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astiefer 2020-09-30 12:36pm

Teaching yourself
It's been a month since I started making beads and yep I still love it. I know the first thing everyone suggests is take a class, but with the times it's impossible. I spend hours watching YouTube, reading, practicing and repeat. My biggest fear is when I finally can take a class I'm going to find out I'm holding stuff wrong overheating underheating etc... It's so hard to not get ahead of myself when I see all the beautiful beads and want to get those fancy expensive rods. Each day I practice 1 thing, make a round bead, or add dots, murrini (sp) heating rods with out POOF stress crack lol, not getting bead release on the outside of my bead :cry:
Any tips you can pass on that helped you when you first started out?
Aggie in SC

Speedslug 2020-09-30 2:06pm

My only class was my first introduction consisting of a hot head torch with a half dozen others and may be two dozen glass rods to chose from and five predipped mandrels and plumbers wool for cooling

That was enough to get me hooked back around 2006.

From then on it was the book Passing The Flame, you tube videos and Corning Museum of Glass you tube videos into the wee hours of the night for years.

I bought a years worth of access to Bulseye Glass's learner video library for $40 and even though it was centered on fusing 90/94 coe glass I learned a ton abut how to handle, treat and what to expect from my addiction of choice "104 coe soft glass".

I bought entirely too much Devardi because it was very cheap and it behaved very squirrely as I was told to expect but I used it to let my body and mind figure out how to do the repetitive motions until they were second nature without wasting a crap ton of money on what I will call the more expensive glasses.

My only advice would be to begin by "playing".

There is no one "right way" of doing things.
There are only things that you have not learned to do yet.

Welcome to the addiction. :badgrin:

KJohn 2020-09-30 8:45pm

I'm totally self taught. There are classes I wished that I had taken, but I'm hard of hearing and I get very annoyed when I don't know what's going on LOL
I practiced a LOT and there are a lot more resources now than in 2008, with all the you tube videos especially. As Phil said, no wrong way, no one long as it's working for you.

Focus on the journey, those beginning years were so much fun and held a magic that is lacking a bit in the later years, just because you get used to things.

Croft Eeusk 2020-09-30 9:01pm

Count me in the 'only had one class' group - an adult ed offering using Mapp gas and hot head torches; I believe it was 2 hours on two nights. The first night was mainly learning how glass reacted to heat - first thing was it wants to be round, the second was how much can it be heated before I drip it onto the table :lol: I made two beads.

Like Phill that's all it took to get addicted. It was quite a while before I graduated to a big girl torch because of the expense of setting up a real studio.

I lurked on LE for numerous years - lots of excellent free tutorials. And after joining up found the peeps here usually have answers for specific questions.

The only other learning source I used was Passing the Flame; cover to cover, but not necessarily in the order Corina wrote it after the first few chapters. That's one book I highly recommend - can be picked up on Amazon or eBay for around $45-50 used and worth every penny.

You're doing it just right - play w/the glass, learn what it does. The good old PPP - practice, practice, practice. If you're learning from what you're doing, it's not a waste of glass. And go ahead, buy some of the expensive stuff if you lust after it. You can always pet it, stroke it, and call it George until you feel up to the level of comfort using it.

Do keep some of your very first beads. They are the very best thing to have every time you look at someone's bead that makes you gasp because it makes you feel you're getting nowhere fast. One look at those first little wonky things will make you realize how far you've come from that point.

Do add your info to the RAOGK listing - lots of us have favorite colors, too much glass [yup, it does happen eventually ;)], and we're willing to share. And come on down to the Newbies and Intermediate thread in the Gallery.


Speedslug 2020-10-01 4:10am

:lol: " Call It George " !!!! :lol:

I fell in love with that cartoon at a very early age and hearing some one repeat that line just makes me smile in my very heart. :koolaid:

ETA: I am thinking of a particular "Lonesome Lenny" cartoon with Screwy Squirrel and the last line was "I used to have a friend named George but he don't move no more."

Of course I can't find that specific one on You Tube now or I would link it here.

Chocake 2020-10-01 8:25pm

I can almost Ditto Croft's experience word for word. Still on the hot head but I've moved up to Propane over Mapp.
This isnt about Right or wrong. Its about having fun, so do it your way and enjoy the process.

Speedslug 2020-10-02 3:10am

I want to add that the only things I really took away from my first and only in person class was:
1) You need to fight the urge to bring the bead up close to the hot head torch or else you get un-burnt fuel embedded in the glass as smut,
2) That fiber plumbers flame barriers really can keep the darn bead from cracking as it cools IF you resist the temptation to A) admire you work before you stuff it in the layers and B) don't peek for an hour or more and
3) If the bead release brakes up and the glass touches the metal then you might as well make a potted plant decoration because it the bead is not ever going to let go of the mandrel.

Everything else I picked up from books, videos and forums like this one.

Happy hunting.

Remember that searching here at LE can get very literal so phrases need to be "inside quotation marks" or you get results of "every" "single" "word" "and" "even" "short" "words" "like" "if" "and" "or" "but" "and" the search takes forever to put all that together for you to read.
Oh and searches need to be at least 4 characters long so add * to the word 'red*' for example or you won't get any result.

Also you can pare down your search to only the sub forum you are in and even down to only the conversation thread you are in.

echeveria 2020-10-02 7:29am

I have taken many classes, and loved them all. My first one was a beginner's class where we learned SAFETY FIRST and then moved on to melting and shaping round beads, with discussion of COE, annealing, pulling stringer, etc. It was a great class to distill what I had been reading into practice.

One thing the teacher stressed was learning to read the heat in the bead and understanding where your mandrel is in relation to the flame, and whether it is where it needs to be. Holding your mandrel level and rotating it in an even manner really helped with shaping. Gravity is super important, and can work for or against you.

The bad habit I had to break was spinning my mandrel like it was a helicopter. Centrifugal force always gave me wonky beads. I don't know why I thought I had to go fast. Slow and steady is best for me. Also - you don't have to keep the bead so molten it mis-shapes. I was so afraid of letting it cool too much that I kept it too hot.

Something that has always struck me when I see really fine beadmakers demo their process - patience and focus is a common theme. They do not get in a hurry.

I have been enjoying some of the online (Facebook) classes offered. The ones I have taken have private groups for the class where you can review the demos at your leisure for as long as you want. I am not sure if anyone is offering beginner classes, but that would be a great idea.

Finally, give yourself time. Fundamental shaping is important. Master it first. Allow yourself to fail. That's how you learn.

KJohn 2020-10-02 3:33pm

Kathy, that helicopter bead thing is still something I tend to do. I have to remind myself to slow down!

Lorraine Chandler 2020-10-02 6:47pm

Good teachers will show you several different ways to do things and will say do what works for you. I had one class where the instructor said to hold the rod one way and turn ( roll ) it always away from you. Very adamant that any other way was unacceptable. NOPE. [-(

I gleaned what I could from that person and ignored her on everything else. \\:D/

You would not learn everything in one or two or even a dozen classes so most of us are self taught in many different areas and ways because lampwork is extensive in techniques, colors, supplies used and the actual individual artistry of lampworking.

Have fun, we tend to make the best progress with mistakes. :shock: Although I really hate when it happens with a rare or expensive glass.

Oh well Garden pokes can be fun too....right???:-s

losthelm 2020-10-05 9:12am

Some colors are much more susceptible to showing crud from being to close to the torch. white in paticular.
The cheap divardi is a pain to work with particularly the heavy rods, its almost frit on a stick and can be frustrating when you have hot glass popping off.

When compairing prices between various vendors pay attention to unit size.
Some sell by the 1/4 pound, ounce, pound, or by the rod.

Prices vary a lot when it comes to glass more by the batch size and chemistry involved that anything else.

As your doing a few beads at a time there are some exercises that may help.
Make simple spacers that are the same size and shape.
Make a pairs of matching beads.
A set of graduated beads with each size being a little larger.

Practice pulling stringer for a bit
Then try twisties

some colors show crud in them easier than others.
Whites in paticular.

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