24 January, 2010

Class re-cap: Advanced Glass Beads with Kimberely Adams

1st day's bounty

Advanced weeks are somewhat tricky for hosts: as we can only register the Tuesday before classes begin, we are limited to only those classes with space available. And during advanced week, this means we need to have a short list of several classes we're advanced enough to get into, most of which require specific previous experience. Fortunately, there were two open spaces in Kim Adams' lampwork class and both Conway and I managed to get in! It was a total dream. All day, from after breakfast to late at night, I did nothing (no, really, nothing) but work at regaining the skills that I let atrophy away in the past 2.5 years or so since I've been able to set up my torch. (Which was last used in the basement of Ken's Mom's Vermont home for two blissful and chilly months before being packed away in a box, where it currently still resides. Poor torch.)

So anyway, it was great to be able to stretch my glass muscles (not literally) and make my fingers remember how to gather, wind on, center, add stringer and dots, manipulate edges into the perfect dimple, etc. Kim's class was geared, of course, to the way more advanced bead maker, and she brought lots of far out expensive stuff for us to play with. I made a bead with fine silver wire melted around in in strings of tiny metal beads; beads with colored cubic zirconia shoved into their sizzling centers; and beads with silver tubing inserted into their 1/4" holes and then tamped down on the outside rims, making it seem as if the beads were made around a hollow silver mandrel and then magically detached. Other things I could have chosen to do was electroforming (involving painting my bead with some sort of copper and then lowering it into a container of blue fluid with a battery charger in it, which makes it look, er, different), or I could have fumigated my beads with either silver or gold something-or-other, adding a metallic sheen to the outsides. As you can tell, I mostly paid attention to the basic bead skills, enjoying greatly this new technique: scale beads. Ooh! Observe:
scale bead 3
Scale bead, worked from outsides in
Scale bead 2
scale bead 1, from the top
That last one is my absolute favorite. Conway's torch was stationed right next to mine, and I couldn't help but be influenced by his rapturous fascination with making hollow beads. I'd attempted a few of these in the past, with great beginner's luck, but because of my poor annealing set up in the Vermont basement, i hadn't done any since my first time at the Folk School which had to be at least 5 years ago. So my first few were failures, but one night towards the end of the week, I was talking to one of my best friends and fellow bead maker Lauren, who randomly said, "hey, make a hollow bead and stick one of those crystals on the fattest part," and so i did. And it worked!

I made a hollow bead! And it has a cubic zirconium embedded on it. Yay for improving skills.

Aw yeah. Here are some other beauties from the week:
1st day's bounty, cleaned
Traded these beads for over 25 fat quarters of fabric
dot practice
Rainbow dots: I need to practice dot uniformity.
Random bead lesson: how to make a dancing man with dot cloaking
bicone practice
dot practice
Two beauties that I sold

I'm very happy with them, but most of all I'm pleased to have gotten such a great week of bead-making boot camp. I feel like I'm back in the game. Which is great, because one week from today, I'll be in Tony Prince's Free-Form Flamework class! I've been looking forward to taking Tony's class again for years. But before we get there, I've got a dreamy week of feltmaking to complete. I know, I know: my life is awesome.

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