skyisland design lampwork beads

About Me

My name is Michelle and artistic talent runs in my family, which I think is why I can't help wanting to make things all the time.

I was privileged to study drawing and painting with Dr. Phyllis Yes at Lewis and Clark College, as well as other fine artists at the University of Oregon in Eugene, but the person who influenced me the most as an artist was my elementary school art teacher Betty Mayther. Betty worked very hard to give her students unusual venues, including murals and mosaics on the school grounds and in the surrounding community, and was an exceptional teacher and human being.

After college, I put my talent and artistic passion away in a box and went and did other things, eventually finding myself working for software companies. Inevitable burnout prompted me to ask myself, if I had a choice, what would I want to do? So, I made the choice and here I am. I have a studio behind my NE Portland home, not far from my long-time lampworker sister who I've been lucky enough to call mentor.

When I'm not melting glass, I'm gardening, drawing, and spending time with my family, who didn't get enough of me when I worked in the technical industry.

About my beads

My beads go straight from flame to kiln and are annealed for stability and durability. I work with Bullseye or with COE 104 glasses such as Vetrofond and Moretti.

Even though they are durable, and can usually take being dropped and knocked against things, the beads I make are still glass, which can fracture with enough applied force, so please handle your purchases with care.

My goal is to establish long-term relationships with my customers, so if you're not happy with what you've purchased, return it within 30 days for a refund.

About my studio name

skyisland design has been my design name for over a decade, since I first began designing for the web. A sky island is a mountain ecological system as isolated from other systems as if it were surrounded by water, and can be as ecologically unique as the Galapagos Islands. At the time I chose the name, I was living very high in the mountains of Colorado in constant wonder at the profusion of life near treeline. Now that I live back home, near sea level, skyisland has just as much meaning for me as ever as my little studio is its own unique system, full of the same things other artists use yet we all express the life in us in a different way.