In late March I spent a weekend with about 20 other flameworkers at an event in Asheville North Carolina called “Fire on the Mountain”. It’s a bead making retreat arranged twice a year by two of my mentors, Terry Hale and Marjorie Langston, and my first experience with it was last year’s fall event, known as Hot Time in the Mountains. For a long weekend Terry and Marjorie, with the able assistance of Kevin Masiulis and Gary Newlin, turn Gary’s shop, A Touch of Glass, into a torching studio for about 20 participants. They’ve been doing it for over 10 years, and some of the attendees have been there for almost every session. For those who attend the events regularly it’s as much a social event as a technical session, giving them an opportunity to catch up with friends they may only see once or twice a year. Terry and Marjorie line up volunteers to demo techniques, and then attendees can either try their hand at the technique, or just play with any ideas that come to mind.
Terry and Marjorie each did demos this spring (mushrooms with stands and boro icicles, respectively), and the other two demos were done by Carol Crye (sunflower focal beads) and Yee Murdock (silver fumed galaxy beads). When I attended last fall I hadn’t done any torchwork in a month or so, and struggled with everything I tried. And even more importantly, I didn’t follow up with more practice when I got back home. This time around I made a number of icicles, mushrooms and galaxy beads during the retreat, and set a goal of making 20 of everything when I got back. I haven’t reached that goal yet, but I’ll show examples and share my experiences in the next few blog posts. Here are a few other examples of my earliest attempts.
These events are a lot of fun, in part because of the great demos and new techniques we learn, but mainly because of the warmth and comradery of the people who’ve become my friends over the last few years. The fall event is already full (they keep a waiting list), and I’m sorry I’ll be missing it, but f you get the chance to attend an event like this take advantage of it, because you’ll learn something new, and have a lot of fun doing it.