I'm writing from The Gathering, the annual conference of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, in Minneapolis. Thursday night at the opening reception, I enjoyed talking with new ISGB member Kim Caruso from Antietam Alpaca Co., who explained her need to work with her hands, whether she is making beads, pottery, or working with wool from her alpacas. Kim said she had never seen a glass bead until she took a lampworking class with a friend and became hooked.
I went to the Open Torch session next, where Craig Milliron from Arrow Springs was snapping photos of Lewis Wilson (Craig's photo is at right) twirling glass rods before a huge Air Force Max "volcano" torch. Lewis had the torch aimed at both the rod he was working and a rack full of rods, keeping the glass from as many as four rods hot at the same time that he worked his main piece.
Jeri Warhaftig also drew a crowd as she lampworked glass and made blown-glass beads. Stephanie Sersich, Dustin Tabor, Milon Townsend, Larry Brickman and Wayne Robbins made the rounds with the other "celebs" there, as the rest of us soaked up the atmosphere.
Friday I got a closer look at the Air Force Max torch at the Kinari Glass Co. booth, which also featured an impressive display of exquisite beads by Japanese lampworkers.
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