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MARCH 2016

MARCH 2016


Sharon Peters Reports:

Connie Klein hosted our March meeting at her home/studio in Concord, and we all had a great time!
Ten of us showed up, all armed with beads and goodies to sell, and lots of finished jewelry pieces, in metal, glass and seed bead.
We covered Connie's entire kitchen island and dining room table with the work, and took turns discussing what we'd brought.
We spent all day in a discussion of techniques and inspiration. It was a great learning experience, everybody went home with new ideas.
Potluck was great, company was fine, and Shirley/Sharon previewed their Hands2 collaborative pieces to the world for the first time.
Thanks to Connie for hosting, it was most excellent!




  Linnea Wong graciously invited us to marvel at Design With Fire's well-equipped studio and attached hot shop.

Patrick Mullen demonstrated how to pull a complex cane. He began with a black core and added a great deal of clear around it, marvering it into a large bicone shape. (right)
After a while, the blowpipe gets quite hot, so he uses a custom-built water spray to cool it. (left)

Several white rods were picked up around the perimeter of the gather, and painstakingly marvered in.

Large-scale hot shop work often requires more than one person.

Patrick and one of his assistants pull and twist the cane.

Several pulls of about 10 feet each were made from the same initial gather. (right)




  Yer humble editor was not at the January meeting, but Sharon was and has this report:

We all had a great time at our last ever SGB Norcal meeting at Joy Munshower's home/studio. Joy and John are moving to San Diego this spring, and we're going to miss them like crazy!
But we'll get her back for a visit at our December holiday party, with some extra days to hang with us. More info on that later...
20 people came to the party and the potluck and conversation were good!
Joy set up a couple tables in the garage with tools, equipment, beads and glass for sale. Moving is hell, but we helped downsize her stash.

Joy also did several torch demo's, and showed us how she layers shards to create the interesting backgrounds in her sculptural pieces.
Fabulous fun day, thanks to Joy for hosting us.
Gonna miss you, babe!





JUNE 2015 JUNE 2015
  Aimee Milan (Polychrome Beads) hosted our June meeting at her home studio. Where we had a Technique Show n' Tell day, where attendees were asked to talk about or demo something related to their art or glass. It was fun, and we had two new attendees - welcome LeighAnn and Linda!

Mary Tarara, a talented and creative metalsmith, brought a variety of pendants and told us how they were made. She discussed metal cutting dies, texturing, patinas, using gilders metallic pastes and patinas, and coloring and sealing metal, She also spoke about making niobium ear wires, and where to get the stock, and enameling on metal discs with stencils. Plus lots of Q&A.

Hope Weiner Humphries, in addition to bringing fabulous poodle and dragon sugar cookies (the woman is a Baking Artist!),walked us thru the process of making textured end caps using metal clay. And she brought samples for each step of the process, a great help! She discussed various types of metal clay, textured teflon sheets, using brass tubes to cut circles, torch drying, grinding edges, hole making techniques, firing schedules, liver of sulfur patinas, and burnishing. And much more Q&A.


Sharon Peters did a brief talk about making glass headpins that are bonded onto silver wire, with handouts. She also brought a big box with a portion of her bead collection with pieces from 1994 to 2005 from Japan, England and the US, and we did a big show n' tell pass-around. Fun!

Diane Peterson makes large hollow beads using puffy mandrels. They're tumbled or etched, polished with Renaissance Wax, and finished with textured end caps. She brought 3 trays of her work and discussed the process, but the best part was the lively discussion about glass reactions.

This took us to 5 pm, and the note-taker (Jim Kervin) had to leave. The color talk was still going on, and it's possible that the party lasted well into the night... if there's more to report, someone else will have to jump in here! Thanks to Aimee, her sweetie & her pup for hosting us!


About a dozen SGB NorCal members were on hand for a formal three-hour demo and lecture by Northern California glass artist JC Herrell, hosted by Morgan Campbell and Nicolina Hull-Campbell at their home and studio in Petaluma.

JC's beads are immediately recognizable by their meticulous workmanship, where precise, linear placement of fine, black stringer is often teamed with enamelled effects. This signature style shows up on everything from her Prairie beads - which resemble Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie-style glass windows - to items from her Floral Department - where the stringers show up as the waving black stems of flowers. And it was featured on her 2013 ISGB Gathering commemorative beads, which featured an architectural column against a glowing red-orange enamel background.


A former corporate trainer, she also knows how to present concepts and techniques so that others can understand them. The demo covered a range of topics from the best glass for intense black stringer, how to roll a gather for stringer in enamel to make it stiffer, and even basics such as the best way to use both heat and gravity to shape a bead.

Morgan and Nikki's studio was a great setting for watching JC work, with a spacious bench, great ventilation and room for folks to stand or sit with good sightlines. For those who can't get to a JC workshop or demo in person, there are several tutorials on her website, on the Joy of Stringer page:


JUNE 2014

JUNE 2014

SGB NorCal's June meeting was something of a mini-marketplace as members dug into their closets, drawers and storage spaces for items to sell, swap or just give away. Not exactly spring cleaning - late-summer cleaning? Beads, flameworking tools, frit, jewelry displays, back issues of Bead & Button - when it actually profiled glass bead artists - and other art magazines of interest were among the items on offer as about 20 members gathered at Sharon Peters' home and studio in Alameda. There was also the usual array of potluck goodies, and near-continuous demos, with Sharon showing how she constructs canes for eye murrini, and Morgan Campbell demonstrating the Venetian technique for creating glass insects with hair-thin legs - they actually stand up. A guest appearance was made by the resident semi-feral cat, Mr. Orange, who did not scratch or bite anybody.



MAY 2014

MAY 2014

Saturday, May 24th, probably the warmest day of the Memorial Day weekend, found 15 determined Society members gathering at Jim and Peggy Kervin's wonderful, bead-and-tool-filled lair in the wilds of suburban Livermore. ("Jim has more tools than you can shake a mandrel at," cited one awe-filled member.)

Jim generously made his studio available to members for a variety of stupendous feats of cold working, including sandblasting and polishing on his huge flat lap wheels, which enabled interested parties to bring their beads to a stunning degree of brilliance. (note the tightly-calibrated steel-belted splash guard surrounding the wheel, at left.)

Jim also demonstrated how to mask areas on beads with tape, hot melt glue and intricate photoresists before sandblasting. Following the sandblasting, Jim also demonstrated how to add diluted silver PMC to the design and fuse the silver onto the bead. A really innovative idea!

Another show stopper was his demonstration of how to make photorealistic decals with a laser printer and fuse them onto ready made beads. (Believe us, you had to be there.....)
  Nature note: If Jim hasn't been up on the roof or in a tree recently, there's good reason. A mourning dove decided the top of a ladder would be an excellent nesting spot. So there the ladder will stay until Mama Dove and her brood are done with it.  

APRIL 2014

APRIL 2014

Saturday, April 26th found a few hardy Society members at Janice's place. Any reports of survivors are welcome, as would be photographic evidence.


MARCH 2014

MARCH 2014

Saturday, March 22nd dawned bright, and it was evident that Spring was here. Flowers bloomed, birds chirped, and SGB NorCal members’ thoughts turned to, of course, beads.

A hardy few turned up at Aimee Milan’s studio, high above Hayward to learn the secrets of punching and doming metal, making bead caps and just exactly how to put a metal sleeve inside a glass bead hole.
From among her dazzling array of tools, Aimee neatly fit a silver sleeve into a donut bead using her Jim Moore coring press, proving the value of the plastic finishing dies that come with it. Spirited debate immediately broke out as to the relative merits of other models of coring devices, with no clear victor, as everyone seemed to be quite happy with their particular version.
Any residual tension was immediately dispersed through hands-on testing of Aimee’s various texturing hammers on different kinds of sheet metal, as Buster the dog fled to the quieter safety of a nearby Man Cave.

Aimee also recommends glazing the inside of non-sleeved bead holes with Pebeo gloss medium, as it cures at a relatively cool 325º F and provides a smooth clear finish inside the bead.
Many Thanks to Aimee, Guy and Buster for hosting our meeting!
  The next meeting will be April 26th, at Janice Peacock’s Lafayette studio, where Peeps will undoubtedly be roasted.

Also: The Crucible, Oakland’s premier Fire Arts center, will have its Spring Open House on Saturday, April 12th from 12 noon to 4 pm. All are invited to attend this free event, and to check out the various Flameworking, Hot Shop, Coldworking and Jewelry Departments (along with all of the other cool stuff.) A tuition discount program for NorCal members is in the works, and feedback on the various facilities is appreciated.




SGB NorCal's February 22 meeting was held at Nightside Studios in San Pablo, with Ralph & Deb McCaskey hosting (Nightside Studios also being their home). There were 17 in attendance, including our guest from Public Glass, Nate Watson. With a laptop hooked up to the TV, the group was able to take a look at various social media platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. There was a lively discussion of what, exactly, the different outlets could be used for by artists for promoting their work. This is still a new communications landscape, and it's not necessarily true that everyone under 40 knows how to use all these networking tools!

At the Nightside torch, Morgan Campbell demonstrated the techniques he learned back in October in a class with master glass sculptor Wesley Fleming. Several amazingly detailed and delicate insects resulted. Here's one now!  



It was an unseasonably warm and dry January in northern California, but it made for a very pleasant meeting of the SGB NorCal group in San Jose at Joy Munshower's home and studio. There were 21 members in attendance - including several members of the South Bay chapter, the Fireflies - and the nonwintery weather made it as pleasantboutdoors as indoors.

Most of the attendees did migrate to the garage studio when Joy sat down at the torch to demo one of her large tab beads with a bas-relief horsehead. Not only does she make it look easy, she describes in detail what she's doing so that her process is easy to understand - if not replicate!

When she's making horse beads, Joy keeps an array of photos posted in front of her for easy reference. She even makes sure to have in sight horses facing both right and left - depending on which way the one on the bead will be facing.

The discussion turned to special effects - feathers and hedgehog quills - so Joy did a another quick demo with a small tab bead and a series of quills (or feathers - you could adapt the technique to either one), using a stringer and applying it to the warm base bead with a push-on-pull-back motion so that each feather (or quill) stand out from the others.

  Shirley Cook has been delving into felting - often combining felted vessels with her lampwork beads as well as bead embroidery - and brought some beautiful examples from her latest class, where she did a number of lengths of fabric with leaf motifs and madder dye.  





Holiday Party

(erp! )

The torch was going most of the day in the chilly garage studio of Sharon Peters, as Joy Munshower demonstrated a bas-relief bead, and Hayley Tsang showed how to get precisely shaped and spaced dots on beads, using stringers. This demo was a response particularly to the interest shown in the 40-bead Challenge begun by Heather Trimlett and about which Hayley started a thread on Lampwork Etc. See Hayley's enVision blog for some of the fantastic sets of beads that participants have made during Challenge #1, which limits artists to two colors only.


The principles of the challenge are obvious to anyone who has practiced scales on a musical instrument or done any other activity where basic skills improve by focused repetition. In addition, host Sharon Peters notes, "It teaches you how to be creative with a limited number of resources, and to pay attention to the shape of the base bead, and improve your hand-eye coordination."

A bunch of SGB NorCal members are participating in the challenge including Peggy Olsen, Jim Kervin, Diane Cuccia Peterson and Kathy Carter.


A bonus to making a whole lot of beads that showcase a riot of pattern in just two colors is that you can make them into a very cool necklace, like the one Hayley wore to the meeting - especially if you use your newly refreshed dotting skills to make a big ol' focal bead to go with them:

Lampwork awareness: In addition to deciding on eliminating the annual-dues model of membership, the group also discussed the concerns many have about attracting more people to join. A number of key issues were raised in connection with this, including that:
beginning beadmakers sometimes assume that SGB NorCal is only for professionals;
other folks we might assume would be natural allies and interested in lampwork - such as seed-beaders and polymer clay artists - don't know that much about our craft
knowledge of lampwork among the general public appears to be very limited (hence the "Is that Fimo?" and "What do you do with those?" questions so many of us get at shows!)
The idea was floated that SGB NorCal should create a presentation that could be delivered at meetings of groups such as the Bead Society of Northern California. In addition, it was generally agreed - though no one has so far stepped forward to take on the project - that an informational brochure could be produced, which members could have at their tables when they do shows, and hand out any other time they have the opportunity.

Got marketing ideas? If you have any other thoughts about ways to raise awareness of what we do, please either email Jim Kervin or come to a meeting and start a discussion (OR BOTH). This group is for all of us, which means any one of us can start the ball rolling on great things we could do.

Meeting venues: NorCal members are extremely generous in opening their homes and studios for meetings, so there's not a pressing need for other venues. However, there are some possible locations that have multiple torches so that more members could actually make beads at a meeting (the way we could in Arrow Springs' old location) Some possible other places to meet include the Crucible in Oakland (where Ralph McCaskey teaches beadmaking), Palo Alto High School, BAGI in San Jose and Public Glass in San Francisco.

Because this was the annual holiday party, there was a slightly larger turnout - about 20 SGB members - which still t'was a small-enough group that everyone had easy access to the chocolate fountain, which did brisk business as usual.

(No Meeting - Everyone's At BABE!)

SGB NorCal typcially doesn't meet in November - we make up for it by having a heavily chocolate-infused holiday party early in December! See ya there!!


Morgan and Nikki Campbell

SGB NorCal met at Morgan Campbell and Nikki Hull-Campbell's home in Petaluma and got a two-for-one set of demos..

Morgan has been doing great things with the Rayzist system of photo emulsion resists for sandblasting, and patiently went through the steps to producing a beautiful result for an attentive group of more than a dozen NorCal members

Meanwhile, Nikki demonstrated her mastery of floral canes in Venetian glass, and how she uses them to make gorgeous flowers, then encases the designs in clear glass. Not only was it an educational meeting: it was a beautiful, warm, Sonoma County afternoon as well.

Our thanks to Nikki and Morgan for a terrific meeting!


Public Glass

A few folks from the SGB NorCal group convened at the nonprofit, public-acces studio and school Public Glass in SF, where they were treated to a hot-shop demo. In addition, a tour of the facility was led by SGB NorCal member Malcolm Spann. Our thanks to Nate Watson and Public Glass for the meeting venue.


Terri Brazil-Carol and Andrew Carol's

The things we did last summer.....
OK - it was just last month. Here's what we did at the August meeting:

Terri Brazil-Carol and Andrew Carol hosted the August meeting - and not just so we could drool over Terri's spacious, well-lighted, very organized studio and want to be just like her. Though some of us did.

Nope, there was also a terrific, multi-phase demo, in which Terri first created a cabochon at the torch, and and then showed how she turns a finished cabochon into a beautiful pendant, stitching around it with seedbeads. (Terri has put together a nifty tutorial for our members, which you can can find at this link: ( )
Please consider that this doc is really meant just for our members' personal use, not to be published or distributed everywhere ...)

Terri also demo'd one of her glass flowers - here she is at the torch:

A special visitor showed up, too, across the back fence ...

... a juvenile red-shouldered hawk, ID'd by Morgan Campbell, who knows his birds (we think we can say fairly confidently is the only SGB NorCal member who's also a master falconer). Mr. or Ms. Hawk watched us for a while and then, probably deciding we were less interesting than some small, edible rodent, took off.

JUNE 2013

JUNE 2013

June meeting: A hot time in the old town ...
Old Sacramento, that is - in the arts district at Gretchen Schueller's shop, Piece of Mind Bead and Jewelry Studio. Rather than a regular meeting, it was a trunk show, at which almost a dozen hardy SGB NorCal members set up shop. Temperatures soaring to around 108 degrees thinned the buying crowds a bit, but that's not enough to make people who play with fire wilt. Well, not when they can set up a few electric fans, anyway.

It was great to get together for what's become an annual event - which, by the way, will be moved to April or September next year, so the time isn't quite as hot as this year!

MAY 2013

MAY 2013

It was a gorgeous spring day in Livermore and we gathered to grind, polish and sandlblast the defenseless beads we'd brought (or that our cohorts shared with us). The crowd was - well, OK, it was hardly a crowd, maybe a dozen people including our hosts with the mosts, Jim and Peggy - at the May meeting.

But that only meant those of us who WERE there didn't have to wait to use all of Jim's cool machines and tools for coldworking beads.

Here are Hope, Jaret and Suzanne grinding away beads at the huge flat lapidary (aka "flat lap") wheel, which has a stunning array of magnetic diamond (and, eventually, felt, for the final cerium paste polish) disks.

Jim had literally everything we needed to try our hand at various coldworking techniques, including a sandblasting cabinet and glue gun for applying sandblast resist. To our knowledge, no one had time to play with some cool other toys, like the giant wet belt sander, the diamond grinding wheels and the diamond engraving wheels.

If you want to make a bead with that eroded-by-the-sands-of-time look, well, a sandblasting cabinet is just about perfect for that. In fact, if used with too much enthusiasm (i.e., leaving the bead too close to the stream of particles for too long), we could easily see how the bead could be worn away completely!

And, of course, visiting Mr. Kervin's is a rare chance to see Jim's practically unrivaled collection of beads from so many celebrated glass artists, beautifully displayed. It's a real treat.

Many thanks to Jim and Peggy for opening their home to the SGB once again.


April 2013

APRIL 20, 2013

Our SGB Norcal April meeting had the nicest day you could imagine! Great weather for a garden party at Janice Peacock's studio in Lafayette.
Fifteen people came and we're betting a bunch more tried, but the abominable traffic all across the Bay Area probably sent some back home.
We spent most of the day on the patio, where Janice demo'd Art Pendants - bezel settings with a piece of art set inside, covered with a glass cabochon lens. The bezels, glass lens and adhesive come from Craft Fantastic (, and you can make your own images or buy sets from the website. If you print your own it's best to give the paper a protective coating first - Janice uses Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray in Clear Satin.
First cut out your image, leaving room around the edges, then apply adhesive drops to the back of the lens and press down onto the image. Let dry, cut away the excess paper, drop an adhesive Jewelers Dot into the bezel, set the image/lens in place, and Bingo! Done! This is a great crafty thing to do with kids, easy instant gratification.
After we all made our own pendants, we chowed down on potluck and we headed to Janice's garden studio for the Traditional Spring Roasting Of The Peeps on her Mirage. Everyone murdered peeps and achieved the Tradtional Spring Sugar High to welcome the season. Then we sat on the patio, talked, looked at beads and watched the distant Dance of the Chickens (the one with the rag-mop hair is a hoot!) and had a great time. The party broke up around 5:30.
It was a great day, thanks to Janice and her (hidden) hubby Jeff for hosting us!

March 2013

MARCH 16, 2013

About 28-30 SGB NorCal members gathered at Patty Lakensmith’s place on a wooded hillside in Los Gatos. The house is lovely but what really got the SGBNorCal crowd excited was getting a look at her new studio just down the hill. Tall ceilings, skylights and big windows make for an inviting setting for demos - which at this meeting was all about felting. Ace beadmaker Shirley Cook has gotten into felting in a big way - check out her Facebook page to see some of her work, including stunning vessels that often incorporate lampwork beads - and she showed how she begins the felting process, painstakingly layering tufts of dyed wool so they will produce the best final product. Continuing the felting/fiber theme, Patty just happens to have a neighbor, Candi Wozniak, who raises alpacas and dyes their wool with wild mushrooms. You might think “Mushroom = mushroom color” and you’d be right - except that when you use various varieties of mushrooms you get a wide array of exquisite shades, including pale orange, pink and green. Later, Patty showed how to use her Jim Moore bead core tool and then fired up the torch and made one of her cool beads with the smiley teeth.
And Shirley has this to add: Remember the company she mentioned that has yummy roving colors? It's Opulent Fibers, and here's the link to their website (specifically, the color chart):

February 2013

FEBRUARY 16, 2013

The SGB NorCal meeting convened February 16 at Ralph and Deborah McCaskey's place, with about 40 people attending. It seemed more like spring, with sunny skies and warm temperatures, but that did not keep most of the SGB members from gathering indoors in the garage studio for a discussion of electroforming, something Ralph has been doing for a few years. Plating projects were in progress, so members had a chance to see what the process looks like (not nearly as exciting as working with a 4,000-degree torch flame, but ...) The torch and kiln also were set up, and Nicolina Hull-Campbell demonstrated her technique for making encased floral beads. She achieves great depth with more than one encasing, and covers her beads in precise, layered flower designs. She and Mike Hansen also collaborated on a seashell-bead demonstration, starting with a blown shape and proceeding from there. A great time was had by all, thanks to everybody who attended, and to Deb & Ralph for hosting a most entertaining party!