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28/06/2012 / katnewman

My first lesson – 31.3.11


Ok hi, first post!

So – I’ve been silversmithing for over 5 years now, doing it full-time for just over a year.


I’ve finally worked up the buns to have a go at Lampworking. I’ve always admired other people’s creations, love beads and love how they look with silver. I’ve never thought I’d be good enough to actually be able to make anything half as good though and never really considered trying. Finally, this Tuesday I made the trip up to beautiful Malvern to Julie Foutain of Lush Lampwork’s studio for a lesson.


Julie is one of my most favourite lampwork artists and is really friendly and approachable, so it was an easy decision – one that I most definitely am glad I made. We started off with a chat about setup and health and safety – vital stuff as it’s really not for kids! lol. Then we entered the ‘Lusherie’ – Julies studio – so clean, fresh and inspiring with enough space for 3 torches and many many other beautiful things!


So we started off with a basic bead. She makes it look so easy – it isn’t! It’s a bit like when you first learned to drive, using different combination of limbs and muscles that you would ever use in real life. So, my turn…end of the rod shocks off – flying hot glass in my first few seconds – completely normal but a timely reminder that we ain’t baking cakes here! Eek… Making a bead is like winding sticky toffee or that golden syrup stuff (yummm) around a stick, trying to keep it to a uniform shape before it cools and stays that way by turning constantly in one hand, whilst keeping the glass rod in the flame and melting at the right pace in the other. Sort of like patting your head and rubbing your belly whilst trying not to give yourself major burns! And don’t get me started on the more complicated stuff lol!


Julie was patient, encouraging and so inspirational, I was hooked at my first bead. Anyone wanting to give this a go but not sure, just go to Julie, she’ll look after you, it was so worth the 4.5 hour round trip!


By the end of the day I had accumulated a large stash of gorgeous beads which she anneals for you in the kiln and sends you in the post. You also get to keep all the ones she makes when demonstrating – niice!! I received my beads today and I haven’t stopped drooling! My big beads aren’t so good though, they both cracked 😦 Obviously need to stick to small and sweet, much like myself!!


Next steps…off to the ‘Flame-off’ exhibition at Towchester next week to buy the kit!


I have kitted out my new shed with all my silersmithing tools and bench, and today managed to squeeze in a table ready for my lampworking. Just need the stuff now.


In the meantime, two silver commissions to be cracking on with, when my delivery of new supplies arrive tomorrow! Will get on and finish making my blog pretty in the morning 🙂


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