So this past weekend I went over to Atlanta for a glass class. This time it was Marcy Lamberson who makes whimsical sculptural beads. She is a super sweet lady who is also a great teacher. My goal for this class was to “learn stuff and have fun,” and I accomplished that goal.
I started getting sick on Friday so I ate plenty of pineapple and a few potato chips as well. I felt fine except that I kept sneezing, my eyes were watering, my nose was running… It made it a little difficult to focus on the beads, but I persevered. I was tired when I came back on Monday though. And, I am still a bit under the weather.
The beads we made included a little bird, a seashell, cactus, face, Viking, and a cat. My cat cracked while I was making it and ended up in the water. But the bead I’m most pleased with is the baby seal pictured here. This exercise came on day two and it was a 2-D or 3-D assignment. Marcy had some items we could pick from – both 2-D and 3-D. I picked a little seal replica and set about making the bead.
I have to admit that the seal looked kind of easy to make. It didn’t take long to realize that making a graceful shape with a vertical orientation is more difficult than I originally thought. I kept at it though, and I think I came up with a fairly close approximation to the model. This is significant because the bead wasn’t demoed. That is to say, Marcy didn’t make this bead and explain how to do it. It was up to me to figure out – and I did. Or at least I came real close.
This bead, like a couple of others I made, did crack though. It’s real hard to keep a bead warm without melting everything back into a blob and loosing all the details. It is very nerve-wracking for me – I get all tense while making the sculptural beads trying to keep them warm. This is definitely something I need to practice. And I will. I just found the little seal model online at The Big Zoo and I plan to make many more of them as well as some of the other animals.
I have to say that my confidence has definitely improved after taking this class. I can’t wait to feel better so I can get back on the torch and try some of these beads again. It feels a little bit like a whole new world of bead making has been opened up to me because now I can look at something and begin to pick out how to replicate it in glass. That’s super cool!
Sunday night I had dinner with Sarah – a super cool chick that I worked with a while ago. She regaled me with stories and said nice things about my beads. It was fun catching up with her and hopefully we will stay in closer touch. I can’t possibly describe her in a way that would do justice to her – stop by her blog for a glimpse into a truly unique life.
A few weeks ago I got a comment on my Guide to Lampworking Glass from a very nice woman named Mona saying that she is with Gaffer glass – not listed in my list – and would love to send me some samples. How could I refuse? Free glass is like… well it’s the most excitement that I’ve had in a while.
Gaffer lampworking cane is 96 C.O.E., and produced in New Zealand. The US warehouse is in Washington – which is where my glass came from. I’m not too observant I guess, because I didn’t notice the glass melting any slower or working very different than the 104 C.O.E. that I usually work with. The glass did freak me out a bit because all the colors I got were striking colors. The dark green color (looks black in the picture) actually turned a transparent cobalt in a couple of spots for a few seconds. I wasn’t able to get the lightest color to strike, but that is probably user error.
In short, I will probably explore the 96 C.O.E. line in greater depth at some point. The colors available in this range are very appealing to me – they seem to be very rich in color. Jewel tones is how Val Cox describes them in her book. I’m still learning the language of color, but the Gaffer colors are just a different look than the Italian 104 C.O.E.
I want to get a little bit more familiar with glass in general before I go in the 96 C.O.E. direction though – although I might buy a few colors to go with the Val Cox frit I have already. I don’t know. If I could, I’d get all the glass… But quite frankly storage is a major issue. Hopefully I’ll have a solution to that by this time next week. We’ll see.
I made this necklace Monday night. I posted the beads earlier, and noticed that the green stone beads matched very well, but did not get the silver spacers until Monday. It is a very simple design, but I like it.
I went out doing errands today and the girl at the Pet-smart commented on the necklace. I told her I made the beads, and she was very interested. Too bad I wasn’t more put together – I could have given her a card or directed her to where I have stuff for sale. Well, I should have had cards with me at least. I need to work on getting inventory also.
I have been in a bit of a creative slump recently, but the necklace has helped get me interested again. Also, I have been looking at the tutorial sections of the forums for ideas on what kinds of beads to make. I took a couple of days off to look at the forums, and that has helped a lot. So, I’m trying to work through this slump.
One of the beads I’m working on are star beads. Except mine don’t look as nice as those in the link. It will probably be awhile before I will want to show one of these beads – I need practice. They are fun to make, but very time consuming and nerve wracking. I have to constantly remember to keep the bead warm so it won’t crack, while not getting it so warm it collapses into a pile.