Saturday, 12 March 2022

Making More Glass Beads


Last year I went to West Dean Collage of Arts and Conservation and spent a day making glass beads.  I enjoyed it thoroughly but wasn't sure what to do next.


Then for Christmas and my birthday I received lots of gift vouchers for West Dean short courses (thank you everyone!), which kinda answered that question.  So I signed up for the two day Making Glass Beads workshop which builds on what I learnt last year.


Taught again by Sarah Downton, it was a great course, which let me practice what I learnt last year and then learn a whole bunch of new techniques.

I could definitely see an improvement.  And I made so many more beads having done it before and not being quite so worried.


I tried to use a different selection of colours this time, but I am drawn to the blues, and the pinks were actually quite hard to work with - the glass rod kept shattering when you introduced it to the flame. 


Because it was a two day course we got to see day one's beads on day two, which was brilliant - no waiting for them to be posted to us, and lovely to have something to take home.  However, we still had to wait for the day two beads to be posted out.  It's a nerve-racking wait, and when they arrived I felt a little disappointed to start with, I'd had high hopes.  But then I started to really look at them, and although none are perfect, I have learnt so much from them.

While last time I made plain transparent coloured beads, gravity beads, beads with spots (using other coloured rods and frit) and twists, this time I did all that, but also learnt how to encase my bead (adding a clear layer over my design), more spots and stripes, two tone beads, pressing and I added silver wire!

And I made more drops, but this time I was really playing with colour so they are very different from the last lot. 


It's interesting showing them to other people.  While I am very much in love with them, most people just glance at them and give them back.  Either they aren't interested in glass beads, or they have no idea the work that has gone into them and the magic of melting a rod of glass and turning it into a bead.

There are so many other things I want to try out.  Techniques and colour combinations.  Instagram is full of beads that I want to try and copy - to see how its done.  And my head is full of ideas. 


So again I'm left with the thought 'what now?'.  There is a three day improver course in the autumn.  Or do I splash the cash and buy the kit?  The problem is I can't tell if this is long term love or just lust.

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