September 10, 2006
My Sculptural Journey…Part 1 of 4
Hi! I frequently hear from fellow lampworkers questions about my background in art and how I create my sculptural beads. To be honest when I began lampworking I never, never, thought I would be creating serious sculptural beads. I enjoyed creating jewelry component beads. I was all about color. I did not know anything else. I did not know the glass bead world or anyone in it. I was not a jewelry designer and I was not an artist. I just fell in love with melting glass after trying my hand at it.
Here are some examples of basic sculptural beads I created my first year:
After lampworking for a few months, an acquaintance pushed me into selling my beads at the Austin Bead Society’s
bead bazaar. While there some other glass peeps were encouraging me to take a class with the master Al Janelle, as well as, to hook up the minor I purchased that was hiding in my glass cabinet (I was working on a hothead). lol. I signed up for Al Janelle’s class and I hooked up the minor. Both wise decisions.
Uncle Al opened my eyes to a vast array of glass techniques. He was very precise with his sculptural work. You probably have seen a few pieces of Uncle Al's work in Cindy Jenkin’s books on lampworking. Uncle Al created amazing eagles, tigers, dogs, elephants, birds, lizards, florals, etc.
Uncle Al was my first glass mentor. I can not thank him enough for his guidance and suggestions when I was a newbie in the glass world. Uncle Al inspired me to try my hand at sculptural beads. Thus began my journey into the sculptural realm of beadmaking.
Above are some examples of my sculptural bead series.
(Uncle Al no longer teaches however you could purchase his videos at Arrow Springs
or Frantz Glass
I highly recommend his videos.
They are in exact run-time…nothing was edited out.
Thus I suggest using these videos as a “work along with Uncle Al”.)
Part 2 tomorrow....
September 11, 2006
Part Deux--My Sculptural Journey
Hi! Last time I wrote about Al Janelle and his influence on my beadmaking. Al highly recommended taking classes with a person he referred to as a master of glass---Loren Stump. So when the opportunity came about I decided to sign up for a Loren Stump class. I had no idea who Loren Stump was or what work he created…I just took the class because Uncle Al said I should. I really thought he was a little old man. Was I shocked to find out that he was not!!
My first class with Loren Stump was amazing. As I said earlier, I really knew nothing and there was not many lampwork books published or all of the information on the internet like there is today. Information was limited. He really showed us that glass has limitless possibilities….that on a torch you can create a teeny tiny glass creation or a huge glass creation. My brain was on overload after a week of Loren. Loren has so much glass knowledge that I do not think I could ever learn a third of what he knows about glass!
I began class with a very small viewpoint of my work and where I was going with it, and left with my world shaken. I started to look at my work differently. I wasn’t as excited about jewelry component beads. I felt uninspired and needed to try new things in my work by being challenged and by pushing my own limits with glass.
During class Loren stated that the rose paperweight was the hardest to create so of course that must be what I should work on next. I began trying to conquer hand encasing a paperweight style rose and then creating a pendant with it. This was a daunting challenge. I first had to learn to work off mandrel. Then how to create the perfect rose. Next, was how to hand encase the rose without lots of bubbles. Lastly, was how to create a glass bail for the pendant. This process took hours of practice. In the past, a new technique would take me a few tries to get perfect however this took a lot of tries. I would say that it took about 100 pendants completely finished before 1 looked okay. After all of that practice, my success rate was maybe 1 out of 3 or 4 pendants.
Here is a picture of one of my encased rose pendants:
Part 3 coming up later this week....