Discover the possibilities of glass bead design. Use a torch flame to create coloured beads and learn how to apply decorative effects such as frits, canes, stringers, dots and metal leaf.
This course delivers an introduction into the accessible and exciting art of glass bead making. Learn to make glass beads in the flame using a gas torch, coloured glass rods and a variety of decorative techniques and materials. You will work at the torch and have a good grounding of the processes, materials and safe working practice.
Learning is done in incremental steps to gradually build up skills and make increasingly complex beads. Tutor demonstrations will be followed by individual practice and occasional group discussions. Repetition is necessary to help coordination and to become more relaxed with the process. There will be periodic opportunities for longer individual practice to consolidate skills and pursue personal ideas.
You will be shown how to control the hot glass to make plain glass beads, and after making several, you will progress to simple decorative techniques, shaping and encasing. Materials used include a choice of coloured glass rods, powders, silver leaf and aventurine glass. You will receive information to help you understand the technical aspects, so that your beads are well made and durable.
By the end of the course, you will have made between 18 to 25 beads, depending on bead size and individual speed of work. These can be made into jewellery at home and provide a record of the techniques learnt. You will have gained information and confidence to make beads independently and set up a torch at home. You will also have a good appreciation of the process and design of lampworked glass beads, including the attributes of the 'perfect bead'.
Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above
Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.
(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)
- General materials and glass used by the group as a whole
What students need to bring
- A notepad and pen
- One glass jam jar
- Flame-worker's didymium or AUR-92 tinted glass safety glasses if you already have these. If not, glasses supplied by West Dean are available to use.
- Please wear comfortable natural fibre clothing e.g. cotton (safety reasons) and bring something to cover clothes and arms, such as an apron (made from natural fibres) or an old cotton shirt to protect against burning little holes. Please wear closed shoes and tie back long hair.
Available to buy
- Available from shop:
- General art and craft materials
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).