Last year at the Gathering in Oakland I bought some Double Helix odd lots. I did the same this year actually, but that’s not the point. The thing is that when I got home from the Gathering this year and I went to put my glass in my studio, there was not quite enough room. I have this wonderfully huge table and it’s covered with glass. So, I figured it’s time for me to use up some of the glass that’s been sitting there since last year.
It’s kinda difficult because I keep hoping that I will get good enough to produce lovely beads like the ones on the forums – perfectly shaped and encased. But as you can see here, my shaping skills need improvement. This bead isn’t encased, but that skill could use a little work too. I know I need to practice, but I didn’t want to practice on the expensive glass.
But then I made a bead out of the Luna2-dark that I got last year – a long bead like the one pictured here. And, my mother actually liked it! This was the first silver glass bead I had made (except the bead I made in Trey Cornette‘s class) that my mother liked. I was impressed and pleased and felt that Julie Ferguson‘s class had really paid off. So, I made a few more. And guess what – they weren’t quite as pretty. Still nice, but you need really bright daylight to see them.
Oh well. I’m turning the rest of my Luna-2 Dark into beads. I’m practicing shaping with it, and I’m having a blast! The glass has got to go. I have some NE-323 and Ekho that I’m now saving for when I get good enough to use it. I suppose I might have a similar de-stash next year, but for now I’m using up the L2D. I have three rods of it left, and it will be gone by next weekend. To see all the beads I’ve made with it (and other beads as well) check out my flickr photostream.
One exciting thing about the Gathering this year was the introduction of GTT’s new torch the Scorpion. This torch is optimized to run on two concentrators with a Cricket as the inner fire. If I ever decide to get into boro I want one of these. These are cool little torches and I saw some fancy boro work being done on this torch. The flame goes from needlepoint small to nice and bushy hot.
Thursday the technical vendors opened up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite as much glass this year as there was last year, but there was still glass. These beads here were made with Double Helix NE-323. This is a test batch or development glass – I don’t know which, but I like it. The beads look like shades of blue and green in person with some of the amber coming through at the ends. Notice my spiffy new bead stand – got that at the Gathering too. I also got some of DH clear – Aether. This is nice clear. No scum at all so far and melts really well – it’s a little stiff, but still nice.
Friday and Sunday were the presentations and demos. There were so many great thing here I can’t list them all, but I did come home with a list of skills that I want to work on. One cool thing I saw was that one of the presenters held her mandrel between thumb and forefinger, and then between the pinkie and whatever finger is next to the pinkie. This gave her more stability. Well, it didn’t work for me, but my friend Beth (in AL) found it helpful. You never know what you are going to pick up.
Saturday was the bead bazaar, and my birthday. I got some very nice beads from the Japanese guys and an Einstein bead from Studio Marcy. I also got a lovely boro bead from Gregory Huff. After that the show wasn’t as much fun because I had spent all my money. Also, it was my birthday. I got a little down, but I perked up again later.
The closing party and bead swap was Sunday night. This was a bit of a low point last year, but this year was much better. People actually traded with me, and I got some really cool beads! It was fun! Now I have to figure out what to do with these beads. For now, I like looking at them, and remembering the fun time I had at the Gathering this year.
Now to make some beads…
It seems like I barely had time to recuperate from the Alaska trip before heading out to Miami. And, it seemed like I was in Miami forever -eight nights. But oh, it was worth it! I had tons of fun with the class, a great day at the beach, and all the delights of the ISGB conference.
First, I had a class with Akihiro Okama and Ryo Ono. Both are great lampwork artists. We used Kinari glass and Japanese fan torches. On the first day, we made a flower murini. And the second day we made a few beads – one with the flower murini.
My beads came out kinda gross – I got soot in the clear and it looked all brown. I’m going to have to learn how to adjust the torch better, because I bought one! Just as soon as I figure out how to hook it up, I’ll be making Japanese style beads. So that was one souvenir from Miami.
On Wed. we (my Gathering buddy Beth and I) went to the beach. We chose a more quiet beach with less sun – it was perfect for us. And, I didn’t even get sunburned! We spent a few hours lying on the beach in the shade and bobbing in the ocean, then it was back to the hotel and dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant we found. What a great day.
More to come in a little bit…