This week flew by as I prepared and ordered supplies for my classes at the upcoming Glass Craft and Bead Expo, the Machine Embroiderers, and a middle school student project.  I still have much to do in getting ready, but am well on the way!  I shudder to think of what next month’s Visa bill will look like, but I’ll eventually be reimbursed for it all.  I love teaching others about glass and want students to have as many materials as possible available to play with.

I’ve been told my classes are fun and that my enthusiasm for the media and teaching are contagious.  Always thrilled to hear that, one of my main goals in a class indeed is for students to have fun.  Of course I want to emphasize the process or technique, but when you have fun learning you’ll want to learn more about the subject and hopefully do more of it.  My original goal in teaching glass techniques was to enlarge the glass community and that goal remains today.  Whether through basic kilnforming classes in my own community or specialized techniques out on the road I always have fun watching students eyes light up with understanding and delight as we pull projects from the kiln revealing their wonderful results.

Are you taking classes at the Las Vegas Expo?  Stop in and say hello!  Better yet, sign up for one of my classes!  (Yes that was a shameless plug!)  Or will you be at the Machine Embroiderers seminar?  I hope you’ll take my Glass Clay Class and learn to make your own buttons and cabochons!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2010

Wishing you a day filled with fun, color, and love…..

A year ago today….

February 10, 2010

…I began this blog.  Today is my blogiversary! I realized yesterday that my very first post about a project I did with middle school students was published on Feb. 10th 2009.  The year went by so fast that I almost missed my blogiversary!  Interesting that I’m about to embark on another adventure with middle school students, this time in my own town of White Salmon.  The teacher wants a glass mobile hanging from the skylight at the entrance of the school.  I’ll tell you more about that when I have some photos to share.

When I began blogging, I searched for and read hundreds and hundreds of tips about ‘how to’ blog, ‘why to’ blog, ‘when to’ blog and everything in between.  I stumbled my way through setting it up, adding widgets, pages and links.  I watched my stats every day and confess I still do.  I am always thrilled to see how many readers have found me and actually return to read more.  And when someone leaves a comment, well I’m just plain over the moon delighted that I stirred you into responding!

I have to thank a couple of mentors who are wonderful bloggers as well as artists.  They were so compassionate and gentle while leading me through the tiniest of baby steps to get this blog and me to where we are today.  Drumroll please…..

Setting Moon over Cascades

The first Thank You goes to Cynthia Morgan of Morganica, who always inspires with her blog and is so brilliant at everything blog and glass related.  I believe she knows everything in the universe and if you haven’t read her blog, you’ve been missing out on great fun, instruction and inspiration.  A glass artist, writer, and so much more, go read her blog right now.

Summer Sky

Thank You to Toni Johnson of Daily Vignette who made sense of my rambling questions.  I didn’t exactly know how to ask for what I wanted to do, but Toni always managed to decipher what I wanted or needed.  She then not only took me there, but told me the next step as well.  She also co-developed and co-authors Vision and Verb a collaboration from ‘women of a certain age’.  A phenomenal photographer as well as glass artist and friend, if you haven’t read Toni’s blog yet, go read it now!

Red Yellow Blue

Somewhere along the midway point, I met Kathleen Krucoff, who writes Reflections of a Glass Artist. Talk about the motherlode of information!  She knows everything about blog and internet marketing.  One of the most creative people, a gifted, talented artist working with glass and metal.  Web designer and author of numerous blogs, she also happens to be married to a wonderful photographer, Daniel Krucoff.  Yes, you know the drill…go read her blog right now.

Triple Splash

There are many others who have helped me along the way, with inspiration and suggestions of topics to cover.  Lastly, I want to thank you, dear reader for encouraging me by the simple act of inviting me into your space, and listening to what I have to say.  I love hearing what you have to say so don’t be shy, let me know you were here.  You’re the reason I’m here, after all!  Tell me what you’d like to see here in upcoming posts.

Insert for Japanese garden sculpture.

Triple Red Success!

February 3, 2010

Preparing for ‘Red: From Alizarin to Crimson’, at Columbia Arts, my second attempt at the red bowl was a success.  Not that I had any doubts, of course, as I returned to my usual drop ring style instead of a bowl mold.  ‘Red Cells’ is a shallow bowl, with a one inch drop.

The detail shot shows 22k ‘cells’.

If you remember from my last post, the first Red bowl blew a very large bubble right in the center while slumping, so I put it aside and started over.  Usually it’s easier and faster to just start over than it is to try to repair something.

I also had a second piece, ‘Plan B – Back to Square One’ underway, cutting squares to assemble into a bargello design.  Plan B came out of it’s first firing with devit.  Drat!  I had cleaned and dried thorougly, yet all of the dark red opaque squares were devitrified.  Plus I could see marks from the klyr fire (a glue for glass), a first for me, as I’ve always had klyr fire burn out cleanly.

Instead of a quick fuse & slump, I now had to mask the devit and refire.  Most people choose an overglaze for this task, but I advocate the use of clear powder.  Dusted with a fine layer of clear powder, back into the kiln it went.  At the same time ‘second attempt ‘Red Cells’ was slumping through a drop ring in another kiln.

Once ‘second attempt’ (as I fondly called it) was in the kiln for it’s final shaping, and Red plan B was in the kiln for it’s second firing, I turned my attention to the failed piece to see how I could resolve that big bubble.

Instead of letting heat and gravity flatten it onto a kiln shelf, where I might then have to grind the edges again into a perfect circle, I decided to place it into a shallow mold to see if I could get away with only one firing instead of two.

Firing slowly at 100 degrees per hour, I had to schedule it so I would be there viewing the bowl at process temperature.  There I was at 10pm monitoring it’s progress every five minutes, ready to reach in and push the bubble down if necessary (suited up with protective gear for the task).  After 60 minutes at 1200º, it had slowly slumped into the platter shape with the large center bubble finally settled snugly down into the mold.

So my success is threefold:  My second try at the red bowl, ‘Red Cells‘ turned out and was delivered in time for the show; a second piece, ‘Back to Square One’ turned out quite well, although not in time for the show; and my first attempt, which became ‘Red Cells II’, was saved and delivered just at deadline but still in time for the show!

If you’re in Hood River for February’s First Friday (Feb 5), do stop in & say hello!!  Columbia Arts,  Cascade and Third; from 6 to 8 p.m.  Oh, and wear RED!  Red ribbons and red prizes will be awarded for “Best of Show” and “Best of Dress.” Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy creative red refreshments!!  Hope to see you there!

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