Glass artist doesn't let small 'canvas' limit her creativity

Cindy Craig works small, but she thinks big.Her glass beads take you to sweeping grasslands, vast oceans and immense galaxies.

Craig, 46, of Janesville creates art beads and small sculptures.Nature inspires her.The skin of an animal, the spikes of a sea urchin or space pictures taken by the Hubble telescope fire her imagination and find their way into her beads.Craig's studio is a hotspot in her Fremont Street home.There, she works with a brittle pallet of color. Rods and canes of American, Italian and German glass are stacked on shelves or stick out of jars.

Craig's focus is on a dollop of glass suspended on a welding rod and thrust in a 2,500-degree flame a foot from her face. She layers the glass-fluid like honey-around a ceramic coating called a bead release. She sits patiently for up to two hours at a time, deftly turning the rod so the molten mixture on the end doesn't drip out of shape.

The glass in the flame is orange and angry but cools quickly into vivid colors. Too much heat, though, would scorch the color right from the glass.

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