Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The fusing process.......

The red thingie is a glass cutter, but it really doesn't cut anything, it scores the surface of the glass, and then you apply pressure to break the glass. If you have done a good job of scoring, and the glass gawds like you, you get a nice even break more or less where you wanted it. If you couldn't tell from my tone, this doesn't always happen. I've gotten better at it but sometimes the glass won't break where you want it to save your life! I know there are glass cutting systems out there, but for now, the red thingie is all I've got.

This photo shows 3 layers of glass... a lovely bottom color, dichroic and a clear topper. You want to have enough glass to "ball up" on the edges. Dichroic seems to work better with clear on top also. Below I tried to show the dichroic glass better.. so it's a darker photo.
After it's fused it looks like this.. again I took a darker picture to try to show you the dichroic better. This cab came out pretty good, the glass sort of drifted down, but it's such a pretty color, and I can hide that "flaw" if it is a flaw when I wrap it!.

I got some new glass in yesterday, so in a few days I'll have the 3rd generation of fusing to show!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Fused Glass.....

OK I keep playing with fused glass, I'm having a great deal of fun figuring out all the trick to making a nice, solid colorful pretty glass glob, which I can then wrap. This group shot is generation II of my experiments. I upgraded my glass from what came in the kit to Bullseye and I'm much much happier with the quality of this glass. Almost every one of this group is Bullseye and CBS type dichroic glass. Yummy stuff let me tell you!

I'm really fascinated by making a donut in glass. this is my 2ND attempt, I think it came out pretty good, and it's something I'll keep exploring. I do think that I like the look of the dichroic under a layer of clear better than "naked". This cab is a mix of styles of dichroic, and had a black glass base and a clear top.
Last is a lovey aqua base with some of the fancy patterned CBS dichroic, which is hard to see in the photo. One of the interesting things with making glass cabs is how the glass flows. It's soooo different than lampworking! In this cab the dichroic sort of flowed and separated more than I wanted it to, but I think I know now how to make it more compact next them.. it's still very pretty, and very hard to photograph. Also the dichroic glass slumped downwards alittle, leaving alittle bit of a gap that you can see at the top. That's actually ok, it makes it more of a challenge to wrap, because I'll want to "hide" that alittle, but that is what makes this new medium soooo much fun! My next blog I'll show you some before and after shots of making this glass cab, I guess I was in a camera mood that day!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I am so proud of this pendant! I made the glass cab, then carefully wrapped it, trying to really capture the flavor of the wonderful blend of dichric glass in the cab.

I got it finished last weekend, tumbled and polished and ready to put in yesterday's show. Someone has very good taste.. but very bad morals, because that someone stole it from my booth.

I realize there is really nothing I can say that makes that person feel bad or mend his or her ways... all I can say is someday it will catch up to you. Someday Karma will be waiting to bite you in your butt.

You might think taking something like this is "nothing". After all the pendant is "only" sterling silver and glass, all handmade by the artist. I was only asking $34.00 for it. What you don't realize is the pile of "bad" glass cabs I have, I was soooo happy at this one, I felt it was worthy to be wrapped. All the time and experimentation with making glass cabs to finally get this one. The actual wrapping took over 2 hours.. because I really wanted this to come out perfect.. and there is a slight flaw caused by me.. when I dremeled off the sharp glass edges the tool "skipped" and made a very small mark on the top of the cab. The sterling spirals hide it. I was so very proud of how the wrapped turned out, I haven't done as much embellishment with framing wires before, it was so much fun!

Not that you care, but you have taken a small slice of my soul by stealing my work. As an artist, sometimes it's hard to let go, you put so much of yourself into your pieces. At least when you sell them you get money to make other pieces... when you steal from me I'm out the money, my time, my materials and my piece of mind.

I know that shoplifting is a part of being in business, and while I know over the years I've had a piece stolen here and there, sometimes the rotten little thieves nick something I really care about. Then it really hurts, and it's hard to be philosophical about just another fact of life for a small business woman.

I sometimes have fantasies about "seeing" this artwork on the person who stole it, and.... doing something about it. In real life I'd probably just call the cops, and try to write down your licence plate. I know the cops probably won't do anything, so don't quake in your boots, your punishment won't be legal unfortunately. I can only hope that Karma will get you in the end.. maybe something you treasured will be stolen from you. Serves you right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Heart is in the right place.....

2 different sterling heart designs... 1st one is 16 GA wire hammered and wrapped, with a crystal square as a dangle. 2ND heart is made out of sterling sheet ( 28 or 26 GA) and then wrapped with sterling wire (24GA) and crystals.

Friday, September 11, 2009

more odds and ends......

My pajama day went smashingly!! I didn't get as much done as I wanted,but then I never do. My hubby says I have poor time sense. The only real bum is I no longer have a viable copy of On the Town. I know something that's going on my Christmas list!

Today's activities are mostly cleaning house and decorating for my daughter's birthday party tomorrow. I will officially have a teenager tomorrow! WOW!

To celebrate her 13Th party we are having a diner mystery party... so while I clean and decorate I have to hide the clues also. This is almost as fun as making jewelry! I'm listening over and over to Weezer's newest hit, "If I want you to" it's got a great back beat, and makes it easy to clean to. I really like this song! Today's pendants: top is a glass bead I actually made! This sold at the very first show it was at, so I'll have to try this style again sometime.

2ND pendant is MOP with sterling silver.
I took pictures of making glass cabs at different steps of the process yesterday -- I'm hoping to get those pictures up quickly!

And for those who will be in the Des Moines Area tomorrow, I will be at Down Town Farmer's Market in Des Moines IA. Stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day in the studio........

I'm on vacation this week, and so far I'm mostly done errands and doctor appointments. Fri I need to finish getting the house ready for my daughter's (GASP!) 13th birthday party. So tomorrow is my chance to have fun, and make things. I reallllly want to make things!! So I've declared Tomorrow is "pajama day". I'm gonna wear jammies all day, order in Chinese or pizza, and work in the studio all day watching musicals!!!!!! I know for sure I'll be watching Mama Mia and Hairspray, then I'll probably shift to the classics, like Sound of Music and Fiddler... if I have enough time I'll watch On the Town. Love love love On the Town... it is a classic and definitely one of the best musicals EVER made... rent it, own it, whatever you have to do to see it.. see it!!! It stars Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra,and the incomparable Vera-Ellen. And Ann Miller, who is so darn talented and fabulous, and never really got top billing... and funny! Maybe I'll start with it, now that I review the list I want to watch...

Just to have a picture this is fire opal agate with sterling silver wire. I hope everyone has as fun and productive day as I have!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Odds and Ends....

OK I'm on vacation this week.. I wish it meant I could play with beads and wire and metals and GLASS all day- and all week-- long. Regretfully a week of vacation from my paycheck job means hitting all the doctor appointments I'm behind on, cleaning the house for my daughter's upcoming birthday party, catching up on errands and really generally unfun, boring but necessary parts of life. RATS.

I'm hoping tomorrow I can get all these odds and ends of life caught up, and then I can play Thursday and Fri.. at least alittle. I do plan to post pictures everyday this week... a few minutes on the blog I can do.

Here are artistic odds and ends... I love the earrings, they are the latest earrings in the earth doodle series. Made with fancy jasper irregular rectangles in a rich, dark green, I made these with my own, homemade headpins that I melted the ends in a ball, then I hammered it flat and added a loose spiral to hold the bead. Yummy!
Next is a painted jasper with gold filled wire on it, and last another pendant in sterling wire and crystals, using netting and binding techniques. The bail on this one is actually the circle to a toggle.. the jump ring soldered on wasn't soldered very well and broke... so I finished cutting it off and sanding it down. It makes a great bail don't you think? I love when I can reuse something broken like this!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fused Glass Art Cabs!! oh me oh my!

I've always been interested in fusing glass, but it's impossible without a kiln... and kilns costs 500.00 and up, at least a good one that would work with glass, PMC and enamelling, all 3 things I have on my wish list. If you are going to spend that kind of money, you need to get it for all your needs, current and eventual. Since I didn't have a burning desire to spend that kind of money on something I wasn't quite ready to use, I'd tabled the desire, at least for now. Then I saw this crazy sounding item: a kiln that works in the microwave oven. And it's pretty affordable, you can buy one retail for under $100.00, kits that include a supply of glass and kiln paper run under $150.00!! I bought a kit, and a couple of weeks ago started to play. I admit I was skeptical about how well this would work. I am pleasantly surprised!!

It works pretty darn good... the first shot is the first group of cabs I made. It's slow going, the kiln is understandably small and you can only make 1 piece at a time. How long you nuke it and at what power level takes some playing, as each kiln cooks slightly differently, and of course microwaves vary tremendously. I've found longer times at lower power works better for mine, I had a few cracking issues and that's from uneven heat or heating 2 fast. I have a very old microwave, it's older than my soon to be 13 year old!

Because you can only make 1 piece at a time, I can only get 1-2 cabs done each night. After firing, the piece has to cool down slowly to anneal, I usually give it at least an hour, but the longer the better... glass that cools too quickly will crack or even shatter. It's better to make something, and walk away for a few hours.

I can't say I like the glass that came with fuseworks much either. I've had some experience with glass doing lampwork, so I'm going to play around with other types of glass, see if I can find some glass I like better. More experiments will be posted soon.... I found a great website that not only sells the kiln but has all kinds of helpful tips and information: http://www.microwavekiln.com/microwavekilnjewelrytips.htm. They have a great selection of glass, and the owner has been very helpful and QUICK answering my email questions.... don't know her personally, just a happy customer!