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Unicorne Beads Artist Spotlight

Doug and Lyta

At Artbeads, we feel that individuality is important for expressing creativity. Thinking outside the box— choosing a different path— is what being an artist is all about. That's why we're always bringing you new and exciting products to play with in your designs! Unicorne Beads shares this belief with us by bringing innovation and creativity to every aspect of their company. In fact, their game changing started when new owners Doug and Lyta Ho bought the business in 1990. Co-Owner Doug was kind enough to tell the story of how Unicorne Beads became one of the most original lampwork bead manufacturers in the industry.

In 1967, the previous owners of Unicorne Beads specialized in designing wedding cake toppers and small collectable figurines. While these pieces were undoubtedly beautiful, Doug recognized that buying patterns had changed in the market. Buyers no longer wanted to collect figurines to place in their curio cabinet. Instead, they wanted to make something with their collectibles. So, about 10 years ago, Unicorne Beads attended the Costa Mesa Gem Fair with 10 colors of teardrop-shaped beads—and the magic of their lampwork beads began. Other artists and jewelry designers found their pieces at shows, used them in designs, and word quickly spread about their outstanding work.

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A lot of their ideas for different shapes come from customer suggestions and from other artistic mediums. If Doug sees a beautiful design made from resin, for example, he visualizes how to replicate it with glass. One of his favorite shapes in the line, in fact, is the YoYo bead shape. "It's one of the more interesting shapes…We like doing things that are different," he explained. With so many different shapes being created (over 50 different styles), Unicorne Beads has about 15 to 20 lampwork artists who contribute to their production from home.

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So how does it all come together? First, it starts with an idea of what they want to create. The design is shaped using any variety of mediums, and then gets narrowed down with details to make it just as appealing in glass form. Their lampworking process is a little unconventional, too. Working with borosilicate glass colors mostly, Unicorne Beads imports their components to make glass from all over the world. Their components come from places like Germany, Italy and Australia, enabling them to create unique color palettes since each distributor renders different results. Doug also mentioned that they mix "incompatible" components together for cool results as well!

If you're looking for something a little different, something that will get your design noticed and stand out from the crowd, then you'll love using Unicorne Beads. "We try to be different and cutting edge," Doug told us. "We make 'working' beads. They're not individual focals, but they’re not cheap glass beads either." Which is true—Unicorne Beads makes everything from large-hole donuts to cute bird accent pieces. You'll appreciate their unique, handmade features and brilliant colors and sparkle. Check out their collection on our site here.



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