The Buck Stops Here
AGBG & SRA-ANZ
How they came to be and their intended Missions.
Founder of AGBG
Thanks for stopping by. I am finally taking some time out from my normal daily chaos to write the story of the AGBG and SRA-ANZ before too much time passes, changes are made, and details are forever forgotten! To tell you, what it's all about and why it has been carefully nurtered and cultivated to it's current existence.
In this way, I hope that many of you who have only recently discovered us can also know the history directly from the source and may find a better understanding in whether or not you wish to participate in or support our efforts to make the Beadmaking Industry in general much more viable, and your personal goals more attainable.
In short - it's ALL about the Beadmakers. Always has been, and always will be if it's within my power to make it so! For the long version, please read on!
Fair warning right now - this is the LONG version.
To tell the story faithfully and give credit where credit is due, we must go back in time to before the Australian Glass Beadmaker's Guild (AGBG) was formed. This isn't really a story about me - but I am an integral cog in the works and the roles I have played is part of the story of how it all came to be. It's history, and there will be other names mentioned and acknowledged for their contributions too.
It all began with the Brisbane Beadmaker's Group in 2003.
I proposed a meet after a Beadmaking workshop with Kathryn Wardill at Albion Glass, where a handful of fresh new Beadmakers all got to know each other a bit. We began meeting regularly out of desire for like-minded people to socialize and share our passion and knowledge with in person. Having been semi-involved in the Beadmaking scene since my first class in 1997 in the USA and going into beadmaking full-time in Brisbane in 2003, I recognized the need and potential for an organized group to enable bigger and better things for all the Beadmakers in the years to come.
There are 2 things important to note here at this point:
1. Due to the difficulty in obtaining many of the equipments and supplies in Australia - my partner started the Ozziebuddy Lampwork Equipment and Supplies business. So now you know right up front - those of you who didn't already, that I am "affiliated" with a Supplier.
2. Back in 2003, some equipment was nearly impossible to buy locally and some places even pronounced the Hothead illegal to operate in this country! (NOT!) A dual-fuel Torch was quite simply beyond practical reach for most people due to the high cost of bottled Oxygen and the fact it was nearly impossible to get hold of an Oxy Concentrator back then.
Ozziebuddy designed and manufactured one of the early Adaptor systems for the Hothead to allow the use of the common BBQ LPG tank.
How are these things relevant to the history of the AGBG? Only to emphasize that the growth process of Flamework or the Lampwork Beadmaking Industry as a whole, has been laborious and very slow until just the last couple of years. Denise Smith negotiated the first real inroad to making Oxygen Concentrators openly available in this country to our Industry, only a few short years ago! Since then the use of Dual-Fuel Torches has boomed in this country.
As I was saying about recognizing the need for an organized and cooperative group effort for mutual betterment....I proposed to the Brisbane Beadmakers that we start something - the idea was enthusiastically received, and the AGBG was "born" on Dec. 6th 2003. This website came to be a few months later. We have Adele Pryor to thank for collecting most of the Tutorials which are still listed on this site - thanks Delsie!
Many ideas for future goals were collected in the early days, and all along the way as well. From those ideas came plans and great thanks go to all of you who spent many a pleasant lunch or time over many coffees to hammer out some very interesting proposals and how to manifest them - as well as discussing the pitfalls involved in the forming of such an organization as the AGBG. No names will be mentioned here as there's just too many and I don't want to insult any by overlooking them!
To date, the AGBG has been steered into the direction and position to be able to manifest some of the abovementioned goals, there are still more plans and ideas waiting the right timing or the people to action them. Workshops with International Tutors have been proposed, other ideas have been put forward how to increase visibility/promotion for those who sell lampwork beads, along with many other potential benefits that I won't go into here and now.
The SRA-ANZ came about as a result of Lavender Kirby's planning and assistance - she spearheaded the effort and got things off the ground and running. Kathleen Moon - Carolyn Martin's sister - kindly developed the logo which is in use today to identify bona fide Studios and Lampwork Beadmakers all over Australia and New Zealand. This effort helps to distinguish Flameworkers handmade products from the mass-production work that currently saturates the marketplace.
In 2007 the AGBG published it's first Beadmaker's Calendar - showcasing the artwork of Beadmakers all over Australia and New Zealand. Liz Deluca suggested the idea, Tracy Brown volunteered her photography skills, I did the layout, organized printing and handled distribution. This was a very successful and well received fundraising campaign, which was repeated in 2008 with Ronita Neal taking the photos and myself again the layout, printing and distribution. The print run was larger in 2008 with International exposure. A couple of retail stores stocked it, and quite a number of people from overseas purchased as well.
One of the most recent developments is the official Newsletter.
A group of volunteers attending the Brisbane Beadmaker Meet in October 2007 volunteered to get this project off the ground. A community effort to bring regular updates, news, tutorials and much more - directly to you the Beadmaker in the form of an e-Newsletter. From that original group of volunteers, Carolyn Martin has stepped up to assume the Editorial Role and Marianne Kerby as Editorial Coordinator. The first issue was released on Saturday, March 8th, 2008
Thanks go to those who also contributed to the effort - Mark and Di Horgan, Jenn Findlay, and Desi Rentos.
From the discussions of the Newsletter Committee, it was decided that the timing was right to activate the Forum which has been waiting in the wings for many years until needed. To facilitate discussion between committee members who will likely be geographically distant - giving them a place to securely and privately discuss the business pertaining to their committee.
With the Forum, came a fresh new look for the AGBG website and changes to content to bring it more in line with serving the goals of promoting the Beadmakers. We have Alana Cox to thank for the proper installation and continued assistance in managing both Website and Forum, all of which took place over the Christmas Holidays 2007/2008.
A new Gallery has also been installed soon after the Forum - thanks Alana - a big improvement over the old Galleries, with more changes planned as interest and participation grows.
So now we come to the part where we need to define the existence of the AGBG.
This definition comes from the ideas that have been put forward and the goals originally envisioned by those who began this process in 2003. The "mission statement" if you will, has always been clearly posted on this website from the beginning:
Promoting the growth and recognition of the Glass Beadmaking Art in all areas, and establishing a dedicated Hub facilitating communications and mentoring amongst interested persons, as well as providing networking, support and assistance with professional development.
The manner in which we accomplish those goals is going to shift and change with time, needs, community interest and participation, as well as available responsible bodies to facilitate any neccesary changes. It has always been a "Not for Profit" oriented entity, with the Beadmaker Community as the intended recipients of all benefits.
Where are we going from here and how will we get there? That all depends on YOU! This organization has always been by, for and about the BEADMAKERS!
The AGBG and SRA-ANZ do need to continue moving forward and become more productive as organizations. This can only happen if we have more people onboard to share the workload and breathe new life in with your own ideas, experience, time and energy. Everyone is welcome to apply - we have never been exclusionary about accepting help! I believe we all have something of value to contribute if we wish to do so.
We are looking for people of high integrity, healthy moral fibre and strong fortitude. People who are capable of disconnecting from any personal or business dramas/affiliations long enough to make objective observations and decisions as needed for the better interests of the Beadmaking Industry.
This is probably the most difficult requirement. Most of what needs doing is not difficult, but occasionally you will be called upon to deal with strong differing opinions and sometimes conflict or controversy as well.
As with any other "job" there will be a proving period. Positions of responsibility and power within the organizations will not just be handed over until we know what you are capable of and that you do follow thru and deliver. We need people who will communicate reliably and performance counts! Please check on the Forum for further news and updates about pending developments and how you can help.
That about wraps up the story for now. Did I miss anything? It's very likely I have overlooked some interesting bits that deserve to be told above, so don't hesitate to contact me if you think of something worth mention.....I'll see about adding it in!
There is of course a lot more to the AGBG's story and a lot of people involved or interacted with. Many stories that span the gamut from really cool, funny, amazing and awe-inspiring, to very sad, opportunistic and extremely negative. Those stories would take far too long to tell here. Come have a coffee with me if there's something you just have to know more about!
Best regards always,
Barbara Robinson - Founder