Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fire Divas Thanksgiving Challenge

To celebrate the season of giving, the Fire Divas are having a Thanksgiving Challenge! Some of our members have made wonderful pieces for YOU to vote on. First, enjoy viewing these wonderful treasures. When you're done, please vote for the bead you are thankful for on right side of the Fire Divas' blog. The voting will stay open for one week - then the winner will receive a really cool prize!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Fire Divas are having a Breast Cancer Awareness Challenge! Several of our members have made wonderful pieces for YOU to vote on. First, you can feast your eyes on these beauties in big, clear pictures. When you're done savoring them, please vote for your favorite in bite-sized images on the right side of the Fire Divas' blog. The voting will stay open for one week - then the winner will receive a really cool prize!

Go vote on the Fire Divas Blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let the fusing begin...

It looks like we are having an early winter this year. Unfortunately for me, that means no more lampworking!! I work in my garage and with the kiln, oxycon, and fans, there is no power left for the heaters I need to keep warm. I've packed up my glass and put it in the closet to remain untouched for the cold months.
Now what? We considered having the garage rewired to handle the extra power requirements of the 3-4 heaters I would need to stay warm enough with the garage door open or ventilation. We also considered buying a small building and setting it up as my studio. We finally settled on something entirely different.
I am going to start fusing glass! It doesn't take any modification to the garage or a new building. It just takes tools and sheet glass, both of which are on their way to me. I'll still need to run the kiln, but without the oxycon and fans going I'll be able to run the heaters. Plus I won't need the garage door open so that means less heaters to stay warm.
I plan to make funtional pieces as well as jewelry...stay tuned to see what comes out of the kiln!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Copper Shapes

Copper, as well as other metals, can be used in glass to achieve an artistic affect. I have used copper mesh in the past; I love the change in color when it is encased in glass. I've tried using copper sheet as well, but the sheet I bought was a little thick and because of that it was hard to form to the shape of the bead. I liked the idea, though!

A couple of weeks ago I saw a fellow lampworker offering copper shapes. The shapes were punched out of a very thin gauge of copper sheet. I had to buy some. This weekend I was able to make good use of them. Since I have been on a heart kick lately (they are just so fun to make!), I decided to use the copper shapes to accent the hearts. I tried out a butterfly, a tiny heart, and a snowflake and I am very pleased with the results! They added a very nice touch. Copper shapes are definitely going to be a recurrence in my work now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trying Something New

Inspiration comes in many ways. I recently saw a beadable bookmark with a heart design, and I thought, "A dangly heart would look so pretty on the end of that!" So, naturally, I next wondered if I could make one. At my first opportunity on my torch, that is exaclty what I tried to do. There is a way of making glass art called "off-mandrel." This means the artist does not wind the glass on a release-covered glass rod, and instead does everthing on the end of a glass rod (called a punty), removes the piece from the punty, and places it in the kiln. I've had poor luck at off-mandrel work in the past; I usually end up dropping my piece on my table (I have the burn marks to prove it!). However I recently began using a new method to make twisties; I learned about adding the glass to the end of a clean mandrel, and pulling the twistie that way. I decided to try to actually make the entire heart on the end of a clean mandrel. I don't know if this has been done before (it probably has), but that is how I decided to try it. I added my glass, shaped my heart, formed the loop, then heated and pulled the heart of the clean mandrel and popped it into my kiln. I made two attempts, and then waited quite impatiently until the next morning when the kiln had cooled.

I was very pleased with the result! In my humble opinion, they came out fabulous! I was so excited that I spent the entire torch session that afternoon on making hearts, and I made a nice raku pendant in that same manner. I think this technique is a valuable one with lots of potential, and I can't wait to see what else I can do with it...after I make some more hearts, that is!

Monday, August 17, 2009

All Grown Up

My little girl is 5. Ok, I know, she isn't actually grown up...but it sure feels that way. This month she starts Kindergarten and it is horrifying. I know she'll do great - she is very social and incredibly smart. The thought of her going there all day, every day, by herself, is so scary to me though! Will other kids make fun of her because she is small? Will the teachers be mean to her because she likes to socialize? Will they, like her preschool teacher, enjoy the fact that she can tell time, or will it annoy them instead? Will she have a hard time being the youngest in the class? Most importantly, will she be safe? I just tell myself to have faith that everything will be ok. It is a nice elementary school, and they only have four Kindergarten classes. When I toured it, I was quite happy with the set-up.

It is exciting to think that she will be expanding her abilities. She is already reading, but I look forward to her reading larger, harder words, and doing math, and seeing what else they teach her. A week from tomorrow is her testing day, and she starts going every day a week after that. We have a pretty busy schedule the next two weeks, so it will go by entirely too quickly. In a flash she will begin a long, and hopefully very successful, educational experience, and our lives will change dramatically forever. I just hope I don't cry.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Yup, sometimes Thursdays can be good! I think of Thursday as the door to the weekend. On this particular Thursday, I have a lot to look forward to. Tomorrow marks the end of our last free week. Saturday begins a slew of t-ball practices, doctors' appointments, kindergarten responsibilities, and much more, including two very important birthdays. One will be reaching kindergarten age, and one will be celebrating a first birthday. The best part is, birthdays at my house means presents for every kid, so no one is left out.

Today, however, I get to enjoy the quiet. I will get to lampwork this afternoon, which allows me to express myself creatively, jam to my music, and have some time to myself. It is, for me, an incredible release. Tomorrow I can list the fruits of this afternoon's labor. In addition, I have the incredibly exciting anticipation of a huge 20lb box of glass making its way to me and scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Afterward, I can handle the landslide.

Yes, thank goodness it's Thursday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well, I Created a Blog!

Blogs here, blogs there, blogs everywhere. I finally decided I should have my own. But where to begin?
I guess I'll share what a glassy week I had. Monday I received a 7.5lb order of glass from the Frantz 35% off/free shipping sale. I had a great time unwrapping that! I just love a new glass order. There is so much melty goodness in every box! I was thrilled with my order - I got lots of new messy colors that I have been waiting to get on sale for a long time now. I have about 50 messy colors now, and I hope to get more. I finally bought some EDP too - I am not sure if I am more excited or more frightened by it!
I also have about 17lbs of glass on hold at Frantz that I will have shipped this week, probably Friday. I am really looking forward to that becuase I got tons of stuff half-off that I have not been able to try yet, and I also bought enough clear, black, white, and ivory to replenish my diminishing stock. My only complaint is that it takes a full week to get my order because they are on the opposite coast - I am so darn impatient!
On top of all that glass, today I got a mix of marked/unmarked rods (two pounds) from a fellow LE member and it was fantastic! There are all kinds of rod in there, including some old coral and lauscha. I also got five new murrini blends from Lori and Kim on etsy. Their blends are beautiful and I am totally addicted to them.
We have been working on my new glass storage for almost a week now and it is turning out great. We used an old China cabinet that we had and filled it with pvc. It looks great and I'll be sure to post a picture once I get all my glass into it.
On a different note, I am almost done with all the red in the cross stitch I am working on. This is actually quite a feat when you are working on a 16" Christmas stocking that is fully stitched! It will be my first fully-stitched piece. I hope to have it done by Thanksgiving so we can hang it with the other two - all three kids will have a beautiful Gold Collection Cross Stitch stocking...and Mommy and Daddy are next. :D