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About Us

Lily Morda: Owner, Mixed Media Jewellery Designer at Beaded Lily

Tim James: Owner, Glass Bead Maker, Web Designer at Beaded Lily

Lily Morda has been a professional jewelry designer, teacher and avid bead collector in both the U.S. and Europe since 1988. Her unique, high quality designs have sold to collectors all over the world.

Originally from the US, Tim James and his family moved to Italy in 2001, where he learned the ancient art of Glass Bead Making (lampworking). His client list Includes Chanel, Ferragamo & Escada. He has also taught glass bead making since 2005.


Exploring The World, One Bead At A Time

By Lily Morda

  One of the most interesting things that my husband Tim and I discovered about each other, when we first started dating, was our mutual love for all things Italian. Living in Seattle in the 1990's, Tim owned a café and I designed jewellery and owned a bead shop. The shop, called Sound City Bead, catered to bead lovers of many stripes for over ten years. Both Tim and I built our businesses around concepts and products that were staples of Italian life; i.e. coffee and hand-made glass beads, respectively. We both adored Italian food, wine, art and culture tremendously, although neither of us had ever actually been to Italy. After we were married in 1999, we joined other family members vacationing in a rented villa by the Tyrrhenian Sea, just south of the port city of Livorno. We spent a month travelling around the regions of Tuscany and Umbria and also took a three day trip to Venice. I will never forget the overwhelming impression that Venice made upon me. I felt as if I had died and gone to bead heaven!
Lucca, Italy
  During the summer of 2001 we rented an apartment for two months in the Tuscan town of Lucca. We fell so in love with the way of life in Italy, especially in the region of Tuscany itself, that we never left. Because of my Italian heritage, I discovered I was legally entitled to obtain Italian citizenship, which I did with the help of my father. Shortly thereafter, my brother took over the bead store we owned in Tucson, Arizona at the time and we sold or gave away most of our other belongings.We then put our daughter Leah, who was then nine, in Italian public school, and started to build our new life in Italy.

Around that time, early 2002, I suggested to Tim that he might enjoy learning how to make lampwork beads. After taking a one week intensive course in the region of Umbria, Tim set up his own studio and began to teach himself the ins & outs of glass bead making. Ever since he has been busy making wonderful glass beads in the Venetian tradition, but with a distinctly American twist. Many torch hours later he began to realize that learning the art of glass bead making need not be the arduous process that he endured, that it was possible to impart the knowledge in a more efficient manner than was his experience. It was at this point that he began teaching this ancient craft and has since had satisfied students come from literally all over the world to take his course.

Florence, Italy
In early 2005, craving a more cosmopolitan atmosphere, we moved from Lucca to Florence. Florence, which is called "Firenze" in Italian, is the capitol of Tuscany and one of the world's most beloved art cities. Besides being the home of the great Renaissance period of art history, Florence also enjoys the distinction of being the intellectual centre of Italy.

Home to one of Europe's oldest universities, the University of Florence, the city also hosts at least thirty Italian and American study abroad programs each year. Many American universities, like Syracuse and New York University for example, have permanent campuses here in town. This helps give the city a young and vibrant feel, which is an interesting contrast to its ancient surroundings.

After moving to Florence, we began an interesting personal and artistic journey. Besides creating handmade beads for our store, websites and jewellery lines, Tim has also designed and produced glass beads for a number of design houses, both big and small. Chanel featured his beads in their summer and fall 2006 line, as well as in spring 2011. He received commissions from the famous Italian design houses Ferragamo and Escada, as well. Currently, he continues to supply a myriad of smaller designers, in Europe, North America and as far away as Australia and Japan, with his ever-expanding line of hand-made glass beads.

Camaiore, Italy
 Always seeking new inspiration and joie de vivre, we now live in the bustling Italian town of Camaiore in Western Tuscany.
 
A new chapter has begun... We hope you'll join us in our ongoing adventure. For us, the first step was articulating our dream. The rest continues to reveal itself day by day.
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