Butterflies are Free…
November 4, 2009
…If your name is Diana and you’re my sister’s Best Friend!
Diana has been patiently waiting for her butterfly since August. She happens to be my sister’s best friend and asked me casually while I was visiting my sister if I’d make her a butterfly. Not one to turn down any opportunity to add original art glass to someone’s home, of course I said yes, knowing full well that I had a hectic schedule awaiting my return home. Butterflies are small and I knew I could easily fit them into my work schedule. Couldn’t I? I love these colorful butterflies and my stock of them was almost extinct, so it was time to make some new ones anyway.
Notice how I say them and these, not it? If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I can’t just make ‘one’ of anything, so finding a day to make up a kiln load of butterfly bodies, just couldn’t be done! I wanted Di to have a good selection to choose from so I needed to make not just one, but a kiln-load of butterflies. Diana saw three prototypes from which to choose the style and color she wanted; then waited again until I could finally find a day to get the bodies made.
Fitting them in between projects became problematic because they require a different firing schedule than the rest of the work that generally ships out of my studio. Oh, I got their little bodies made up & fired; it was the final firing with the color and wing patterns that took some time to work into my schedule. Here they are after the first firing joining the wings to their bodies. My canvas ready to ‘paint with glass powders’.
Working with glass powder is a fragile way of working with glass. The slightest puff of wind or bump in the studio can ruin your design, so I had to fit them into a day where nothing else was happening and I had an available kiln ready to accept them immediately after building each one. I didn’t want them lying around my studio waiting for disaster to happen. When working with powders I like to have a color reference and all my tools within reach.
The glass powder is sifted on. Lines are drawn in. Diana wanted yellow, orange and lime green. I used Bullseye glass 1120, translucent Canary yellow as my base color with 0025 Tangerine and 0126 Spring Green opal (not translucent) accents.
I also wanted to duplicate the model in my Butterfly Encyclopedia, so used translucent 1122 Red with Tangerine opal. Then I began wondering how it would look with 0334 Gold Purple and 0147 Cobalt Blue opal accents.
Not to mention how would it look as a pink using 1332 Fuchsia with 0334 Gold Purple accents; or a blue using 1464 True Blue with Spring Green accents; and 1442 Neo Lavender with Gold Purple accents! Alas, after that I was out of bodies again since I’d only made nine blanks, so my explorations had to end. For now anyway.
And here’s how they look after firing. All they need now is a signature and they’re out the door. My original versions pretty much stuck to depictions straight out of the encyclopedia, mimicking true-to-life butterflies. My approach this time exploring color and line was less tedious and much more fun!!!
Diana plans to hang hers in the dining room for wall decor. I like to place my butterflies in my garden strategically where I need spots of color, wrapping the copper spirals around small branches of trees and shrubs. I also keep one in my ‘Pretty Powder Room’. Other glass butterfly owners have hung them in windows, set them in planters, and rested them on counters. Where would you keep yours?