I took this picture of neon tubing flowing at Plowden and Thompson while teaching there a few years ago. The process is fascinating, P+T is one of the only genuine neon tubing manufacturers in the world.
I stay every year with the owners, Barbara and Richard Beadman at their home… a special treat.
In 1907, before I taught my first class we had to import 5 Minor Bench Burners from Canada and set up the work room. There was no kiln and so Richard took specifics from me, a totally unscientific me, and in a few days there it was…handmade, lined with fire bricks, but functioning, even though at the time it had the simplest heat timer.
In 1997, there were only four bead makers I knew of, and two of them had been taught by me at home in Arizona.. that year I taught 25 more, in groups of 5. The following year we had a week intensive at Plowden and Thompson for 40 people with other teachers participating, including Diana East, who had studied with me in Arizona and was now a teacher too. Actually, several of my first pupils are now teachers in the UK, and glass bead making has taken off.
Later I was invited to teach at The Old Kennels, in Devonshire, ( www.theoldkennels.co.uk/) by Tracy Bell. Wonderful art center, check it out… they teach all kinds of rare and wonderful traditional English arts… and Tracy breeds Alpaca so I thought you would enjoy a picture of them rather than looking at one of my classes!
Staying there for a few days, teaching both glass bead making, and wire work, was so special because I went to boarding school nearby when I was ten years old and everything brings back memories.
For several years, I taought the making of beads with stained glass remnants at the Old Kennels and I know this is the first time these methods have been taught in the United Kingdom.
Well, I must move on.
Well, as you can see from the link on my web site, I now have a store in Etsy.
Soon I will be back on Ebay too, where Internet selling began for me in 1998.
Here is a picture of the signed tools I have been selling for many years now… they will be available in my jewelry classes.Here’s the Egyptian Clasp.. you can learn to do this too, if you like!
In my jewelry making class we will see how to design elegant pieces giving respect to how the new, the old and even ancient glass beads were made and how to bring them into contemporary, wearable pieces.