Friday, October 29, 2010

How Do You Create?

Some time ago I came up with an idea for the Fire Divas called "Ask the Divas." Our fans can submit questions and we will answer them! We recently implemented it and we just received, and answered, a very good question: What is the creative process like? Here is my response to just a fantastic question:

With soft glass, I let the glass or special elements guide me. I usually think about a particular color of glass or element, like murrini, shards, etc, and end up with a general direction.

Next I sit in front of my glass and select colors that coordinate with my central element. For instance, I've been making a lot of rounds with shards lately, so I select a base color that compliments the color(s) in the shards.

Finally I end up at the torch and go with the flow; I have the idea in mind, and the rest is up to what feels right once the glass is melting in the flame. Even the simplest, most routine bead set changes every time.

Boro, however, is different. Sculptures I study and sketch out down to the last detail beforehand. Implosions I map out in my head before attempting. Boro is an entirely different beast! It's a stiffer glass and interestingly enough is much more structured creatively for me as well.

Read what some other Divas had to say about their process below!

Lara says:
I rarely can pinpoint where I get my ideas for beads, but my bunny bead is an exception. I started making these beads last year around Easter time. I think they are super cute.
My mom has a Terra Cotta pot with a large Lop Rabbit on the front. Neither of us can remember the artist, but she got the pot at an art's fair in the Seattle area. One day I was thinking about what to make next and I was looking at the pot and decided to try.
First I drew a pattern on paper to get the shapes down, then did some dots on the bead and pushed and pulled the dots into ears, a face, and legs. Tada..... bunny bead.

From Holly:
For me, it depends on the bead. If the bead is sculptural, I will print out several images featuring different angles of the object I want to re-create. If I am working on a set, I might spend time pulling different color rods. No matter what I'm making, there is some kind of map in my head of where to go... what kind of glass to layer where in order to get the effect I want. Care has to be given to parts that need more heat or can take more heat vs. those that need fine detail and less heat. It's a constant balancing act. Sometimes it works; sometimes not.

From Rosemarie:
Color and shape are very important elements of my work, so I usually decide right away what those are going to be. Sometimes the glass does not do what I want; then I end up with something new. Sometimes the new is good, sometimes not so good.
For this bead, I wanted to represent a dangerous river. I wanted a large surface to work on, so I decided to use the bicone shape.
How did I choose the colors? I wanted water and sky, so that was a pretty easy choice. My water colors were turquoise and cobalt and my sky was a light powder blue. I wanted some white for clouds. I have developed a way to make the webbing spread in a consistent manner, so I decided to use that to show white frothy water. I decided all of this in advance and then proceeded to make the bead.
When that was done, the bead did not look "angry" enough, so I added swirls - which happily looked like whirlpools in the water. I usually melt everything smooth, but once the swirls were on the bead and still raised, I really liked the effect so I decided that the bead was complete.
This happens often - I have a general plan on what something will be, but then modify it once the bead is in progress. Sometimes this happens once the first attempt at the bead is already cooled. Then I have to start the process from the start, modifying what it is that I don't like.

Sonja's answer:
Honestly, for me, I usually start each session at the torch with certain colors in mind and maybe a vague idea of what direction I want to go in (shape, texture, or a certain style). I then decide how I want it to go together, but honestly, many times I will sit down with a certain idea in mind and midway through (or sooner) the bead goes off on a tangent and something else entirely ends up being made.

From Ema:
Each time I sit at the torch is different. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to make; such as being inspired by a beautiful tree I have seen on a walk that I feel compelled to make into a bead. Other days I am inspired by color combinations. I will pull out all the rods in that color scheme and just let the colors take me where they may.

Kathleen says:
I rarely sit at my torch with a pre-conceived idea. Usually it'll be a mood that will hit me, like, I want to make flowers, or I feel like working in certain colors, or I just want to do easy stuff. Occasionally , I feel like challenging myself to step out of my box; using colors I generally don't use and techniques I want to become more familiar with. Ultimately it never plays out the way I think it will. The glass will take over, and like a dance partner, I just follow and let the glass and flame take the lead. Lately, I've been concentrating on flowers.

Lea says:
Each session is different for me. Sometimes I start out with certain new color glass rods I want to play with or shards, new technique, etc. & basically just play & see where the session takes me. Lately, or at least the last couple of times I torched, I started out with a list of beads I wanted to make & then left myself some play time at the end. I found it to be a much more productive use of my time. Go figure!

And here's Laurie's answer:
Who knew there were so many different ways to come up with an amazing bead! I use a little of all of these techniques in my beads.
And I find that often one thing leads to another, as was the case with these Christmas Bird earrings. It all started with some basic twirling, a set of paisley earrings for a customer, a red and green fish, and finally these birds arrived on the scene.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fire Divas Monthly Challenges

I am one of three co-managers for a group of lampworkers called the Fire Divas. I've posted stuff on my blog about our group before. Well, one of the jobs I have is the monthly bead challenges. I create themes, accept entries from our members, write up blog posts, set up the polls, and announce the results. To be perfectly honest, I hate entering. I only enter for exposure and to set an example to my fellow members. I almost always come in dead last. In fact, I even stopped voting for myself because I was often my only vote. It was depressing.

This month's challenge was Thanksgiving. I once again had to select an entry. I had a set I made with a unique glass; it's a glass that was only made once and will never be made again. It's one of my favorite colors and is a delicious looking translucent burnt caramel. I bought a few pounds of it as soon as I melted my first rod because I just loved it! This color was the base for my set. To this, I added some incredible Lori and Kim murrini, and to accent the murrini I had chosen three colors of glass and made one single dot of each color on both sides of the beads. I really like this set; I almost kept it for myself.

That was the set I chose to enter, and below is the blog post I typed up for the Fire Divas' blog this morning.

Thanksgiving Challenge Results

We have a winner for the Thanksgiving Challenge! We tallied the votes and the entry you were most thankful for was:

Entry 5 -

Congratulations to our winner!! Now let's take a look at all the other fantastic entries!

Entry 1 -

Entry 2 -

Entry 3 -

Entry 4 -

Thanks for voting!


I think I earned the right to brag just a bit. :)