Saturday, July 30, 2016
I was in New Orleans July 20, to July 25, for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers’ (ISGB) annual conference called The Gathering. Glass has it’s own set of terms and a gather is one of them. When you get a ball of glass on the end of your rod it’s called a gather. So we are not witches, but glass workers. My hotel window overlooked the Mississippi River and I got a shot of sunrise over the river.
I love the Gathering because it’s four days of intense glass activity. I think my favorite part this year was the presentations. My favorite presentation was the last one by Jennie Braid Lamb. It was more traditional with a bit about the artist’s life and inspiration and then a demo. I think I liked it because it was something that I actually want to do. There were really great presentations about scaling up beads in a hot shop and glass casting, but I don’t see myself doing those things.
Another presentation that I really liked was the Bullseye (a glass company) presentation by Stephanie Sersich. It really made me want to try Bullseye glass. I was intrigued by the colors and some of the working properties of the glass – the fact that it is stiffer than the glass I use and therefore when you lay transparent glasses on opaque glasses the opaque glass doesn’t creep up over the transparent glass. I don’t know what I would use that property for, but I’ll certainly keep it in mind.
Hayley Tsang Sather did a really good job on her presentation too. She talked about silver glass of course – Double Helix specifically. I think I already basically understood how to work the silver glass. There’s striking glass which develops it’s colors when it is heated, then cooled, then heated again. Then there is reducing glass which develops it’s colors when more propane is added to the flame creating a reducing atmosphere. Then there are the glasses that both strike and reduce. Double Helix is really pretty glass and I have a lot that I’ve collected over the years. Now I feel like it’s time for me to start using it.
Another feature of the Gathering that I really love is the technical vendors. I managed not to buy any Double Helix this year. Some people I know got over $400 worth of it! But I want to use what I have before I get any more. A lot of people bought a lot of Double Helix though. I got a couple of CG Beadrollers. I haven’t tried them out yet but I think I will soon. I also got a fish fin tool. That is a tool for putting texture in glass to mimic the fins of fish. I also got a little glass and a free gift from Fratz Art Glass.
One thing that you have to have at the Gathering is BEADS. Saturday is devoted to a bead bazaar where all sorts of excellent bedmakers sell their beads. I bought six beads this year. There are all awesome. All in all I think I had a good haul this year. Also, Sunday night is the bead exchange where people go to trade. It is crazy. I’ve had bad experiences at the bead trading in years past but this year it went really well. I got rid of all my old elemental beads. Now I’m ready to make new, better beads!
So I’m glad I went. I’ve had a bad time in years past, but this year was good. I’m looking forward to next year. It’s at a different time next year – March. And it’s in Las Vegas in conjunction with the Glass Craft and Bead Expo. That should be interesting. I’ve made it a goal to get a table at the Bead Bazaar next year. I don’t have much time though so I better get moving.