When Ashlie Beal couldn't find a chandelier that fit her budget and her style, the former Eastern Washington University business major had an idea to make her own by using a lighting kit she purchased at a local retailer and adding blown-glass bubbles she also bought.
"Lighting is like jewelry ... the thing that brings it all together," says Beal, who went from selling a few fixtures on Etsy into a business with a national customer base and four distinct product lines. That was in 2013.
Since then, Beal and her husband quit their day jobs — she was a flight attendant, he was a middle school teacher — and returned to Spokane, where both grew up.
Beal and her staff of seven, including her husband, custom-build every order, the bulk of which are for chandeliers and pendant lights. Standard cloud-shaped and cascading configurations incorporate a range of bubble sizes and finishes, from clear and iridescent to frosted, smoky gray, chrome and assorted colors to create fixtures with names like "rainbow," "seaglass" and "sunset."
Both the cord and mounting components are integral to the design and can be specified to contrast or complement the glass. Hardware options include black, brass, brushed or polished nickel, and white. There are 10 cord finish options: jute, natural cotton and leather, which is available in seven colors from matte black and rawhide to pearlescent white and metallics.
In addition to finish, size can also be customized.
"If you've ever been to a person's house and almost hit your head on a too low light fixture, you know how important it is to have a properly sized light," Beal says. "We've gone as large as 15 feet."
Beal continues to invent new fixtures, including flush mount bubble lighting, several types of sconces, and two midcentury modern variations on the bubble chandelier. She never tires of working with glass, she says.
"I think it's beautiful, and it can be really magical, but it's sculptural too."