Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inaccurate observations!

Ok, as you can see from the title of this post, I know what I'm going to say is most likely wildly inaccurate, but I've got to blog about SOMETHING, so here goes.
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting- again- with some of my local lampworking friends. They're all women- just a handful of us. It just so happened that the owner the glass shop's brother was there, wanting a few tips on how to make beads. He'd tried it a few times, but wasn't happy with the results.
Before he got to the torch, we women were having a discussion about dots and how the significant men in our lives all hated them and complained when there were 'bumps' on the beads. Well, the brother was ready to demur and claim that he was a male and didn't mind them. But then we explained what they were and, indeed, he doesn't like those bumps either. So I am concluding, from my random sample of about five women who have men in their lives and one actual man that all men hate dots that bump up on beads!!!!
OK, on to the actual training session, such as it was. I haven't taught, or even met a lot of men who make lampwork beads, so, again, my sample is small and likely inaccurate, but I the men I have had interactions with seem to like the technical aspects of lampworking. From Tom Holland, whose precision is legendary, to random men on the internet on lampwork forums, to this guy, who is a newbie, I think I've noticed a trend. It was kind of fun to bend my brain around the way he was thinking. I am a BIG paddle user- just don't have the patience to let gravity do its work. But when I tried to get him to touch the bead with a paddle, he observed that the paddle was flat and he wanted the bead to be round, so I went into the Smirchich gravity explanation- he got that right away and was very happy heating alternate sides of the bead and letting them pucker out of the flame.
Then he wanted to encase it. I always find it funny when someone making one of their first beads wants to encase, but I gave him a rudimentary lesson, and encase it he did. The bead actually turned out nice and round, without glass pulling out from the center to the surface. He only scratched the surface of lampwork bead making, but he was happy, and I got a little something to blog about!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Perspectives exhibition entry

Well, this might be the most exciting news of my bead-making career. I submitted a bead to the International Society of Beadmakers to be considered for an exhibition this summer at the Glass Art Society conference in Corning, New York. I just found out it has been accepted! It is a combination of two of my bead styles- moonscape and fire beads which I named ‘Moonfire’. I was so up in the air about what bead to send, and had gotten it down to that bead or a mask. Moonfire became my choice mostly because the photo looked better. Well, also because I asked everyone I could think of on the internet and they, almost to a gal (I think they were all women) preferred it. That made it a bit easier- after all, there is a jury involved, so I wanted a people pleaser too.

Moonscape bead Fire bead
This is my first year to be a member of the ISGB, and I am pretty excited about all the opportunities it has already offered me. Yes, there is a small fee to participate in some of these things, but it is so nice to get a little bit of validation from folks who really understand exactly what’s involved in making a glass bead.
As I understood it what was wanted was something that would kind of show the connection between modern and traditional lampwork beads. So what makes this bead contemporary? What traditional techniques are involved that I thought might make this bead a candidate for this show? Well, the use of both ‘raku’ and iris gold frit and enamels are rather new. And I think the shape is fairly modern. Using silver to force reactions, well, that seems rather new to me, but it’s very possible that it’s been done forever. The techniques are rather old- really raking, basic shaping, and the use of frit in general are all older than me (and that’s saying something). It’s really hard for me to even guess, really, at which techniques and materials are new, and which are just newly re-discovered.
Anyway, I excited to be a part of this exhibit, and hope that some of you out there in ‘puter land will get a chance to go the GAS conference and have the time to take a peek at my bead and the rest of the exhibition.

Here’s some info from the ISGB about the exhibit:
ISGB is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity. As a member, you are invited to put your best bead forward for a juried exhibit that will be featured at the Glass Art Society (GAS) Conference in Corning, New York, June 2009.
ISGB members hail from all over the world and have wildly different backgrounds, and this exhibit is designed to celebrate that diversity. Artists are encouraged to submit a bead that embodies your inspiration, innovation, and personal 'voice'. Consider unique color combinations, form, and textural elements. Beads should highlight the infinite possibilities of glass with captivating styles, techniques, and processes used in contemporary glass beadmaking.
Perspectives will specifically open for the GAS Conference where artists, collectors, gallery and museum personnel, writers, and critics from around the globe will converge to muse on the medium that unites us all in fascination, glass. The exhibit will be on prominent display in the official GAS Conference hotel, the Corning Radisson, and is expected to remain on display through the end of the summer tourist season.
In addition to the opportunity to have your work showcased in front of glass enthusiasts all summer long, the top three beads with the highest jury scores will share the COVER of the summer issue of The Glass Bead Magazine! Artists of all career stages are encouraged to apply, from emerging artists to artists with established careers.