Welcome to my world….

Thought it might be time for a little studio tour for those who haven’t seen it!  This is where Mother and I spend a large chunk of our time, both working and playing.

If I were a techie instead of a glassie, I’d have a really cool 3-D video tour to show you, but I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for still photos instead.  😀  Our studio is in one enclosed stall of my 3-car garage.  Its not fancy, but it sure suits our needs.

Our bench

We’ll start where most of the magic happens….our bench!  When I decided to build the studio, we drew out the size and shape of our bench, including a return on each side for extra tools, mandrel buckets, etc., and had a friend build it to our specifications.  We have another friend in the heat and air business, and he cut, bent and installed the metal top for us.  Our ventilation system was also built to specs for us by Glasscraft, and it does a great job venting the studio.  Mother and I both work on GTT Crickets and oxygen concentrators from Unlimited Oxygen, and we share a kiln in the center of the bench for all of our soft glass.

Storage and boro kiln

To the right of my end of the bench, we’ve got this great storage cabinet. The drawers hold all kinds of stuff from frits, shards and murrini to all of our books and tutorials in that ginormous bottom drawer.  The other cabinet stores our extra torches, hoses, regulators and manifold that we use when we host classes for our ISGB chapter.  The chilipepper kiln on top is my boro kiln.

"Friends" bench

Mother and I LOVE it when we have playmates come to visit, so directly behind our bench, we keep two spare torches hooked up at all times. (Also GTT Crickets)  This is also the area where we keep our bead presses, extra handtools, and most of our soft glass frits.  You can also see the little chop saw we use to cut tubing for coring beads.

104 COE glass rack

This is our 104 COE glass rack.  CIM, Reichenbach, Kugler and Vetrofond oddlots on the top shelf, silver glass and Effetre opaques on the second, and Effetre transparents on the third.  The bottom shelf is just overflow of common colors that we order in bulk.  The turntables on top of the shelving unit contains enamels, and yes….you know its coming….more frits.  😀

More storage

To the right of the 104 rack is another storage unit where we keep our maintenance tools and other sundries.  A small spare kiln and a couple of extra concentrators are on hand in case of breakdowns, and the dart board is a fun way to blow off some steam when the glass just isn’t flowing the way we think it should.  😀

More glass!

The second glass rack contains all of our other COEs.  Bullseye is on top, all 96 COE brands in the middle, and boro color below that.  On top of the rack, our business license is displayed, along with extra bubble wrap and packing supplies.

The breakroom

I loved the workbench I have in my metal room so much, I got us another one for the glass studio!  It gives us a nice place to sit and have a cup of coffee in the wintertime (in the summer we’re out on the deck that’s attached to the exterior door to the left of this shot).  It also serves as a great place to unpack and label our glass orders when they come in, and the drawers add some extra storage for odds and ends.  I also keep my rolling mill in this area on a nice little table that’s bolted to the wall for stability.  On the shelves below, all of my metal etching materials are stored, along with texture plates for the rolling mill.  Above that area is what we jokingly call our “Wall of Flame”.  Everyone who comes to our studio to teach or play has to sign the wall.  😀  This wall is my very favorite part of the studio.  Every single signature up there brings up its own set of VERY happy memories, and Mother and I feel so blessed to have so many creative and talented people in our lives and we’re proud to call each and every one of them friends.

I’d love to see pictures of your studio space.  Care to share??

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ISGB Gathering 2011…. Best time ever!!

Welcome to the Gathering!

And did Louisville ever make us feel welcome!!  The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency and the Kentucky International Convention Center next door.  And talk about convenience… when we stepped out the front door of the Hyatt and turned left, we were one block away from the hot spot known as Fourth Street Live.  A diverse area of restaurants, night clubs, and shopping.

Fourth Street Live

Day one of my trip began with the Steering Committee meeting for all the regional directors.  Afterward we all went to a great restaurant called Myan Cafe for a little rest and relaxation.  And of course, a bead swap!

Sam and AnneMarie at Myan Cafe

The presentations were held in the convention center next door to the hotel, and they were all standing (or laying!) room only.  And with a line-up that included Dora Schubert, JC Herrell, Sara Sally LaGrand, Hayley Tsang, John Kobuki, Heather Trimlett, Robert Dancik, Sharon Peters and many others, its no wonder the auditorium was packed every day!

Packed crowd for JC Herrell's presentation

Melanie, Angie and Verna waiting for the first presentation of the day to begin

The community project theme this year was “Possibilities”, and several ISGB members sent in beads for the aquarium display that was donated to the local Ronald McDonald house.

"Possibilities" community service project for Ronald McDonald House

Open torch hours were extended this year, and there was a crowd there every single night.  There were several torch tables like this one set up, and glass was donated by several vendors for the attendees to use.  I have a feeling that a lot of new equipment and glass will be shipping out to new homes in the next few weeks.  😉

Participants trying out some new torches

Saturday rolled around and it was time for the Bead Bazaar!!  Our chapter, The Smoky Mountain Firecrackers, participated, and it was our first group show!  Sales exceeded our expectations, but the best part for all of us was the overwhelmingly positive response we received to our table set up, and our chapter’s participation in this years conference.

Melanie, adding some finishing touches to our display

Closeup shot of the Firecracker table

Just a few more candid shots of bead bazaar day…..

Dora Schubert and her beautiful beads

Harold Cooney and Trey Cornette getting their tables set up

My new pals Paula, Nancy, Lori and Brenna

JC Herrell's gorgeous, colorful table

Jennifer Geldard getting her "game face" on

After the Bazaar, we got our tables packed up and headed back to the Hyatt to get ready for banquet night!  We had a fabulous dinner, followed by the Hall of Flame presentation and the silent auction.  I’m please to say that I picked up a couple of super nice items during the auction, and everyone was very generous with their donations and their bids.  This is one of the ISGB’s main fundraiser’s every year, and, fingers crossed, it was a big success this time!

Verna, Kathy, Renee and Suzanne waiting for dinner to be served at the Firecracker table

Sunday, it was more fabulous presentations during the day, followed by my favorite part of every Gathering…..the bead swap!  I was honored to trade with nearly every single person who participated this year, and I came home with some beautiful bling from all the talented, generous participants!  😀

Let the trading begin!

After the bead swap, it was time for the closing party.  We seriously got our boogie on, but it was also bittersweet because we knew we’d soon be saying goodbye to all of our old (and new) friends for another year.  But for the most part, we decided to cut loose and leave the sad farewells for morning.  😉

Putting on our boogie shoes!

Melanie and Kevin acting the fool

So as you can see, when I subtitled this post “best time ever” I meant it.  And have the pictures to prove it!!  As for some of those “other” photos….. they’ll be blackmail for bead swaps next year in Bellvue, WA.  Bwahahahahaha!

My bags are packed, and I’m ready to go…..

To Louisville, KY for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers annual conference, The Gathering!  Loads of demonstrations, presentations, open torch time, bead trading, vendors to shop with, and my favorite part…..the Bead Bazaar!

If you’re anywhere near the area on Saturday, July 30th, it would be well worth your time to come to the Kentucky International Convention Center, Exhibit hall 1-A.  There will be over 100 glass artists with their creations on display.  Admission is only $5, and its a great opportunity to see your favorite beadmakers’ work in person instead of on a computer screen.

Mother and I will be with our chapter, The Smoky Mountain Firecrackers, at table number 5, right inside the entrance to the bazaar.  Stop by and say hello!  We’d love to put faces with some of the names we’ve become so familiar with over the years.  😀  Here’s a little preview of our table during our practice setup at the last meeting….and it will look even MORE awesome on Saturday!

Smoky Mountain Firecrackers bead bazaar table

I’ll try to update and post some pictures while I’m there, but its a super busy week.  So if you don’t hear from me until we get back next week, I’ll be sure to fill you in with all the details.  Bead on!  😀

Its about time……

Time to pull up a chair and stake our claim in the world of blogging!  We hope to fill our corner of the blogosphere with lots of eye candy of the things we make, some helpful hints and tricks, and probably some bits of useless information and silly tidbits along the way.  For now I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of some yummy beads that Ma listed on Etsy earlier this week.  Don’t they just scream summer??  😀