Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Amazing Lampworking Weekend

(Rods and rods of glass - yum!)

So... I promised some about my weekend. First of all it was supposed to have been a Jennifer Geldard class in Colorado in October, but due to a serious illness, Jennifer had to cancel her class and my bead friends and I had to figure out what to replace it with. We settled on Frantz's Lampworking With The Stars Weekend.

(Maggie and Me)

Saturday morning I got up at 6:00 and drove to Shelton, just in time for the 10:00 class to start. Corina was teaching the first day. A few years ago Frank got me a day with her as a birthday gift - remember? She's such a great teacher and this class was even better than I'd remembered. She's organized and uses the time well and really explains things as she demonstrates techniques. Plus, she's entertaining. If you are a lampworker and ever get a chance to take one of her classes, you really should.

(Note the dog in Corina's shirt, it was soooo COLD there.)

Anyway.... we spent a few hours making starburst cane for milifori, twisty stringer cane, goldstone stringer, dicroic stringer, and learning to paint fish bones with glass on a bead (dot manipulation and stringer control). Then we had lunch and came back and learned how to make that amazing bead I showed off yesterday. I could have stopped there - that was more than enough to learn in one day - several hours of making components and almost an hour making the bead. My arm was shaking when that baby went into the kiln I tell you! But oh NO we were far from done! Next we messed around with some Triton silver glass and tried to make a bead that I thought looked like raindrops. Mine came out ok on one side, the other side was a little too melted... but now I know what to do and I bough some Triton to try here in my own studio this week. Still not done, oh no. Next we learned how to make a dot that looks like a bezel set jewel. So cool! And not hard at all, you just have to have it planned out ahead of time. And THEN... dinner. At 8:30. And still, we were not done. Back we went to the classroom and Corina showed us how to make what she calls her Quark beads. And then a flower bead with stamen cane. And then... she was still going, but Maggie, Angela and I could not stand it any more and we had to go. It was 11:00 and we were frozen to the bone and not even able to concentrate any longer. So we left for the night.

The next morning started at 9:00. First thing I had to do was go see that bead - the one I'd been dreaming about all night and waiting for more than if Santa was coming. Seriously, more excited than Luke will be Christmas Eve. And there it was, as perfectly wonderful as I'd been thinking it was. It has not left my hand, pocket, neck or bedside table since that moment.

Lampworking With The Stars Weekend
(Kimberly making a really rockin' bead)

And then we had to get to work again. Kimberly Affleck was teaching a class on silver glass reactions. Pure magic if you ask me. She pulls out this honking big torch and gets to work, melting glass into big huge melty globs and it was like getting whiplash after watching Corina create with absolute precision and order the day before. I'm not complaining though, it was a great balance between the two of them. Kimberly wowed us with one amazing magical creation after another. Leafs that she pulled off the ends of rods. Mixing silver glass in with goldstone frit and striking or reducing color with absolute sureness every time. Long skinny beads made with silvered twisty stringer canes, melted until they were just flowing from one end of the mandrel to another. The time flew until it was 8:00 and everyone was pretty much burned out and unable to make another thing or put one more concept into their brains. Seriously. That's how it felt to me anyway.

It was amazing and I'm trying trying trying to remember it all. One thing I know for sure, my beads will never be the same again.

(Big thanks to Angela for the photos!)


  1. Pam, wasn't this a great weekend? I'm so glad we got to "lampwork with the stars" and I'm anxious to try some of the techniques we learned. Your fossil bead turned out so beautifully - can't wait to see more like it!

  2. Wow! That sounds like a fabulous weekend. Awesome!