Lampwork is a hot glass technique used to make beads. Glass is heated in a torch to the molten state, then wrapped on a mandrel (which forms the hole in the bead). The hot glass is turned during the process to work with gravity to form the bead. Every lampwork bead is shaped and designed in the flame before it is placed in a hot kiln for the annealing process. Joy Benn Beads is a working studio and retail space, so drop in for a demonstration.
The Ely Blueberry Festival is July 24 – 26 (Fri – Sun) in Ely, Minnesota.
You can find my booth on the center aisle that runs diagonal through the festival park. Booth #175. This is the 35th year of the Blueberry Festival in Ely.
Growing up with Blueberries
Blueberries had a significant role in my childhood. I remember dashing to the basement after a long trip to my grandparents house in Linden Grove to open the deep freezer in search of the boxes of blueberries. The berries were frozen in a plastic bag, twist-tied, and packed inside small wax-paper boxes. I’d put some frozen berries in a small bowl and pour milk over them for instant “ice cream” as the milk froze onto the edges of each berry. Looking back as an adult, I can see that this was one of many culinary delicacies my childhood offered.
Picking blueberries was mandatory in my family. There was a certain competition to bringing 5-gallon buckets to the Echo Trail knowing Papa wasn’t leaving until your bucket was full, too. Each of us with a one gallon plastic ice cream pail, we poured our berries into the bigger 5-gallon buckets, until we had picked those little wild blueberries bare. We were taught to focus on picking, but watch out for bears, too.
As a kid, it was more of a treat than a chore to go pick blueberries. I can remember picking berries off the side of what used to be called the town line road with my auntie Ailie. We had pretty good berries, but the swamp and peat bottom was a challenge to walk on. After we had picked for a time, my Auntie headed to the car with a full load. She hit some uneven ground and took a tumble next to a pile of carelessly tossed empty beer bottles. We had quite a laugh with her laying there in the ditch next the empty beer bottles — but she didn’t spill a single berry.
It’s nice to have memories that I can still see even though there wasn’t a phone there to capture the image.