How Long Does It Take?
It's been over 20 years since I made my first glass bead. So, what's another year? It's been a long time coming but finally the gears are moving. The gallery will be the only glass and local- centric gallery in New Orleans. the studio will be the only public access lamp-working specific studio in the city. Building something special is going to take some time. In the meantime, here's a little bit about where I started.
I first saw glassblowing when I was 10. I was visiting my mother, Robin Pollack, who was taking a workshop at the Penland School of Crafts. As a teenager I learned ceramics and then how to make glass beads from her. She is a potter and art teacher of over 40 years. In the 90s she took a class from Atlanta beadmaker, Sylvie Landsdown. From there she set up a small "hot head" torch and made a lot of "dot-stacked" and other beads. She was "the dot queen"! Once she mastered the basics of glass bead making, she moved on to other mediums and left the torch behind.
The torch sat vacant for a few years before I commandeered it and tried my own hand at making small soft glass beads and animals. I first used the soft and beautiful Moretti glass, made in Murano, Italy. With no direction, many of my first beads cracked, but each one was a learning experience. I didn't have You Tube or Google or all the information at my fingertips like we have today. I had some books, I had trial and error, and I had persistence.
What I have learned: the cracked work is just as important to the process of learning as those that survive. I learned this early on and now preach the same thing to my students. Every time a student has a failure, I call it a success if they learned something from it and try again. It's just part of working with glass. It cracks! Often. All the time, actually.
So, how long does it take? Well...you can't rush greatness...