I am just home from a week spend in Las Vegas, NV for the ISGB's (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) annual conference. It was a week that went by all too fast, but was every bit as educational, enlightening and exhausting as every year previous. I have been attending these annual reunions every year since 2010 and it never gets old, tired or boring. I don't usually see anything of the cities we have visited because my focus is trained on the classes, presentations, technical vendors, artists and most of all, the people. I never left the hotel the year we were in Houston. This year I did one fun event off site and that was a tour of the Neon Boneyard. That was a great deal of fun and included some nifty details of the rise and fall of some of the casinos and their storied owners. The Boneyard is crammed full of mostly non-working or partially working neon signs, some of the classics easily recognizable such at the Stardust sign.
One of the classes I took this year was a Vessels and Ornaments class in borosilicate with Andrew Pollack. Andy is excited to be opening a brand new teaching studio and gallery in his hometown of New Orleans this month. My ornaments and vessels turned out horribly, but I do have a better understanding of the medium. It was only a one day class so there was not enough practice time to expect great results. I purchased an aquarium pendant from Andy to add to the collection.
The other class I took was making off mandrel sculptural butterflies with Margaret Zinser Hunt. This class was using the more familiar (to me) soft glass as opposed to borosilicate. Margaret works in both types of glass but for this class we used soft glass. I did not have any work that survived, but again, the class was only one day long and there are many steps to learn. I purchased a moth bead and some round monarch butterfly beads during the class, then I won one of Margaret's butterflies during the Silent Auction and then she very generously gave me a butterfly pendant for booth sitting for her during a live demonstration.
I won big at a slot machine early on during the trip and I carefully saved those winnings and did not play back any of it so that I could spend it on artists at the Bead Bazaar and the Glasscraft show, a sister show held at the same venue. I have many snapshots to show off the new additions to the collection. Please keep in mind that these are just snapshots which I take for identification only until I can have professional shots taken.