|Sue Stewart has always wanted to be an artist. Sue also flunked every art class she ever took. From Girl Scouts to adulthood, though, Sue had a love of crafting. She could visualize and create just about anything from sticks, scraps, stones and glue.
In the mid-1970's her husband, a business type, decided to try his hand at making stained glass pieces. David excelled at the art. Sue wound up cutting herself. Even from across the room, she attracted sharp pieces of glass.
After moving to Alaska in 1985, Sue found herself with time on her hands. She set out to find the local craft shops and look for something "new" to play with. She encountered a serious problem. Alaska's capital city had NO craft stores. Not to be outdone by simple absence of opportunity, she opened her own craft shop.
Looking through a catalog from a stained glass supplier, she read about a kit that let people make their own glass beads. Beads were an important craft item, so she bought the kit, hooked up the little torch to a bottle of camping stove propane and off she went. It was instant love for her. But all of her beads were either black or gray. Sue did some research and found a wonderful woman in Arizona, Alice Foster Zimmerman, who gave of her knowledge through many telephone calls. Sue ordered anything and everything Alice had, including three videos, and set to learning how to make glass beads that looked like beads.
In addition to the video-based training provided by Alice Foster Zimmerman and Lewis Wilson, she has studied with Leah Fairbanks. "I was scared to death to take the class. It was for advanced students and since I had never taken a class, I was sure I wasn't qualified to study with one of the masters." "I spent 5 days with Leah and other students with varying backgrounds. It was one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences of my life. I gained a confidence that I had never known before in the art of lampworking."
Now Sue has a web-based business and markets her bead art across America and in Canada, England and Germany. Her name and work are recognized in the beading community of Alaska's Native artists.