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Monday, November 30, 2009

Give Your Torch A Little Lift

I just received my ProJack Adjustable Torch Stand on Friday and am so excited about it.

I found them when I was in Austin and knew that this is the answer to my uncomfortable back when I bend over to torch, when standing up.

I had always sat down and when I was in Robert Mickelsen's wonderful sculptural boro class, I tried standing. I have so much more freedom of movement that way. I really enjoyed everything, but my sore back at the end of the day. This solves my problem of stooping over the table to work.

My understanding is that there are just 4 left and no more will be made. I wanted to let all of you know, before they are gone. Here is the link (click here) to go to them.

I can see using this small scissor jack for other things too. We can all use a little lift some times.

What a great present for yourself, don't you think? They are currently on sale right now too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Non Traditional Wedding Cake Toppers

I've been thinking about adding a wedding cake topper line to my glass art offerings and as I've been researching some non traditional ideas, I've come across plenty that I'm not sure I particularly like.

I am sure that some couples would find this topper humorous, with both on their cell phones. And probably this really is how they act. But as an onlooker, I wonder does this bode well for a happy marriage?

And here is a link to a second one that really made me question anyone who chooses it. It's title is "Ball and Chain". Unless it were a private joke that they both find funny, I'm not so sure how long this marriage would last either.

Now I'm asking you...what kind of non traditional wedding cake toppers do you envision? I was thinking about couples and their dogs. What would you suggest? I bet you've got some great ideas too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday & All The Temptations

Oh deliver me from temptation. I keep seeing all these wonderful items waved in front of my nose. And am I thinking about others...that's the worst part...I want them for myself.

So I'm starting a list of things that I'll add to my list...and these DSLR bags from Janine King on Etsy are on it. I already have the Twirl bag for my computer and that entire top row of bags all appeal to me. So tell me, what Black Friday offerings are tempting you? Post your wishes, links and other urls that we need to see.

Catch you on Sunday at . Remember, Saturday is my blogging day off. See you then!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Wishing you family and friends and lots of laughs and conversation today.

And to those of you who have dear family members who can't be with you, I'm sending out hugs.

Today, I'm missing my daughter who is happily working in Antarctica. I sure
miss her, but know she loves what she's doing and that's important. But holidays just aren't the same without her.

So cheers to you all and wishing you happy holiday.

And thank you for indulging a Mom with getting personal for a moment. Sparky, if you're reading this, I'll pour one out for you!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rodney Andrew Glass

Rodney Andrew recently contacted me to let me know that he's opening up a teaching studio and gallery in Buford, GA. Which is north of metro Atlanta.

He will have 5 Cricket torches and 4 Carlisle CC Bench Burner stations set up for classes which he will announce at the Opening Artist Reception on Dec. 5 from 6-9pm.

Rodney will have more info on his website which is

I've known Rodney for quite a few years
now and what a delight it has been to see his wonderful way with glass evolve. He is a truly nice guy, who I know will do a great job.

So stop by and visit him, if you're in the Atlanta/Athens area. If not, check out his website. I know his IT guy is working on it to get it ready for the grand opening with all the necessary details.

Personally, I love his bracelets. I have seen quite a few recently, that I would love to own.

See you back here tomorrow for another post on my blog. Take care until then.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Turn for Watch Me Create

My latest commentary for Watch Me Create will be posted sometime today. I've written about testing the waters by learning a bit of another style of glass- this time fusing/slumping and combining it with some of my lampworking skills.

Last week I was at Blue Moon Glassworks learning some new techniques to combine with the ones I already have and my Watch Me Create post shows what I made. So instead of spoiling the photo opportunity, I'm handing you a quick peek inside of Blue Moon where I taught my class and in turn was taught a lot about glass from other perspectives by my friend, Jim Berry.

The interior of the store is an artist's dream. Lots of tools, glass, machines, completed work by a variety of artists, and books too. The lighting is good, but the atmosphere is even better. Jim & Rose Berry and the rest of the employees make you feel at home the minute you step inside. I like that in a shop. You feel like they want you to be happy & successful and so generously share their time and knowledge in their art and products that they carry.

You know what kind of people they are, when you meet sweet little baby Emmie who comes to work with her Mom Lisa, one of the Blue Moon long time employees. Bob, Mike and Jody also work there and are part of the Blue Moon "family". I guess besides all the wonderful new skills that I learned, I also made some pretty nice new friends in Austin. You know, you can go to a lot of places to learn new skills, but it isn't everywhere where you feel so welcome. And for me, remembering people's kindness will last in my heart and mind a lot longer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Teaching Flamework To An Artist Of A Different Medium

Yesterday's blog post introduced you to a little of Austin artist Aly Winningham's wonderful mosaics.

Today, I'd like to chat a bit about teaching an artist of a different medium about flameworking.

I met Aly at Blue Moon when she was in to pick up more glass for her mosaics and mobiles. I enjoyed her immediately. She has a lot of passion and energy for what she does and it appeared for everything else she tackles as well.

She was telling me how a group fusing class didn't fit her personality. She knew too much to sit patiently through relearning it and what other students wanted to learn, wasn't necessarily what she did.

This is exactly the kind of student who intrigues me. I immediately suggested private lessons and that I'd be available, if she'd like, during my stay in Austin. A creative challenge is just what I enjoy.

So I thought I'd go through a few of my steps to prepare for our first class and please feel free to fill in more ideas for other teachers who come upon this situation.

1. Listen to the artist when you're booking the class and ask some good solid questions that will help you teach them better. I asked about pertinent skills. Aly understands glass in general, COE, knows how to weld, (which means she'll grasp tool and tech. info as well as flame discussion and safety info as well). I also asked her how she felt flameworked glass would suit her art work.

2. Go to their website and look at their work, read their bio, so you can speak intelligently to them about their work.

So when Aly arrived, instead of the first safety talk that goes through every instructor's lips, we went to the large whiteboard and wrote down some goals for the days lessons. I figured I'd fit the other stuff in as we go, in priority order.

We mapped out three goals for a 3 hour class. She wanted to be able to add flat backed pieces for her mosaics, she wanted to make large organic pieces for her mobiles (with holes for hanging) and she wanted to understand melting glass more and the theories behind it.

So after understanding that she knew COE, we visited section to section in the store, (Blue Moon Glassworks) and discussed some of the supplies, tools and glass options that would pertain to her three goals. I wanted her to understand for the future, some of the options.

Next it was safety time and then light the torch. Usually I make a small donut with the student, but with Aly, we took a rod of white and melted it into her water bowl. I wanted enough time to talk about watching the colors of the hot glass for future control. She is a tactile artist, and I thought she'd relate to this well. She did. We melted then a little of a dark transparent, and practiced adjusting the torch, we discussed frit that she was making and how it could be used, torches, set ups, kilns, gas sources, and other topics that were pertinent and that she was capable of understanding- like when we pulled stringers, and we took time to stretch, bend and fold the glass before making that first bead.

But of course we made those too. And we did the dots- raised, flat and raked, and then we got into flattening the glass and adding extra glass that we twisted, pulled and practiced heat control on. In the end, we mirrored some of her vision for her mobiles, had a few examples for her mosaics and mapped out her next private lesson with the wonderful in store teacher, Lisa.

Aly left her private lesson excited and ready to try it some more. I lve to see that kind of enthusiasm, which warms my heart and is one of the many reasons why I love to teach.

If you've got ideas, pointers, tips and tricks for teaching the non traditional student, how about posting them? We'd all love to hear. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Terra Firma Studios

I was delighted to meet mosaic artist Aly Winningham while visiting Blue Moon Glassworks.

I had heard that she created wonderful mosaics, but it wasn't until I checked out her website, that I realized what scale and level she was.

This is just one small example of her work- the candy counter at Austin's flagship Whole Foods Market. Aly works in metals and mosaics (mainly glass) and if you poke around under the "Public Work" category, you'll see columns 25 feet tall. Oh, she makes me want to learn to do this.

Now here's the kicker...I was lucky to be Aly's first lampwork teacher. I'll tell you about it in a future blog- teaching another artist who has a voice in their work, makes it interesting and a lot of fun. See you tomorrow to tell you more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

See You Back In Atlanta Tonight!

I've had a great time at Austin Blue Moon's Glass Camp thanks to Jim and Rose Berry, (despite the Scrabble trouncing from Rose). It's been a blast and they've treated me like royalty.

I'm heading out in a few minutes and will be writing again from Atlanta, GA starting on Sunday.

While I was here, I took great delight in the fun outdoor murals, the roof art and all the quirkiness this city has to offer.

And that doesn't include learning how to cut glass, solder, copper foil, a bit of fusing, murrini making, learning technical info, sandblasting, and I know I've forgotten to list all that was included. Jim and I have already started a list for more things we want to try.

One of the most fun parts was brainstorming about future classes. We've been dreaming up collaborative classes that will mix different glass elements- fusing with lampworking, lampworking with mosaics and so forth. Still working on it, but as soon as something is set, I'll be writing more.

See you later, alligator...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bread Shoes

Couldn't help myself. Who on Earth, buys shoes made out of bread?

They are sold here. For $70 Euro!

I'm thinking about changing my career to baking.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sculpting Santas in Texas

I had a great time teaching Santa Claus beads to 10 delightful students last night in Austin at Blue Moon Glassworks.

One of the best things about going somewhere to teach, is meeting new friends, and hearing how they love glass as much as I do.

I have to say, the facility sure is nice too. I love it when there is enough lighting to really see what you're doing. Also, the large white board is great for writing down the steps, so note takers can relax a bit and just snap a photo of the different steps.

Here is a photo of what we made. The class was designed for folks who haven't done any or much sculpture before, but want to try it.

We work off of basic shapes that everyone knows, and just adjust them to make a sculptured bead. It's easy, when explained what's going on.

So much of sculptured glass is heat control. You know, it seems like that applies to everyone's work. Don't you think?

So today, I've got a lot of fun planned. I am teaching a private lesson this morning to a mosaic artist who wants to learn how to incorporate lampwork into her art. When I met her in the shop, I enjoyed hearing her passion about her art and brainstorming with her. I can't wait to see where we go with it.

Catch you tomorrow with another blog here at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Cutting flat glass has never been my forte, but while visiting Austin, Jim Berry of Blue Moon Glassworks has taken the time to show me the different cutting tools and how to do it properly.

I figure, if he can teach me, he can teach anyone.

So yesterday, that was one of my goals. To learn how to cut circles, swirling lines, inside cuts and to feel adequate about it.

I am happy to report. I can do it. Woohoo. I know I'm not about to become a stained glass artist, (so much happier melting than cutting), but you know, a girl needs to be adequate when the situation occurs.

So today, we're on to learning to fuse and tonight I'm teaching my Santa Bead class. Such a fun adventure down here!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Solos Glass- So Cool

American Craft Magazine recently had an article about Solos Glass, which caught my attention. Glass blower Nanda Soderberg along with his wife Rebecca Saunders take vintage pressed glass and then heats and spins them out flat. They transforms them into a variety of shapes to modern aesthetics.

Solos Glass
has been checking out unlikely objects to use as molds as well. It sounds like this company, is one we ought to keep an eye on.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Business Commentary...Full Disclosure

Sometimes, as daily bloggers, we recommend other shops, products, or services.

As a reader, you don't always know just how we came to the conclusion that we did. Most of the time, bloggers tell where they found something and why they like it. But how much more should the reader know?

There's a website that has sample disclosure statements that are used for media. I thought it was a good idea to read through them and then decide how I might incorporate them if needed.

The one that I feel is most important is when someone receives some sort of compensation for writing about a product. It may be a free sample, financial payment or something else.

I personally believe the reader should know that. It may not make a difference about the advice, but I want to know so I can add that into my knowledge mix. And the one category that fits most of us, doesn't seem to be important to this website. "My friend makes this and I'm proud of what they do". I like writing about friends and their successes and products. I guess we just need to do our boasting without an official disclaimer.

Although none of these are "have tos" I sure think they are worth including in some form or another. It could be a low key sentence or phrase, or as they suggest, a paragraph in bold print. Any way you look at it, the reader wins, because of the writer being so upfront and honest.

And btw, I have no material connection because I did NOT receive a cash payment, gift or other thing of value from the company affiliated with the topic and/or product that is mentioned herein. (Darn it. I would have loved a new car or even a pound of glass.)

See you tomorrow. I'll be in Austin visiting Blue Moon Glassworks and Jim & Rose Berry. Woohoo!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Design Trend: High Impact Jewelry

Hope this Friday the 13th is a lucky one for you... Here's a fun blog to start your day off right.

Periodically, I enjoy looking at Neiman Marcus's website. I like to see what clothes they are showing at a relatively high price point and what kind of jewelry is in their seasonal collections.

Right now, they have a category called "high impact" which I think is perfect for all of us glass artists. I think many of us make high impact jewelry, without knowing what others call it.

So head over to their jewelry section here. You'll have options- necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings.

I am now wondering whether any of you are already making high impact jewelry ...and how about commenting and including a link to it. We'd all love to see what you make. Nothing like a little pre-weekend chance to market some of your work. TGIF everyone.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'll be teaching bobblehead Christmas ornaments tomorrow at Flametree Glass and will take Saturday off as always. But! I will be back Sunday morning to start off the new week. See you then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some Etsy Advice

I asked my Facebook Friends for blog topics that they'd like me to cover and one of the first requests was about increasing sales on Etsy.

I do not claim to be an expert, but I'm happy to share what works for me.

There are a lot of hints and tips that to me seem important in having an Etsy shop, so the tips will be spread out over a few posts.

With that being said, here are the first three that I think are important.

• 1. Have a focus for your shop.
It seems like the shops that do very well, often have a specific focus. It's like they have postitioned themselves to try to be the "go-to" place for a specific item or area. I try to keep pretty much to "whimsical sculptural beads". When I try to sell some of my beads that are more "serious", they don't do as well, or sell as quickly. It seems like your customers will find you when you are "known" for a certain angle.

• 2. Your customers are more likely to want to look for you if you do three things...
a. have clear, uncluttered photos that show your product from different views.
Yes, I know photography is a pain and time consuming, but it also sells your work. Make sure you don't photo shop it too much, so it truly represents what you sell.
b. provide a product that is unique and somewhat different from others' work. Yes, it may be handmade, but if it doesn't look different from others, why would they want to buy from you?
c. If it is the same, or similar, you will want to be sure to price your items fairly, list often, (every day is what I recommend), and provide amazing customer service.

• 3. Amazing customer service - I define it by...communicate, communicate, communicate with your customers. Make sure that they know they are buying something that represents you. Package your items carefully, and send them out quickly. Perhaps your shop announcement says you mail on Tuesdays and Thursdays- that's cool, but be sure you stick to it.

So those are just a few of my hints for now. I'll be writing more about online selling. If you have tips too, please write them in the comment section and let everyone know. If you have specific questions that I might be able to answer, feel free to post them here or send them to me at ... I'd be happy to answer them as best as I can.

See you back here tomorrow. Different topic, (gotta keep it diversified), but a fun one on jewelry trends. Hasta la vista, baby!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fundraiser for Pancreatic Cancer

Just wanted to show you a group shot of our Team McClure at last Saturday's 5K for Pancreatic Cancer. There's our buddy, Mike in the middle who is a 10 month survivor (Go Mike!) and the number one individual fundraiser for the event. The team also was second place in overall fundraising. Some of you donated to this cause by sponsoring me. And I am so appreciative of it. If you are looking for this mug, I am way in the back barely peeking through- sixth from the right. My husband is wearing a hat and next to me.

It's good to remember what is really important in life, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blue Moon's Glass Camp- Woohoo!

I'm so excited, I can't sit still. Next Sunday I leave for Austin, TX to go to Glass Camp with Jim and Rose Berry at Blue Moon Glassworks.

You see, they offer a lot more than lampworking at their studio and although I am teaching sculptural glass class there in September 2010, this is to learn other types of glass from Jim and to work on possible collaborations that mix multi areas of glass. Woohoo!

So I've got a list of things I want to learn a mile long and I don't know how much of his time I can take, but here are some of the things I've been dreaming about.

Learn how to cut glass really well, and solder it. And to learn how to fuse and how to adjust my kiln and not be scared to death to try something that I am not sure about.

And he's got sandblasting, and cold working tools as well as one of those really cool things that you fill with glass chunks and then it melts it and you pull out the glass in swirls and then play with it. A pot melt?

And of course there's stained glass, mosaics, tons of other stuff too. I've looked at the photo gallery on his website and it looks like a playground any glass lover would enjoy.

If you haven't met Jim and Rose, here is a photo of them.

I'll be teaching a quickie evening sculptural Santa class on Tuesday night while I'm there as well. Jim reported that it filled in 2 days. I know that we will all have a lot of fun and laughs that evening too.

So where to start? I'm leaving that to Jim. I'll just be so happy to get the chance to learn a lot from him and his areas of expertise. And of course I'll be blogging about what I attempt and posting photos too, so you can learn along with me and see what I'm experiencing too.

So if you have suggestions of things I should request, please speak up. So much of this is totally new. I can melt glass, but there are so many other things to do with it too. I just hope I can sleep this week while waiting.

See you tomorrow right here on

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dragon Goblet by Catherine Miller

If you haven't recently browsed My Glass Art website, which is hosted by Hans Godo Frabel, you're missing another resource of a variety of styles of glass.

It includes all levels of glass artists, (don't forget to join and post your own work), so every once in a while, I like to see what's new on it.

This is a cold worked custom made wedding goblet by Catherine Miller. It's one of a pair- the other one is a pirate with equally fabulous details.

Here are more pieces of Catherine's work, and don't forget to look at her seahorse, which is another favorite.

I'll be periodically featuring other artists from this fun website, so stay tuned.

Happy Monday and wishing you a week filled with art and creativity.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Robert Mickelsen- Glass Artist & Cool Teacher

I just finished a 3 day Robert Mickelsen class at FlameTree Glass in Roswell, Georgia. And I have to say, it changed my entire personal perspective about glass.

I had taken it thinking that I would just want apply what I learn about boro sculpture, to my soft glass work, but I'm slightly dazed and amazed, because he changed my perspective and I now love boro too. I wouldn't have guessed that would happen in a million years.

You see, Robert is an amazing teacher and a super nice guy. He makes everyone feel comfortable, no matter what level they come in at. He is encouraging, helps us all out throughout the entire day and is so generous with his knowledge, extra demos and kind words. I don't say this about just
anyone, but this guy really has earned my respect.

He has a list of important concepts and then teaches
the sculptural pieces that explain what he is writing. We made trees at the beginning of class to illustrate how to properly connect the boro glass. I liked that. We learned to seal it and got a start at feeling what the glass feels like when molten.

The top photo shows him making a black widow spider. I am sad to say, mine died. She lost some of her legs and has come home with me never to see the light of day again. But, making all those tiny connections and feeling the pull of the glass, finding the right flame and the right spot in the flame made that exercise, and her demise all worthwhile.

The bottom photo was a request demo that he did late in the evening. Jessica Boggs and I were looking through a book and asked him to make one of the mermaids. He not only made her, but made her into a goblet as well. Holy cow, I think my mouth was open in amazement the entire time. One of the concepts with this piece was watching Robert achieve flow and movement with the body. It's what I've been trying to learn, but got to see in action for three days. I can't wait to practice more.

So I bet you've come to the correct conclusion that if I get an opportunity to take another class from Robert Mickelsen that I will jump. You bet I will! He rocks. And I strongly suggest that you jump at any chance too. He made a believer out of me. And once I finish here, I'm heading up to FlameTree to pick up my pieces and buy a little boro to get started.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Orbix Hot Glass - See The Rainbow

When I think about the term "fresh" and remember what attracted me to glass, I think of Orbix Hot Glass and Cal Breed's wonderful blown glass product line.

I always look for Cal's booth when he comes to Atlanta for the American Craft Council Show in the Spring. His combination of colors and use of transparents has me smiling as soon as I see his work.

You see, I used to paint watercolors and the transparent tints against white does something to me from the inside out. It is that feeling that someday I would like to translate through my work. But until I get to that point, I'm just going to visit Orbix Hot Glass's website and feel the rainbow vibe there. Please stop by and check it out.

And I'll see you tomorrow here,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Artful Home Blown Glass Ornament Boutique

It's that time of the year when Artful Home offers up its annual ornament boutique. And each year, I try to get at least one. I love these glass treasures.

Here is a link to this year's line up. (Click Here!) I'd love to hear which ones are your favorites and feel free to post links in the comments section.

I have my eye on one in particular for this year, but we'll have to see if my wish comes to fruition. Feel free to guess if you would like.

Please cruise through the rest of the Artful Home's website. I always see such high quality artisan work, which always provides smiles and inspiration.

See you tomorrow here - http://www/

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Love The Pantone Colors?

I saw these little zippered Pantone Purses and had to show them to you. So many of us artists/creative types follow the trends through Pantone colors each season. So of course these caught my eye.

Under $20, they come in three colors and make great little gifts.

If interested, you can find them here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bobblehead Holiday Ornament Class - Still Room

Hey, if you're going to be in the Atlanta area, I still have room in my Christmas ornament- bobblehead class. You can see that we'll make a bobblehead Elf and Santa is a bobble-belly. Because his tummy shook like a bowl full of jelly!

These are both two part beads that we'll make in a single day. Class is Saturday, November 14th at FlameTree Glass in Roswell, GA. You will be able to use these ornaments as table decorations or I'll also show you how to wire them up as ornaments for your Christmas tree. I even sometimes wear them on change a bead style pendants. We'll make some little stands for them too.

But besides the actual item, we'll work on forming faces, heat control, surface decoration, cased cane hair and other fun concepts that can translate into your other beadmaking skills.

You can click HERE for the rest of the class information, Remember, FlameTree supplies the tools and glass. You just need to pop on over to take it. I'll give you lots of personal attention and we'll have a good time. This class is for intermediate beadmakers. If you want to double check on it, feel free to contact Maureen there too. Call tollfree: 1-800-FlameTree (cool telephone number, huh?)

So hope to see you there. Ho, ho, ho!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Play With Your Food

I can't help but be amused with this product called "Food Face" which are plates that medium sized hotel quality ceramic dishes.

I see the possibilities as endless when it comes to entertainment during dinner. And wouldn't it stand to reason that these dishes should be the ones that restaurants use for their kids' menus? That's what I thought too. What fun!

So, when they're in stock, you can find them here. Just $9.99 for hours of fun.

See you tomorrow for more smiles, glass and creativity.

See ya'!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Woohoo... I WON- Thanks To You!

Hey everyone, guess what? Thanks to your voting, I won the FlameTree Glass Halloween Contest. And here's a photo of my prize, a GTT Phantom, which is a lot bigger than my other torches that I use.

So thank you. I am taking a boro sculpture class this week, and I look forward to being able to use my new skills when my torch arrives. But first, I need to do some serious packing and packaging of my Spooky Night Vignette.

I did want to chat a little bit about how I thought about my entry other than the glass part. Because I know that there are others here who submit to contests (and might have some wonderful thoughts to post too).

The first thing is to double check the rules and what the focus of the contest is. Halloween was pretty clear and that our entries needed to be out of glass and flamework, but could have minor parts that aren't glass.

So next I needed to get some ideas and decide on how I wanted to put it together. I knew that the photo would make the difference and I needed to keep the photo shot cohesive- like with a focal point. Can you see how I accomplished that. I tried to relate all the parts to each other.

I also tried to coordinate with colors. Again, they didn't need to match all the way, but go together and relate. That helps keep the focus to the vignette. I chose green, purple, orange and black and white as the main ones.

Please add your comments on ideas for putting together your entries for contests. I bet you have all kinds of tips and tricks that would help all of us. And again, thank you for your help. I'll be telling you about the new torch when it arrives and my new experiences with it.

See you tomorrow right here on my blog,
~Marcy Lamberson