Taking classes from Bullseye is always a special treat. First, you get to learn from the experts. Second, you get to meet many of the people who work there and ask any and all questions that you have stashed in your brain waiting to ask the experts. Third, you get to meet many other very creative students who are also eager to learn and explore. And fourth, you are at the factory and can see how they actually make all of the wonderful glass and maybe buy some too.
This summer I was treated to not only one awesome class, but two. My first class was my all time favorite because well, it was totally cool to do and will add interesting effects to my glass. The class was called “Set Your Kiln on Fire,” was taught by Bonnie Celeste who is awesome at torch work, and basically involves using a torch and glass rods to create interesting components that you can then marry into your glass pieces.
I have played using a candle to do some elemental work with stringers, and we actually have a hand torch which I should have tried to use on the rods. But fear took over and yes, basically I was intimidated. So bonus number one was finding out just how easy the oxygen and propane torches were to use. We used the Micro Burner by Nortel torches in class.
Okay, reality check. Easy does not mean my components looked like Bonnie’s! But it did mean that it was easy for me to grok the process of turning it on, trying not to cause thermal shock of my glass rod, and then allowing the glass to “gather” as it melts and … We learned how to:
- Pull stringers
- Drop dots and droplets
- Create leaves and subsequently when you didn’t get a leaf you got a balloon – Cool!
- Pull nodes which is hard to describe but if you think of kelp made out of glass, then you got it
- Form twists multiple ways
- And last, create cased stringers
The following is a sample plate I made in the class which illustrates the results of many of these techniques. Did I already say what an awesome class this was!
And a finished piece using some of the components I made. Bonus number two was that I got to bring home all of the extra components I made, some good, some not so good, but I will definitely find a use for all of them!
Oh, and just because, I will throw in a picture of me at the torch.
While the purpose of this blog is to help you learn what I learn and to describe all the mistakes from which I gain value along the way, unfortunately, there really is no way for me to describe all the value I got out of the class. If it is time for you to have a treat, definitely treat yourself to this class the next time it is taught and tell Bonnie I said Hi!
Have you taken any classes lately (doesn’t have to be glass related)? What value did you gain? Please share.
P.S. I gushed too much about this first class, so stay tuned for the next blog on the second class so as not to have this one go on forever!