Wednesday, March 31, 2010


As a member of Art Bead Scene's Blog Carnival, I wrote this piece for April's theme, "Anticipation". I hope you like it.

"Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'"

-Carly Simon, "Anticipation" (1971)

How can I define anticipation? For me, anticipation is the lip licking, salivating feeling I get each and every time that I wake up in the morning and remember that I have beads in the kiln from the night before.

Aside: If you aren't familiar with lampwork bead making, they're made with a torch and must be placed into a hot (970 degrees) kiln to slowly cool overnight. This is called "annealing", and it ensures that the beads will be strong and will last forever without breaking. When you make beads at night, morning is the time when you can first look at them to see how they turned out. There's no instant gratification with this kind of art, which perpetually makes me wonder how I became so addicted to it.

Anyway, as soon as my consciousness connects with the moment, I'm drawn like a rare earth magnet to my kiln in my detached garage studio. This pull is so strong that I will bypass the coffee, bypass my computer, and throw all caution to the elements enroute. Rain, wind, cold - it's no match for the anticipation I feel as the results from the last session are revealed.

Unless you know something about flame working, it may be hard to relate to this feeling. It's a lot like ceramics, I guess, where you never know how the colors in your glazes will turn out until the kiln has cooled. Colors look different in the flame, and some effects take some time to develop during annealing.

I've been making beads regularly for 7 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how it's like Christmas every time I go to open the kiln. I've had other obsessions - gardening, quilting, needlework, but nothing has captured my fascination quite like this. It's just incredible to get that first look at your tiny creation, and know that it's going to stay on the earth for a long, long time.

And when I'm not waiting with giddy anticipation for beads to cool, well, I'm waiting with giddy anticipation for the next chance I get to sit down and make some more.


TesoriTrovati said...

I think I would love to know that feeling. It would be so cool to know that you are creating something from virtually nothing, that wasn't there before. Thank you for sharing that peek inside. Enjoy the day! Erin

mairedodd said...

your passion and love of what you do clearly shows in what you create... i am so glad that you experience that feeling... while not exactly the same, i am experiencing that type of feeling as well - with the resin and even metal working... it is a very special kind of adrenaline rush for sure...
great post!

Islandgirl said...

Glad to know there is someone else out there that goes running through the snow, sleet and rain in a house coat and crocs (rubber boots) every morning to see what the kiln gods produced over night!

I've been doing beads or fusing for over 20 years now... When I started in '88 morning took way to long to come!

Lyn Foley said...

Hi Patty,

Did I write your post? Or did you write mine? All too familiar.

Love those beads in your picture.

Cheers to another day of bead making.

Michelle Mach said...

It must be an exciting moment to open that kiln, not knowing exactly what you'll find. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

JanelDudleyBeads said...

I feel your excitement! What you have said is so true!


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