A beginning of sorts

18 Feb

I’m not starting at the beginning. Ideally, I would have started this back in 2007 when I took my first glass class. It was a Beginners Beads class, which I took, not because I was interested in making beads so much, but because about a month from that class, a man (FiG) was visiting from out of town to teach an advanced course on flameworked spiders. I had one month to go from “no experience” to “advanced.”

I’m glad I was kind of stupid. I took the beginner class, and then the second class, and then I asked my instructor what she thought about signing up for the spider class. She said to GO FOR IT, and so I did, and it was great. I made and broke spiders, but I didn’t break all of them.

I had no torch of my own, but when the Bug Man came back for a second course on dragonflies a year later, I took that one too. And a year after that, a course on beetles. I do not recommend only getting behind a torch once a year–there is zero practice to solidify the course concepts learned and it’s awful! But in the meantime, I was slowly accumulating a torch, tanks of oxygen and propane, safety glasses, tools, and glass.

When I packed up all my belongings and moved to a new state for grad school, the torch setup came with me, and miraculously I was allowed to set it up in the living room of my apartment. (Don’t ask about the safety of such a set-up, or about the heavy metals I definitely inhaled.) I was able to start melting glass on a semi-regular basis. I made a lot of lopsided beads, eye beads, and a ton of organics with silvered ivory stringer.

A Ph.D. is a whole other distracting ballgame, so I didn’t get as far in beadmaking skills as I’d liked, and then grad school ended, and I packed everything up again and moved out of the country for a postdoc position. And then that was over and I moved back in the country, but to a place where there was no torch allowed. Finally, in 2015, I moved to my current place, where I once again was miraculously allowed to set up the torch. So while I’ve been a student of glass since 2007, it’s really only this last year where the actual progress has occurred.

Which takes me to today. I’m wanting to write about what I’m trying to do, how I’m doing it, and what works or does not work. And this week’s prime agenda is Dr. Weevil.


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