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Kenora glass artist uses social media to market custom creations globally

Post Time:Mar 26,2012Classify:Company NewsView:226

When Kenora-based glass artist Rebecca Alcock opened her studio/gallery House of Glass on Hennepen Lane last September she was hopeful Farmers’ Market customers familiar with her handmade glass beads and custom design jewelry would follow to the new location.

 

Many did but what Alcock wasn’t expecting was the impact social media and the internet had on marketing her work to a world-wide clientele. Customers visit her Facebook page ButterFinger Beads from Germany, Italy, Japan and Afghanistan to place orders large and small. She even filled an order for two of the brightly decorative glass charm bracelet beads to a buyer in Fiji.

 

“Social media has had a huge impact on the early success of my business. It’s got my name out there, people know where to find me,” Alcock said.

 

Since starting her Facebook business page, she has secured more than 1,500 followers. Transactions are completed through PayPal and eBay is next on the list to further enhance her online business presence. On another personal website, specifically reserved for professional networking, she shares tips and techniques with about 4,000 other glass artists and designers around the world.

 

“It’s a really neat way of networking with them, seeing pictures of what they’ve made and the techniques they use,” she said.

 

Her weekly online webcast where people can log-in (www.stickam.com/butterfingerbeads) to watch as she melts different coloured glass to create miniature works of art recently set a record with more than 1,000 hits.

 

Alcock’s interest in glass work began about four years ago after she purchased an ornament and decided to start making her own. She researched the craft, purchased the equipment, materials and taught herself how to make the fashion trendy charm bracelet beads, blown ornaments and tiny glass vessels for pet cremations.

 

There’s quite a science to working with molten glass. The different coloured rods used to create the pieces are matched according to type as glass with different Coefficient Rates of Expansion (COE) won’t properly bond or cool at the same rate and the resulting object is prone to cracking.

 

Alcock uses ‘soft’ soda-lime glass rated at 104COE. She marvels at the magic that happens as the material is heated over a blow torch and the patterns that form by the way the chemical properties of the different colours react when merged together.

 

“I use stainless steel tools and graphite paddles to manipulate the soft glass,” she explained. “When it’s red hot I can do just about anything with it.”

 

After ‘torching,’ the beads are placed in a small kiln where the glass is slowly cooled in an annealing process to prevent cracking.

 

On a good day, Alcock will create 20 to 60 beads depending on size and complexity which sell for $15 to $20 each in her shop. In addition to her own work, The Glass House features items by other artists, jewelry and supplies.

 

She also donates pieces to the Beads of Courage program which helps children with serious illnesses.

Source: www.kenoradailyminerandnews.comAuthor: shangyi

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