Glass bead making is an accessible way of working hot glass and this course delivers an introduction to this exciting art form. Learn to make beautiful glass beads in the flame using a gas torch, coloured glass rods and several decorative techniques and materials. Those with some experience will be able to hone techniques and learn more control of the hot glass.
By the end of the course you will have made between 50 to 100 beads, depending on size and individual speed of work, and a piece of jewellery or collection of beads created using some of these beads. The confidence and information gained will enable you to make beads independently and set up a torch at home. Those with prior experience will have refined their skills and have a deeper understanding of the process.
You will receive plenty of torch time and a good grounding to the processes, materials and safe working practice. Learning is done in steps to build up skills and make increasingly complex designs and shapes, or practice and improve existing and new skills. Tutor demonstrations will be followed by individual practice, and occasional group and individual discussions.
Repetition is necessary early on to help coordination and become more relaxed with the process. As the course progresses individual practice time will increase allowing you to pursue your personal ideas and consolidate skills.
You will be given basic technical information about glass, and will discuss tips for making better beads and the attributes of the perfect bead. A variety of books and the tutor’s beads will be available to view for inspiration.
• Application of frits, powder, dots, stringer and metal.
• Surface manipulation including raking, twisting and poking.
• Hand shaping cylinders and hearts.
• Using presses to shape glass.
• Your choice of techniques for those with experience.
A feature of the Summer School is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace further opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course.
Several early evening creative sessions (5.10pm - 7pm) are planned throughout the week. Extra activities will differ this year in response to social distancing. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:
• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work
• Sign up early evening tutor-led drawing sessions in the garden
• Time to relax or explore in the tranquil West Dean Gardens
• Take a break from your course with some free time on Tuesday afternoon, from 3.30-5pm
• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios
Timetable for Summer Schools
Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.
Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.
Sarah started making glass beads in 2002 and teaching beadmaking
in 2006. She sells at bead and art fairs, is a City and Guilds
qualified teacher and four times judge of the British Bead
She is a member of the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen (where she sells her work), Glass Beadmakers UK and the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.