I have taught a ton of glass beadmaking classes. I started teaching classes three years after I started making beads. By that time I had taken more classes and spent numerous hours working on my torch. I had a friend that had been teaching classes and so I assisted her from several classes till I felt comfortable enough to start teaching on my own. I felt I was ready.
So if you have wanted to take a class here are somethings I suggest. To find a class in your area you can do a google search or check out the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) for a list of studios in your area.
I would make a trip to the studio and check out the space. Does it have a good ventilation system. This is very important. How does the space seem?
Here are some things you should ask before you take a class.
- how long has the teacher been teaching?
- where did they receive their training?
- is everything supplied? Glass, tools, Didymium Glasses (these are special filtered glasses that you must have to be able to see the flame and protect your eyes. Make sure they have these. Safety glass are not sufficient, they HAVE to be Didymium Glasses.
The class should run at least for 6 hours (this is the just the basics like how to make a bead, makes easy shapes, pull stringers and add dots. Not much else can be accomplished in this short of a time frame.
I recommend a two day class (total of 12 hours) or a 6-8 week class (total of 18-24 hours). This will give you enough time master your skills and see if you really like it.
Hopefully the studio rents torch time so you can see if you like it enough to make the investment in your own equipment.
Here are some great books you might want to get:
Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins
The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking by Kimberly Adams
My parting wisdom, don't expect that your first beads are going to be perfect. They won't be. Remember that this is a course to learn, not to make a sellable product. As with any art form it takes time!
Have a good time. Oh and a warning, glass can be very addictive!