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Monday, March 21, 2016

My Studio Shot


A couple of months ago, I was asked for a photo of me in my studio.  I decided that instead of making it pristine, (which is so not me), I'd get it taken, "as is".  So here I am.  With my too many stringers, shorts (short glass rod pieces), bags of murrine, bits of glass, broken beads that I need to revisit, wire, miscellaneous tools plus other odds and ends.  Yes, I gather it around me on my reused kitchen table from the 80's that is covered with a steel sheet.  I want to be able to reach lots of options.  And you might recognize my re-used cutlery container from the dishwasher.  With its sections, I can sort some of my short rods and keep them together - plus move them if needed.

When I posted this photo on my Facebook page, a lot of the discussion was about my hood.  I bought the metal hood from a former student who was getting out of lampworking.  We added the two light tracks on the inside and had a switch wired in too.  I can move the lights individually along the track and the flexibility of each lamp helps me aim the light in the direction needed.  You don't see the two magnetic bars (screwed into the metal) which hold many of my steel tools.  I love having my tweezers, pliers, shaping tools, hemostats and others visible and in easy reach.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Playing with Glass Bears


I'm still making bears.  I guess my friends haven't had their fill yet, because there is still a market for them.  One of the things I love about making them is simplifying the form and playing with colors.

Before I made these, I just hoarded my Double Helix silver glass.  Now I use it with reckless abandon.  (well, safely reckless, I guess.) The top two bears use it and I can't wait to try more types.

I'm using other c.o.e.'s (co-efficiency of expansion) to try their glass too.  See the bottom two bears? Yummy colors, right?  Those are both veiled glass that is 96 coe, instead of my usual 104. (for non glass nerds, the coe generally needs to match when combining glass, or it will have cracks.  This is due to different types of glass heating and cooling at different rates.- a simplified explanation.)

I'm using dichro.  I didn't think I'd be the type, but I am enjoying it.  Just bits here and there add some nice sparkle or sometimes an aurora borealis in the skies.

And before bears, (is that B.B.?), I seldom used transparent glass.  Opaque just works better with more sculpture.  I am really loving the transparent colors and adding layers to make new colors.

What's next?  Wish I knew.  For now, I'll make more bears, and start to work into more sculpture types again.  I love what I do and feel lucky that I get to enjoy my job.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I Was a Guest Artist for Third Graders!

Oh, I remember third grade.  Mr. Chase was my teacher and I thought he was one of the nicest people I knew.  Yesterday, I got to revisit that grade at a nearby elementary school.  They were looking for a glass artist to melt a little glass and tell them about it.  The grade was studying "heat" and their art class was going to study "Dale Chihuly".

I was pretty clear that I didn't do glass like the Chihuly team, but I knew how to melt it.  So were proceeded to discuss, heat, molecules, coefficiency of expansion (important in glass) types of glass, transparent versus opaque and so many more topics.  I think at this age, they were as excited to examine the rods, beads, tools and try on our didymium glasses, so they could see the flame the way I did.

It was a fun day.  I was a little concerned at first when I entered the art room.  There were only little children height tables.  I demonstrated from it and did fine. It was the shortest table I have ever used... but it did come to above my knees. Made me laugh.  I did stand and bend over to work though.

It's nice to give back to one's community in small ways.  Of course I was hoping that a few of the kids would remember this when they were older, and perhaps try flame working.  If not, they were exposed to something new and I got to have fun with a lot of kids for one day.  If you are a creative type, I hope you take opportunities to share what you do.  You never know who you might inspire.