September 2004 Meeting - Stevi Belle Demo

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Kristy Nijenkamp comment about this month's meeting was that a demo from Stevi Belle with the fragrance of Carl Andrew's Chocolate cake drifting past her - was a heavenly experience. We all agreed that Stevi Belle was amazing (and so was the cake).  Shown below are Stevi and the Vessel Bead that she showed us how to make.


The video set up with Gerri White at the camera gave us all a close up view of Stevi as she worked. Having this capability has been a wonderful addition to our meetings.  Thank you Gerri.


Stevi said that she begins all her beads with a tube and that she makes her beads by slowing building up layers of glass.  "I am an additive artist - unlike Michelangelo I cannot see David in the Stone".  Stevi is working with Salmon Pink Bullseye glass.  Because her beads are large, she slides a copper sleeve over the mandrel, which she secures by crimping the ends and with a little bit of bead release.  The copper sleeve keeps the bead warm from the inside and firmly attached to the mandrel.  It remains a permanent part of the finished  bead.  In this picture, Stevi is rolling the bead to even it out after applying insurance heat with the large bottom flame of her Major Burner torch. 


When adding glass or adjusting the bead's shape, Stevi works with the smaller flame at the top of the torch. After the basic vessel is shaped, Stevi wraps it completely in silver leaf and burnishes it.  Copper leaf is added next but in a more irregular pattern.  When bead is put back in the flame, the metal is burned off leaving the glass with a beautiful variegated stain that Stevi's work is known for.  Spiral decorations are added with amber colored stringer and carefully heated to adhere them. 

Handles are added to the  vessel by applying two large gathers of glass between the neck and body of the bead.  The gathers are are flattened and then a very hot tungsten pick is used to poke a hole in the warm glass.  If the glass is warmish and the tungsten pick very hot, the pick will not stick.  After the holes are drilled through with the pick,  they are enlarged using a round graphite reamer.  The last step is to silver fume the bead using a boro tube to which a small drop of fine silver has been attached. 


Stevie brought a variety of beads with her for us to see.  The  photo shows round and tabular beads with a variety of surface finishes. 
Another of Stevi's vessels and two of the ladies that she is so well known for.  


Stevi also makes fused pendants using dichroic glass.

Just to make those of us who did not get into Stevi's class feel even more deprived, this is a photo of some of  glass and stringer that she brought for students to use in class.   One whole table was filled with Bullseye glass.  A table equally large was overflowing with Moretti.

And a bookcase full of frits and powders and other wonderful things was also part of the supplies for the classes.  

 Stevi, please come back so the rest of us who are lottery-losers can study with you!