Catch the glass bead making bug at Cobb+Co Museum

18 June 2015

Leah Kelly used to buy glass beads to create her bespoke jewellery pieces, until she attended a two-day course in glass bead making seven years ago. Things have now come full circle for Leah, who will be teaching her first course in Glass Bead Art at the Cobb+Co Museum this weekend.

“I’ve taught jewellery making classes before and I really enjoy the teaching process,” said Leah. “I love seeing what people come up with, using the skills that I taught them.”

Leah said the course will focus on quality, rather than quantity.

“I will commence by teaching students how to shape a bead and then move into correct dot placement, making and applying stringers and a range of decorative techniques,” said Leah.

“Participants will learn quite a lot over the two days and should have enough beads to make a bracelet or necklace or several pairs of earrings by the end of the course.”

Leah said it was the cost of beads and the desire to find something more unique that motivated her to try glass bead making all those years ago.

“I have been a jewellery designer for more than twelve years and I was looking for something to make my designs more ‘mine’,” reflected Leah.

“I was also buying handmade glass beads and they can be expensive, costing from $5 to $70 for one bead, once you get into the bigger sizes.”

Glass bead making is among the oldest human arts, dating back 3,000 years.

“Women weren’t allowed to make glass beads to begin with and it’s still a male dominated profession. Some of the world’s best glass makers are men, but there are some brilliant female glass makers as well,” said Leah.

Tools for making glass beads have changed since the Roman times, but the traditional skill is still based on the basic concept of holding glass rods over a flame and then gently winding the molten glass.

“A basic glass beading kit is $500, but you can spend up to $2,000 on a kiln once you get bitten by the glass bead making bug,” laughed Leah. “So the Cobb+Co Museum workshop is a great way to find out if you like the craft, because it can be an expensive hobby to get into.”

The Glass Bead Art Workshop will be held at the Cobb+Co Museum on Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 June 2015. Spectators are welcome.

Find out more about upcoming Hands On Workshops in traditional trades and crafts at Cobb+Co Museum.

Cobb+Co Museum is part of the Queensland Museum Network. Located in Lindsay Street, Toowoomba, the Museum opens daily from 10am – 4pm.

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For further information call us on +61 (0) 7 4659 4900 or contact us using our online form.

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