What's a Schermo ?

Common Questions...
.... And Some Answers

 For more info on becoming a beadmaker, see

Q: How long does it take to make a single bead ?

A: About seven hours...
Well, that's from start to finish, including dipping the mandrels in bead release, preparing the glass rods, melting and forming the bead in the flame, annealing the bead in the kiln (that's about five + hours right there, but I can go watch TV during that stage of the process), and then cleaning out the beads when they're done. Was that more than you wanted to know ?

In truth, most beads take from 20 to 60 minutes of actually "beadmaking time" in the flame. It depends on how many layers of glass and sparkly bits like dichro, goldstone or foils I add. It also depends on how much sculptural work of melting, shaping, pushing, pulling, pinching, forming and cool down is involved.
I've tried to time it, but when I am staring at a the flame, I lose all track of time. Just ask my family !

Q: Is Beadmaking an expensive hobby ?

A: Not if you're independently wealthy....
Oops. I guess that leaves most of us out, huh ?

Yes, I think it's a bit costly for most people to pursue as a "hobby". Some people start out on a small, single fuel torch called a hot head, and cool down their beads in a fiber blanket. However, that begins to be unsatisfactory when your beautiful beads start to crack from not being annealed, and the hot head torch becomes frustrating to use because melting the glass takes so long. What usually happens then is that they either move on to the bigger torch and kiln set up, which is a major investment, or they just lose interest in beadmaking.

I decided to just skip the first step, and throw myself into it whole hog. You know what they say........
Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

And on that note, I'll leave you with one last (subliminal) thought:


 And this is as close as I come to having a philosopy of life:




Schermo, proper noun
Pronounced "Shermo", but when spelled without the "c", causes 404 error messages and redirects email to an unsuspecting florist in San Francisco.

Consider yourself warned.





 What is a Schermo ?

As those of you with advanced degrees in deduction have probably already guessed, "Schermo" is a derivative of my maiden name, Scherm. I learned to answer to Schermo in high school, because it beat being called by any of the nicknames that rhymed with Scherm. (I will now allow you 30 seconds to ponder all the possibilities. Please don't overlook the delightful result of substituting "sp" for the first three letters.)

Now being all grown up (in body, if not in mind ) I still use this nickname as my online screen name, and regard it as a term of endearment from those who know me well. As I said, it beats some of the other things I'm called.




....... So ? You still here ? What are you looking around here for ? You think I'm going to give out personal information about myself on the INTERNET ?
In front of all these people ? Oh, all right..... if you really want to know......

I was born in 1956, ( I'm going to make you work for it ) I'm female, married, have two children, two shih tzus, a white cat, and ADD. I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia and have a mole on the inside of my right elbow. I think that about covers the personal data that I'm willing to share on a webpage on the internet.

My interest in all things beady goes back well into my teen years when I made beaded cigar band rings and love beads like every other teenager in the late 60's, My bead obsession went into remission as I was making my way through raising children and raising cain in the real world in my 20's and early 30's.

About ten years ago, my interest in beads was reawakened by two curiously unrelated events: I started noticing the beautiful seed bead work done by Native Americans, and bought a huge quantity of opaque primary colored, irregular seed beads, which I still haven't figured out what to do with. I also bought a book about making beads out of polymer clay.
That, I did know what to do with !

From there on in, things kind of snowballed ( which is an apt metaphor, as I was living in Minnesota at the time ). I started making polymer clay beads like I was possessed ( no comment ), and then I realized that I needed other beads to go with my clay beads. I started buying glass beads to use in necklaces and earrings. The more I bought, the more I learned. The more I learned, the more I wanted. The more I wanted, the more jewelry I had to make and sell in order to afford the beads I now NEEDED. Bead Addiction: it's not a pretty sight.

And in the midst of my obsession, an idea took hold. I had heard about glass beadmaking, I had even seen it demo'ed a couple times. It looked fascinating, but I actually thought that the biggest problem was that I would probably cut myself on the sharp edges of the glass. ( Silly me.... as if I would even feel it after I burned myself in the 1700 degree flame of the torch ! ) Fantasies over came fears (as they often do) and in March 1999, I signed up for a class with one of the BEST lampworking teachers in the country, ( just my humble opinion, of course ) KATE FOWLE and took her two day beginning beadmaking class. I was hooked.

That class taught me not only the necessary basics, but also confirmed that I seemed to have a knack for it. (Confirmed by the fact that I was still in possession of all my limbs when the class was over. Along with some awful looking little beads.) I went home, ordered my equipment and my glass rods, and started cleaning out the garage. I was on a mission. My husband was so happy that I was tackling the garage, he forgot to ask why.
Serves him right.

Now I have a beadmaking studio in the garage, and I spend several days a week making beads, or teaching beadmaking to others. (Nothing like being an enabler!) I have upgraded my equipment, added additional ventilation and cooling, and bought a digital controller for the kiln which handles all the steps of adjusting the temperature so I don't have to keep running out to the garage to mess with it while the beads are annealing. This past year I bought another torch; BIGGER, hotter and scary looking. It's gone from an expensive hobby to a satisfying business. Isn't it nice to have an obsession ? - Schermo


 This is my personal Mantra:

 It works for me in just about any situation.....


 Thanks for your interest in all things Schermo.
I hope I've kept you amused. ( If so, you're pretty easily amused.)