One way to get inspired is to occasionally hang out with fellow lampworkers.? I’m fortunate enough to live near Atlanta, which is large enough to have a community of lampworkers and beadmakers who come together as the Southern Flames, which is a chapter of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.? People always come to the monthly meetings wearing their work, and bringing additional pieces to show and receive commentary on.? Where else can you, live and in person, see such a rich variety of styles and approaches to lampwork but in a gathering of your peers?? (Well, there’s The Gathering, but I would expect that it goes beyond comprehensibility to overload.)
At tonight’s meeting we held the annual Bead Swap, where when it is your turn to pick an item from those brought to swap, you can either “steal” an item someone else already has, or open a new item.? There was a huge variety of beautiful work there, from the adorably cute to the daintily feminine to the utterly stunning.? Every piece had inspiration and technique to offer.
I felt rather good in the end, because although my contribution (a set of boro rounds) was one of the last few items opened, it still had a chance to be stolen from its original selector! I was also amused to hear all the “what did they use?” comments as the set was passed around for everyone to see.? The guys (Brian, Carl, and Michael, who all work boro) figured it out, but all of the women assumed it was one of the expensive hot-thing COE104 silver glasses.? Nope, just boro!