MINGO AND ASHO,
Who We Are
Mingo and Asho have been artists for the past 30 years. Asho was involved in weaving and blending colors with yarn beginning in 1963. At that time, while living in Palatine, Illinois, she took up weaving with Astra Strobel at the then New Evanston Art Center. This started her interest in color and in the idea that she could create something that was pleasing to her as well as to others. She did quite a bit of spinning, gathering of dog and animal hair to spin and learned several dying techniques. This tie to weaving has followed along as Mingo and Asho started selling beads early on at the local southern California weaving shows.
While living in Southern Wisconsin she started helping Mingo with his pottery work and did much of the hand decoration on his works. This was the beginning of their understanding that they could work together easily and each was able to support the other both emotionally and creatively.
Mingo grew up in Northern Wisconsin where he spent much of his early life out in the woods by himself. His observations and connection with Nature truly follows with him in all aspects of his creativity. He started out in computer programming after high school and then transferred to University of Wisconsin Whitewater where he found his niche in the art world. He began strongly with pottery and was many times found by his teacher in the morning sleeping on the bags of clay in the shop where he had been turning down kilns all night.
Mingo has a teaching degree in Art and has made his living since 1969 by working with various art media. His expertise includes pottery, wood carving, sculpture, blacksmithing, and stained glass. He is one of those people who can do very well working in any media he chooses to explore.
Living on 40 acres in Wisconsin Mingo and Asho kept pursuing pottery and began doing fairs in the area for income. They were co-owners of what started out as an art shop in a town of 50 people near Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and then that shop turned into Mingo's ownership of the High Energy General Store which carried health foods and bulk herbs and foods.....all still in the town of 50 people. It was interesting to say the least.
In about 1986 they decided that it was time to get serious about what they wanted to do with their lives and recognized that making and selling their art was their first choice. Asho's parents had an empty house in Vista , California in an avocado grove and they were allowed to move in there in 1986 to begin their quest. It all started with the building of their geodesic dome studio which is still being constructed to date. Mingo is just a little slow and particular.
As stained glass was the artistic form of the time, Mingo took a stained glass class at Palomar College, at the same time he was building stained glass windows for 2 local artists. He got bored with flat glass and wanted to do some 3 D glass pieces for his own windows. Coincidentally.....there was a glass blowing studio adjacent to the stained glass studio at Palomar and he decided to take a semester class to make some 3D pieces. Well, the rest is history. He picked up the blow pipe in 1989 and it was love at first sight, never to do another stained glass window. As in glassblowing an assistant is a much sought after asset, Asho began the class also and has become fairly proficient at the media also. With her strength in putting color together they had found their "calling".
Seeing someone else's beads back around 1990 Asho wanted to try to make them also. Mingo of course said "no way" as they were making a variety of items like perfume bottles, paperweights, and vases etc. One day a string of glass fell off the pipe, Mingo looked at it and there was a hole in it......a bead. Asho persuaded Mingo to at least try one time to make beads. They did a few trials and then were faced with all the processes involved in finishing. Remember, at that time Asho only knew of one person in Laguna Beach making glass beads. There was no one to ask and no where to go for help in understanding any of the processes involved. Mingo and Asho working together have had to develop every step on their own. What looks upon observation as simple and easy (as it is easy now), in fact took 10 years to develop the unrivaled color, quality, and clarity that is present today in the beads they make.
At one Gem and Mineral Show we put out the few beads that we had made and they were well accepted although no one had ever seen a furnace glass bead. At the next weaving conference, the beads were a big hit, weavers wanted some large holes, and there started the real beginning of the bead business.
They have been doing shows on a regular basis since 1990 and still enjoy meeting all of you to share their new creations with you. With the creation of their website, they are now able to stay home more and more and see their creations fly all over the world. Often they receive calls from truly ecstatic customers who are so excited to be able to work with such beautiful beads. This is truly good for the spirit and is very nourishing and healthy for both of them in many ways.
The mystical qualities of glass have kept Mingo and Asho entranced with the medium. For many years they have been making them, changing them, and constantly perfecting them. Asho's sense of blending colors and the grace with which Mingo uses the blowpipe combine to create some of the finest beads available for you. We hope you enjoy each one.
In fresh light.....
Mingo & Asho
P.S. - Grace yourself with beauty, plant a garden and please remember to "compost it, don't spray it."