A couple of weekends ago I had the great pleasure of taking an intermediate beadmaking class from the famous Val Cox, lampworker extraordinaire and purveyor of COE 96 glass frits (what's that?). The class was held at the Eugene Glass School, a relatively new school teaching all levels of flameworking, hot shop and other glass arts. The class was loads of fun, just 9 students, most of whom had more experience than I in beadmaking (I have been doing it for 5 years, although not "seriously" until 6 months ago). We learned tons of techniques and theory and got lots of torch time. The beads I made were not great, but I've been working on technique and shaping a bit since then and have gotten better, I think. Eugene is about 1 1/2 hours south of Portland. Hubby and I stayed at the Eugene Whiteaker Hostel, where we enjoyed the hippy vibe and friendly people, if not the squishy, squeaky bed. It was a really nice weekend, spent partly with my college age sister-in-law and her friend.
Val's website (above link) sells some of her furnace glass frit and is home to her lovely, photo-heavy blog (she has a beautiful country home and is a talented photographer). Her sister's website sells the majority of her glass frit: http://www.valcoxfrit.com/ . But, in addition to Val's blog, where you really should turn your attention (unless you have an interest in COE 96 glass frit, which you might) is her sister's blog. Her sister Sabrina is also a great photographer and offers an equally lovely vision of rural American life. Check 'em out, and don't ever say I didn't do anything nice for y'all.
(Val Cox beads, photos by Val Cox, and fiddlehead ferns, photo by Sabrina)