Kristen Frantzen Orr

Northeastern Nevada Artist

Kristen Frantzen Orr was born and raised in Elko, Nevada. She is a true Nevada lady, her family has lived here for over a hundred years. Kristen is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. She became fascinated with the process of creating art glass beads in 1993 and has been melting glass over the flame of an oxygen-propane torch to create unique beads ever since. She was one of the early artists in the glass bead-making movement in the United States, and quickly became well known as a workshop instructor. She has taught across the United States, in Japan, Germany, England, and Canada. Images of her extraordinary art have been published in more than 30 books and magazines. Kristen’s jewelry is in public and private collections worldwide, including the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; Japan Lampwork Museum in Kobe; and the Sweeney Collection in New Mexico.

The process Kristen uses to make her beads is called lampworking or flameworking. Depending on complexity, a single bead can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours to make. After the beads have been created directly in the flame, they are annealed in a kiln to remove any internal thermal stress.

Kristen says the process of blending the beads into jewelry is like framing a painting, giving the beads a beautiful setting as wearable art. Her work is available in Elko at the Western Folklife Center gift shop. In addition to maintaining a schedule of out of town workshops, Kristen also occasionally offers weekend beadmaking classes at Great Basin College in Elko.


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