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Old 2020-10-02, 7:29am
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echeveria echeveria is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 31, 2006
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 2,039

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.
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