I'm just back from an incredible week in Houston attending the 2014 International Society of Glass Beadmakers' annual conference in Houston, and will probably be basking in the glow for weeks to come. In case you can't imagine what such a meeting might be like, picture a few hundred people from all corners of the world who are addicted to melting glass all converging in one place to take classes, catch up on each others' lives, play on the torch together at night, honor their members, hear amazing technical and inspirational talks, sell their work to the general public, buy tools and supplies, and generally have fun. All of this while freezing in the hotel and hardly ever venturing out - ha!
This happens every year, and despite the sad sound of "Houston in July", I decided to submit a presentation proposal and also take a class. I put together a presentation highlighting a number of years of collaborative work with metalsmiths, seed bead artists, and other glass artists, which also included a filmed demonstration of some of my techniques. It was so much fun to recall the inspiration and creative processes, and share photos of the work in progress, and I really enjoyed my first time as a presenter. The class I took was from UK bead artist Amanda Muddimer, and it was incredible. More and more I find myself pushing myself to master precision work in glass (it's hard!), and her sundial and harlequin cabachon designs are both challenging and stunning. I can't wait to translate these skills into my own designs.
The Meanies were front and center in my presentation as they were part of my first collaboration with Cyndie Smith. At the show in Houston I showed them in a new way, as a botanical specimen collection. What do you think?
My most recent collaboration, while not covered in the presentation, was to work with the amazing Joy Munshower (glass sculptor extraordinaire) on an aquatic-themed donation piece for the live auction the night of the banquet. It included one of Joy's incredible octopus focals, plus some of my own hollows, electroformed shark vertebrae, and gemstones brought back from Israel a few years ago.
The slideshow below includes many of my wonderful memories from the conference, and also a shot of Penny Dickinson (ISGB Southwest Regional Director) modeling our collaborative piece that she won in the auction.
Are you making lampwork beads and intrigued about the benefits of being an ISGB member? Visit: http://isgb.memberclicks.net/member-benefits to learn about the various levels of membership and their associated benefits. I am deeply grateful for all of the opportunities to learn and grow that have come my way through this organization. And if you're a Silicon Valley area bead maker please visit our local Silicon Valley Fireflies chapter's website to learn how you can attend one of our monthly meetings and become part of this wonderful group.
P.S. I won a Paragon kiln in the raffle.