Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trees and Other Beauties

For a while I thought being able to create an Etsy Treasury was a myth! But tonight I was lucky enough to be at the right place and the right time (in front of my computer) and I was able to create a Treasury of my favorites that I called "trees and other beauties".

Most of you know that I favor things that are earthy and organic. I love nature, trees, leaves, etc. So check out my picks. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Etsy Redefine Your Style Showcase Today

I purchased another showcase spot with Etsy. Today I'm in the Redefine Your Style Showcase. In this screen shot, I clicked on my item, a pendant called Twilight Begins, so you can see how it pops out into a little larger display with information about it. I liked the idea of wrapping this one so that the emphasis was placed on an more horizontal plane than vertical.

If you have a chance, check out the showcase as I think there are lots of interesting items.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Planet Neptune ~~ Embellished

It's done and even if I do say so myself, I think it is beautiful. The piece, formerly known as the blue bowl, is finished. I kept thinking it looked like a planet and after some discussion with my husband, he said it was blue like the planet Neptune. So now it has a title..."The Planet Neptune ~~ Embellished". The reason I added the embellished part of this is, with the copper inclusions and rust colored squiggles, there were some artistic liberties taken on my part. I almost think I may be finding that abstract part of my creativity! :)

I thought I should include a picture of Neptune as reference. I like the similarities.

As a footnote, during the coldworking process, I did expose one of the trapped air bubbles. That happened on the edge that I worked so hard to define. Hopefully it won't be viewed as a flaw, as it isn't, it's just part of the piece.

Now I'm working on Hues of Nature. That one is 1/2" thick. Neptune is 3/8" thick. I just love the weight to these bowls.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What a Wonderful Surprise

This morning I received a note from Sandy Cahill Johnson that she has featured one of my wire wrapped pendants, "All that Glitters", upper left top row of the picture, in her treasury aptly named "It's a Wrap!". This is such a joy and honor for me to be featured with other wonderfully talented wire artists. Please take a moment to visit this treasury, and Sandy's Etsy Store SCJ Jewelry Design, and of course, Sandy's blog. She is a VERY talented wire artist / jewelry designer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fire Polishing - A Success!

I was more than pleased when I opened the lid to the kiln today and found how nicely polished my blue bowl was. I have pictures to post, but it is late and I will have to do that tomorrow. Just had to share that my blue bowl is almost finished. I have it in the mold, ready to slump. I will start that process tomorrow. This is so exciting and I'm learning so much....actually expanding on what I learned in class last November. What a great investment that class was for me and my art!

Night all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coldworking and Fire Polishing

I'm getting closer to finishing this piece. Tonight I got back to the coldwork needed to finish the edge of the blue bowl. I ordered a couple of additional wet belts for my sander in various grits to help with the coldworking and those belts arrived last week.

Tonight I was able to go through a series of belts, from a 60 grit to 800 grit, and get the edge finished. I did a slight bevel on the top and bottom edge which should smooth even more during the fire polish.

The reason for fire polishing is to help round the glass edge a little more, smooth it and make it nice and glossy.

The finishing work went smoothly and much easier than my previous attempts. I think I'm becoming a coldworking believer. In the Kent Lauer, Faceted Dichroic Pendant class, Kent told me it wouldn't take much time at all to develop coldworking skills. Of course, being the Master Beveler that he is, he was right!

Tonight I'm completing the fire polish stage, so the edge will no longer have a mat appearance and should be glossy. I hope I'm happy with the results when I open the kiln tomorrow to check it.

After that, I will be ready to complete the final stage for this piece, the slumping into the bowl mold to complete the project. I learned a lot from this bowl and that seems to be the norm with any project I work on.

I will move on to the Hues of Nature piece next for the finishing work it needs.

During all of this, I've been revamping our studio website, along with my personal website. All this and a day job too! Art has captured my soul and I don't think I could live without being creative. Here's wishing all of you inspirations for your work too!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crinklized Dichroic

Coatings by Sandburg (CBS) has come out with a new addition to their line of dichroic glass, crinklized dichroic. I ordered a little of it and my shipment arrived a week ago. Last weekend, I did a small test firing to see how this looked and I like the brilliance of it after being fired.

This first photo is after the firing and my pictures are not as good as the ones CBS has on their website. It does have a very nice crinkle texture too it. And it is not rough as one would think, so I feel it will be very nice for jewelry. I plan on wire wrapping these pieces.

The second photo shows how it looked before it was fired and it looks just like ordinary dichroic glass.

I plan on doing a little more experimenting with it. CBS recommends that you take it up to at least 1475 F and you can go even higher to have more of the crinkled effect. They say it is meant to be uncapped, that is, no need to put a clear glass cap over the top of it as I like to do with other dichroic (for depth). But I may just try a sample to see what it looks like. If it is capped, it won't crinkle and that does defeat the purpose of using the glass.

I do enjoy trying out new products. I think this is a wonderful addition to CBS's line of dichroic art glass.

** As a footnote regarding my results from the Etsy showcase yesterday, it didn't generate any sales yet. I did see an increase in traffic, in people who marked my shop a favorite, and in number of views for some of the items I featured. For now I'll continue to chalk this up to gaining exposure and perservance.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Etsy Celebrations and Glamour Showcase Today

Today, I'm in one of Etsy's Showcases. This one is called Celebrations and Glamour. I took this screen shot this morning where I'm featuring one of my larger wire wrapped pendants, "My Lady". Throughout the day, I will probably change out which pendent will be my main item, but I thought I would start out with this one to keep with the theme. There's LOTS of gorgeous stuff in this showcase today, so I think it's well worth a look.

I decided it was time to purchase a couple of these time slots in Etsy and see what happens. I've been reading their blogs and feature articles about Etsy success stories and it seems that these showcases help promote your business. So I'm going to continue to try this approach for a while and see what happens. Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hues of Nature, post-fuse

Here is 'Hues of Nature' fused. I am very happy with the results. Some of the glass strips that I used have a lot of depth, so the lines did not turn out completely straight. Considering that this is something earthy and organic, I think it is a great initial result.

I have some coldworking to do. Then I'll decide if I want to do a fire polish before the slump into the bowl form.

Right now, I just couldn't be happier with how this has turned out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Work - Hues Of Nature

Over the weekend, as I was waiting for the blue bowl to finish its firing schedule, I started on a new project. I wanted to do something that was more random in pattern that the blue bowl, and this is my latest design. It evolved as I was building it and I wanted to show my progression to this point in its journey.

Tonight, this is in the kiln, firing to a full fuse. I am anxious to see if I did enough to eliminate some of the glass icicles; if not, I know how to fix them.

A week or so ago, I started to play with glass color combinations and kept coming back to this trio. These are the sheets that I cut into strips to use in the construction. As I started, I realized that I had another sheet that would work well as it had a nice white/green combination. All of these are from Bulleye Glass. The final choices were a nice streakie amber, my favorite marzipan, a green streakie, and another green/white/orange streakie.

Here is my initial pile of 1/2" strips. The recent addition of the green with white is in the upper left corner of this picture.

I put my design together, by starting in the center of my 10 3/8" steel ring, which will act as a dam to maintain the 1/2" depth of this piece.

As I got going, I thought it would add interest to use the marzipan and amber pieces in a perpendicular position to the long lines created by the glass strips. I varied the number of each of the amber and marzipan strips used for each of those opposing sections.

Last night I completed the work, finishing up with a square of the marzipan and amber in the upper right corner.

I debated about using stringers as I had in the blue bowl, but in the end, I felt this one should stand on its own with a clean, simple line. I'll find out if I'm happy with the result tomorrow when the fusing is complete. The nice thing is I can always add to this if I want to mix it up more. Right now, I think I'll like the simplicity of the lines.

The randomness of the colors reminds me of Hues of Nature, which I think is what I will call this piece.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Continued Evolution

The blue bowl continues to evolve. I'm happy with the results. I like the addition of the rust colored stringers...they compliment the copper mesh inclusions.

The offending chip has disappeared and the edges are nice too. Now I will start the coldworking process again. I'll have to see how things look when I'm done coldworking the edge; at that point I'll have to decide if I want to do a fire polish. Once all of that is done, then it can be slumped into the bowl mold and then it should be done!

I'm thinking about calling this 'A Crazy Blue World'....or something like that. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Greetings and here's wishing all of you a very Happy Valentine's Day.

This morning I prepared the blue bowl for its second fusing. Here it is, in the kiln, ready for firing. Taking it back up to full fuse temperature may mean that I will not be able to see the results until later tomorrow afternoon.

I had great fun arranging all the curls on top of it. I believe I have made the right decision and I want to thank Deborah and Karen for their words of encouragement as I re-work this piece to become (hopefully) even better than the original design.

I took a profile view to show how these curls 'stand up' on top of the surface. During the fusing process they will drop and become part of the glass surface. They will retain their circles and curls, but become part of the piece in the fusing process.

The dam, to maintain its 3/8" thickness, is held in place with steel pins. A technique I picked up in Patty Gray's November class at D & L. I couldn't believe that I could use steel pins in my kiln, but I can. As an added safeguard I used some kiln blocks as additional reinforcements to the dam.

Last, but certainly not least, is a picture of two of our three bassets. As I worked on this piece this morning, they kept me company....sleeping on their beds. Newton is on the left, Bueller is the one on the right. As an added bonus, today we went to the big dog show up in Denver and saw lots of our basset friends. Couldn't ask for a better day.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Evolution of the Blue Bowl

You may recall that in my last post about the blue bowl, I stopped working on it as I was getting tired and started to make mistakes. One of the things that happened was the bowl slipped from my rubber gloves and hit the edge of the sink. A small chip occurred and I thought with the right amount of coldworking, I could eliminated it. Well, sadly the chip went too far into the surface and I don't want to cut down the diameter of the bowl that far. So I've decided to take another approach and the bowl is evolving.

The top picture shows my latest idea. I'm going to take some of the curled stringers I made this past weekend and add them to the surface of the bowl. I like the contrast of the straight lines and these curly stringers. This is just my initial pass tonight and I want to search through the stringers I created to find the best ones suited for what I want to do next. I believe that fusing this piece again will eliminate the chip and provide a nice surface. Of course, this means that I will have to create another dam for the fusing process, to hold the glass at the 3/8" thickness it has now. I'll take a pre-fuse picture to show how this will work. And I will lose all of the coldworking efforts I have put into this piece, but I think that is ok because I should be able to salvage the piece and the accident may cause this to turn into a much more interesting end product! I hope.

I tried to take a picture of the offending chip. It doesn't show up very well, but the yellow arrow is pointing to it. It's an imperfection that is just unacceptable and I will hope my attempt at fusing again will remedy it.

I also took a picture of the edge after I had completed some of the coldworking. It's much smoother, and has started to take on a nice mat finish. I will still have to redo this after the fuse, but that's ok too. I had planned on a fire polish to shine things up after the coldworking anyway.

So, as all of us have done, we learn from our mistakes and can sometimes turn them into something better. I certainly hope that will be the case for this blue bowl. I'm becoming rather fond of it. The more I look at it, I'm reminded of a beautiful blue planet with swirling clouds.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blue Bowl - Progress

These are pictures I took in the various stages of the finish work I'm doing for the blue bowl. I'm still working on it, but thought I would post some of what I've completed so far.

The first picture shows the glass 'icicles' that formed during the fusing process. I used a steel ring to act as a dam so the glass would remain at its depth of 3/8". Glass is like water, it likes to seek it's level and when fusing..... glass wants to find a thickness of 1/4", so when I want to make a piece thicker, I have to use a dam to contain/stop it from spreading. All these glass peaks are pretty sharp and nasty....they needed to be ground off before I could start using the wet belt sander to finish the edge. I used my trusty Glastar grinder and eliminated all of them. The glass peaks could tear up a sander belt and eliminating them makes it much safer to handle the piece too!

Next I used a circle template, 10" in diameter. I placed the template underneath the glass and using my light table, I can see the circle I want to have for my finished piece. There are yellow arrows pointing to the black line I drew with the aid of the template. I used a Sharpie and covered the line with paste wax so it would stay intact while I used my glass saw to cut the circle shape.

This is me with my kevlar glove, using my Taurus III ring saw to cut the finished circle shape. Love my saw. I really enjoy the benefits of all the tools I use to create glass work.

This is the completed circle after the saw work was done.

And below is the edge left after cutting the circle. Now I am in the process of using my wet belt sander to create a nice mat finish, which will eliminate the whitish film on the edge that you see in this photo. I don't have a high end coldworking machine yet, but I will get the job done. And I will probably do a fire polish on this piece when I'm done with the coldworking so it will have a nice, reflective sheen. If I had the more advanced machine, I would be able to polish the surface without needing a fire polish.

So, I reached a point tonight where I was starting to make mistakes and I knew it was time to quit. I think I'm still tired from all the things I did this weekend, along with a full day at the regular office job. Once I'm done with the coldworking phase, I'll report back and post another picture.

Happy creating everyone!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


This is the mass of stringers I created this afternoon. I suppose it looks a little strange; there's wonderful beauty in that mass of glass strings!

I did a lot today. One of my bonus projects was making stringers. It's so nice that my failed fused projects can be recycled and used again. This batch came from one of my first attempts to slump a vase. I misunderstood some things about the process and the vase was lost. So, I broke it into pieces and saved them for use in a screen melt or to create stringers.

While I was cleaning the studio yesterday, I ran across my box of recycle glass and decided it would be great fun to create stringers with this glass. The glass is a lovely shade of deep rusty orange and because of some of the prior inclusions for the vase, I have some pieces with color variations.

This is how things looked as I loaded a clay pot filled with the broken pieces and set it in the kiln this morning. Once heated, the glass flows through the hole in the bottom of the pot and the fiberboard it sits on. I had such fun, pulling, twisting, shaping the glass while it was in its molten form.

Here's a close up of some of the end results. I love the variety of thickness, shapes, and color. Now I will use these in other fused projects as they add a lot to plates, bowls, even jewelry designs!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Order is Back in the Studio

I'm pleased to report that it actually took less time than I thought to re-gain order in my studio. Before I started this clean up, I didn't have one clutter free surface. Now my plan/goal is to keep things as close to this as possible. One of the keys for me will be to put things back as I use them. I have locations for things better defined. The peg boards were added this fall in one of my last attempts to reorganize and they helped, but clutter seems to multiply. I've conquered it for now.

Here's the tour of the studio.

This view shows my light table in the foreground. It doubles as a place where I do my wire wrapping. Right now it is set up for wire wrapping and I have the surface covered with the cloth I keep in place to prevent beads, tools, glass from rolling around. To the left is my large work surface (a Koala cutting table on rollers). It's the perfect height for me...I'm a little over 5' 7" and this is about 36" high so it keeps me from bending over too much to work. The floors are stained and sealed concrete, so I have a couple of anti-fatigue mats that I can stand on for long periods of time. BIG help. I have two grid glass cutting systems set up on that table, covered with a vinyl table cloth to protect the surface from water spray when I'm grinding. The grid systems are on either side of the glass grinder. To the right is another large work table. I generally use its surface as a spot to assemble stained glass windows or build items that are going into the kiln.

Another view of my two largest work surfaces. Lots of storage under each. I have an Ott-Lite on rollers that gives the best light of any, so I use it a lot for detail work.

This gives a better view of my light table where I wire wrap. I also use the light table to cut stained glass as it allows me to have a good idea of what light will look like coming through the glass. I can pick and choose which section of the glass will best represent what I want in a design.

Yes, I have a TV in here. I listen to lots of movies or music while I work. Depends on my mood. I can't and don't actually sit and watch movies as I just can't do that and work. I just like to have something on in the background. And when I need a break, then I'll watch whatever scene is on.... I get a lot of use out of DVDs.

This last view shows my overflowing glass bins. The sad thing.....this isn't all of my glass. Yep, I'm a glass-aholic! These are really great storage bins for the large sheets of glass. Dan and I built them a few years ago, from a design given in the book "How to Design Your Stained Glass Studio". Great little book, but I don't think it's in print anymore.

And no picture of the studio would be complete without one of our bassets. I think you can see Newton in the foreground of a couple of these.

It was time well spent and I'm very happy with the results. I've started working on the bowl in preparation for slumping it.

Now, if any of you are up to sharing photos of your studios, that would be GREAT! I know Tracey has. I'd love to see how your work spaces are set up.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Studio Clean Up

It's begun. Last night I started the daunting task of cleaning up, re-organizing, and decluttering my studio. I thought about taking a 'before' picture, but honestly, I'm too embarrassed to preserve the chaos in digital form. Now that I'm in the clean up process, it looks even worse. That always seems to happen; I make a mess getting things staged and then as I can start putting everything in its proper place, the dust settles. Course, I have to work around at least one basset laying on the floor as I do this! I know the outcome will be great and I will be very pleased....just getting there is time consuming and necessary.

My plan is to have my studio space back and functional this weekend. I also want to start working on the next phase of my bowl. I took some pictures yesterday of the lovely little glass spikes that need to be removed. The lighting was good for showing how things look when a piece like this comes out of the kiln, so I will get that posted as part of the process of the bowl.

Wish me luck.... I'm going to need that and more to finish the studio clean up. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Aspen Branch - Painted Bowl

This is the largest of my Aspen Branch Series. It's a bowl, approximately 13" in diameter and about 2" deep.

I used Peter McGrain's Vitri-Fusaille technique to paint the branch and leaf stems. I just loved Karen's earlier comment on the beginning of this piece when I mentioned how I felt less timid painting this one! I really did feel more free to let myself paint what I pictured. Now I know this is just simple line drawing stuff...I just think it adds so much to a piece. It's great fun and I plan on doing more painting on glass.

For my next go round on this design, I think I'm going to use green leaves. It's so hard to tell how pretty the glass is for the leaves here. I used a very colorful Bullseye streaky that had reds, rusts, greens, and even some blues. That glass reminded me of autumn colors. I still find it very pretty, just too dark in the photo to show how everything turned out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Results - Bowl after 1st fuse

Fresh from the kiln, and after it cooled to room temperature, I took this picture of the bowl blank. I had a few 'surprises' and I'm happy to report I'm pleased with all of them.

The copper mesh remained copper color; I used clear glass to cap all but one. A few surprise elements are the red striker strips, which I think create an interesting balance/effect.

And I am very happy to see how well rounded everything turned out. I'll take it out of the steel ring and begin the coldwork phase. That can be time consuming, the rough edges need to be ground down and then the staged polishing of the outer edge. Once that is done, I can slump it in the bowl mold for the finished product.

I like the contrasts here and find the blue glass rich with color. Not sure what I'll call this one yet...may wait until it is complete.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Weekend Project

I took this photo of what I've been working on this weekend, right before I put it in the kiln. This is my new design for a bowl. I'm trying one of the techniques I learned in the Patty Gray class I took in November of last year.

For this piece, I cut strips of glass and laid them on the 'side' rather than flat. This gives a different view and effect. I alternated two strips of a blue/clear streaky with one strip of clear glass.

Yesterday I was struggling with glass colors and designs. I started on this yesterday afternoon and after some re-working, this is the final design. I'm trying lots of new things with this piece. The most obvious is laying the cut glass strips on their sides. It proved rather challenging to cut them to be the right size as I was laying this in place. I had to re-work things a couple of time.

The other new approach is I have added copper screen inclusions. The photo only shows three copper inclusions well, but there are 4 (I know that digresses from the three point artistic approach). The fourth inclusion is in the lower right section of the circle and is hard to see because it is small and the flash obscured it. They are sandwiched between two layers of clear glass, top and bottom. It will be interesting to see how this copper reacts to the fusing process. It is my understanding that the copper should take on a rusty, red appearance, but after all I have read about copper inclusions, nothing would surprise me color could turn blue, or even black (I hope it doesn't turn black, but who knows, maybe I'd like that????).

I just hope that this turns out well and all of my time and effort creating the foundation for this bowl won't go to waste. The firing schedule is extra long because of the thickness; it's about 3/8" deep. I have cold working in front of me if this turns out successful, as that will allow me to finish the edges and make sure I have a nice circle for slumping it into the bowl shape. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out....that moment when you open the lid of the kiln and go "Great!" or "Back to the drawing board".

Report on Esty Valentine Showcase

I took this screen shot of my Butterfly Heart and listing on yesterday's Valentine Showcase on Etsy.

Unfortunately, no sales were generated from this attempt to be noticed on Etsy. I know it's tough, especially in the jewelry section, because there are so many talented people with great items. I didn't even notice that the number of views for any one item picked up that much either.

I do think I will try something like this again, just to see what happens. I'm not ready to rule this out as an avenue to generate sales on Etsy yet.

One good thing to report is another Etsy artist, Dawn E Bryant, put one of my hearts in her Treasury. I'm still learning my way around Etsy. From what I can tell, there are 333 Treasury selections that will be rotated on Etsy's main page. Great way to get noticed, especially when another 'Etsian' puts you on their list of Treasury favorites.

I've put links to Dawn's store and her treasury in the previous paragraph. Please click on these links and check them out, it's my way of returning the favor to Dawn. Thanks.

Off to the glass room to continue work on the piece I started yesterday. Ideas are flowing again. Gotta love that! Took me a while to get started on what I wanted to do, did a few drawings, searched for the right glass. Now the color combinations and ideas are flowing...gotta strike while the iron is hot!!! Happy creating everyone!