wrecked that was full of glass or that there was a glass factory in the area. The real reason for beach glass is because people have discarded glass in the oceans and water bodies everywhere. It was natural for waterfront communities worldwide to discard their trash in the water because the water carried it away.  This practice is still followed in many third world countries today.  I'm happy people were so naive years ago, because it allows jewelers everywhere to make fabulous pieces!
Words for the day.....
Remember to always be yourself.
Unless you suck.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Faux Bone

Faux bone is a fabulous new material that is turning up on jeweler's workbenches everywhere.  It is a completely non-toxic, high grade ridgid PVC, that can be drilled, carved, cut, filed, hammered, stamped, riveted, dyed, painted, stained and polished.  It can be dapped, bent and twisted when heat is applied.

This is the work by Wandering Spirit Designs.  It is just one example of the beautiful things you can create from faux bone.  Watch for our classes this summer, as we will be offering project in this great new material.

words for the day....
Be your own kind of beautiful.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Shearing Day

The only day better than Christmas for a spinner is shearing day.  That happened to be today.  I had the pleasure of spending the morning at J & L Farms in Two Rivers while those beautiful sheep lost their winter coats.
I bought 20 pounds of beautiful, permed like curly locks and can't wait to get my dyes out.  I looked Sally in the eye as she stood there shivering, and told her all about the wonderful things that would be made from her winter coat.  (Sally is the sheared sheep in the picture below standing next to Nellie and Maggie)

I look forward to spinning out on my dock, while watching the birds fly by and the fishermen try their luck at catching that big one.  It's one of my favorite things to do.

Words for the day....
Find a beautiful place and get lost.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scouting Vintage Jewelry

With spring FINALLY getting to Wisconsin, the rummage sale signs have been popping up all over town.  They are an excellent source for finding great old vintage earrings and brooches to incorporate into new pieces.  I started collecting old jewelry when my gramma died in the 80's and no one wanted her jewelry box.  (Well, no one wanted her fiesta ware either and it went to the thrift store because at that time, I had NO idea of what we were giving away) Anyway, I love the work of Tara Wilson of LuluMax.
She beautifully places repurposed new and old elements into her pieces.  Check her out on Pinterest.

Words for the day...
Out of my mind...  Back in five minutes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ring around the Resin

Resin is not boring...
Our Resin 101 Workshop that happened last Saturday was anything but.  I do believe it should have won the
"Fickle Finger of Fate Award"!
We made molds from doll heads and arms, metal cars and keys.  We poured bezels with antique papers and stamps and made free formed resin filled shapes out of wire.  Nothing boring about that!  If you are interested in resin, let us know and we will schedule another workshop.

Words for the day....
I smile because I have no idea what's going on.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

the seventh day

We got to our cabin last night, just in time to see the sun going down. The ice is almost gone. It was the first time we have been here in over a month.  Work-show-work-sick-show.  Did I mention work??

It made me stop and think about long ago, and growing up in the 60's.  Remember when all businesses were closed on Sunday?  Nobody worked on Sunday.  Parents stayed home and did things with their kids.  We would all load up in the back of the yellow station wagon, (I had five sisters), no seat belts of course, and go to Triangle Park and fly kites.  Mom would pack sandwiches in the green aluminum picnic basket and we would lay on a blanket and look at the clouds and play tag and just have fun.  The good old days....

I wish days were like that again....  So today, I'm going to turn off the computer, get my winter hat and coat on (April 21, ya..I know..) take my spinning wheel out on the deck and enjoy nature.  The squirrels are going crazy because the feeders are filled again, the birds are coming back and I just saw a bufflehead duck, diving for breakfast.  Life is good.

Words for the day...
Have an old fashioned Sunday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


After the batteries came out of the smoke alarm,
we finally got down to business exploring the
fundamentals of enameling on copper.
The true fascination seemed to be the torches used
for firing and the ability to play with fire! 
Everyone left with a bracelet around their wrist.

Words for the day...
If you are lucky enough to be different,
don't ever change.


We really had a great time in last night's "Paddles" class.  Everyone's necklace turned out so different.  This is one student's piece.  It's about $20 worth of materials.  I love the cave man look of it!
words for the day....
Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of how things turn out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day one of this blog stuff....

Hi and welcome to our first blog!  We are excited to move into this new form of connecting with  friends and customers!  Please be patient with us while we try and figure out what we are doing. (no clue...really). We are looking forward to chatting on  regular basis and would love to hear any thoughts you may have!