Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BeadFest Silver Glass Class with Sara LaGrand!

I have wanted to take a lampworking class since...well, forever! Ok, not quite forever, but considering my first class where I learned to make beads was about 10 years ago, I was overdue. I needed something to help hone my skills, get the creative juices flowing and just give me a boost creatively. I've tried to get in to classes in my area and Rochester, and have always been turned down because they fill up immediately.

Cool pink and dark caramel bead! Super cool reactions around the edge of the lines!

So I was thrilled to see that BeadFest brought back lampwork classes, and that there was a class of high interest to me--Silver Glass. For those of you who don't know the behind-the-scences of the glass world, silver glass refers to specialized 104 COE glasses that have a high silver content. These glasses, when worked properly, give incredible iridescence, sheen, and pops of color you can't get with regular soda lime glass. The "worked properly" part is crucial--some are easy to master, while others are downright persnickity, and all of them cost around $80-$100 PER POUND. So this isn't a material you feel great just experimenting wildly with!

Top 2: Views of a Triton Bead; Bottom Left: Gold Fumed rose bead (the base started as off-white and turned pink!); Bottom Right: Cool reaction when silver glass is placed over a pale moss green transparent

The instructor was Sara Sally LaGrand. The name rung a very quiet bell--turns out she was President of the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) a few years back, and has been working with glass for 17 years. I'd say she knows her stuff!

Sara was an incredibly patient and generous teacher. She showed us some very specific techniques to try, but also allowed us to experiment and play a bit. I learned so much just by watching her work in the flame that I was able to address some bad habits then and there.

My play bead: 2 different silver glass for the flower petals...Amazing range of colors with little effort!

My favorite bead is one only a mother could love, because, frankly, it's totally ridiculous! I'm not one into drawing...and we were attempting a bead with a fish "drawn" on the surface with glass. The thing on my bead? Not. A. Fish.

Not a fish. More like a newt in a bad toupee...

I started laughing when I picked up my beads, because the delightful little guy looks like some cartoonish representation of the fish that walked out of the primordial soup, trying to be a reptile! But I do love him, because he reminds me that there is delight in failure (and if you saw what we *had* been going for, you'd agree).

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