Favourite things to do on Salt Spring #1 – Bead making with Bling Squared

Winter is dragging on, my friends, but perhaps there’s an end in sight. Grey days are punctuated occasionally with big fat sunny days. I noticed last night that there is now some light in the sky after 5pm and the air is starting to a smell a little springy (when the stink from the Crofton pulp mill over on Vancouver Island isn’t wafting by – ah yes – hello reality).

I knew that the long winters were a “thing” here – and no kidding, they really are – but island life does not seem to slow down. Our weekends are packed brim full with outings and events, hikes, music, playdates, parties and potlucks. Perhaps eventually the novelty of so much to do will wear off but at the moment we seem to be trying to jam in as much as we can until we drop.

This last weekend was no different. It was grey and a little bit rainy but Phil and the kids attended Seedy Saturday at the Farmer’s Institute where they bought packets of seeds and mingled with the green thumbs. Meanwhile I hopped along with my friend Zandra to a glass bead making workshop with our lovely friend Neacol Miller from Bling Squared.

Out in Stanley and Neacol’s newly refurbished studio two fabulously hot torches blaze away, blue and beautiful.  I can tell you now, I felt a little tentative about this whole glass and flame thing. I was worried I might burn my eyebrows or permanently melt incorrectly labeled clothing to my arm, or find myself accidentally dropping blobs of hot glass onto my skin . I am pleased to report that none of these things happened, nor were they ever likely to. After a very reassuring safety rundown, Neacol gave us a demonstration of bead making and like a true professional made it look like the easiest thing ever. Then it was our turn. Under Neacol’s careful watch and with her constant tips it really didn’t take long to feel completely comfortable with the little swirling glass mass and before we knew it we were making BEADS baby!

There is something utterly seductive about melting glass and the burning hot torch. Firstly, as Neacol pointed out, there is the meditative act of continually staring into a flame. Bring on the lost hours and the oms.  And then there is the other-worldly beauty of the molten glass and the swirling of colours and the way the glass reacts to the heat, the cold air, gravity and the turn of your hand. It’s so yummy looking you could eat it, but really don’t, that would be scary and horrible. But you know, it looks like you could. Swirly glassy yummy molteness.

After the class I was buzzing all day and telling everyone I met in town “I just made glass beads!”. And I want to do it again.

This was the most creative fun I’ve had in ages – and if you happen to be on Salt Spring or are planning a visit you can do it too. Neacol and Stanley are running workshops, the first one is coming up on February 19th which is, yes — soon.

” ‘Introduction to Glass Bead Making’ classes! The first will be held Sunday, February 19th and the second on Saturday, February 25th – both from 1pm to 4pm. $100 includes supplies and you’ll come away with several of your own beads. Class size is limited to two students so drop us a line if you are interested! bling2glass@gmail.com “

Find them on:
and at their Website

Here you can get a little taste of the process:

Bling Squared from Jordan Stratford on Vimeo.


Now I’m off to turn skipping ropes for elementary school kids in the sun. Because today it happens to be sunny!

By the way this is a non-sponsored spot – nothing unusual here. I just LOVED it, so much so I wrote a blog post. And these days, that’s really saying something.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Saskia says:

    How fab. The beads look wonderful, like little tiny edible fruits. Have always wanted to make a glass Murano-ish clown, but maybe that would be aiming a bit high! Life on Salt Spring sounds grand. *sigh*

  2. Lilika says:

    How brave you always make me feel..Mommy warrior priestess. I think that sounds just amazing! Love glass in all of it’s incarnations. Beads have so much potential. http://www.chihuly.com/ Always loved his glass. Winter here in Wisconsin is gentle and sleepy and a bit of every shade of grey. I am longing for spring and the flowers. 🙂

Leave a Reply