Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Teaching Adventures At Maple Grove Cemetery: Making Layered Fused Glass Pendants

Maple Grove remains one of my favorite places to teach -- and I got to do so again last Sunday. For this class, I had my students make layered fused glass pendant, which are a bit more complicated than the other projects I've done there.

Saturday had been the cemetery's annual tea party, so we got to enjoy the leftovers! I had way too many handmade brownies and scones. MG's secretary, Helen, even brought her handmade clotted cream. I haven't had that outside of England and it was fantastic.

I got a nice-sized group of nine people. That's about as much as the room can fit, so we took up almost the entire table. These ladies were very enthusiastic and ready to go. As soon as we started, there was a great energy in the room.

We then got to work and I showed them how to layer pendants. First, I did a step-by-step tutorial with them, explaining how each layer needs to be balanced so it'll fire evenly. We then saw how many layers we could do, making it up to seven.

I attempted to fire a batch of piece's in the microwave there. but they all collapsed and sat in a heap in the kiln. I think maybe the plate in the microwave spun too quickly? I'm not sure. But this is exactly why I fire pieces increments; so I can check on them as they progress. Happily, the ladies were very understanding and simply chuckled when I explained what had happened, and that I'd be better off firing them at home. "Maybe we can fuse them all together and make one giant piece," one joked.

My students caught on to layering quickly and most made multiple pieces during our afternoon session. A few even made earrings from the scrap. Along the way, we had a lot of laughs. One young woman shared that she worked at the cemetery. Another student noted that this woman was the youngest in the room, while the rest of us were old (For the record, I'm 44. NOT old!). She then added, "But at least we're more alive than the people you normally deal with." I guess you had to be there, but her delivery made it really funny. You kind of have to have a gallows sense of humor while being at a cemetery, especially if you're there for a crafts workshop.

I was too busy to take pictures, but here are a few from Helen. I'm almost finished firing their pieces and they turned out beautifully, so the class was a success all around! Check out my site Naomi's Designs for more handmade glass and wire wrapped jewelry.

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