A few years ago - ok, quite a few- I think it was 2006 - I bought a bead at auction at the ISGB gathering. I managed to lose the maker's info - but I was pretty darn impressed with the bead. It was - is - I still have it - cobalt blue, iridescent like carnival glass, and with a deeply etched pattern - almost like cut glass. It was hard to believe that it was handmade - the pattern was so crisp and tight and deep. I didn't know about sandblasting beads then - and I couldn't decide if it was carved or etched.
In looking at this bead from Jeri's site - I realize now that it was one of her beads! - and that it was sandblasted. And now I get to take a class with her. How cool is that? (The one I have is very similar to the one pictured! The dark areas in the pattern are actually the sandblasted parts - the glass is cut away there!)
Sandblasting is a process of using a stream of small, rough particles (like - SAND) to carve away part of the bead and leave a textured pattern on the surface. It opens the door to going beyond making beads and gives you many more options to customize your work. You might also recognize the technique from Diana East's classic beads. There is a really nice video here that gives you some insight as well.
Jean from Nortel Mfg (manufacturer of the Nortel torches, Minor, Mega, Mid-range, etc.) tells me that Jeri is an absolute sweetheart of a teacher - very kind and patient - always good to hear!
It has meant that the studio bought a whack of equipment for this class - sandblasting cabinet, air compressor, media recovery - so this will add a whole new level to glass beadmaking - as the equipment is not going away, and will be available after. I really want to get my head around how to use the equipment - so that after the class - I can continue to use it and find ways to incorporate it into my own work.
Jeri is scheduled to teach "Demystifying Dichroic and Conquering Copper" - a two-part class on May 3 and 4th. This class is $425 for the two days, and includes all the glass (including the dichro!!!), etc, that you will require. If you have favorite tools, your own glasses, you are welcome to bring them (I suggest marking them with tape or nail polish or paint to make them easy to i.d.) - but everything is provided.
The second class is on May 5 and 6 - the Saturday and Sunday and is "Sandblasting Lampworked Beads." We are installing a sandblasting unit expressly for this class - but it won't be going away after the class - we will still have it available for use - so unless you want it sitting there while you wished you knew how to use it - I suggest you sign up. This class is $450 - and again - everything you need is included. The description of the class states that you "should be able to make large beads with reasonable competency" in order to be successful - which would pretty much describe all the folks who got started by taking a class with me!
If you want to see more of Jeri's work - check out her website at jeribeads.com.
The classes are just week after next - May 3-4 and 5-6. There are spaces left - so you should jump on this opportunity right now. Jeri is NOT teaching at Bead and Button and has a limited teaching schedule this year - so this is a really good opportunity - especially for those in the Southern Ontario area - as the cost savings of not having to travel to the US are huge! Email Jenny H at beadfx and sign up now!