For the last few months, I have been hard at work writing and putting together a book. It's called 'Reflections: the Diary of a Glass Beadmaker' and is available on etsy here.
I've added a subtitle: 'tutorials, tips and information for beginning and intermediate lampwork glass beadmakers' because it is really full of short (but complete) tutorials and loads of other stuff. There are nine tutorials included, from making a basic disk or hollow bead to encased silver fish and raked and twirled beads. There are also tips on making matched pairs, basic sculptural bead instruction and how to repair damaged beads among many other things. Kind of a view inside the beadmaking portion of my brain!
What a surprise, and what a surprisingly large amount of work was involved! My original idea was to take a bunch of blog posts about making beads that I'd written over the years and put them all in one place. I think of it as kind of a 7 year diary of ideas about glass beadmaking. But that's not exactly what happened....
First, I saw that I would need to re-make a lot of beads so that there would be much better photos. And then I realized that there was a lot of other information floating around in my head, notebooks and computer that folks might find useful. So the book kept growing. It ended up clocking in at about 78 pages. And I learned plenty about using 'Word' while I was at it.
Next, I sent it out to a few friends to look through and see what they thought. And to see if I made any terrible errors! Here a couple of quick assessments from them:
" I enjoyed reading it, thought it had quite a few good tips, with your personality and wit apparent."
"Got your book downloaded and speed-read through it. The following is my impression: 1) It is a very nice compilation of useful details and information; 2) You covered a lot of basics, like cleaning the rods, frit making, shards blowing, etc., etc. It would be a great text book for persons "starting" on the hobby."
" For anyone just starting out it is a wealth of information. A good resource for where to find answers to questions they might have. While at the same time it is a wonderful reference for anyone who has been torching for a while and needs a refresher for something they haven't done in a long time. I also like that you put in info for folks who have been just hobbyists and want to get a little deeper into the craft for teaching and doing shows."
"The last part of the book (almost 15 pages) is about managing schedules, set up for bead shows as well as some of your thoughts on designing of a bead, which is more than any beginner would be able to appreciate or be interested in."
" Your book certainly covers a wide range of the topics that all bead instructors should address."
"This book is AMAZING - you make me want to get back into beadmaking!!"
So, here's an outtake from the introduction explaining a little about the book.
Because much of this information comes from my blog, it is available publicly. Blog publication dates are included here for general interest, but things have been reorganized in a more sensible order. There are many updates, lots of new photos and information; things like how to make masked patterns and twirly bits on the side of a bead. Also included is a short treatise on inspiration called ‘Keep Your Mojo Workin’ as well as notes for giving demonstrations and classes for those ready to move out of their studios and into the public arena.
This is not a beginner’s instruction book for making beads, but rather a book for advanced beginners and mid-range lampworkers. It includes ‘beyond basics’ ideas and mini tuts to teach technique rather than how to make a specific bead. There is no list of colors used; you will choose those yourself. This is meant as, hopefully, helpful information to help bring your beads to a new level. Have trouble with sculptural beads? There are general tips as well as instructions and photo tutorials to make butterflies, fish, leaves and hollow beads.
It all begins with a few basics, which you may already know- an intro to lampwork, a glossary and primer to help you find the things you need to start your own beadmaking journey. Tips on making a first bead, good for both students and teachers, cleaning your glass, making shards and frit are included in the ‘basics’. Then there are some more difficult techniques, such as rescuing beads that have broken bits and using rubino oro.
In the ‘Rambling Thought on Beads, Art and Business’ section near the end, there is general information about things as varied as bead wear-ability, the theory behind deliberate mistakes and button technology. In the standard blog style, there are outside links for further reading on many of these subjects. Most of these missives are simply things I think I’ve learned during the many years of my beadmaking journey. A little window into my thought patterns will be opened to you.