As a staff member of The Forks I am often in and out of The Market at meetings, and I don’t necessarily have the chance to peruse the shops and services the way a visitor might. So when it was suggested to me to explore The Market the way a tourist would and then blog about it I jumped at the chance! I had recently noticed a Facebook post from Bayshore Gifts in Glass advertising Lamp Work Classes to make your own glass pieces. Sold! I phoned up Kevin MacKay, Bayshore owner, and booked a private lesson in lamp work.
Kevin is from Northern England and has the charming and gentle accent to prove it. His store has been open on the second level of The Forks Market for four years, and previous to that he had an outdoor kiosk for eight. Kevin’s store is full of handcrafted miniatures, pendants and jewelry all made right there on site. He can design and create custom pieces for any event – cake toppers, gifts, pendants, rings, you name it!
His style and approach to teaching is calm and laid back, while always maintaining a “safety first” motto (appropriate when working with a 1300 degree centigrade flame!). We started our lesson by learning to turn the torch on and off, a two-step ritual working with propane and oxygen tanks. Once I was comfortable with that we moved on to melting glass.
Kevin had me practice on glass wands; separating and rejoining the long “sticks” of glass several times over. This was for me to “get the feel” of working with glass, which I didn’t really understand until I was actually doing it. Working with glass does have a feel. You start to understand the consistency of the heated glass as it softens and then fuses again as it cools.
Then it was on to the main event! I chose to make a heart shaped pendant. The ones I saw hanging in the store looked very lovely and feminine. Kevin demoed the steps involved to make the pendant, and it seemed rather straightforward. He then watched and guided me through the steps as I did them. I gotta admit, it seemed a little less straightforward this time around. But I managed to work my way them and create my very own one-of-a-kind pendant (with only a couple of assisted steps from Kevin).
The end result? Not bad, if I do say so myself.
Lessons with Kevin are generally two and a half hours long and cost around $95 and, of course, you get to keep whatever you make.
Bayshore Gifts in Glass: 204.415.7229
Written by: Alison August