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Glass Bead Making

Nova Scotia artisan Susan Hood gives Island workshops

by Ann Putnam

Glass artist Susan Hood demonstrating lampwork technique of bead-making at workshop at Victoria Glass Studio. Below: Susan’s “fantasy shell.”I had the opportunity recently to watch a fiery demonstration of glass bead making at the Victoria Glass Studio in Victoria-By-The-Sea by acclaimed bead maker and glass artist, Susan Hood. Susan also held demos and workshops at the Firehorse Studio in Charlottetown. In Susan’s studio, Glass Harp Gallery (www.glassharpgallery. com) in Yarmouth Nova Scotia, she has designed, created and restored stained glass works for many years. It was through her experience in stained glass that she came to glass bead making. It is this art medium, specifically lampwork, which most fulfills her as an artist.

Glass bead making is a craft that dates back centuries. The technique which was demonstrated here, called lampwork, torchwork or flamework, was popularised in Murano, Italy in the 1930s. Murano is still the capital of lampworking to this day and where you can find the masters of the art. Susan herself studied there under master bead maker, Lucio Bubacco.

Susan Hood is now a registered teacher in stained glass work and glass bead making. As we watched, Susan used hot flame to melt the end of a glass rod. Constantly coming back to the flame, she wrapped the molten glass around a thin metal mandrel. (The glass rods come in a multitude of colours and the mandrels come in different sizes which determines the size of the hole in the beads.) Layer after layer, with twists and turns for different effects, she added colours and textures until each unique bead was completed. With a steady hand and experienced eye, Susan created several different styles of beads during her two hour demonstration.

The demo preceded two days of workshops where her students were introduced to the art of lampwork and where they were able to make m any beads each in a surprising array of colours and styles

Victoria Glass Studio will be offering more workshops in the upcoming months, in bead making, fusing, stained glass, mosaics and sand blasting. Also, Victoria Glass Studio is now set up with supplies and equipment for lampwork glass bead making and other glass arts. Any person who has taken a one-day workshop or has the equivalent experience, subject to approval, can rent studio space and equipment at the studio.

Future workshop dates will be posted in The Buzz or you can check out the website at www.natures-creation.ca.

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