In recent years there have been many innovative tools added to our glass beadmaking selection. Some of these innovations in tools have been stupendous and have really helped the art glass bead world, and others, well...................
Some I particularly like are mandrels to make large-hole beads. I don't use them often, but who knows what the future will bring. I can see lots of possiblilities. I love the pattern plates offered by Zoozi. I don't use them in the way they are supposed to be used, but to me they are fantastic and I want MORE. I love the innovative Japanese marver/press/whatever, called a Kote. It is just so convenient and easy to use. The new silver glasses being produced are utterly awesome. It takes practice and perseverence to use these glasses, but some artists have really nailed it.
What else? I like some of the bead molds, like the lentil, but the more definite ones seem to be very restrictive and remind me that using them is producing beads that are more like factory-made beads than artist-made beads.
And speaking of factory-made beads, I have been reminded once again today that one of the glass bead manufacturers in India is also selling lampwork rods to our artists who are not well-versed in determining quality in glass, or who perhaps just don't care. I find it hard to believe that people who put their heart and soul into creating such beautiful and unique glass beads would purchase substandard glass to make them from, but from what is being said I think it must be true.
The glass beadmaking community has always taken great pride in their art, each artist carefully examining glass to select the best possible type to use for what they want to create, fine-tuning their annealing schedules to give the best results, searching for the best torches and tools and kilns and controllers, and now to see all this breaking down over some cheap imported glass is very sad indeed. I suppose that excuses can be made that some of our artists are wanting to get the most glass for their money in this economy, and this glass is somewhat cheaper, but when these beads eventually break, crack or deteriorate, then I wonder if they will feel it is really worth the meager savings. In addition, while they are using this substandard glass, they are also hurting every glass beadmaker, because these beads will fail, next week, next month or next year, and will reflect back on the whole community. Glass beadmakers have always been well-respected for their ingenuity and integrity and with this newest "innovation" of imported glass from India, I see it all breaking down. I, for one, have started stating in my literature that I am using first quality glass and list the country in which it is made. I hope more beadmakers will do this so there is some differentiation being made in buyers' minds.
That's it for today,