Wednesday, March 28, 2012

All that glitters...

I don't work too much with dichroic glass. It's not because I don't like it, I think it's stunning. I just get involved more in experimentation with other glasses and techniques. But every once in a while, the shiny, sparkly glass will catch my eye, and I will sit for hours playing with it.

Sunday, I got caught up layering transparent dichroic with different shades of transparent glass. I tend to like things simple and clean when it comes to dichroic glass, kind of a "less is more" philosophy. I got some interesting results...some good, and some okay, but all glittery.

A kiln full ready to fire.

Blazing hot and fully fused

Shimmery dichroic capping transparent aqua glass

Silver dichroic under clear glass

Golden dichroic capped with brown transparent glass

Iridescent circles over transparent blue

Sunrise stripes over light blue glass




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Fling 2012

This weekend, I will be a vendor at the Anderson County History Museum's Spring Fling. I did their Mistletoe Market in November last year, and it was a really nice show, so I'm looking forward to going back and seeing it in the Spring.

I have been working on some new pieces to take and some more of the glass flower bloom pendants in fun colors. Below are a few that are fresh from the kiln. I also did a big bunch of simple dichroic glass pendants that were cooling in the kiln all night. Hopefully, I will have time to finish and card them in the next day or two so that I can have those with me too. I'll post more on those later in the week.



Friday, March 23, 2012

A bit of barter...

Not long ago, I got a face book message from a friend about doing some design work for a local small business in exchange for services. I met with them and discussed what they were looking for and then designed a tri-fold brochure for them. The front panel of the final brochure is pictured above.

Yesterday, after work, I was able to go by and have a facial. It was wonderful! Katherine did such a terrific job. It was so calm and relaxing. The different products she used on my face smelled so good, and when it was all over, my face felt smooth and soft.

It had been years since I had a facial, and it was just as heavenly as I remembered!




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Never ending story...

I know there are much more important issues in the world, but since this is my blog, and I usually ramble on about nothing much anyway, I hope you'll humor me one more time.

I am on an unending quest to find the perfect bag. It's become somewhat of a running joke among my family and friends, and I will confess that I've plowed through a bunch of purses over the years. I am really rough on them, and they usually don't last long. Plus, it's rare that I'm happy with their functionality.

The whole thing is even more complicated this last couple of years because I now need something to safely house my ever-present iPad.

Oh, did I mention that I don't want to spend a fortune either?

The last thing I tried was a bag from Target that looked more like a mini-suitcase. It worked fairly well, but I could never find anything in it, and it weighed a ton. Before that, I had a smaller one, but I could barely wedge my iPad into the slot, and everything felt crammed together.

But yesterday, I ran across a new bag at Ross. It's a Fossil Messenger style bag. I'm hesitant to think this, but it may just be the one I've been searching for. It was more than I ordinarily spend on a purse but over half off what these usually go for. I had just looked a similar bag at a Department store last week, but just couldn't make myself pay that much. Yesterday, my sister was with me, and I took her advice and went ahead and paid the extra.

I just liked it. I liked the fabric and materials - the stitched pattern, the cool leather covered magnetic closures, the perfect space for my iPad, a side pocket for my phone and camera, even a place to store my chargers and other gadgets, an adjustable cross body strap, and even a couple of nice embellishments.

Of course, the verdict is still not in, and the infatuation could be brief, but for right now, it's true last.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To tack or not to tack...

Saturday, I was straightening up my work area and ran across some transparent glass that I had purchased a while ago. I sat down and started experimenting with the colors - layering blues and greens, yellows and browns. I pieced together a few small pendants and prepared to fire them.

I had to decide if I would fully fuse them or tack fuse them. I went the tack route, although, I put a few aside because I really want to see what happens to the transparent glass when the pieces fully fuse together.

Tack fusing occurs at a lower temperature than full fuse. For me, it's between 1300 and 1400 degrees. Basically, it's fusing the separate pieces together, but stopping before the pieces lose their actual shapes. It gives you a kind of layered look. I keep a close eye on the pieces in the kiln and stop the process when the desired look is achieved.

Here are the pieces from the weekend.





Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Firing and Finishing

A weekend of work ready for firing.

Loading the kiln

The kiln heats up. A full fuse occurs around 1550 degrees. Although in this big kiln, it seem to fuse at about 1450 degrees.

Fusing complete. The pendants appear to be pools of red hot liquid at full fuse. The original color of the glass will come back as they cool. When you reach the fused look you want, it's important to flash cool the kiln by opening it slightly. You want to get the kiln temp down to around 950 degrees. In this range, the glass anneals (controlled cooling that allows the inside of the glass to cool at a similar rate to the outside of the glass).

The next step in finishing the pendants is attaching the pendant bail. I use a small file to lightly file down any rough spots or edges and then "rough up" the area where I plan to put the bail. I then apply a small dab of E6000 to the bail and press it down on the back of the piece. I let a little bit seep over the edges and then use a finger to clean up any excess glue. It's important to let the freshly glued bail sit for about 24 hours before wearing.

A few of the finished pendants from this batch


Friday, March 9, 2012

Singing Color

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. - Picasso

This wasn't my most productive week as far as glass goes. I had a couple of freelance graphic design projects that I focused on instead. But I did make one small batch of pendants. I was basically experimenting with color and shape. I love putting colors together to see if they sing. With glass it can be especially fun, because of the way glasses react to each other. I was really pleased with the white petals and lime green center. I also love using the black base for these because the colors just snap out visually.

Cutting out a shape with the ring saw.

Black glass bases

Top layer of singing color.

Lime green and crisp ivory

Hot orange and cool blue

Lime green, cool blue and crisp ivory

Hot orange, crisp ivory and cool blue


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. - Hans Hofmann

March 2009 - Moving in to my spot at the gallery in Greenville, SC.

I have an awful tough time letting go of things. So, with much difficulty I decided recently it was time for me to leave the gallery where I've been renting a space for 2 years now. For me, it is more than an business decision. I was welcomed there and developed friendships there. Plus, I just hate to give in. I'm not sure if it's being too proud to give up or the optimism that things are just about to get better.

A couple of years ago, walking up Main Street in Greenville, I noticed a handwritten sign advertising a new gallery and calling for artists. I was in a small co-op gallery in the next town over, but I went ahead and signed up for this one, thinking I could juggle both, and continue shows and festivals.

It turned out to be more than I wanted to handle, considering I also work a full time M-F job, and the co-op required me to work a day or two a month. I knew I had to leave. However, I never actually had to take any action, because the co-op decided to close. easy way out!

In the past few months, I started to think that it was time for me to simplify again. Tax time revealed to me that I had only broken even at the gallery this year. Broken even...well at least I wasn't in the proverbial hole! But, that caused me to reevaluate the situation, and led to my ultimate decision.

I don't blame the gallery for my lack of success. My attention has been other places. I really didn't have time to get by there often enough to "flip" my work. I think my space became a little stale, and possibly a bit dusty from time to time. I believe the traffic in the gallery had fallen off too. That tends to happen after time, and the current economic reality is that people have less money to spend on things that aren't complete necessities.

Finally yesterday, after mulling for way too long and after several false starts, I composed an email ending my time at the gallery. It didn't turn out to be as difficult as I expected it to be. They graciously accepted my decision and even left the door open for me to come back at a later time. So, I will be moving out before the end of March.

I posted earlier in the year about simplification in my creative work. This decision really is more about simplifying life than anything else. I could have continued breaking even (not the worst outcome ever), but I would rather invest my limited time, energies and cash towards other things in the coming days. I am thankful for the friends I've made, for the experience I've gained, and that I could leave on a positive note.

Ever forward...





Sunday, March 4, 2012

Get Away

This weekend my family was able to get away for a couple of days. We went to the Wilds campsite for our annual church family retreat. It is always nice to go to the mountains and is especially nice to get the chance to spend time with family and friends in such a beautiful place.

We always stay in a duplex cabin at the bottom of the hill. That makes me get a little exercise :-) I definitely need it because the food is great, and they have this wonderful coffee shop there called Cool Beans.

We also had a great speaker who gave me lots to think about in the coming days. He really emphasized that behind every page of the Bible is the God who wrote it. He suggested too many of us read it to get something out of it, we seek promises and blessings, which is good and fine, but that perhaps we should seek to know God more instead.

Tim and Em in epic mode.

Ben in a rare pose.

Water under the bridge...

Path down to the cabins.

Emily headed up to the lodge.

The super slide.

daffodils in bloom

When we got home, I noticed that our little plum tree had bloomed.