This is our second installment of BeadFX's Instructor Profiles - getting to know our instructors a little beyond the classroom or studio setting.
BeadFX and her students know Amy Waldman-Smith as an inspiring instructor. The world knows Amy as an accomplished lampwork artist, acclaimed teacher and contributor to various magazines including Glass Line Magazine, The Flow Magazine, 1000 Glass Beads, and numerous others. She is also the current Regional Director for Canada for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB).
When describing herself, Amy states, “I am a lampworker, or flameworker. I make handmade glass beads in an open flame. I do make jewellery with my own beads, but my strongest skills are in actually making the beads. I sometimes do wirework and stringing of my work. I also do some tubular crochet work with seed beads, she says. “ This is a challenging technique to learn – give me a challenge and I have a hard time walking away! I had to figure it out. I occasionally teach crochet at BeadFX, but mostly I make plain crocheted necklaces for my glass beads.”
Primarily self-taught, Amy’s work is an evolution. “I generally do not work on projects, but a body of work,” says Amy. “The current focus of my glasswork is footprints. The footprints we leave behind in each and everything we do and say. The footprints of glass that can be manipulated, stretched or pushed. Each influences the elements surrounding it. One footprint pushes the next, but never supplants it. It’s a metaphor for living.”
Her inspiration comes from many sources. “The world is full of inspiration – nature: flowers, branches of trees in the winter, the patterns in the sand at the beach, stones, pottery, the colour of the sky just before it gets dark. I could go on and on,” says Amy.
Amy began her lampworking career in 2001 with an initial class with Lezlie Winemaker to learn the basics of lampworking. Since then, Amy honed her skills at the BeadFX lampworking studio. Now you’ll find her at her home studio in Richmond Hill – when she isn’t travelling to teach!
Teaching has become a way of life for Amy. In addition to BeadFX, her upcoming class locations include the Craft Guild of Dallas in Texas; the Southeastern Michigan Glass Beadmakers Guild in Toledo, Ohio; at the Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. What is the best part of teaching? “The light in their eyes when I see that they too have fallen in love with the glass (or that they have really been able to conquer bead crochet),” says Amy.
What is Amy’s advice to others who create? “Stick with it and say yes to all the interesting things that come your way – you just never know where they will lead you.”
Amy's upcoming classes at BeadFX:
Two-Day Lampworking Weekend - Part B
Saturday, June 22 (10:00am - 2:30pm)
Sunday, June 23 (11:30am - 4:00pm)
This two-day weekend class is designed for students who have taken an introductory lampworking class and are ready for more. This is a follow up class to our weekend lampworking classes. The topics covered will be mainly student led. We will work on the areas you are having difficulties with or feel you are ready to try for the first time. This class is eight hours of instruction and topics can include such things as stringers, flowers, hollow beads, shaping, encasing, sculptural beads (ie frogs and birds) and more. The beads you make in class will be kiln-annealed and will be available for pick-up the following day. If you are from out of town, we are happy to mail them to you at no extra charge.
Intro to Lampworking Weekend
Saturday, July 20 (10:00am - 2:30pm)
Sunday, July 21 (11:30am - 4:00pm)
This two-day weekend class is designed for beginners. This class will introduce you to the wonderful world of making lampworked or flameworked beads. Practice is an essential ingredient in working with glass. The class is eight hours of instruction and torch-time allowing significantly more practice time than the 5 hour class. Topics covered include:
- Overview of the equipment and tools, safety information and studio protocols. Setting up a home studio is also discussed.
- Types of glass
- Making Glass Beads
For complete information about the classes, go to our website and click on 'classes'.To register, please call BeadFX at (416) 751-1911.