Ronnie Lambrou and Jeri Warhaftig Featured in New Bead & Button Special Edition

Congratulations are in order for members Jeri Warhaftig and Ronnie Lambrou.  Their collaborative work, “Santorini Eruption” is a finalist in the International Society of Glass Beadmaker’s and Bead & Button’s joint project, “Convergence.”

Even more exciting, the project, with instructions, will appear in Bead & Button’s new special issue, “Jewelry Designs with Art Glass Beads.”

The necklace, shown below, was designed and made by Ronnie, with lampworked glass bead made by Jeri.

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Handmade Beads in a new context

Each year the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) sponsors a number of exhibits. In 2007 they joined with the American Association of Woodturners for a collaborative challenge entitled “Connextions”. Volunteer beadmakers and woodturners were paired together and given several months to come up with a joint piece. Most “couples” made two pieces, one for each participant in the pair to keep. Other entries were for sale.

The submission were part of an exhibit at the Woodturner’s Gallery in Minneapolis, the site of the ISGB’s 2007 annual Gathering (which is an eductional conference). Many of the pieces can be seen here http://picasaweb.google.com/tibshaw/ConneXtionsGallery?authkey=GzxPN8ZE_UI and represent an amazing creative use of both wood and glass.

My partner, Dennis Daudelin of Massachusetts and I complete the “World Peace Bowl”. All of the beads say “peace” – each in a different language. Down the road the group will be sponsoring other collaborative exhibitions. I found this to be a rewarding and challenging undertaking that I will definitely try to do again in the future.

For more info on the ISGB, check out their website, www.isgb.org  Jeri

Urban Glass 2008 Student Exhibition

January 11-18 2008
10:00am – 6:00pm daily
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Featuring work created by 2007 UrbanGlass students:
Claire Beaulieu, Marisa Beutel, Sarah Blumberg, Debbie Kaplan Brindis, Susanna Conaway, Craig Ellison, Shuhei Fujii, Stephanie Sutton Gabriels, Paul Giotopoulos, Dara Hamilton, John Henderson, Judith Hugentobler, Leah Keller, Julianna Kirk, Gail Liner, Amanda Linn, David Matson, Joyce Rosen, Tino Santini, Gloria E. Schuster, Diana Shaller, Rachel Shoham, Vincent Tancredi, Miguel Unson, Fotini Vurgaropulou, Rebecca N. Ward, Jane Yi, Christine Young

The Robert Lehman Gallery @ UrbanGlass
647 Fulton Street (entrance at 57 Rockwell)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
718-625-3689 ext 239
www.urbanglass.org

Getting to UrbanGlass
We are located near the following trains:
B, M, Q, or R (DeKalb Avenue) C (Lafayette Avenue)
2, 3, 4, or 5 (Nevins Street) and G (Fulton Street)

Turn glass beads into gifts – quickly!

I’m sure we are all up to our eyeballs preparing last minute gifts for family and friends – I know I am.  For future reference, there are some really good websites out there that offer help in turning beads (handmade or commercial) into lovely gifts of jewelry or home accessories. One of my favorite such sites is www.mcduckcreations.com which is the work of artist Mary Poineal.  Mary is a talented beadmaker, but her true flare is in the many many many amazing findings she has designed and had cast for her in silver. Check out the  versatile ways that beads can be displayed. I use a great many of Mary’s necklace findings to turn beads into jewelry. Because they have themed tops, you can really tie a pendant with a bale (or is it bail?) into an overall design.  I love her rings, and Mary is very flexible about giving you the combinations of finding and little screw on top that works best for you!

Another great site is www.karenthomas.us. Here is where you can find those beadable pens, letter openers and canape knives. In addition to selling on the web, both Karen and Mary sell at several major shows and so I have seen their merchandise first hand and can attest to its quality.

On a final note, the new Bead and Button catalogue arrived in my mail today, and registration for the show in Milwaukee in June opens January 15, 2008. It is worth getting just for the drool potential. If you have even a slight chance of getting to this show, check out the over 500 classes that have been amassed this year. It is truly incredible. I’m half-hoping they don’t fill my classes just so I can take some offered by other teachers!!  If you can’t attend in person, at least consider entering the Bead Dreams competition. www.beadandbuttonshow.com

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Jeri

Eye Candy/glass beads!

As I write this it is a grey and blustery day, and so it is a great day for hunting out some online entertainment. If you are looking for artist glass beads, be sure to check out www.lampworketc.com a forum for and about lampworkers and fans of lampwork. The gallery pages are posted every day, and many people start their  Ebay searches by looking at the Gallery posts and then following the links to Ebay auctions (not that I ever ever bid on Ebay…..ok, not terribly often anyway). To pass the time, scroll down and look at Galleries from days past. Send me links if you find anything too wonderful to pass up!! Happy surfing. Jeri

Exciting Glass Beads

jeriphoto.jpgDonna has asked me to chime in with an occasional post about my favorite subject, handmade glass beads. These are technically called “lampwork” beads, sometime I’ll write about how that term came about, but for now we’ll stick with  “handmade”!

For my first post, I thought some NJBS might want to learn about the differences in the two major categories of glass types, borosilicate glass and so-called “soft” soda-lime glass.  Borosilicate, also known as “hard” glass or “boro” is the glass we long ago knew as PYREX. That is the brand name the Corning manufacturer calls its borosilicate glass. If you have ever used a Pyrex measuring cup or baking dish you know that it is valued for its extreme resistance to temperature fluctuation. A cold measuring cup can be filled with BOILING water with rarely any problem. Raw meatloaf, in a cold dish, goes directly into that hot oven, again, no problem.

 Boro’s ability to withstand big temperature shifts means that when it is worked at the torch it is good for big items, only a part of which is hot in the flame at any one time.  Boro got its start in the artistic world when it was used to make pipes (for smoking tobacco or whatever).  An artist could fashion one end of the pipe in the flame while the opposite end was almost room temperature. Similarly, when filled and lit, the pipe didn’t explode from the sudden application of heat when lit to be smoked, this was a good thing. Boro also makes great globe ornaments.

 The early problem with boro was that it was only made in clear. In the past twenty years or so, that problem has been solved, and boro now comes in many deep, rich saturated colors, and is especially prized for its russets and purples. Unfortunately, colored boro is very pricey (see below) and that is why many artists use a teeny bit of color maginified by heavy layers of clear (which is cheaper). Examine the boro beads and marbles you come across, you will see lots of clear. If instead they have a lot of colors, that glass expense was most likely reflected in the price of the marble or bead.

Soft glass is the other major category of glass and is made by several different manufacturers. It is much more sensitive to heat fluctuation and must be kept warm the entire time it is worked in the flame. If it cools too far from the flame temp it will crack while the bead is being made, or later while it is being annealed in the kiln. The majority of beadmakers use soft glass, and you will also find it used for other things such as goblets, sculpture, and marbles.  

 Not all soft glasses can be used together, but even within  a single brand there are plenty of colors. Unlike the muted tones of boro, soft glass can be bright yellows and reds. The soft pallete is typically lacking in great purples. Soft glass is what the Italian glass artists have used for a very long time, and the first soft glass used in this country was imported from Italy. Nowadays, it also comes from Germany, Japan,  China, America and elsewhere.

Boro and soft glass cannot be used together. If they were to be combined in one item, that item would crack all over the place as it cooled.  This has to do with the vastly different rates of expansion and contraction in the two glasses. Artists choose their favorite glass and then use a torch and a kiln, and other materials, that work with that type of glass.

Why is boro “hard” glass and soda-lime “soft” glass? It is probably because it takes far more heat (like a thousand degrees more) to melt boro than to melt soda-lime, and yes, when cool, it is harder – although all glass is breakable.

Why is soft glass a little more prevalent in beads? A pound of ordinary soft glass in widely available colors is about $10-15 whereas a pound of boro is about five times as much! The greatest expense in making beads is the cost of materials, and so the more expensive glass yields more expensive beads!

Finally, some of you who have seen my work might wonder what I use. The answer is, that with rare exception, I work in soft glass. I have not had the time to study the use of boro that would justify the added expense and I have yet to grow bored with the opportunities offered by soft glass. I always assure my students that all of their soft glass skills will transfer nicely to boro and it is a good idea to practice with the cheaper material.

Well known artists who work in boro include Nancy Tobey, Gail Crosman Moore, Andrew Brown and Lauri Copeland. Some prominent soft glass artists include Leah Fairbanks, Kathy Johnson, Jill Symons, Ann “Schermo” Baldwin and Andrea Guarino-Slemmons. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and in future posts I’ll try to post you to some of the wonderful work that can be seen on the web.

I hope this has all been interesting to some of you. Please let me know in your comments if you are curious about other aspects of the glass world and I’ll try to clue you in (when I know!).