I love lampworking. It feels like magic to me to take a solid rod of clear-looking glass, get it incandescently hot until it glows and melts at the same time, drip that liquid onto a piece of wire, and get a red-colored translucent bead later. I’ve been lampworking for about 5 years now, and pretty much full time for the last couple years. I figure I’ve made probably 10,000 beads since I started.
All this is the fault of Mistress Aine Callaghan, head of the Stonemarche Dabblers’ Guild and a generally nifty person. She and I were neighbors when I was in college. We went on a lot of adventures together – dumpster diving during the end of semester dorm cleanouts, wild-harvesting grapes and elderberries and bayberries (and then making jam and wax), and trying our hands at a number of different skills and arts. One afternoon, she took me downcellar and showed me her lampworking setup. She showed me how to turn on the torch, to heat the glass, and to make a basic bead. Then she let me sit down and just play. I was hooked. A few hours later, I knew this was something I wanted to do on a long-term basis. I went out and bought my own equipment and have been teaching myself through trial and error ever since.