Bumblebead Jewelry - Beth Wenger Johnstone
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago (Crystal Lake). My mom is a quilter, my dad dabbled in lapidary, wire wrapping and basket weaving and my brother is into ceramics. The creative bug is in my family and we take our hobbies very seriously. In the early 70’s we lived on a rubber plantation in Liberia, West Africa, for my father’s job as an agricultural specialist. During that time I attended boarding school in Switzerland and art school in Vienna, Austria. I have a BFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois. I began working in the field of advertising design while in college and, almost 30 years later, I’m still there, as co-owner of WM Design, a graphic design firm in Appleton, Wisconsin. But, when I’m not in meetings, behind a computer or running the business I am a lampworker/glass bead-maker and wire jewelry designer. My jewelry is created using glass beads and silver parts that I make, right down to the jump rings. I work primarily in silver and glass with an occasional side trip into copper and pearls.
I serve on the board of directors for the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Neenah, WI. The Bergstrom is known for it’s world renown collection of glass paperweights. I have been responsible for setting up a lampwork teaching studio where I teach classes in lampwork.
I am a guest artist/teacher at the Renaissance School for the Arts, within the Appleton Area School District. I teach classes in wire jewelry, graphic design and illustration. I also teach wire jewelry at Peninsula Art School in Door County.