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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Glass Craft and Bead Expo 2012

10" bowl -- my "prize creation" for the week
The end of March found me in Las Vegas at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo for the second year in a row. The classes I took this year were as inspiring as last year. Following is a quick write-up of my trip.

I talked a friend into going with me this year, and our flight arrived in Vegas in time to check into the room, get a quick lunch, and attend our first class. It was a screen melt class taught by Dennis Brady of Victorian Art Glass in Victoria, Canada (http://www.vicartglass.com). A screen melt is where glass is piled on top of a stainless steel screen, suspended above the kiln shelf, and the glass is fired to a high enough temperature so that it flows through the screen and onto the kiln shelf below. The technique results in unique and interesting glass that can be used in another project. We made a small 6" round melt. After the melts were constructed and ready for the kiln, Dennis shared a lot of glass fusing "tidbits". I came away with a few pages of useful notes and a screen melt that I plan to work into a small bowl or tray.
Screen melt, before firing



Screen melt, after firing









Thursday's class was a full day of learning new techniques using various materials. The class, called Functional Art Glass Using Frit, Scrap, and Paint, was conducted by Rosalind Stanton (if you have a Facebook account, search for Rosalind there) and assisted by Debbie Patana. "Roz" is an enthusiastic and entertaining instructor, who, in what seemed like a matter of minutes, created a stunning mountain landscape with pine trees blanketed in snow, by brushing on Glassline paints, sprinkling frit, and adding accents of glass cut with tile nippers. Our main project used this technique, and we also did sample squares using mica powders; brass, copper screen, and copper foil; and iridized glass. It was a fun day of "creating with abandon" that gave me a new appreciation for using Glassline paints and frit in fused glass work.
Creations from Roz's class
Thursday was the only evening class I signed up for. It was a class that incorporated glass into bronze clay. I was disappointed in the results of firing a glass cab with bronze clay and with the teaching style of the instructor (thank goodness I'd worked with metal clay before, or I would have been lost!). However, at least I learned that I don't want to work with either in the future!

All created in one class (plus the bowl!)
Friday and Saturday I attended a two-day class with Patty Gray (http://www.pattygray.com). Patty's class was the highlight of the week. Her classes fill up quickly, and for good reason. She is a great teacher and an inspiring glass artist. I was astounded at the number of projects we created in the class (and also the number of kilns required to pull it off!).

The class was entitled Advanced Fused Glass Bowls. A 10" fused glass bowl was the main project, but we also constructed a 6" square combing, a fused glass mosaic, two different pattern bars, a small pyramid, a fused glass box, and a small piece with Glassline paints using fiber paper for relief. Patty demonstrated all these techniques, along with frit painting, use of mica powders, strip cutting, circle cutting, and cutting circular borders. Flat laps, grinders, and diamond hand pads were demonstrated and used for finishing the edges of the 10" bowl prior to its second firing to slump it. On Sunday, when I went to retrieve my bowl and a few other projects that had fired overnight, the bowl was so beautiful that I almost cried ;). The bowl,  my "prize creation", is shown at the top of this post.

Before firing and combing



After firing and combing --  one of my favorite pieces
Lest you think that the week was all work and no play, a group of us did get a chance to actually leave the casino/hotel, and share a wonderful meal at Bootleggers Bistro. Dinner was followed by a mandatory trip to the Bellagio to see the chocolate fountain (and buy chocolate, of course), the indoor gardens, the spectacular outdoor water fountain show set to music, and of course, the stunning glass artwork designed by Dale Chihuly.

Once the pyramid is cold-worked (shined up),
it will rival the Luxor! (ha!)
As with last year, I walked away with a head full of ideas and new techniques, and I'm excited to get in the studio and get to work. Hopefully, as I experiment with some of the things I've learned, I'll get a chance to write them up and share them here.

Dana