Friday, February 6, 2009

A Beadmaker's Odyssey (Part 1 of 3)

Ever since I first started making my own glass beads (lampworking) last year, I've been keeping track of the beads I made each day so I could see what kind of progress I was making. I finally got a chance to take photos of them, so thought I'd post them for a fun "retrospective" of where I was and where I am now. I took one very basic "intro" class I took several years ago, and I got a kiln and a lampworking kit, but didn't touch them until last January. I think it's kinda hard to start up a new hobby when you don't have any friends to learn it with, and maybe it was the artistic atmosphere of the Seattle area or something—but I decided it was finally time to jump in with both feet! ;-D Besides that first class where we learned how to create a basic bead and make dots with stringer, I've been learning everything else on my own by reading lots of books, watching demos online, and lurking on a few message boards. I've also met some awesome glass artists that live around my area, and they've been wonderful in helping me out if I have a question or am totally confused about something.

For a long time, was pretty hard for me to get to the torch on a consistent basis, since we've been remodeling our home and it took a lot of energy to get our girls settled. So I really didn't get "into the groove" until November when I needed to do a lot of testing for Creation Is Messy. Nothing like a little deadline to get the creative juices flowing! LOL I really wish I could have torched more often before that, but am pretty happy with my progress so far and am trying to get to the torch at least once or twice a week now. So without further ado, here's the beginning results of every torch session I've had—a grand total of 37 so far! I'll post the rest of my pics over the next two days, so be sure to check back and see those too, k?

Note: all these beads were done on a Hot Head torch, which made v..e..r..y.. s..l..o..w going. I swear, my first beads took an average of 30 minutes to make, and they were pretty simple and small! So I usually gave up after a few hours and didn't have much to show for it. Many times I'd make mistakes, but kept going—figuring it was the learning that mattered, not really the final results for a while. I focused on getting basic techniques down and learning how colors worked with each other. And every bead I've ever made is shown here, with the exception of a few that cracked apart or went so haywire that I had to dunk them in the water jar before I could finish. So please don't laugh too hard when you see how funky some of my first ones look, okay? ;-D

The black bead on the far left is the first time I made what I felt was the "perfect" bead—it had beautiful shaping, dimples, and perfect dot placement—I think I was staring and fondling it for a week, I was so thrilled! LOLMy first attempts at full encasing, where it took so dang long to melt the clear, I ended up cooking the crap out of it and got soot lines. *sigh* I have been known to overcook stuff in the kitchen too, though... LOL

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