Mike and Liz Rose, a modern tale of an ancient art
You never know what is going to happen. Mike was a restaurateur in South Florida for more than 20 years, owning and operating everthing from pizza parlors to steak houses. It was probably there that he developed his love for the flame. But he was not an artist, at least he didn’t know he had a special talent.
Liz was the ‘artistic one’. She majored in art at the University of Miami and was always involved in some kind of artistic project. Although she went on to do her graduate work in clinical psychology and is still practicing as a psychotherapist at a local hospital, she continued to do creative projects as a hobby. Liz loves beads and has been collecting rare and unusual beads from around the world for more than 20 years although she never knew why. Then one day she took a class in glass bead making at a local bead store and thats when it all began. Mike was watching Liz struggle to make glass beads on her hot head (a small torch head attached to a can of Mapp gas) and started to make suggestions (you know how men are). Liz told him if he could do better, he should try it. The rest as they say, is history.
Mike had a wonderful talent!! He was a natural glass beadmaker. Even his first beads were beautiful. They were big and clumsy but beautiful. Lampwork bead-making is an ancient process that originally used oil lamps to melt the glass, which is where the term “lampwork” came from. Modern lampwork beadmakers use torches that burn propane and oxygen. Mike loved the torch and the torch responded to him. He can work comfortably within inches of the flame which burns at up to 1800 degrees. He is on the torch now twelve to fifteen hours a day. He melts rods of colored glass imported from Murano, Italy, creating the beads from the inside out ‘drawing’ the designs and patterns on the beads with hot glass. His beads have become works of art and he often combines silver or gold foil, dichroic glass or millefiori in them to create special effects.
Mike makes the beads, and then Liz designs and constructs the jewelry, combining Mike’s beads with precious metals and semi-precious stones. Together they create beautiful unique pieces of jewelry that capture the light and reflect beautifuly on the wearer.
For the last twenty years they have been exhibiting at fine art festivals throughout the state of Florida (see the shows section for a schedule). Mike and Liz are both amazed at the change in their lives that Mike’s talent has made. Doing the shows and getting to meet terrific people both other artists and customers has been exiting and fulfilling. Liz often says if you had told her twenty years ago what they would be doing today, she would have bet anything against it, but then you never know what is going to happen!