Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Class with a Master--Michael Barley

This last weekend, I had the privilege of taking a two day class with master bead artist, Michael Barley. I can't explain the thrill of watching him make a bead! I learned so much from this experience!

Michael is a quiet and humble man who sat down at the torch with authority. As he worked, Michael explained each step in the process of making a bead. He willingly shared his wealth of knowledge and experience. He answered all of the questions that we asked. He demoed each bead and explained the process and techniques he used on each bead! After each demo, Michael would watch and encourage us at our attempts to imitate the beads we were shown how to make. In this photo, Michael is showing us how to pull a think stringer.

Michael brought some tools along with him. He uses very few tools to make his beads. If you look to the bottom right in this photo, you will see a small marver. That is Michael's first and only marver. It's very small. I was surprised to see that! I just assumed that he a large marver and many other tools. He doesn't. That was another surprise, but as I watched the master make beads, his skill and creativity overshadowed the need for special tools. Amazing! I feel truly blessed to have been instructed by this master bead maker!

During the course of our two day class, Michael demoed 8 beads. He shared his skill and knowledge in making canes, using silver, and working with simple reactive colors of glass. I was amazed and so impressed. My beads, of course, do not show the skill of Michael Barley. Maybe someday? I don't know. I do know that the experience of being a student in the class with Michael Barley as a teacher, enriched my knowledge of bead making and improved my skills. I also met some wonderful artists in the class. It was a wonderful gathering of talent. I feel priveleged to have been a part of this experience.

Oh, I almost to forgot to tell you about the demo beads that Michael made. There were nine students in class, and Michael made 8 beads. We were each told to write our names on a piece of paper. One of the students took notes. As he finished his last demo bead, Michael had someone draw a name. The person whose name was drawn received a certain bead. Since there were 9 of us and eight beads, the extra person received a free pair of earrings. What an awesome treat for each of us! I was extremely lucky! I won his window bead. Take a look at this! Am I blessed or what?

Take a look at the other side of the bead! Is this awesome or what?

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your skill and knowledge with us! I love my bead, too!


Deb said...

Mallory - what a fabulous opportunity & experience! I would think I'd died & gone to heaven to have a chance like that - it would be the ultimate dream come true.

For now I will just have to live vicariously - & knowing that you had a wonderful time & gained so much from it makes me happy for you :o)

angelinabeadalina said...

Mallory, that sounds like an incredible class. Your description is going to be helpful for other people when they are considering what classes they'd like to take.

Paula said...

What a great opportunity for you to watch a master at work. Gee I need some help with those thick stringers. : )

Maggie said...

Mallory, So happy for you! What an experience and your Michael bead is wondrous.

Any other classes on the horizon?

Rita'z R-tistic Ramblez said...

Mallory, I have no clue where to start pulling stringer after reading all the books, hints, etc. I am sure it was helpful to watch someone who is so great. What a beautiful bead you got, too!!!