Ever since I started making glass beads way back in 1995, I have met some of the nicest people and made some very good friends who share my interest in lampwork and jewelry.
Something about the people I've met, and some I only know via the Internet, are special in a unique way. Most of the folks are bead makers who I have admired and aspired to be as skilled as they are. Some of the people I've come across are jewelry artists who buy my beads to create their special works of art. I've never met a soul who hasn't given me pleasure to know and share with.
Around 2000 I started teaching lampworking on a HotHead torch at "Stone and Paper Art Studio" in Mandeville, LA. Mary Elaine Bernard was my boss and she has become one the dearest friends I have. I made tons of friends who were interested in learning this new medium, and we had a ball doing it. A couple of my students went on to become very accomplished bead makers! The point is, having the experience to work with Mary Elaine and all the students I taught was a blessing. By the way, Mary Elaines son Eddie Bernard is a well known glass blower in New Orleans! I admired his work for years and through his mother he has also befriended me....but that's another story!
I sort of fell out of the habit of making beads during a troubling time in my life, but when I picked it back up in 2005, I sought out people of like minds to learn from. Of course that brought me more new friends!
I started searching out beadmkers in my area. I found Shirley Groser in Jensen Beach, FL and she and I have become buddies ever since. She showed me how she does boro and let me give it a try...I found that I was just going to stick to soft glass! She and I attended out first Gathering together in Louisville, KY. There I made even more friends, people I've run across on eBay, Etsy, and Artfire. The Gathering has turned out to be a turning point for me in "gathering" more friends ever since. I've decided to volunteer to work with the ISGB on one of their committees and I'm going to volunteer 8 hours at the next Gathering in Seattle. I can't wait! I'm going with another great friend, Marie Woelfing who I mentioned in my previous blog.
Another big venue I've found for making friends is Beads and More classifieds on Yahoo where I've sold lots of my beads and have found outstanding bargains on jewelry findings, books, tutorials and more. Today I got a message there that Lori Anderson of "Bead Soup" is giving away some wonderful DVD's! Check out her blog here.......http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/. I plan on participating in her next Bead Soup project. BaM classifies has been a great place to find friends who share my joy of creation!
All in all, I love to collect friends! They are better than beads, aren't expensive, and don't break!