Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Book - Glass Beads by Louise Mehaffey

A new lampworking book for beginners. This is an excellent beginner book - with one caveat. One massive caveat. Sorry - I'm probably going to make some enemies with this one.

Beautifully presented, and packed with ooodles of great pics - this is a hard cover book - spiral bound - so you can lay it out flat next to you, or stand it up, and refer to it while torching.

It starts out with an introduction to the author, and the obligatory "history of beads" - which is well done and well presented.

Setting up a studio is covered, torches, kilns, and basic tools are all covered. The detail is not excruciating, but just about right - so that you have enough info to get started - not so much that you feel overwhelmed.

Here are some photos of the book - see - nice, clear pictures.

Anything about the pictures make you feel like, well, you're looking in a mirror?

Way back in the intro - there is a tiny little paragraph that says "Warning - I'm left-handed - so that's what all my pictures show."

If you miss that, (and I asked someone else who had also looked at the book - they had missed it) and you are teaching yourself from scratch, and you are right-handed - you are likely to get all the way through the book - struggling - without realizing that you are doing it the hard way.

While I grant you that the artistic population probably contains more left-dominant-handed people than the general population - current statistics indicate that about 90% of the population is right-handed. To me - this just seems like a major oversight in publishing. Surely it would have opened up a bigger audience to flip the photos - and just make notes in the text to point out places where this was obvious - like when the knobs are on the wrong side of the torch. (Either that, or honkin' big warnings all the way through the book. )

I'm pretty sure, by now, all the left-handed people reading this are throwing rocks at me - to say nothing of the author. I'm sorry - but I calls 'em as I sees 'em.

Other than that - the book is great. It covers all the basics for getting started. You could learn from scratch from this book (but take a class too - lampwork instructors need your money - and you will learn stuff too. ;-) ).

If you are thinking of starting teaching - I would suggest this book as well - to remind you of all the items you need to cover.

Even if you have taken a class - you'll benefit from this book, as it will serve as a good reminder. It really is text-book quality. Except for the handedness thing.

Of course, if you are left-handed - you absolutely have to buy it. No question. Go. Run. Right now. ;-)


  1. Wow, glad to know this, that book is off of my 'want' list.

  2. Sorry I'm one of the lefties out there... actually I'm right handed but had a cast on my left hand when I started making beads I discovered that I could stuff the glass inside my cast and make beads that way... I never switched back... Nice to see something published for those of us who do work 'backwards' to the rest of the world!
    I'm sure there must be at least 10 bead making books out there, so if 10% of us are lefties one in 10 books should be written from a left handed point of view!

  3. Anonymous3:46 p.m.

    This Lefty is tired of people thinking that everything should be for Right Handed people.

    Time to wake up. We are not all the same.

  4. Anonymous1:02 p.m.

    Lefty myself, but we've adapted to the "non-left" way of doing things for years and I think for the sake of consistency - and so us lefties don't have to rethink our thinking, too - it would have be better off the "non-left" way.

    BTW - I totally enjoy your blog! Check it once or twice a week.