When I was little we lived in Southern California, and every weekend (it
seemed like at that age), we would go to the
Farmers Market LA. There were two places in the market
had to go to - the first was the
bakery where they had the best Ginger Cookies and you could smell the spices
all the way in the parking lot. They were shaped like animals or
characters; the Snoopy ones were my favorite. The second place was the
glass blower's shop. He was a Pyrex glassblower like they have at
Disneyland. He made all the animals and things, but what I remember
most are the big
ships he made. They sat in the window and sparkled like floating
diamonds, as the sun reflected off them. I think this was when I truly
fell in love with glass - over 35 years ago in the mid 60’s to
Fast forward to 3 years ago, Christmas 2001. I
started making jewelry for fun and gifts for friends & co-workers & soon
found myself going to bead shows and buying beautiful handmade glass
beads. The beads intrigued me, so I started learning more about them.
In May of 2003 I took a
business trip to Scotland. I looked up lampworking glass makers on
the web and could only find one place to visit:
Village Glass in the Bridge of Allen (love the name). It is just
below Stirling Scotland (think of Mel Gibson & Braveheart). I had
two days to travel the countryside before my work began, so my friend
Carmen came along on the trip.
We found the glassblower's shop and all
my childhood memories came flooding back, including the cookies.
the bakery across the street they don’t have ginger cookies, but
they have the best shortbread cookies - shortbread topped with a thick
layer of caramel and then covered with chocolate. Heaven!!!
We spent hours in the glassblower’s studio, and we talked about bead
making and all the things I would need to have, and where to get them.
What he could not tell me was who to learn from back home.
I was now bitten with the bead-making bug and started
looking around to find where to learn how to make them. I came across the
ISGB website and their Educational Resource page. I skimmed down to
Oregon and there was a class, but no pictures of the artist’s work. I am
a very visual person and want to see examples of things. So I went to see
if there were any classes in California. Lo and behold - there was Loren
STUMPCHUCK. I had no idea who he was at the time; I just knew I wanted
to learn from him. So in August of 2003 I scheduled my first lampworking
glass with Loren in February 2004. Shortly after I scheduled my class I
WetCanvas Forum and quickly figured out that Loren’s class might be a
little over my head. So I searched again for a school in Oregon and found
Bullseye Glass, which is close to where I live. I scheduled the next
available class on beginning bead making. It was a 2-day class with Bonnie
Celeste (formerly Harder); I learned to make my first round beads:
I looked on WetCanvas to see where I might take a class and found Deb
I spent 3 wonderful days with Deb in December 2003 and learned so much
from her. Deb & Mike are both very giving people and have such a
passion for glass.
In October before my class with Deb, I had bought a Hothead to practice
on. I set it up in the garage, the light was awful & it was cold!!! So
when I found my “Real World” job was going away, due to the sale of the
company, I decided to build my own little studio.