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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Glass Craft and Bead Expo 2014

At the end of March I had the opportunity to attend the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas. There are very few things that will entice me to Sin City, but the chance to spend time with other glass people and take classes from some of the best instructors in glass, trumps my aversion to the ding-ding-ding of smoke-filled casinos.

Projects from Patty Gray's class
The projects: 10.5" bowl, three types of pattern bars, 
combing, mosaic, bas relief, and a cast box. Not shown: roll-up 
(roll-ups done by Ryan Staub Studios  in Seattle) 
I'm embarrassed to admit that, for the third time, I took Advanced Fused Glass Bowls with Patty Gray. The problem is, her classes are addictive. They are fast-paced, fun, and full of great information. In many of the classes at the expo, you focus on one technique and walk away with one (often disappointing) sample piece to show for it. In Patty's multiple-day classes, you learn many techniques and have the opportunity to apply those techniques to several different projects. This year, we worked on bowls, but also completed blanks for a roll-up, several types of pattern bars, bas relief, combing, mosaics, and a kiln-cast box. Patty's classes are well-supported by glass supply vendors, so there is ample equipment to learn cold-working with flat laps, tile saws, and wet-belt sanders. If you consider all the projects we completed, you'll also note there are ample kilns (along with Patty's kiln-loading prowess) to crank through all those firings! I've promised Patty that I won't take her class again (of course, I may have had my fingers crossed!). 

Kiln loaded to the max

Did I mention that Patty knows how to load a kiln? 







Small dish using Vitrigel
for design elements
Vitrigel demonstration
Michael demonstrating how to add 
frit before firing. This leaf, which 
turned out lovely, was done by
I also had the opportunity to take a class with Michael Dupille. Michael's class was on using his Vitrigel Medium to create three-dimensional design elements. Michael is a delightful instructor, and I enjoyed learning about Vitrigel. It is no reflection on Michael's teaching ability that my success with this medium needs a little work (pictured on the right). I did pick up some Vitrigel while I was there, and have some ideas on how to incorporate this into my work.



New toys purchased at the glass expo
New toys!

While I go for the classes, the "expo" part of the Glass Craft and Bead Expo is always fun to peruse, too. I did pick up a few things while I was there: Vitrigel, a new Toyo pistol grip cutter, Morton Safety Break system, some bevels, sepia slide decals, scrap dichroic glass, some fun aluminum cut-outs (that I'll color with alcohol inks and add to suncatchers), and a Glass  Goddess tshirt (not shown). Oh... and what's that kiln brochure doing there?! :) 
Freebies from glass vendors
Freebies from the generous glass vendors



As I mentioned above, Patty's class, as well as many others, are well-supported by the glass supply vendors. Many provided dichroic glass, glass rods, samples, and discounts to show attendees. 


Between my glass tools, notebooks, and catalogs; the supplies I picked up; and the projects I completed, you can imagine that my duffle bag--that was relatively light on the way to Vegas--was HEAVY on the way home. When a picked up my bag from the bellhop on the way to the airport, the person helping me suggested I grab a cart. When I slung the duffle over my shoulder, he looked at me in surprise and said, "Wow! You're a trooper!" (and I said, "No, I'm a backpacker.")

Vitrigel and the TSA
Vitrigel may have attracted
TSA's attention. 

I'm not certain if it was the weight of my bag; the exacto knives, glass tools, and box cutters; or the 1 pound bag of white powder in my luggage, but it seems my bag caught the attention of TSA on the way from Las Vegas to Salt Lake! 





All-in-all it was another successful year at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo. My four days there were filled with learning, spending time with other "glass people", and being immersed in this fused glass world that I find so fascinating. I'm already beginning to look forward to next year!

Happy fusing! Dana




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