Glass Craft and Bead Expo – Las Vegas

Lessons Learned at Glass Craft & Bead Expo
Creations from Glass Craft and Bead Expo

I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas where I attended the 2010 Glass Craft and Bead Expo. This is my fourth time to attend this event. The first three years I took stained glass classes. This year I took fused glass class. I took a two-day advanced fused glass bowls class with Patty Gray and a 1 day glass manipulation class with Larry Cimaglio.

Patty’s class was packed with tons of techniques and information. We explored using frit, stacking, strip technique, patterns bars, combing, cold working and more. I came home with six projects. Four of which came out great and I loved. Two of them not so much; they were glass castings. But I’m sure with a bit more practice on my part I could produce something I loved. I was mentally exhausted by the end of the day. I am sure I was the only person in Las Vegas sound asleep by 8:00 p.m.  I loved every minute of it and my head is spinning with ideas and things I want to try. I am excited to hear that Patty might be teaching in the Houston area this fall.

In Larry’s class I learned about drop vases, and manipulating glass in the kiln. He challenged his students to ask a minimum of 25 questions about anything to do with fused glass.  I am pretty sure I met that challenge. Since I’m relatively new to glass fusing and I don’t have anyone locally to consult with, I took this opportunity to ask all the questions I had stored up. Larry was more than happy to share his knowledge.

If you ever get the chance to go to Glass Expo you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great place to learn, exchange ideas, see what’s new, and just have fun! I met a bunch of nice people who work in all areas of glass. Glass people are some of the friendliest people out there. And Las Vegas is just a fun place to be. In the four days I was in Las Vegas, I didn’t play the slots until the last day while I was waiting for the airport shuttle. I hit it big! My $1 bill earned me $10 on the penny slots.

In the days ahead, I’ll be blogging about my creations that I made in Las Vegas.

14 thoughts on “Glass Craft and Bead Expo – Las Vegas

  1. Barbara says:

    Glass and Bead Expo 2010 was a big disappontment to me, and from the people I spoke with exhibitors and attendees it was also. In the past I found the shows to be a good mix of stained glass, fusing, lampworking, and bead companies all of which I work with. This show was more for lampworkers, beaders and fusers. The lack of stained glass projects and products, whether it be panel or lamp amazed me. I miss seeing some many of the glass companies and teachers from the past represented. Worden lamps, Odyssey lamps, Canfield, Armstrong glass among others, Warner Crivellaro, The Glass Workbench, and so many more. The teachers I have for so long taken classes from, and respected, and known for their contribution to the industry were not there. Yes, there were many good teachers but, many of the core group seem to be gone. This was not the quality of the shows from the past, especially the ones held in Chicago. I found many of the attendees and exhibitors to be very honest with their disappointment as well. Also, I would not consider attending another show held at the South Point Hotel. I heard from many people they also wish it were held closer or on The Strip if it was to be in Las Vegas. I would suggest to anyone considering going in the future to think twice, and if a special class is desired to contact the teacher directly and fly to their location instead. If they are in need or desire a certain product to do your research on the internet, contact companies directly, and purchase that special something you will enjoy for years to come. The money spent will give you more pleasure than this. I cannot believe I actually spent hundreds of dollars and three days of my life for this experience. The quality of the show was not what it has been in the past. I appauld all the exhibitors for their kindness and helpfulness. Hopefullly, next year the show’s management does a better job for all involved.

    • Margot says:

      So sorry to hear you were disappointed this year. I agree with you that there has definitely been a decline in the stained glass offerings. I am not sure that the demand is there for it. I did see Joe Porcelli, Peter McGrain, and Denny Berkery who are some of the regulars that teach stained glass classes were there. Tommy G. was supposed to be there, but had to have someone take over his class at the last minute. Seems in the last few years warm glass has definitely been more popular. I have never been to the Chicago show, so I can’t compare.

      As for the location, I actually love where it is. The first year I attended Glass Expo the classes and exhibits were in the downtown convention center. I stayed at Binion’s Horseshoe which was one of two hotels being used. Don’t know what it looks like now, but it was pretty run down when I was there, and it didn’t feel very secure. You had to take a shuttle everyday to the convention center and then you were pretty much stuck there. I find the South Point to be very convenient. In the past my husband has come to meet me for the weekend. We would take the city bus across from the hotel, and then the strip trolley to get wherever we wanted to go on the strip. Staying off the strip also keeps the price down.

      I hope you shared your disappointment with the people running the show. They need to know what people expect and want to see at future shows. What kind of class were you hoping to take?

  2. Barbara says:

    I have been involved in glass for over 30+ years and have taken many classes at the trade shows, Delphi, with individual artists from the show at their studios, and from local glass, lampworking and bead businesses over the years. I like many people, like the show for the business contacts, exposure to new products, sharing passion for glass with other artists, and the overall energy of the show. I, as well as many others I have spoken with, will definitely skip this show in the future. When you spend over $1000.00 for your airfare and hotel bill alone this show did not meet any of my past expectations. I actually called a friend from another state who has just started working in glass to meet me at the show only to apologize for the show. She also said she would not go back, and this is a NEW glass artist starting into fusing. I have heard this from stained glass business owners, exhibitors at this years show, and others so what does this say about the future of the event? Many people will go and many of us will no longer attend and the show will go on…. and so will we. Again, I would say to anyone planning on attending ask your local shop owner if they attend or would, if it is for a class it may be a good thing for you, but do your research on what is available everywhere, and talk with other artists. The industry as a whole has been hit by the economy, just like other businesses I am aware. The prices of metal which have affected solder, zinc etc. have driven many stained glass artists into fusing, lampworking and other areas. I also see the immediate gratification of these areas over stained glass lamps and panels as being a reason for the current slump in stained glass. I like many of my friends will continue to be a stained glass artist first, and hope in the future there will be more representation by companies and for products for us. End of this thread on the 2010 Expo.

  3. Margot says:

    I guess I’ve been lucky. I’ve always had great instructors and learned a lot from all of the classes I’ve taken. If anyone is considering going in the future, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to recommend some classes.

    • Barbara says:

      I had good instructors in the past also, I am speaking of the exhibit hall, classes, and price for total EXPO experience. If you want to talk just a class or classes, then lets take that fee, add in the hotel, and airfare or transportation fee, and then consider it.

      If a reader read just the top post and yours they would not know to question if this was what they were looking for as a mini creative glass vacation. That is my point for posting. Enjoy your next visit.

      • Margot says:

        I agree that Glass Expo is not cheap, and not for everyone. It works for me because I can’t get the same quality of education locally. I would have to travel well over an hour to get to any class. The classes offered usually teach one technique over several class meetings. It would require months of classes to learn what I did at Expo in just 3 days.

        The exhibit hall is not much of a draw for me. I do walk through to see what’s new and talk to vendors. But there are no bargains there for sure! Especially if you already buy wholesale. I was disappointed that Slumpys didn’t have any product for sale, would have liked to purchase a few things from them and save shipping. But I understand that it costs vendors a small fortune to ship items in and then back. CBS did have some great deals on dichro.

        Thanks for sharing your perspective on this. It will surely help others decide whether or not this is right for them.

  4. Barbara says:

    We did have different experiences. I purchased molds from the friendly people at Slumpy’s on the last day of the show and brought them home with me. I also was offered buy one, get one free from another mold dealer, many promotional discounts throughout the show for placing an order with them within 30 days, 1/2 price books, and so on.

    The exhibit hall did a few new products. My favorite was a gentleman who has partner with Delphi with his new Powder Vibe for fusers and lampworker’s which was wonderful and the electric mandrel for lampworkers. Both of these products sold out by Saturday and I am glad to say I am on the backorder list.

    The classes I have taken in the past with the artist at their studios have been for 2 full days one on one for the same show price, others same price some location was better, others class size was smaller, etc. If you are just wanting classes and are into wirework I would contact Dale Cougar Armstrong, fusing I would contact Lisa Vogt or Gil Reynolds, sandblasting I would contact Ruth Dobbins to go to her school, etc. You may even consider going to Bullseye Glass for classes in Oregon. Other events held around the county in Tucson, Milwaukee for wire or bead, Delphi Stained Glass in Lansing, Michigan brings in many artists as well as Warner Crivellaro in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Hot Glass Horizons, the William Holland School in Georgia. and more places offer week long classes in just about anything you would like to take. There are so many places you can go for a one, two,three day to a week classes you should consider these as other options.

    It all depends on what you are looking for as you and I differ in needs and wants. I want the total exhibit hall/trade show with class experience. I can make new contacts, see new products and take a class on kilns from the company should I desire, or a mini class on something else from the show. If I am looking for an in depth class and not interested in the exhibit hall I can find one which costs less, I have more one on one time and I personally feel I get more for my money. The EXPO this year met your needs for classes and a few of mine for the exhibit hall. I have already had the classses offered that I am interested in at other locations. Next time you take a class, consider how I do it and compare the two. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the change!

  5. Debr Baylor-Stine says:

    I just made my first trip to the Las Vegas Glass Expo for 2010 been trying for a few years but to many graduations and weddings have come up the same week…I have read the post from others on your site and would only say sorry they were dissapointed but I’ll be back…
    Meet great people took classes “the hubby” and I took a fun and sun fusing with “recycled” object with I believ it was a Margo or Margaret clarke and Dr J..was much more than I expected been firing new pieces since I got back… Happy to say they are coming out cool..Have a show Saturday so we’ll see.. Husband took a basic etching class with I believe “Dobbins” he loved it…Then we met The SandWitch …Butch Young…things will never be the same..Wealth of knowledge shared by all there in a few days my head is still spinning…Thought South Point was great you could not beat the prices…Personally I prefer to be off the strip… If you want to go in town take a cab what you save on the price of the hotel will MORE than pay for it believe me I checked..
    Looking forward to 2011 and a piece of cake from the deli at the hotel maybe some prime rib too…LOL
    FYI we were in bead early too..I never saw the pool or parts of the hotel til the day before we left..that was 6 days later…Glass is addicting…..

    • Robin says:

      Am planning my first trip to the Glass and Bead Show in Vegas. Like others, have wanted to go in past years but it has never worked out. I’ve been doing stained glass for about 12 years. This year, I am trying to plan ahead – a couple of days in AZ then to the show. Want to spend a couple of days at the show – no plans for classes, but am interested in some of the demos on Fri. and Sat. My concern: better to stay on the strip and cab it to the show on Fri and Sat or stay at the Southpoint and cab it to the strip. Also looking to do some sightseeing – Hoover Dam, in particular. Any suggestions welcome.

      • Margot says:

        When I go I usually take several classes so I love the convenience of staying at the Southpoint. Hotel and food are less expensive than on the strip. They used to have a shuttle bus to the strip, and there is also a bus line that runs down to the strip. I’m originally a NY city girl, so I am quite comfortable taking public transportation. We did the Hoover Dam one year. Got one of those bus tour packages. They picked us up right at the Southpoint. If you have time one night, I’d go to Freemont Street which is old down town. Again we did public transportation, but at night, I’d only do that with my husband. If you plan on doing a lot of shows on the strip it might be more convenient to stay o the strip. Seems a shame to go all that way and not take any classes. How can your resist?!

  6. Judy Kean says:

    Stained glass Artists look in to the American Glass Guild for continued education next years the conference will be in Pittsburgh in July – Just got back from Asheville NC with this conference had a great time with the peers.

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