So ~ this is what I got for Christmas this year from my DIL
I know - you're jealous - and you should be, it was amazing!
We had a great view to wake up to every morning:
Then we headed to Ann's house to start our lampworking adventure! The garage has been converted into Ann's Laboratory - it's crammed full of glass making STUFF!
Ann is lots of fun - she's a bit of a hoarder, and besides glass she quilts, beads and is a Minecraft junkie. I could have spent days looking at all her collected beads and not have seen all of them. In addition to the garage she also has a craft room that is seriously jam packed with awesome sparkly goodness - my eyes were so full!
It's great to have a teacher all to yourself. Ann's been doing classes for years and has mountains of patience, which in my case is extremely important because I have ADH-Oh Sparkly!! and have a hard time staying focused. I took a lampworking class at the bead show in Philly about a year ago. Even though we had a really great teacher, it's hard to come away with a lot of hardcore knowledge. There was a large group of us, all the equipment was already set up and you're always aware of the time constraints.
The first part of the class is all about the back story to making beads - safety, equipment, glass, setting up a studio - It was fabulous because lampworking can be a bit scary. You work with extremely hot stuff, kilns, flames, molten glass ~ stuff you can seriously hurt yourself using! I felt like I asked a million questions and interrupted Ann's lecture thousands of times, but she never lost patience or scolded - such a sweet lady!
Then we moved on to the fun (but still scary) part - actual bead making! The first thing I learned is that you can't do this right the first time or the tenth time or for a long time. You have to get over the scary part, you have to develop the muscle memory to make beads which only comes with practice, practice, practice!
The top picture is Jamie laying the glass on the mandrel to begin building a bead. You can see the bead taking shape in the bottom image.
No, they aren't perfect!
The ones in the top of the picture are the result of Ann trying to teach a decorating or shaping technique. The beads on the bottom are the ones made the second day when I was mostly just trying to get the hang of making them round, balanced and consistently the same size.
I had such a fun time this whole trip - being at the beach was a nice break from the miserable winter. We had dinner in some great restaurants and relaxed for a couple days while learning about this awesome craft. Now I'll be able to survive the rest of the winter while plotting how to fit a studio in my house!