I'm looking forward to showing off more photos of my work, studio, in progress and maybe even some of my inspiration - my little fur babies.
Some of you might remember the disaster I had with firing this painting a while ago.
I vowed to try again with what I wanted to do and this time there was success! I still don't know what the actual problem was last time, but I do have theories. Anyhoo - so happy with how it finally came out.
Here is a process photo of how the bowl was actually built ---
You can see the layer of clear strips on the bottom with the medium amber glass strips on top.
And here is the finished bowl!
I love the striations created by the overlapping strips of glass. And, it is difficult to see in the photo, but there are lacy holes throughout the border that lend a very delicate look as well.
The bowl is about 15" diameter and 3" deep. It is currently available for sale - let me know if you are interested. :-)
I hate it when things go wrong. It sucks.
But it's also a learning experience (I have to reluctantly admit).
This is what came out of my kiln last week one day:
This was going to be a bowl. So I had painted onto a round piece of glass, but fired it without frit behind the paint. I have done this technique before with no issues. I fired 2 other pieces at the same time, both with frit over them. One of them had some cracking in the paint like this, but after another firing, it was very barely noticeable and still an acceptable finished piece.
But there was no coming back from this. I am going to have to remake it. So, the only thing I can think of that caused this is a reaction between the paint and the metals in my water. The majority of the cracking was where I used or mixed in some yellow paint. The yellow can be tricky anyway, but there must be something in it that was very unhappy with my water. I usually fill my paint water bottle from my kitchen sink or refrigerator. Both of these sources are filtered water. We have an older home with metals in the water, including lead.
The last time I filled the bottle, I used the bathroom sink. I am hoping that is what the problem is - I am sure I will find out if my theory is correct. The paint manufacturer recommends using distilled water. I may get a bottle if I end up with anything similar to this disaster again.
Wish me luck!
So, for this new year, I am working on some new ideas --
1. Layers - I want to explore taking some of my drawings and breaking them up into layers and painting each layer on a different piece of glass and then layering them on top of each other. The final image will hopefully show the depth of those layers.
I completed one of these a couple of weeks ago, but the framing I so lovingly designed and hand crafted seems to detract from the layering effect, so I am still working on this aspect.
2. I plan to make more and more totem poles. I have an order for a custom 7 foot totem and am in the process of getting that done, but I want to make more and more of these. I would love it if I simply got more orders, but barring that, I am just going to make them and try to sell them. When we went to the local lumber yard and got the wood for the 7 footer, I also got 3 more logs and had them sliced up for totems. They are all a bit shorter in order to make them transportable for shows. Looking forward to seeing what they all develop into.
and 3. I am going to try to get into some much larger and more effective art shows. I have applied to two shows already (one in March and another in August) and about to send the info in for a third one (in December). Getting to the right venues is very important in terms of actually selling anything, so it's all about quality, not quantity this year.
So -- to all of you -- I am so glad you have chosen to read my blog and follow me on facebook and come to see me at shows or stop by the stores I have my work in. Looking onward and upwards for 2014!
I recently started trying something a little bit different with the backgrounds of my painted glass tiles. My normal process is to used glass frit (crushed glass) as the backgrounds behind my paintings.
I drew a picture of a little scene recently and drew in these layers of sky. The process of applying the frit is not terribly precise, but in my mind I could see very precise, colorful sections of sky working in this piece. So, I decided to paint it as I saw it and this is what I got:
Coloring the pieces this way is a little bit more time consuming and uses a little more paint. But, as you can see, the effect is stunning. I don't think it works for all pieces (maybe it would) but I definitely know that I will be doing it alot more in the near future.
Here are a few more pieces with the painted backgrounds:
In decorating there is a law of odds - things look better in groups of 3, or 5, or 7. Also, I have heard that the triangle is one of the strongest geometric shapes. Just look at the pyramids, right?
So, in my last post you saw the boxes I made from cedar and glass that each had 3 post legs. Well, I have once again used the power of 3 and some post legs to elevate another project.
These glass bowls are made by stacking layers of clear glass, but leaving space between the pieces. After firing this creates a beautiful, irregular lattice or lace look. Of course, I couldn't just leave them like that, they needed something more - along came the legs idea.
I simply used the holes created from the firing process (making them larger or rounding them out as necessary) and attached these legs that go through the bottom of the bowls. They will make stunning centerpieces on a holiday table. Perhaps with pinecones, a candle, or even some brightly colored glass ball ornaments. Check them out at my etsy site now!
It's about time for a new blog post! Last time I left you saying that I would talk about the new boxes that I have made.
So, as my mind wanders, sometimes it lands on cool ideas. I have made wood boxes with glass tops before, but this time I did a few things differently. First off, I started with a worm/bug eaten cedar log and cut thick slices. Then, using the band saw and a couple of different blade thicknesses, I chopped, cut and sawed, then glued until I had empty boxes.
Looking at the boxes, it suddently dawned on me that they needed to be elevated. Both artistically and literally. So, I found some sticks that matched the original log and cut them up into sections about 3" long. Then, back to the sander to round out one end of each section and then drilled them and using pegs, glued and attached them to the bottoms of the boxes.
The glass tops were also a multi- part process. First, I traced the top of the box onto my prepared kiln shelf so that I would have the shape and size of each box. Then I laid down a layer of clear chunks of glass within that shape, sprinkled a layer of frit over it, but then brushed it out so it only filled the cracks in the glass. A second layer of clear chunks and a second color of frit went on top of that. Lastly, I covered all of that with a neutral frit color and fired it all up to 1325 degrees.
In the meantime, I cut leaf shapes out of 1/8" fiber paper, filled them with different colors of frit and laid on black glass stringers for leaf veins. These were also fired to 1325 degrees.
Then, each glass top is turned over, leaves laid on top and fired again to 1450 degrees. Each top was fired with a hole plugged into the center of it. I then cut a piece of clear glass to fit fairly snuggly into the tops of the boxes and fired to have a rounded edge. I then drilled a hole where the hole would be in each top and glued the clear glass to the bottom of the fused glass so that the holes lined up.
I cut, sanded and shaped wood pieces to act as handles then screwed through the holes in the glass tops to secure the handles.
I am sure this all sounds rather confusing - it was quite a process - but they were a lot of fun to make, regardless of the amount of time each one took. I love every one of them!
I have been working on some new things for the fall/holiday shopping season. And one of the first things I came up with were some fun and spooky "Skeletotems". I thought of my regular totems and Dia de los Muertos together and this is what I came up with.
They are not 'technically' totems, but simply skeletons, but I thought it was a fun name and along the line of where I want to take them.
The progression of these pieces was actually a true "create as you go" process. I started by drawing just the skull. Then, I thought of the skeleton and at the same time was thinking of my regular totems and that they usually incorporate a winged animal of some kind at the top. So, we get skeleton wings. Now, the boots are lots of fun and another way to get some color on the lower portion of the piece, but in reality, I just didn't want to draw skeleton feet - hee, hee.
So, I cut the glass, outline painted it, fired it, painted the color and fired it and started holding it up against some wood pieces. The wings stuck out sharply and it wasn't quite looking right. So...I used a metal sheet that I have bent into a large U shape and bent the glass over the metal mold in another firing.
After bending and holding them up against the wood, they still seemed plain and as if they were missing something. Aha! Move the glass head above the wood, drill a hole in the top of the wood and set a tea light candle in there. When lit, the skull has a light glow and is just a little spooky.
And it's done! Signed and dated on the bottom of each and ready for sale! Boy, am I looking forward to fall and the holiday season.
Next up, the neat "Ice Float Boxes" I have been working on.
I have mentioned many times before my ever-growing stash of clear scrap glass. The stuff that ends up on the cutting table when I have cut out the pieces to fit my wood. Well, last month I had an Aha! moment.
So - here is what I did:
I started with a circular piece of clear and painted a design, firing between stages up to the color stage. Then, I layed the piece face down on my prepared kiln shelf. I then used a metal bowl and a hammer to crush up a stack of that scrap glass into chunks about the size of a quarter or so. I laid those all around the painting in a single layer. Then I covered the entire piece with a layer of clear fine frit.
Next, I shook on colored transparent frit to create a soft glowing effect for the background of the piece.
I then coated the whole thing, again in another layer of clear fine frit.
This was put into the kiln and fired to 1325 degrees and came out looking like this --
So then, I sand down the edges to avoid any sharpness and it is layed face up and fired again, but up to 1450 degrees so that it all melts together and becomes glossy. Then, the very last firing - a slumping over a bowl mold and the piece is finished!
I am sorry I have process photos of the roadrunner and the finished photo of the robin - the roadrunner is actually still in the slumping stage in my kiln right now. I will update this when I can get it out of the kiln and get some shots.
Here are the final photos of the roadrunner piece that was in the process photos above.
Before I left on vacation earlier this month, I had several requests for custom orders. It seems they always come in groups. I let everyone know they would not be done until I got back from my trip and it all worked out. I completed 3 custom orders this week.
The first sign came out beautifully, but a hair dark. So I tried to lighten it up in the second sign and it came out pretty darn light. I like them both, but somewhere in the middle was what I was shooting for.
And the last custom order was for a guy who called because he wanted an anniversary gift for his girlfriend of a giraffe and a sloth together (pet names). He sent me a link to some artwork he googled. Who knew you could so easily find a cute little drawing of a giraffe and sloth together?? I adjusted the drawing a bit to fit my needs, clarify the faces a little and removed the clothing/glasses on the giraffe. I painted it in my normal way and am very happy with the result. This one was so much fun!