My First Lampworking Class

It was pretty darn cool watching glass melt into this colorless raging hot orange molten glob. Mesmerizing to say the least. Getting the hot glass onto the mandrel (metal rod that you make the bead on), was fun, but I'll tell ya, I am definitely round bead challenged!

I found this class through our county yahoo group. I was pretty thrilled to say the least and nervous because I hadn't done anything as a newbie in a long time. I've tended to stay away from things other than wire working because I have a history of going full force into each new medium that I try and then I have too much crap and not enough time to play with said crap.
I mean, I could do wirework alone for so many years and never hit a limit.

I've thought about getting into PMC and lampworking for years, but due to money and time constraint I haven't done it. This time I did it anyway. Yay! The class took place in Willits, CA with artist Matt Marchand. He has a sweet little studio that fits 6 people. It's in his garage with lots of open doors and windows for ventilation. Here's a photo of the studio and my classmates (I am hiding behind the camera as I so enjoy doing!)
I found the emotional process I went through before and after this class really interesting.

At the beginning I was utterly excited - and into the class as well. Of course I couldn't do much well being it was my first time, but I was okay with that. By the end of the day though, I think I was just plain tired and maybe a bit frustrated and went home thinking , 'I am so thrilled that I'm not in love with lampworking!' I was happy because I wouldn't have to worry about creating a suitable studio, spending money, taking time away from other things, etc. Then, as the evening wore on I could... not... stop... thinking about it! Obsessed is the only word that comes to mind. Day and night all I could think about was getting back to that flame. I wondered if it was just me romanticizing the process and my love of master glassworkers pieces, or if I really can't wait to do it again. I dare say I've driven my partner just a little bit crazy! lol.

In any case, there wasn't much I could do about it because I don't have facilities available to try it again until our teacher Matt has open studio hours which (yay!) are coming up next Sunday. I think I need to seriously play with the glass a few more times to see where my heart really is. Is it in love or in lust? Time will tell. In the mean time, here are 2 more photos from class. One is just a pile of glass scraps that I couldn't stop trying to figure out a way to use them! They are so pretty to look at. The second is my funny attempt at making stringers, which are essentially hot glass pulled apart so that it thins in the middle -kind of like pulling taffy apart I think? These ones were made with two colors so that we twisted them as we pulled them apart. Pretty neat huh? In the end they are used for decorating beads.

Unfortunately I have no finished beads to show because it was a one day class and we couldn't take our beads home until they were properly annealed, which takes some hours. We were also just working with a lot of practice glass and I don't even know if I'll be able to recognize any of what I made! I'll check it out when I go to the studio next week though - maybe I'll be able to recognize my own bit of off-round craziness!


K S Jewellery Designs said...

Sounds like you're a bit like me - a bit of a perfectionist wanting things to go right straight away. I'm sure it won't take long before you've cracked it and I look forward to reading all about your experiences.
Kristin :)

Shay Stone said...

Yep Kristin - definitely a bit of a perfectionist, but trying to let go as the years go by. Now I'm a perfectionist who is for the most part fine without finding elusive perfection!

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hey Shay!

Well, from this I can tell that you, Kristin, and me are pretty much on the same wave length. From my FB comment, you know I'm interested in this process. However, I don't have an area that I can set up shop for this type of work unless we remodel the garage and that just isn't feasible. Plus I think I already have a few too many irons in the proverbial fire. ;)

I'm very happy for you exploring this and becoming consumed by you know it is one of my true loves.

Anxious for pictures of your beads...and come on, maybe one of you? :D

Shay Stone said...

I am also just like you in that I don't have a place for a studio and have too many things going on. That's why I have to use someone else's studio for awhile to see how obsessed I really am. And It'd be a big commitment if I end up doing it - possibly big enough that I have to build a shed for me to work in! I'm so glad though that you had a place for your metalsmithing. You sure are doing well with that, and of course all of your beautiful glass endeavors. It only makes sense though, that you will one day venture into the lampworking. I mean, come on.. it's glass! :)

Shay Stone said...

Lol..Kathleen - I just saw the request for a picture of me. Guess I glazed over that one! If you go to my motorcycles and jewelry post, you'll get one glimpse of me from a few years ago. Seems I've done real well at avoiding the camera since then, but I'll see what I can do:)

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Thanks for the glimpse Shay! :)

And you are right about me and IS glass and I AM obsessed by it. I do think lampworking would be way too cool......someday.

You and Dan enjoy being on the other side of the camera. I tend to have too many Chandler moments in front of it, but I manage to find ones of me I do like and will publish. If you watched Friends you'll understand my reference to Chandler.

I can tell you are enjoying the process of working with glass; it is addictive.... :D

Thanks too for all the compliments about my work! I appreciate it. You know I think your wire work and jewelry designs are totally amazing.

Swati said...

I would so love to do this too. But Shay, you know, is there anything I wouldn't love to do? Sigh. So I think I should just shut up and sit tight. Can't wait to see your first beads. And then can't wait to see how you evolve as a lampworker! This is so cool!

Shay Stone said...

Kathleen.. I totally get the Chandler reference:) LOVE that show! But you do pull out a lot of great photos of yourself if I do say so myself.
Thanks again - its nice to be mutually appreciative.

Shay Stone said...

You know I can't wait until you do it. You will make amazing beads I am sure:)
Hugs to you!

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