Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Melanie Moertel Lampwork Workshop at Mango Beads Review

Firstly let me introduce myself. My name is Linda and I am the newest member of the Craft Pimp team. I am a lampwork of just over a year and live on the picturesque Isle of Wight. I make beads in a corner of my conservatory and sell them on Etsy. I also make them into jewellery and sell them at a local gallery.

Anyway enough about me.When I first saw the Melanie Moertel workshop advertised on the Mango Beads website I hadn't heard of her before, so I Googled her beads and can't say that they were of a style that appealed to me that much. (You can see her beads by looking at her Flickr album here). But when the description of the workshop mentioned the magic words 'stringer application' I decided this was a workshop for me.

Having done a workshop at Mango Beads in November last year I was lucky enough to get a reservation at the Crossways B&B where I stayed previously which is so conveniently located in the same road as the studio and only 10 mins walk to the town of Barnstaple.

Melanie started the workshop by telling us a little bit about herself (she's from Germany) and going through her favourite tools, she then asked all the students to introduce themselves and tell her about their lampworking experience so that she could gauge how much we knew.

She has taught before and explained that she used to ask her students what they wanted to get out of her class but as the answer was always the same - stringer control - she stopped asking.

That's me on the right!

So to start the demonstration Melanie showed us how to pull three different size stringers. Thick, medium and hairfine. She also explained to us what the best colours are for stringers and how to make a test bead for glass you weren't sure of.

The next demo was to make an ugly bead. Sounds odd but the idea was to practice applying the stringer without worrying about what the bead looks like. 
After each demo it was our turn to put into practice what we had been shown. Not always as easy as it looks I can assure you.

This took us up to lunchtime and then after lunch Melanie demoed her island bead with satellite stringer decoration. Then it was our turn.
Last job of the day was to make some murrini to be used the next day.

Today we got to make a heart bead, an elephant bead and one of Melanies signature bead 'The angel bead'.

Melanie told us a story about how each bead design came to her, demoed and then it was our turn.

These are all the beads I made over the weekend. The bottom right one is the heart bead, the top right one is the elephant and the bottom left is the fairy bead. I didn't really like the fairy beads at first but I have to say they have grown on me. Not the best of beads but we all have to start somewhere.

All in all I would say that a good time was had by all and I made a lot of new friends who I hope to meet up with at Flame Off in April. Melanie was a good teacher and if you get a chance I would recommend a class with her.

Here are some photo's of beads she brought with her to sell.
Melanie's signature Fairy Bead.

Thanks for looking.



    It looks like so much fun.
    Glad you enjoyed yourself - and YES! i loved your beads too.


  2. Nice write up there Linda, lovely beads too, big and bright and beautiful x

  3. Melanie is one of the reasons I got into lampworking, I just love her beads! Glad you had a good day, great write up! X