A few months ago I enrolled in a flame-throwing class at the Mesa Art Center in Mesa, AZ. First of all, I have to say WOW! This is one of the coolest places, ever! The level of talent and available instructors there is amazing – we are very fortunate to have this in our community. I’ve been working with instructor JeriLyn Alderman of @FireChilde Glass Studio who is a glass-goddess of the highest degree. She makes these glass galaxy marbles (HUGE FREAKIN MARBLES) that are stunningly gorgeous! You could literally gaze into them for hours on end.
Anyway, I’ve been plugging along learning how to melt and manipulate hot molten glass, burn myself, shoot glass across a room and occasionally I make something that actually looks like it was on purpose. I’m glad she is patient because I seem to over estimate my abilities quite often. She is encouraging – “You will get there with more practice” – I hope she doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, because this may take a while.
I love working with the torch and am starting to get a hang of making pendants and cabochons from Borosilicate (hard) Glass. I especially enjoy making swirls and using dichroic glass to add a little shimmer. Glass colors are so fun and unusual to work with, and you are never quite sure what it is going to look like until you get it out of the kiln. (Which totally adds to the suspense!)
When I signed up for the class I did not understand the differences in types of glass and how they are worked. I was bummed that I got into a hard glass class because I really wanted to learn to make beads. BUT – it turned out to be a happy accident in that Boro is a little more forgiving material and my pendants and cabochons are starting to really take shape and be more consistent. I was even able to utilize a floral-implosion cab in the bead embroidery piece in the middle.
The new class session has started and I am in a soda-lime (soft) glass class that will be about bead making. As you can see, my very first beads were at lease useable (pic on right) though very wonky. I am looking forward to learning more about and developing my glass skills. Working in the studio with other creative people has give me a boost too! It is so much fun to be around other creative goof-balls and trying not to impale each other with hot shrapnel.