Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Studio - Part 3

If you haven't read parts 1 & 2, please start by reading part 1 here. When I left off, I'd just had our first child and had turned to beading to help keep busy. The story continues below.

Almost exactly two and a half years after our daughter, we had a son.


He was tiring! He didn't want to sleep through the night for the longest time. I'm not a "lack of sleep" person - I need my rest! I decided, although I rarely spent the money, that I deserved to treat myself to some beads from my local bead shop. I was looking around and stopped dead in my tracks when I saws a sign for an introduction to lampworking class! I immediately asked the price and then I signed up. She didn't know when they would hold the class; apparently I was the only one interested and the teacher couldn't hold a class for one student. They needed three. She told me to keep checking in.

I called every week. No one signed up. Finally, she told me she had someone else interested in the class, and they set a date. Then the date was postponed. Ahh!! When the day finally arrived I was beyond myself with nerves and excitement. The bead shop owner introduced me to the other student - it was her daughter. She explained that she knew how badly I wanted to take the class, so she signed her daughter up and asked the teacher to hold the class for the two of us. I'm still thankful.

With a flick of the hand the hot head roared to life. The moment I put the glass in the flame, everything in my life came together. I knew why I had struggled. I knew why nothing seemed to fit. I knew why my life had taken the course that it had. I knew what I was meant to do, and I walked out of that half-day class with a hot head kit and a feeling of completion.

Now to set up a work area! We had no idea what we were doing! It's amazing how many times my husband and I have just flown by the seat of our pants yet everything turned out ok. We bought a card table and cut some plywood to fit. Then we screwed a clamp onto it and attached my hot head to the plywood. I ordered a bulk propane hose and we stole the bbq tank off our rusted grill and hooked it up. We set this all up in the doorway of the garage, and I had a fiber blanket beside me. I splurged and spent $100 on single rods of glass in basic colors. I promised my husband that it was just that much money at first, and after that I could just replace what I used, which would be very little. Ahhh, how blissful ignorance really is (she says, thousands of dollars later!).

My first beads were so tiny! The first "focal" I made was a whopping 1/2". We couldn't believe how big it was! My spacers were about 2-3mm on average. I would lampwork on Saturday and Sunday for an hour and a half (I still had to nurse my son every two hours!). Once I had about 30 beads I took them to be annealed.

I had about two months of lampwork time before I got pregnant with our third child. It was difficult not being able to lampwork. In the meantime I was saving every penny of my birthday and holiday money to buy my own kiln, and I achieved that goal. Then I upgraded my torch to a bobcat, and bought an oxygen concentrator. Then I started buying other things. I bought tools, frit, and all kinds of things to help me expand my ability. If my husband said anything to me, I would remind him that I was very pregnant and unable to lampwork, or even breathe in peace. Buying glassy stuff was the only way for me to feel connected to the torch at a time when I couldn't fire it up. He didn't say much. He's a pretty smart guy!


By the time our third beautiful child, a girl, was born, I had gathered quite a bit of yummy glassy goodness! I was, however, still working in the doorway of the garage. I had about two months of lampwork time after I had recovered from my third c-section before it got too cold. The garage was freezing and I'm cold-natured. I had to wait three long months before I would lampwork again.

Part 4 is here.


  1. Your babies are adorable Theresa!!

  2. Thanks Janel! I think so too! I'm a little biased, though :D