SCFS News: April 2020

SCFS News: April 2020

President’s Corner

Spring Greetings from the home office!
I hope you all are coping as well as possible during our fight with the coronavirus. I know some of your friends and families have been personally affected by the virus and I wish you much strength and success in the battle. My thanks to those of you that were able to attend our March 14 meeting in San Diego. Thank you, Karen Gassaway, for opening your home and studio for us. Welcome to new SCFS members George Coleman and Colin Jones, we’re looking forward to getting to know you at future meetings and sharing knowledge with you. Many thanks to Heather Trimlett for a series of wonderful demonstrations of making her signature canes and on applying canes to solid and hollow beads at the meeting. Some of us were unable to purchase Heather’s custom designed tools for pulling cane and shaping beads at the meeting, so remember to visit Heather’s website to get them: .


Thanks to all members that attended the meeting, it was great to see such a large turnout on the eve of the virus-related shutdown. Special thanks to Nisey, and our other members for your donations of 255 Courage Beads at the meeting. We are well on our way for another year of 1,000+ beads donated thanks to you. We also had a great response to our chapter challenge to make hollow beads in honor of Charlie Warner. Congratulations to Susan Haskell for winning our drawing for the challenge prize of one of Charlie’s Picasso beads. Additional photos of the Challenge entries are included below. Like everyone else, the pandemic has disrupted our Chapter’s plans and ways of operating. We have had to postpone our special May art event with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and prospects for our next in-person meeting are uncertain at this time. However, I excited to announce that we will be having our first online meeting on June 6. The meeting will feature a demonstration by Leah Nietz, creator of the commemorative bead for this year’s ISGB Gathering. See below for more details.


June 6 Online Meeting on Zoom

  • Saturday, June 6, 10 am – 12 noon Pacific Time
  • Demonstration by Leah Nietz
  • Member Challenge: “Isolation Inspiration”
  • Get Zoom app to participate:

Our June meeting will be held online, using the Zoom conferencing application. You can participate on either a computer or mobile device, but you need to install and test the app in advance of the meeting. Visit: to download the app and learn more. This meeting will be open to all current paid members. We will send you instructions for joining the meeting in a separate email sent a day or two in advance of the meeting. So, it is important for you to make sure we have the correct email to use for sending you the information and that your chapter dues for 2020 are paid ($20). Please contact Treasurer Judy Carlson if you still need to pay your membership dues:

Demo. The feature event of the meeting will be an interactive presentation/demonstration by Leah Nietz on the creation of the 2020 Gathering commemorative bead. Leah has been working with glass for almost 18 years.  She is a mostly self-taught artist with the exception of an 8 hour intro to lampwork class at The Bead Factory in Tacoma, WA, a murrini class with Gini Behrendt in Toledo, OH, a few private hot shop lessons with Eli Lipman at Gathered Glass in Toledo, OH and “Goblets” with master glass artist Igor Balbi at The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

Leah’s work can be found in a number of publications including Bead & Button Magazine and The Soda Lime Times.  She was chosen to be the commemorative artist for the 2020 ISGB Gathering. Until 2018 her main focus was wearable, lampwork glass beads and vessels.  She is now dabbling with larger blowing projects including ornaments, goblets and lighting.

Leah draws much of her inspiration for her glass from nature and happy accidents.  Friend and fellow artist, Gini Behrendt, once advised her to “Never waste a good piece of glass.”  She has carried that advice throughout her career creating flowers from would be vessels and discovering the grand optical illusions unique to glass. Many of her designs are improvisations on pieces that did not go according to plan. See more of Leah’s work at:

Show and Tell Member Challenge: “Isolation Inspiration”. We will have a member show and tell portion of the Zoom meeting, where you can share with us your latest glass creations. The theme for this part is what the coronavirus shelter in place effort has inspired you to create. Have you made something prompted by this period of semi-isolation and nonstop focus on the pandemic? If so, tell us about it during the meeting, or better yet, show us live using your computer webcam or sharing digital photos on your computer screen. You can also send me photos of your inspiration to share during the meeting if you don’t have the capability to share them yourself.

Glass Gift Exchange. Sadly, no exchange for this online meeting. Please making extra courage beads for donation instead. Wendy Leys will coordinate shipping to Beads of Courage for you, if needed.

Food. No food service for this online meeting. Feel free to drink and eat as much as you want, no one will be supervising you.

Beads of Courage Donation. This year, Beads of Courage will distribute over 11 million beads to children and families around the world. Our donations of special artist Courage Beads is an important part of that effort and there are never enough glass beads to meet the demand. Take advantage on your time sheltering in place to make some special beads for this unique and important program. We want Flame Surfers to continue our great tradition of providing over 1,000 beads each year to BOC and can’t do it without you. Wendy Leys, our BOC coordinator, is happy to receive your donations and ship them to BOC headquarters for you. Please contact Wendy to arrange a bead drop off:

SCFS Chapter Challenge Update

Thanks to all that joined us to make beads in the style of Charlie Warner for our ISGB chapter challenge. The recent issue of Glass Bead Evolution (GBE) included a nice article on our chapter along with the challenge for ISGB members to submit big and bold hollow beads. Look for an update on our challenge in the next issue of (GBE) that might include photos of the beads submitted by Susan Haskell and our other members below.

Hope to see you in the cloud on June 6,
Steve Bay
President, So Cal Flame Surfers