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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cool Tool!

One of my favorite things about going to bead shows is getting to talk to so many experts. I was chatting with one of the sales people at the Jewelry Tools booth where I got an awesome pair of Wubbers pliers when I saw this...
     It's called the Double 3rd Hand. It's my new favorite tool. Everything on it is adjusts and swivels in every possible direction and is removable. The clips are strong enough to hold just about anything I need to hold onto and the magnifier is perfect for really close up work on tiny pieces. Here's the best part - it was only $5.95!!

What's your favorite handy gadget in the playroom?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bead Fest ~ Day 2 ~ Lamp Work!!

So in my first post about Bead Fest I left you with this picture. Today, I learned that it's actually called a 'marver' ~ so much smarter already!

I spent over eight hours with the incomparable Bronwen Heilman, artist extrodinaire! A delightful, patient woman who taught the twelve of us in her basic lamp working class how not to set ourselves on fire while attempting to make beautiful glass beads.

Bronwen came all the way from her studio in Tucson, Arizona!

We started the day by learning about the equipment, safety and prepping our stations. We each made twenty mandrels and coated them with bead release.
Ready!! Set!! GOOOOoooooooo!!!

All of our equipment was donated and set up by Ross Thackery of ABR Imagery - this included all the torches, hoses, propane, table plates, glasses, marvers etc... Thanks Ross!! Ross was at the show working and handing out advice all week - It was awesome!! If you need supplies, instructions or advice he's the person to help you out!

Bronwen showed us basic things like making rondelles, different shaping techniques, how to center the bead and getting our creations into the kiln. As if this wasn't enough (it was!!) she also showed us some more advanced techniques - adding embellishments like spots, making heart shaped beads, making and using stringers and twistys (no, I can't do that!), encasing a bubble (what?!) and feathering. 
It was an amazing day - I made many, very crooked, lopsided, strange looking things - I don't think any of them will actually turn out to be beads. They spent the night cooling in the kiln and will be shipped to me soon. When they arrive - if I'm not completely ashamed of my work - I'll post the pictures.
If you've always wondered what it would be like to try working with molten hot glass - I definitely recommend going to one of Bronwen's classes. She is patient, amusing and an absolute expert. You'll come away with a whole new appreciation of this wonderful craft.

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