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Bernadette’s fascination with beads began in 1974 when she bartered her wristwatch for some very ancient glass beads while she was living in Tunisia. The architecture, friezes, mosaics and murals at these ancient sites, in addition to the ambient color of Tunisia, continue to inspire her. These first beads and continued inspiration eventually lead to Bernadette’s own jewelry line, Hot Flash Designs.
Bernadette’s affair with glass beadmaking started with a flameworked glass workshop taught by Paul Stankard at Penland in 1987. At that time very few US suppliers of glass rods existed. In those first years some Moretti glass and German glass as well as some vintage German and Czech glass rods were available. Experimenting with this range of glass, she found glass combinations which were compatible and colors which produced unusual effects. Old beads from her collection, especially the Venetian fancy florals, inspired her original designs.