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Studio Glass ECS | Our First Day

March 03, 2020

On our first day in Newport, Oregon, we left our rental house and headed to Deb Crowley’s studio and home. When we arrived, we were welcomed by our four new teachers - Joy Munshower, Deb Crowley, Suellen Fowler, and Jody Welch - who would be showing us the ropes. We started with making spacer beads. Our first step was turning on the torch. Then we grabbed our glass rods and our mandrel. A mandrel is a stainless steel rod dipped in clay, called bead release. They are used as utensils to help form and hold the shape of the beads as we make them. We then melted glass in our torch around the bead release on the mandrels, creating beads fit to be worn in necklaces.

After our warmup and introductions, we ascended into our next project, a little heart bead that held endless opportunity for personalization. In order to make these we first had to create our base bead, also known as a spacer bead. From this position we added even more glass creating a large ball big enough to be sculpted into our desired shapes. After carefully forming our hearts we were given free range to create intricate decorations over the base bead. For example some chose to place polka-dots or even stripes on their creations.

Next, we created a free-form “nugget.” We used a similar process to what we used for the spacer beads where we wrapped unspecified amounts of glass around the mandrel. Everyone used different amounts of glass to make nuggets in all different shapes and sizes. After we wrapped the mandrel in glass, we used clear glass rods to spin the glass and make our shapes unique. Some people even added dots and stripes to further personalise their nuggets.