Monday, December 29, 2008

My Goals for 2009

Here are my goals for the upcoming new year. I have my top three goals in my iGoogle page under a Google gadget from pictured here. This lets me see them every day, one of the important aspects of goal setting. The added benefit for me in using this gadget is that I respect and admire Lance Armstrong for what he achieved in overcoming cancer and winning 7 Tour de France. His accomplishments inspire me to work hard to achieve my goals. It makes me very determined and focused.

Right now I have two other goals, in order of priority:

  • #4 Build a body of work to update my current portfolio by 3/31/09
  • #5 Build my Etsy store presence by adding at least one new item to my store front every day or two. This is an ongoing goal.
The Google gadget doesn't allow for a specific time frame within which you want to achieve your goal, but I know my top three are more of ongoing goals that I will focus on for 2009.

Another thing that I do when I set my goals is to keep a close eye on my approach for achieving the goals and recognize that it's ok to revise them if I miss a deadline or find another approach to achieve them.

One other thing I would like to add is that I developed the life habit of setting goals thanks to one of my early mentors in my insurance days. This mentor was my boss, Fred Wanner, and I'm happy to say he is my friend and we continue to stay in touch today.

Here's wishing all of you achieve success through the goals that you have set for yourselves! Let's all go for it in 2009!!! And yes, Live Strong too!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I'm so excited. Today I was able to complete my first attempt at Vitrigraph, which is the process where you can create your own stringers of glass. I learned about this in the Patty Gray class that I took this November. Today was the first time I was actually able to try it out for myself. While it may appear to be a huge pain, it's quite fun for someone like myself who loves to work with glass. I have several photos (some thanks to my husband) that will walk through the process. But why not start with the end result first....

This first picture is just a few of the small Curly Qs I created during the process. I'll incorporate them into my new fused glass works as they do create wonderful imagery in the glass. I started with black as it's one of the easiest to work with for this process and they will add nice contrasts to other pieces. My next will be greens, later this week, and I plan to use them for plant stems.

So here's the set up. This is my smaller kiln, the Paragon Caldera. The top and bottom separate from the main unit and it's ideal for small projects like Vitrigraph. It's setting on top of some fiber board on top of a small scaffold out in the garage. And it has been VERY cold out there, so I have a little ceramic heater (to the right of the kiln) to help warm up the area around the kiln until it is ready to fire. The kiln is setting on a 1" thick piece of fiber board (to act as the bottom of the kiln). The fiber board has a 1" circle in the center where a clay pot, filled with glass, sits over it. Once the glass reaches temperature, it will flow through the holes and onto the fiber paper sitting on the floor. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last night I loaded a 4" clay pot, yep a clay pot, with a combination of black and clear glass...predominantly black glass. I added the clear to give the black some depth...can't really tell you if it helped or not, but I do like the results. So here is a picture of this pot full of glass, sitting in the kiln ready for firing.

Now I put the lid on the kiln and fire it up. It took a little over 4 hours for it to reach temperature, a blazing 1690 degrees! Once the glass starts to flow, then I'm ready to start shaping it free form.

This next picture shows the glass has just started to exit the kiln base. I have a large black arrow pointing to the first stringer with a large black blob of glass at the bottom of it. You can see I'm dressed for warmth, plus I'm wearing leather gloves for protection from the hot glass and I have a set of stainless steel tongs to manipulate the glass. I'm wearing my glasses and I also have safety glasses. In class we were ok with wearing our regular glasses; just so our eyes are protected.

Now I'm grabbing hold of the glass string and pulling, twisting, and contorting it as much as I can. I actually have a pretty good run of curly qs in this shot.

Here's a close up of how I'm working with the glass string.

On the floor, directly underneath the kiln I have a fiber blanket in place to 'catch' the glass droppings. They're still pretty warm when they hit that blanket, but they do cool quickly.

I can't wait to start on the green ones. I'll probably do that Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

Hope you had fun seeing the pictures of the process. I'm looking forward to incorporating these into my new work for the shows coming up this spring.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Peace Offering - Work in Progress, Cutting and Fitting Complete

Here is the latest photo of my work on "Peace Offering" a stained glass window commission I received from Milo Stephens for her original painting of this lovely lady.

The cutting and fitting are complete. I will be cleaning each piece as I begin the copper foil process in preparation for soldering.

I am so pleased with how this piece is progressing. The glass is a wonderful representation of the colors Milo used in her original painting (I think). There are some variations, but in the end I think this will be a very nice representation of Milo's painting.

The next post I will do on Peace Offering's progress will be when the copper foil is complete. That will really show the lines and give a much better idea of how this will look once it is soldered.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'm waiting for the holiday celebrations to begin. Family will be arriving in another hour or so and I thought it would we fun to share this with all of you.

Several days ago we were watching Fox and Friends and a viewer had sent them a link to JibJab where they had 'elfed' the hosts in a Christmas video of sorts. JibJab does those quirky little videos with people's heads on bodies...dancing/singing/etc.

I checked it out, uploaded pictures of Dan, me, and our three bassets. We think it's hysterical and some friends have said it's out of character for me. However, I wanted to share some holiday fun and I hope you enjoy watching it. Tis the season for making merry, right?

It takes a little bit for it to load in your browser, but starts automatically once it's ready. It will only be online til 1/15/09. I hope you get a chuckle out of this.

Best wishes for the holiday season and a prosperous 2009!

Thanks to all of you who have read my blog this year and expressed your thoughts, support, and encouragement. I greatly appreciate it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good News

Isn't amazing how these things happen?

Tonight I got a phone call from the reporter, David Lowe, who interviewed me this year for a local paper, The Tri-Lakes Tribune. He's doing a follow up article on all those folks he interviewed to see how their businesses are doing. Cool.

We talked about my recent sales and commissions, the impact the economy has had on sales (some speculation there), along with shows I plan on doing next year. The article will be out in next week's edition. How neat to be part of a follow up story. Nice to have the publicity too.

Thanks too for all of the words of encouragement and support on my last post, along with the compliments on my work. I am humbled and flattered by your words. All of you are wonderful friends.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are you an Artrepreneur?

I'll preface this with the acknowledgment that I have been very pensive for the last week. After yesterday, I think I understand why and wanted to share my thoughts. I know I'm being guided along the path I'm on.

Currently, I'm reading "Success Now! for Artists" by Renee Phillips. She provides great guidance and insight for managing the business of art. Not something I think most of us artists want to deal with, but we really must if we ever want success...I think.

Even though I've worked with glass for over 20 years, I didn't start our official studio until almost 2 years ago. And the business has come a long way in that short period of time and I feel we've been very fortunate.

My husband and I realize that getting a business started takes time and there are initial start up costs. As you can imagine, we have been operating in the red since the studio started. The good news is that for the most part I have all the equipment I need (yes, there's always that dream item or two) and I have a sound glass inventory. So we are at a point where I do not believe I need much except to replace supplies as they grow low AND I have sales to justify their purchase.

Last Saturday when we were enjoying dinner after the symphony, I told Dan that my goal for 2009 was to treat Krucoff Studios in a more business like manner. Since both of us have day jobs, my 'real job' does help to support my art and the business. If our small business has the money for me to purchase something, I will. And this goes hand and hand with Renee's recommendations for the business side of being an artist. One thing that is on my wish list is a LARGE kiln (the Paragon Pearl 44....she's a beauty), but I will not buy it until the business can justify that expense.

What's ironic, I guess, is yesterday the company that my husband and I work for (you know, the real day jobs...and yes we both work for the same company) announced that effective January 1, there would be an across the board 5% pay cut. Not exactly a Christmas bonus, but we still have jobs and they are trying to insure that those of us who are employed, continue to be. We appreciate that, especially in these economic times. So to my way of thinking, things happen for a reason, and how appropriate is it that prior to yesterday's news about our steady income, I had already made the decision that I need to treat my art as a business too? This is only one of the reasons I feel like I'm being guided; listen to your inner voice, it is wise and provides great insight.

2009 will be an interesting year, as they all are. Challenges are good. Never give up your dreams and be flexible to change. I have written down my goals for Krucoff Studios for 2009 and I continue to look for ways to grow our business. I do have faith and know that things happen for a reason. Perhaps the 5% pay cut is just the "gentle" nudge needed for me to become even more determined to achieve the goals I have for our business.

Be thankful for your gifts, your talent, and the blessings you receive every day. And yes, I am becoming an Artrepreneur.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Studio reorganization

Yesterday I had one of those 'ah ha' moments in the morning as I was relaxing with one of the bassets on my lap, enjoying my morning coffee. My mind works this way, an idea will pop into my head and it can be the simplest of revelations, but the value of it is just great.

When we built our house almost 4 years ago, I designed my studio area with stained glass work in mind. At that time I had not entered the world of warm glass, wire wrapping, etc. I felt I had more than enough space for surface areas and storage. Moving forward to the present, I've been having some struggles with keeping things separate (fusible glass from stained glass, wire, tools, pretty much you name it) and having enough work surfaces so I can multi-task. Most of the time I'm working on a stained glass piece in one area, fused stuff and or wire wrapping.

Now to my idea. I purchased a great work table manufactured by Koala as a cutting table over 3 years ago (here's a picture of it). I liked the options for expanding or shrinking the work surface of this table, plus it is on casters which makes moving it a breeze.

Until yesterday I was only using 3/4 of the work surface because of how I had positioned it in the studio. When the light dawned for me yesterday, I realized that I could use the full work surface by changing the position in the room and it would actually give me more room (floor space) in the studio too! Wow. It always scares me when it takes a while to see a better approach. I guess the good news is I figured out a better approach.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Denver

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I went to a concert, Colorado Christmas, at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It was a wonderful experience of sights and sounds. I cannot tell you what my favorite part was because the entire experience was such fun. I believe the evening show was broadcast on one of the local Denver channels.

It was beautiful and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We made a promise to make a point of going to the symphony on a more regular basis. It's so important to support the arts in all forms and that is one of our commitments for 2009.

One thing that hit home for me was when the conductor, Richard Kaufman, read a letter written by Tchaikovsky to his nephew I think. He wrote this letter after he had just spent a fortnight (his words) composing the Nutcracker Suite, which he had thought would only take him 5 days to compose! Can you imagine thinking he had planned to compose all that glorious music in just 5 days and was upset with himself that it took two weeks???? Coupled with his disappointment in the end result, Tchaikovsky was so pained by the compositions of Nutcracker, he felt they were not good at all, that he felt if he could do not better he would cease composing music! OMG! Even the greats are plagued with the demons of self-doubt.

I know any of us that study art find those, whose work we admire, are dissatisfied with what they've produced.....Ansel Adams, Georgia O'Keefe, Tchaikovsky...and the list goes on.

So that left both my husband and I with the thought that no matter what you think of your work, continue to work at making it better and don't ever stop!

Feeling rather festive on this snowy morning in Colorado....peace and happy holidays folks! Oh yes, and if you have a chance to go to the symphony, take advantage of that opportunity and enjoy. It's too good to miss.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Ornaments

This week I delivered two different sets of special ordered Christmas ornaments.

The first was a set of 5 Christmas trees. I really enjoyed how these turned out as I was able to layer about 5 gradient sizes of glass to produce the end result. One of the techniques I learned in my Patty Gray class last month.

The second was a dozen Texas stars. They varied in outcome which made each one very unique. During my 'experiments' I ran out of the medium sized pre-cut Wasser stars and had to improvise with a medium red star with a smaller white star on top of it. Some are going to folks in Texas as gifts, others are remaining here in Colorado with some transplanted Texans.

All I can say is I couldn't have produced the stars with out the aid of my trusty Taurus III Ring Saw.

I really enjoy the looks on people's faces, when I have the opportunity to witness their expressions the first time they see something they've ordered from me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Pendants

A Solitary Rose ~ Amulet

I've been experimenting and these are part of my new series, Talismans and Amulets. I think they are kind of fun because I see different shapes in the glass. Over active imagination I guess! I would always look for shapes in clouds (actually I still do that), so why not glass! Some of these remind me of hieroglyphs.

They're available at my Etsy store if anyone has any interest for Christmas gifts.

The Steady Talisman.

Happiness Talisman.

Amulet - Am I part of the Galaxy?

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Peace Offering" ~~ Progress

Here's a picture of the progress I've made on Milo's "Peace Offering" window. I have the pieces for the dove and her face cut out too, but I took this picture yesterday afternoon when the sunlight was out and the reds and greens were showing up so vibrantly and that was before I had worked on the dove and her face.

Now, I'm working on fitting things together, which is a fairly time consuming process. I know some glass artists that can cut things out and they just fit well right away. I generally need to grind each piece and get them to fit as I work on building the window. When I first learned stained glass, my teacher said that getting all the pieces to fit was where she spent most of her time....and that is what I work on the longest too.

It's so nice to work on something with reds and greens this time of year....very Christmas. I'm glad I changed out some of the glass so the window more closely resembles the painting.

Here's one of the things I love doing with stained glass...all the reds are from the same sheet of glass. The same is true of the green. It's intriguing and I love the challenge of creating the 'shadings' with the same sheet of glass.

As a footnote, we're under a winter storm advisory. It's snowing and the wind is gusting pretty good right now. I'm thankful to be home, safe and sound. We may be house bound tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My First Sale on Etsy!

The orange/rust pendant is titled "Blaze".

The other is titled Ocean Sunset, because I can envision the sun setting with the trace of yellow in the 'sky line' with the ocean in the foreground.

A friend from Art Scuttlebutt, Gerry, was my very first customer on Etsy. His wife, Sue, loves my jewelry so he purchased some of her Christmas gifts from me. I'm so touched. He said she wouldn't tell him which of the pendants she wanted so he selected these two for her. I gift wrapped them and shipped them yesterday.

What fun!

P. S. I have photos to download and post on my work in progress on Milo's Peace Offering. That stained glass window has really started to come together. I re-did a couple of pieces to try to capture more of the feel of her painting. I'll work on getting the update posted early this week.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Progress Reports

I'm happy to report that I had a successful outcome of the firing of the batch of 8 Texas Star Christmas ornaments. I'm posting a picture of them and
the next picture of the same ornaments with the pre-cut stars for the completion of the Texas flag look. It's so fortunate for me that Wasser glass pre-cuts shapes that most of us would find beyond difficult to do. These little stars come from Wasser and I love using their glass. I plan on doing a tack fuse to hold these smaller stars in place on the ornaments.

Currently I'm firing the last batch of Texas Star ornaments and Christmas Tree ornaments. This batch of tree ornaments are a little wider on the bottom, at the customer's request. Unfortunately, the picture doesn't show the layer technique I'm using all that well, but the outcome from my first effort was really cool....even if I do say so myself. It was a technique that I learned in the Patty Gray class I took at D & L last month.

For the trees, I stacked 5 different types of glass and as the glass fuses they melt into each other creating a wonderful effect (I think).

The Texas Stars have been challenging. Tomorrow I plan on devoting the greater part of the day to working on the Peace Offering stained glass window. I'm very anxious to see the light come through this one, but then I guess I always am. This window seems special and I'll continue to post my work in progress on it.

Hey really wasn't my intent to send snow your way! Boy, it isn't officially winter yet and we're experiencing the harshness of it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...........

I'm posting two photos of the results from the Texas Star Christmas ornaments, and the little Christmas Tree ornament. The stars didn't turn out. They didn't fuse as I had hoped. I tried a new approach to cutting out the shapes and it just didn't work.

This is my new batch of stars that I'm firing today. I think they should turn out MUCH better and I only have 4 more stars to do if this batch of 8 works as I expect/hope.

The person who requested the Christmas Tree ornament liked it so well that he ordered 4 more. I'll take some additional photos of the next batch as they are pretty cute.

Right now the moral to this story is, if at first you don't succeed (the bad result from the Texas Stars), then try .... try again.

As I was working on these it did seem like I was making glass Christmas cookies. At least these don't have any calories!!!! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Peace Offering - Work in Progress....and SNOW!

Here is the start of my work on Peace Offering...a window I'm doing for Milo Stephens. I wish the lighting was better as everything looks much darker than it really is. The red and green glass is beautiful as will be seen when the window is complete and light shines through. In the meantime, I plan on posting my work progress, as I did with the Peace Angel window.

And today we had our first real snow of the season. Out where we are, we have about 18" plus drifts! These are pictures of our back yard. The poor basset hounds have a time navigating this stuff. My husband shoveled a path for them, which helps.

Kathleen's Etsy Store

It's taken me a while, but my Etsy store is open for business. I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think.


Christmas ornaments

It's been a busy weekend. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner, putting up the Christmas decorations, working on projects from my stained glass to fused glass.

Here's a picture of Christmas ornaments prior to firing them in the kiln last night. I'm waiting for them to cool so I can see the actual results! The stars are a representation of the Texas state flag and were ordered as gifts for relatives. The lone Christmas tree ornament was a special request.

Peace Offering, my stained glass commission, is progressing and I hope to post a picture of that later today.

Oh yes, and we are in the midst of our first winter storm....looks like we've got 8" of snow and it's still snowing! Perfect day to be home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve and I'm Exhausted

Hello my friends.....

Ever since this past weekend, I've been working on re-claiming the house in preparation for tomorrow....the Thanksgiving gathering. I'd much rather work on my glass than clean house, so now I'm paying the price for that indulgence.

Thank God for the wonderful man I am married to....he helped me, in more ways than I could have hoped, to get things ready. My studio is still in a state of 'creative chaos', as is his dark room, but we're ok with that. In our living room, he hung some beautiful new photographs of his from our fall trip to the Tetons. They just take my breath away. I'm in the middle of a new stained glass commission and looking forward to posting some pictures of it by this weekend. The kiln has had a rest from my frenzy of fusing since its repair.

All in all I have so much to be thankful for and tomorrow will be a great day... let's hope our weather behaves, but the forecast doesn't sound good.

Best wishes to all the friends in my life. Here's wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that all of you have entered my life, as I truly am a richer person as a result. Thanks!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I've been tagged!

Well, I've been tagged by a very talented artist, Karen, whose blog is A Visual Journey. Karen ~~ I want to thank you for selecting me as one of the artists you tagged and I am flattered that you thought enough of me and my work to 'tag' me. Please visit Karen's blog as I find it very enjoyable and informative; I love following her writings about her journey as she paints so many beautiful things.

So, here goes....The Rules for tagging are:
1. Put a link in your posting about the artist that tagged you.
2. Write 5 -7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 5 - 7 other bloggers and let them know.

Unusual things about me:
  • I changed careers from being an insurance adjuster to a computer programmer. Course I'm working on my third career in art now.
  • I have a huge phobia of all things bee/hornet/wasp...etc
  • Two years ago I spent 9 months training and showing our youngest basset hound to achieve a Rally Novice Title. Dog shows are way too much work for a non-professional dog handler as myself. We did earn the title, but I have retired from the dog show ring
  • 10 puppies don't intimidate me in the least; guess that's why I/we have 3 basset hounds. I love dogs and even though we have bassets, the bigger the dog the better for me.
  • My husband and soul mate is younger than me in age; however I know we have the same maturity level (kids at heart) and zest for life.
These are the artists I've tagged....I hope you enjoy their blogs as much as I do. They are very talented individuals.
MarilynM - My New Sky
Deborah Younglao - Daily Silk Painting
Karen Zima
Sharmon Davidson
Tracey Clarke

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book - "Success Now! For Artists"

I ordered this book a few weeks ago, "Success Now! For Artists" by Renee Phillips. Today I was finally able to make some time to start reading the book and it's been hard for me to put this book down.

Great advice, encouragement, support. Set goals. Have a business plan. Manage your money. Wow! Ok, obvious stuff, but sometimes I find it necessary to be reminded of those things....a good thump to the head sort of..... For any of us experiencing self-doubt or that lovely floundering feeling that comes from time to time, I think this book is a MUST READ.

I ordered this directly from Manhattanarts and Renee even autographed it!

My point is I have found a great deal of inspiration from what I've read so far and it has helped me to feel more focused about my work. Just wanted to share.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas Items

A friend at my day job asked me to make some Texas Stars as Christmas ornaments. He and his wife would like to have them as Christmas gifts for their friends/relatives living in Texas.

This is my second prototype with the stars. I think I'm getting closer, but they still are not as I envision them. I was hopeful that the silver mica would appear better after firing, but it didn't. Thankfully I used some dichro to enhance them.

Tonight I'm working on the final component and that is the addition of the little start on top of the blue side. The intent is for them to represent the Texas state flag.

While I was at it, I also incorporated some fun jewelry pieces and other Christmas things, which I hope will turn out as I envision.

The Good News....The Bad News

The Good News is my Aspen Branch plate turned out so well. The definition I was able to create with outlines is exactly what I've wanted in my fused pieces. Peter McGrain's techniques are fun and I think have brought my work up a notch or two.

The bad news is the fuego bowl turned out 'ok', but somehow, I mistook some of the main glass as fusible and it was not. I'm just thankful that nothing happened to cause more kiln problems. I discovered that some of the glass wasn't fusible as I was looking at the tag to re-order some. Much to my dismay, it was normal stained glass...not fusible.

At least I can incorporate the non-fusible glass into a stained glass piece in the future.

For now, I'm glad I can pursue the Aspen Branch series and do more glass painting!

My Bowl from the Patty Gray Class

Here are a couple of views of my completed bowl from the Patty Gray class. I'm anxious to make more and try different styles.

I thought it would be fun to post pictures of some of the other bowls from the class too. You can see mine in the two shots. Some are still in the stainless steel bowl molds. So many wonderful ideas that came to fruition here. Great to see all the creativity!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Glass Paintings

Tonight two painting projects are in the kiln. I'm embarking on the Peter McGrain Vitri-Fusaille technique.

This first one, my Fuego plate/bowl, is one that I've always meant to display like stained glass....only in a bowl. I just defined the lines with paint that should fire black. I think that will make this piece really stand out. Once that's complete, I can slump it in the bowl mold....hopefully tomorrow.

This next one is my aspen branch. I worked on the outlines and I may do more to this after the paint firing. I'll have to see how the black outlines turn out and I may do a bit of a wash to it to incorporate more shading.

Right now less is more for me when it comes to painting on glass. I'm going to have to experiment and see what works.

Oh and I started to work on my commission for the Milo Stephens "Peace Offering" today. I'll post pictures of the work in progress on this piece too. I've been anxious to start working on this one!

Peace Angel ~~ Complete!

Here she is....The Peace Angel. Tomorrow afternoon she will be in her new home.

Until any of my stained glass pieces arrive in their new homes, I always feel the need to protect them. Do any of you feel that way about your work?

I'm very happy with the way this turned out. I find the lavender hues of her gown to be wonderful for the shading in it. Both angels' gowns and wings came from the same glass. It fascinates me, that I can create 'shading' with the color variations in a sheet of glass. My stained glass instructor taught me about that, and I owe her a debt of gratitude. Thanks can see her talent by visiting her website, River Song Art Glass.

In case you were curious about her counterpart, here is a picture of the Jubilation Angel I did a little over two years ago. Both will have a wonderful home in the Foote residence.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Projects

Tonight I started a fuse that will complete a couple of projects from my Patty Gray class last week. The first is a triptych, another is a mosaic of sorts. I'm re-working a couple of pendants from my last firing. I'm firing both shelves at the same time. It's nice to have a kiln that will accommodate that type of work.

And I have a teaser....I completed the Peace Angel and tomorrow I'll have a picture to post of her with the sunlight coming through. She will be delivered to her home on Sunday afternoon to watch over little Robert Foote. Her companion, the Jubilation Angel, has been watching over his big sister, Rachael, since her birth a little over two years ago. My hope is that both of the angels will become family heirlooms.

Stay tuned......

Results of my First Firing since the Kiln Repair

Here's the result of my first firing, since my kiln has been repaired. Over all I'm pretty happy with the results. The circle will become a plate, but now I will be trying Peter McGrain's painting technique on it to form branches. This will be fairly simple to start out with and I'll see how it develops.

The other pieces are jewelry pendants. I had to re-work a couple of them and I'm staring a new firing tonight.

It's great to be fusing again!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Paragon Kilns RULE!!!!

I am soooooooooooooooooooo happy this morning. Spoke with my rep, Peter, with Paragon and he walked my husband and I through the rest of the installation process this morning. Once all was back in place, we plugged it in, turned it on, and started a firing schedule. My kiln started humming like a large kitten....just as it should. Heat came on to the elements and the familiar hum it makes as it fires was back.

I'm just ecstatic! I feel alive again (ok I know that sounds strange), but I felt I had been cut off from my creativity because my kiln wasn't working. AND I have TONS I want to do with my kilnwork after my class with Patty Gray and the painting DVDs.

Now I'm back and couldn't be happier. Yep, Paragon Kilns Rule!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Kiln Parts Have Arrived!

I'm definitely learning more about the 'anatomy' of my kiln. I'm certain that is a good thing, even though the circumstances requiring it have not been fun.

The replacement parts arrived today, as promised. Yeah! Tonight, my husband helped as we replaced the relay and wiring harness. Now there are a couple of wires that, according to the manual, should be cut as they are for extra relays and mine only has the one. However, I'm not taking any chances and will call my rep first thing in the morning. Once I get the proper guidance from him, we'll complete putting "Humpty Dumpty" back together again. Then the next BIG test will be turning the power on.

I must admit I'm feeling optimistic about this now.

And Thank You my dear artist friends..... for your words of support and encouragement. That has helped me more than I can say. I too believe things happen for a reason. This has given me time to reflect about what I will complete and start afresh. It's all good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Continuing Kiln Saga

My parts haven't arrived yet. I'm trying to find the bright spot in all of this. At the suggestion of a friend, I randomly opened "The Artist's Way" she had given me to this passage:

Recovering creatives commonly undergo bouts of fierce rage and grief over their lost years. When these creative kriyas occur, we desperately want to kick over the traces and get the hell out of life as it is currently constituted. Instead, make changes, small changes, right where you are.

That does sort of fit with my credo for now. The best thing I can do is work on those things I have stained wire wrapping. And I told myself last night that it's just going to take as long as it takes to get my kiln operational could be a week...a month....hopefully not longer than a month, but I don't have any real control over the time frame and setting deadlines is pointless given the circumstances.

I spoke with my Paragon representative this morning. Apparently UPS has no record of the previous shipment and he will personally re-ship everything to me today, UPS red, so that I have it tomorrow. He's upset with UPS, which I understand. I'm frustrated with wanting to work on all the new techniques I learned last week in Patty's class. Looking for the balance in all of this.

Tonight I'm attending a meeting of my local glass artist group, Glass Artists of the Pikes Peak Region. We are going to share examples of our work so the group will have some ideas of what to expect for the March 2009 show at Commonwheel Artists Coop in Manitou Springs. That should be a good distraction for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Patty Gray's Class at D & L

Tonight I'm operating on information overload. Today was the last day of the three day Patty Gray class at D & L Stained Glass in Denver. Awesome doesn't even describe it adequately....and I can't come up with the right descriptor right now because I think I'm still processing information.

It was wonderful. I think my work has been bumped up more than a notch or two! I have TONS of pictures to post. I thought about taking my camera for the first day of class, but didn't. At least I have pictures from the last two days and I'm so thankful we could take photos.

The main purpose of the class was to learn Patty's technique for slumping thick bowls. Since glass likes to seek a level of 1/4" when it fuses, we build our pieces 3/8" to 1/2" and put fiber dams around them to keep them at that thickness.

I'm posting a picture of my bowl, after the initial fuse, but before the slump. First attempts at anything, for me, generally show me what I need to do the next time I try something. This is no different. I was going for three leaves. I needed to build them higher and add some black or sienna for definition on my next attempt. Pieces of clear glass were placed on top to form a mound and when fused the glass seeks a level. Mine isn't as thick as some of the others. For a first attempt, I like the colors. Once I get a picture of the finished bowl (which I brought home tonight), I'll post that next.

I can't thank Patty and the staff at D & L enough for this great learning experience. Here's a picture of me with 'da crew.... From left to right is me, the awesome Patty Gray, Mo (D & L), and Steve (D & L).

Signing off for the night, I'm one tired puppy as this picture confirms!