m menu image  m home m cart

PayPal Express Checkout

PayPal Express Checkout

Bits & Bobs

Re-stringing & Beaded Jewellery Repair Services - Click for info

Secure Shopping

We Offer Secure Online Purchases

About Us


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 jewelry 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 traveling 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!


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 here in Italy. Around that time, early 2002, I suggested to Tim that he might enjoy learning how to make lampworked 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.

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 center 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 jewelry 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.
Our daughter Leah, now 21, has her own business as a multilingual tutor for children, as well as doing some modeling (We are thrilled to have Leah as the fresh young face of Beaded Lily!)

At some point along the way, we began to long for a bit more of the alternative scene that we left behind in Seattle and San Francisco. This led to our discovery of Brighton, England.

Brighton is cool and funky, and indeed very alternative (they call it the San Francisco of the UK). It has a great music scene, TONS of independent shops and loads of artists. And in addition to the pub scene that England is (in)famous for, the coffee house scene is very Seattle: Cafes everywhere with cushy chairs and books and good music, all made for hanging out (different than the "quick coffee standing at the bar" standard in Italy). Brighton also has two very good universities, one of which our daughter will be attending.

And so, at the end of 2011, after more than a decade living in Italy, my family and I decided to relocate our lives and business to this seaside city in the southeast of England. And instead of opening a retail store as we've always done in the past, we've decided to to realize a dream that we've had for quite some time now: A true working studio that will house our teaching facilities, and product line, as well as Tim's web design business (his other passion). You are invited to visit by appointment. To do so, please contact us.

And so a new chapter begins... 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.

 Lily Morda - 2012

Artist Profiles: Click the image for a brief biography of each

Take a Class!

For yourself, or give as a Gift Voucher!

Who's Online

There currently are 5 guests online.