The Glass Craft and Bead Expo of 2023 was an event like no other, bringing together bead and craft enthusiasts from all over the United States, Canada and the world to share their love for this beautiful art medium. Held in the vibrant city of Las Vegas, the expo was an experience that none of us attendees will soon forget.
🡩 A Beautiful Stained Glass Piece at the Front Desk of the South Point Hotel
🡩Some of the classes Being offered at the 2023 Glass Expo
For me, one of the highlights of the expo was a photography course offered by Doug Baldwin. Baldwin is an accomplished photographer and instructor, and his course was a wonderful opportunity to learn some new skills and techniques. He specializes in photos of small jewelry and specifically glass pieces. He covered everything from composition and lighting to editing and post-processing, and his insights were truly invaluable. His willingness to share his experience and skills are why I took this course to begin with. Many of his students left the course with a newfound appreciation for the art of photography. More information about Doug Baldwin can be found here: https://dougbaldwinphoto.com/
🡩A quick progression of my photos in my Photography Class
Another memorable experience was meeting Barbara Cashman and learning about Silkemat, a unique and innovative material that can be used in a variety of projects. Cashman, the creator behind Silkemat, was a wealth of knowledge, and her enthusiasm for Silkemat was contagious. We learned all about the material's properties and how it can be used to create amazing molds for our glass pieces. More information on Silkemat can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/silkemat/
One of the most exciting moments of the expo for me was when I had the opportunity to do a screen printing demo at the Oceanside Glass and Tile booth. The team at Oceanside Glass and Tile are experts in their field, and it was a privilege to teach them and some show attendees the basics of screen printing on glass. We were able to teach how the screen printing process works and even did multiple examples for the crowd. I was aided in my demo by my new friend Elaina Adams of Prairie Glass in Saskatoon. Although she had only screen printed a couple of times in the distant past, it came back to her quickly and she did an awesome job helping me. I also must give thanks to my friend and screen print tester Kirsten Burkett. She provided me with so many gorgeous examples that I was surprised her suitcase wheels didn’t go flat with all the weight. It was a fantastic experience that allowed me to get inspired about what my future at the expo could look like. I would also like to thank Taylor Odish, Marketing Manger of OGT for this opportunity and her encouragement every time I stopped by the Oceanside booth.
🡩Lisa Martin (me) and Elaina Adams doing a Screen Printing Demo at OGT Booth
I was also lucky enough to meet some customers including Charlene Howe from Alaska, who is a glass craft enthusiast and an incredibly talented artist and teacher. It was a pleasure to talk with her and learn about her work. I was inspired by her creativity and her amazing personality.
🡩The lovely and talented Charlene Howe and I
The show was well attended and of course we, meaning my glassy friends and me, took advantage of some of the deals on the floor. My largest purchase was a very big vitrograph kiln that will allow me to make vitrograph cane to sell in my online store. It is the perfect size for the amount of scrap pieces I have left over from all the precut glass shapes I cut. My friend Kirsten made off with many chunks of cane and murrine and even won some glass from the OGT booth. Elaina, was happiest when given an OGT badge that was part of a scavenger hunt exercise on the floor. Different strokes for different folks.
🡩A sample of some of the goods on the Show Floor (this is Bullseye Glass)
One of the highlights of the weekend was the OGT Meet and Greet on Friday night. As artists who were giving demos, we were gifted with tickets to this party. We were able to mingle with other attendees and vendors, and we even got to try some delicious food and drinks. It was a great way to unwind after a busy day at the expo, and we, meaning my husband and my new glass friends, all had a fantastic time with many laughs shared.
🡩L-R Kirsten Burkett (my apologies), Elaina Adams and I
Of course, we couldn't visit Las Vegas without taking some time to see the sights. We took a trip to the Hoover Dam, which is an incredible feat of engineering and a true marvel to behold. The only downside was the long bus ride, but it was definitely worth it to see all the large casinos on the strip while not wearing off the rubber on the soles of our shoes. We also celebrated my husband’s birthday by taking in a show and having dinner at Hell’s Kitchen on our last evening.
🡩The incredible Hoover Dam
When our feet were too tired to walk much more we enjoyed the lovely South Point Hotel. With many restaurants and things to do it wasn't hard to fill our time. We enjoyed meals at the Big Sur Restaurant and Silverado's Steakhouse to name a few and even lost a bit of our hard earned cash playing slots in the casino area. We enjoyed ice cream, watching a game in the sports lounge and taking in a recently released show at the movie theatre.
🡩A Filet Oscar meal at Silverado's Steakhouse
Overall, the Glass Bead and Craft Expo of 2023 was a fantastic event that left me feeling inspired and invigorated. We learned so much from the instructors and vendors, and we had the opportunity to meet some truly amazing people. We're already looking forward to next year's expo and may even offer classes on screen printing. It was an unforgettable experience that we won't soon forget. It is great to see the Expo coming back to life.