Sunday, 27 November 2011

Flowers for Jo

Bead of the Day: "Flowers for Jo"

About ten days ago I came across a post on Facebook. I couldn't make out who the lady was. I was sad, but it was kind of impersonal, because I didn't know. Thanks to GBUK's email received tonight, now I realise that we lost a great lampworker and a wonderful, wonderful person. So this post is dedicated to Jo Rohrer.

In those "olden" days I didn't know anything about lampwork or beads or making jewellery. One day I was happily walking around WHSmith's - oooooh, I don't know, four, five years ago? - when these beautiful beads caught my eye. Turquoise and red on the cover of Bead magazine. So I bought the mag. And discovered a whole new world! And it was only because of the beautiful beads on the cover! The beads, as it happened, had been made by Jo Rohrer.

But it was just a name then. We know the names - the stars of the lampwork community: Diana East, Ray Skene, Sally Carver... Many from abroad - Loren Stump, Akihiro Ohkama, Corina Tettinger, the list goes on... Only rarely we can see these amazing people, usually it's during demonstrations; it's quite difficult (at least it is for me) to come up to them and have a chat or possibly to become friends.

As time passed, I started making my own beads and jewellery, I went to fairs and various events. And once I was lucky to meet Jo. It was in Dulwich. She came up to us and we chatted, and she showed me her beads and her display. She said she loved fairs because they gave her a chance to meet her customers and her fellow bead artists. I remember her beads: elongated and flattened, in beautiful organic greens. After that meeting we wrote to each other; she gave me advice, congratulated me on my lampworking successes and simply just kept in touch. She was always very kind and generous sharing her knowledge: which fairs to go to, which events are cheaper than the others, what a pain Double Helix can be...

I never suspected that she was ill. Last time she wrote to me was about my book; she said she'd been reading it and it was very good and so beautiful. It was two weeks before she left us.

She was wonderful. Inspirational and very kind. My thoughts are with the ones who were closest to her.


  1. That's very sad Nellie but I am sure she would be so touched that you have remembered her here. What a legacy she leaves behind and the fact that she got you started is wonderful. That is a beautiful bead you have made. Hope you are well?
    Jane x

  2. Thank you, Jane, for the lovely comment. I'm fine, I too hope you are well.xx

  3. She really was an inspirational woman, Nelli, even after she has gone. I am on your blog today because I met someone at Jo's funeral yesterday who told me she had been reading your book.
    I live down the road from her studio and met her just after I started lampworking; there is a tribute and photo of her on my blog too

  4. Thank you, Helen, for your comment. I've been on your blog too. We'll all have Jo in our hearts, she was a very special person. x