I took my first basic lampworking class in late January 2007... yes, I said 2007. I was INSTANTLY hooked! I practice, A LOT!! :o) I took to lampworking so quickly that my instructor (now friend) says that she’s going to have to take classes from ME!! Someday. :o) I remember her walking by me as I’m making my first little black bead, saying “you did your homework, didn’t you?” Why, YES I DID! :o) When I finally decided to take a class, I spent a good 2 obsessed months researching everything I could find online about lampworking, mainly reading tutorials on Lampwork Etc. & watching lampworking videos on YouTube! I came into that class w/ TOO MUCH knowledge, LOL, my poor instructor wasn't ready for me!! :o) I already had so many ideas of what I wanted to learn, I was asking her about this & asking her about that.... some things she had tried, others she hadn't heard of, etc...
After that first class, I literally itched so badly to get back to the torch, I had to bring it home w/ me the next week! I set up that basic little (& LOUD!) hothead torch with its 1 pound canister of MAPP gas each day on a card table in my kitchen & took it down each evening before dinner (& usually up again afterwards!). That didn’t last long, LOL....I upgraded to a 7 lb tank of propylene within a few weeks, dragging that thing, torch hoses & all, back & forth to my classes each week. (smuggling that tank in is more like it... hoping I wouldn't get stopped by someone who thought I was up to no good, seeing as the art center is in the civic center building on the opposite end of the building from the police & city offices!! LOL!) Even my instructor admits that I passed her up somewhere along the way. I DID learn a lot from her... everything I needed to know to make a basic bead & simple shapes.......but mostly everything beyond that is all me. I’m proud of that.
Needless to say, I upgraded to a 27 lb tank as soon as I didn’t have to drag it around anymore. The kitchen “studio” didn’t last long. By mid-March, I was desperate for my own torching space, so I dug out my old pottery & stained glass studio that I hadn’t seen the floor of in over 12 years... giving myself just enough room to get to my old stained glass table (that we then covered in stainless steel flashing) so I could torch. I was in heaven. I ordered a digital kiln at that point, too, as my beads were getting too large to be able to hold up to hanging out in a fiber blanket anymore...I was losing more to thermal cracking than not, pretty frustrating. My desire for larger beads was also getting too big for my hothead, so I upgraded to a Carlisle Mini CC torch w/ 2 oxygen concentrators & a professional ventilation system by June. My studio is now cleaned out, we’re working on organizing storage & more work surfaces. It’ll be fantastic when it’s finished!
The picture is of my first few weeks of beads. The plain black ones, of course, are my first ones. Doesn't everybody start out making black beads?? :o)