Wednesday 28 October 2009

Odd Job

My highly-organised glass rod stashSometimes I forget how totally bizarre my job must appear to other people. I started this lampworking malarkey five and a half years ago and back then I had no idea that you could have fun melting glass in the comfort of your own home. Or shed. Now it's my job and I'm so used to it I forget that other non-glassy people probably don't know what lampwork is, just like I once didn't.

When I meet new people and they ask me what I do, I tell them that I'm a beadmaker. They usually nod politely and tell me that their sister, neighbour or friend-of-a-friend makes jewellery too. Then I have to explain that no, I don't make jewellery - I actually make the individual glass beads. Then I normally do a whole What's-My-Line? type mime and a quick explanation to back it up. I've got quite good at it - I can describe my occupation in just one sentence now!

I mention this because today the double glazing people came to fit new windows and a new front door. I let them in, made them cups of tea and then I settled down to melt glass in the conservatory while they went about their windowy business. Every now and then I'd catch sight of one of the window men lurking in the lounge trying to figure out what the heck I was up to with a flame and some glass rods whilst wearing some attractive purple glasses. Eventually I beckoned them in and explained what I was doing and they were fascinated. I love how people react to seeing what I do - it's a kind of a cross between wonder, puzzlement and a so-that's-how-beads-are-made reaction. I guess it's pretty much the same reaction I had when I first read my Cindy Jenkins' 'Making Glass Beads' book all those years ago .....


  1. SAME! People always think I make jewelry and I say, no, I make the actual beads! It's fun to explain to them exactly what you do but, unless they are in your house seeing you set up and working, they just kind of nod their heads and say, oh, ok...

  2. Don't suppose you could let me know the sentence you say....normally takes me a whole flipping page!!

  3. I think actually seeing it is the best way to understand. Those glazing men wont realise how lucky they were !

  4. Hi Laura: I'm relatively new to your blog and this is my first comment. But when I read your entry it reminded me of my experiences when I go to a hardware store looking for something that I'll use in my jewelry or in my studio! Of course, what I'm looking forward will never been used for it's intended purpose! Isn't it fun to just tweak peoples' perceptions!

  5. Odd job? Or very, very fun job? You're right, it does take a little bit to explain to people that about making the glass beads. I do have my spiel down to a sentence now, too.

    And you totally rock for putting the encasing tutorials out there!!! Thanks so much.

    P.S. I got my green beads while on holiday. Can't wait to make them into something!

  6. Thank you for your comments everyone!

    Tina - the sentence goes something like :

    "I melt glass rods in a torch flame to create beads that I then sell to jewellery makers who use them in their designs."

    Barbara - Hello! Thanks for your comment. Yes, I personally find kitchen shops to be a great source for little lampworking aids. And if only the shop assistant knew what I was really going to do with them .....

    Jenn - thank you. I really hope that people find the tutorials useful.

    Laura :o)


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