Skill Level Guidelines

Extract from:

The Bead Release
Quarterly Publication of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers
Volume XIII, Issue One
Winter 2006
Pages 40 and 41

By Ann Scherm Baldwin

A beadmaker’s skill level is usually a combination of a number of factors, the most important of which is actual time spent at the torch. Artistic ability, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination play important roles, but you can’t beat experience for pushing your beadmaking skills to new levels.

Your skill level is dynamic, ever changing, not static. When I talk about skill level, it is not a judgment of a beadmaker’s ability, only on their skill level right now, at this point in time.  Also, skill level is not about how many different techniques you have mastered. Simply understanding how to make a hollow bead of murrinne cane does not guarantee that you will be doing them well, or with ease and precision. Skill is nothing more than a progression of your understanding of and experience with hot glass, and the longer you’re at it, the greater your skill will be.

That said, beadmaking classes offered for certain skill levels can be confusing, There is no recognised standard for a set of skills, that an advanced-beginner, intermediate or advanced beadmaker should have. What “intermediate” means to you might not be what it means to an instructor offering a class. I think that our community needs to start a dialogue on what constitutes beginner, advanced-beginner, intermediate, and advanced beadmaking skills, to help students choose appropriate classes. So, I have created a set of guidelines for what I consider the various levels of beadmaking skill.  It’s only one instructor’s opinion, but I hope it’s a jumping off point to start a discussion and help us develop a common understanding.

These guidelines are based on the progression of skills that I have observed in teaching for several years, but not everyone will fit one skill level exactly. That’s okay! I offer these skill level definitions to challenge both students and instructors to simply start to think in terms of skill levels.

Basic Knowledge and Experience:

Specific Skills You Have Mastered: