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glass act

November 10, 2014

Kate Beads
Kate Rothra Fleming loves wearing distinctive jewelry. The South Carolina glass jewelry artist also likes designing it. For her, glass yields endless possibilities for color, texture and form.

Background: Grew up in Miami and earned degrees from the University of Florida and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Later, she worked for the Peace Corps as an art teacher in Botswana, where she became fascinated with cultural jewelry. In 2000, the primarily self-taught glass artist and jewelry designer opened her studio in Charleston.

The goods: Necklaces ($125 and up); earrings ($48 to $325); rings ($60); and the new creature bracelets ($325 to $525), using hollow beads and high silver glass.

Materials: Flameworked glass and sterling silver. “It is almost magical how glass lends itself to mimic different natural materials (like amber, stone, wood and alabaster),” said Rothra Fleming.

Big break: Collaborated with emerging designer Vartika Vikram for Charleston Fashion Week in 2012.

Claim to fame: Named one of the Top 40 International Beadmakers by Glass Line Magazine. Recently taught a workshop at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.

Side project: In 2010, she and her husband purchased Ocho Verde wildlife preserve, a private rainforest reserve and artist’s retreat in Costa Rica, where they are setting up a glass studio and heavily involved in wildlife conservation. Learn more at:

Where to buy:  She will also be at the annual American Craft Council show in Atlanta March 13-15, 2015.


Kate's creature

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