Monday, April 11, 2011

We Painted With Fire!

It was Bead Fest Wire time in Philly this weekend and my friend, Elisabeth, and I had a phenomenal time getting into full-on bead dork mode.  It was fantastic.  There was shopping, of course, which I'll talk more on later, but most importantly, there was Barbara Lewis of Painting With Fire fame.  She makes the best enameled beads so I was thrilled that I could get a seat in her class on Sunday.  

It was worth the hours and hours in the car to come up with a little something like these:

There were 20 of us in the class and because of the torching, we ended up moving out of the conference room that was originally scheduled and got a big workspace down near the food and vendors so we'd have lots of ventilation.  It worked out perfectly since we all had plenty of space and our own kit setup with the torch, gas tank, and all the rest of the tools that we'd need.  I intended to take a before and after picture but was too wound up to get the's the before with the whole setup, including the required coffee! 

Barbara set us on the path to goodness with demos and lots of help along the way.  Jim, David & Chris were a wonderfully helpful team.

Working with the torch was a little bit scary starting out.  Both Elisabeth and I have only had a little experience with lampworking, so that's the only torch time we've really experienced.  On that note, many thanks to my bud Juls for giving me my first taste of the flame last year.  :)  Once we got the hang of it and started seeing all the colors of the enamels coming out, we were hooked.

Elisabeth is concentrating.  She was all about the color "elan" which we finally figured out was like a dove grey.  Really pretty.

And I couldn't stop with the yellows and pinks.  I kept coming up with really pretty orangie-salmony colors and wanted more. That orange ball on the mandrel that I'm staring at is a HOT hot metal bead that's going to be dipped in powdered enamel a few times until I think it's ready and then it'll cool and become beautiful (or not...depending on how I worked it).

My favorite part of the class was in the last couple of hours when we got to really go to town and actually "paint" with the fire and use the heat and the copper to develop wonderful patterns, textures, and colors.  These are my favorite...

This is my actual Favoritey McFavoriteson.  We had the lights in the room dim so that we could see the flame more clearly and keep our work in the right/hottest part, so it was hard to see the colors once the beads started to cool.  I had this one still on the mandrel and wanted to take a look at it and walked out into the light.  I was so excited that I started skipping and running around and ran over to show Barbara.  It was just about the coolest thing ever!  Even better is that Curt asked me where I bought it...I told him I actually made it myself with a torch!!

Before we could leave, I had to have a picture with Barbara & Elisabeth. We put the "skinny" filter on...haaaaaaaaaa

Of course, there is now cylinder of MAP gas, a torch head, and a bunch of yellow and pink enamels here in my apartment so I can do it all right here in my kitchen!!!  Just what I needed...another obsession.  :)


  1. Fabulous, Love the beads, you did so well.
    May I ask, have only seen this done with filigree blanks, are your yellow and blue ones a solid base?

  2. OOOhhh!!! NICE! I really love the beads you made!
    Barbara's the best, isn't she? I took her class last year and had SO much fun! Glad you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see what you make with your enameled beads. :)

  3. love your beads! I am signed up to take Barbra's class in September, and I can hardly wait....

  4. I love your cool! Glad you had a good time!

  5. Sounds like great fun! Your beads are gorgeous! I love enameling, the possibilities are endless.

  6. Love the picture of you three together at the end! Also the beads, to DIE for! Awesome! I have my fingers crossed that Barbara will do a class a little close to the Midwest so I can attend one. It is not the same trying to figure it out on your own. I am glad you guys had so much fun! Torching is addicting so watch out :)
    Have a wonderful week!

  7. Wow, your beads are so pretty and well done! And the pic of the three of you is awesome!

  8. Ooooh I'm so jealous, but not for long. I'm taking her class in Portland in a few months, then I'll be the one dancing around like a goof. I can't wait. Your beads ROCK, I love your post and your pictures, what fun!!

  9. Looks like a great, great time. Your beads are beautiful!!!!!

  10. Glad you had so much fun and GREAT job!

  11. I stopped to say hello to Barb and it looked like everyone in the class was having a fantastic time! Your beads are beautiful!

  12. wow this is so cool! you did awesome (:

  13. Those turned out gorgeous. You look like you had a ball.

  14. Wow! I'm so jealous!
    Your beads are breath-taking and it sounds like it was a lot of fun in general!


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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