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.
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.