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Today Bambino’s….

March 23, 2011

…Next Week the Glass Craft and Bead Expo.

I love teaching others how to work with glass.  Today I went to Bambinos International Learning Center in Hood River and led some very young students through a glass-working session.  An excellent learning facility, if you’re a young family in the Hood River area I highly recommend it.

Lorena Lowell, Founder & CEO told me they plan to incorporate even more art into their programs and it sounds so exciting for the children of Hood River.  I am thrilled that she invited me back for another glass-working session this summer.

We made glass tiles that will be turned into refrigerator magnets.  Here they are prior to firing.  I’ll deliver the finished glass back to the students tomorrow.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Kudos to all those whose day job is teaching.

I can’t stop thinking about the disaster in Japan.  As I said in my last post, my heart is heavy with sadness for those who lost loved ones.  I am moved by the many televised news snippets of people that could be you or I saying things like “I couldn’t get here in time; I hope his teacher got the children out safely”, while searching through rubble for his kindergarten aged son.

I am compelled to do something helpful, no matter how small an impact one individual might have.

Which organization will be able to do the most with my contribution?   I found this very useful site ~ Charity Navigator.  Using this site, I looked at organizations I had heard about & some that I hadn’t.  I compared percentages for program expenses vs administrative and fundraising expenses.  Then I looked at CEO/Leadership salaries and mission statements. Below are those I liked the best, with statistics that are listed for each on the Charity Navigator site.

Topics nearest and dearest to my heart are children and dogs, so I looked at those quite seriously wondering if my contribution would really get to a child or send a dog for search and rescue.  Dogs can help doctors by seeking out those still alive and doctors can help injured children.  Plus, who doesn’t like a doctor willing to go help others in the worst of conditions?!!

Doctors Without Borders 4 star

Program Expenses 86.8%
Administrative Expenses 1.3%
Fundraising Expenses 11.7%
Fundraising Efficiency $0.13
Nicolas De Torrente Executive Director $118,900 0.07%

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation 4 star

Program Expenses 78.2%
Administrative Expenses 8.0%
Fundraising Expenses 13.6%
Fundraising Efficiency $0.11
Debra Tosch Executive Director $78,223 2.77%

Save the Children 4 star

Program Expenses 89.7%
Administrative Expenses 4.6%
Fundraising Expenses 5.6%
Fundraising Efficiency $0.06
Charles F. MacCormack            President                                           $365,130          0.07% 

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As for salaries, you can see Charles F. MacCormack is paid the most.  Yet he was tied for lowest percentage at .07%, along with Nicolas De Torrente whose salary was just under a third of MacCormack’s.  Debra Tosch has the lowest salary yet the highest percentage of these three.

Using just this criteria, I have to vote my money going to Doctors Without Borders.  But I still want to save the children and get search dogs sent out, so I’m contributing to all three.  How, you might ask?  I don’t have much income to spare, so for now I’ll send a percentage of all art glass sales on both my Artfire and Zibbet shops until I’ve made something specific for the cause.   I’ve got a couple sketches going that relate to Japanese art and culture.  When they’re off the drawing board and into the kiln I’ll add them to my shops, donating the entire purchase to my organizations above.

Are you doing something specific to help?  Please share your ideas with us!  I’d like to post links to others offering ways to contribute, like Marcy, selling specific lampwork beads and donating the sale to the “American Red Cross in which 91 cents per dollar donated goes to the folks they are aiding”….  And Nithya on Artfire who is “donating US $10.00 for every small painting worth US $35.00 purchased from my store.”

Another ArtFire artist, Taryn of ‘oh danger’ is donating proceeds from specific cards to Animal Refuge Kansai, a non-profit organization in Japan dedicated to helping animals. “Your money will go directly to the aid of animals in Japan affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami.”

My friend Barb works for a company that will match contributions – does yours?

Kimberly of Akimbo Studios tells me “The Rotary Club is also gearing up donations – they do more with recovery than relief. it’s going to be a BIG job on both sides! Be wary of scams people, let your hard earned dollars go to help, not line the pockets of scammers and charities with HIGH operating costs”.  A great reason to check the Charity Navigator site.

Another friend, Arnold says “let people in Japan know that people over here care about them. That is very powerful.  Write a letter of support to a major newspaper in Japan. It is easy to get letters published.”  A wonderful idea and easy to do, I’m in!

Many places like The Huffington Post and Yahoo News are listing Earthquake and Tsunami relief options for you to choose from.  Most of those listed are national or international organizations.  Don’t forget to look closer to home. Many local people are putting together fundraisers that you can easily contribute to, like this one in my area –  ski to assist Mercy Corps’ Japan disaster relief efforts. Or maybe you can start one of your own!

If you’ll post your additional ideas and links in the comments below, everyone reading this can benefit from your ideas, your links, your sales donations, and anywhere else you’ve found someone helping.  I’d love you to list your favorite organization(s) that we can contribute to.

We’re all in this world together and together we can make a difference.  Please do what you can.

If you haven’t seen this link, from the NY Times, use the sliders to see satellite images of each town before and after the disaster.

Edit:  From now until April 10th. Verizon is offering their customers free calling to Japan.  Time Warner Cable is also offering free calling to Japan if you have their telephone service, until April 15th.

My friend Barbara says:  “ALL funds received in the next month go to the Japanese response. ALL.”, with this link to the Humane Society International.

March Madness

March 13, 2011

In the midst of Japan’s tragic earthquake and tsunami, the rest of us must continue moving forward.  My heart is heavy for all those who lost loved ones so I’m participating in several small ways to help those left behind.

I bought a couple raffle tickets to help a japanese potter & his village rebuild through Heath Ceramics in Sausalito. Only $10 and you might win the limited edition Commune Canister hand thrown at Heath Ceramics worth $500. You only have until Monday, March 14th, so hurry!

Here’s an easy way everyone can help. Send in the dogs! One click on the ‘like’ button & you’ve added $1 to the campaign without using your own $1. It’s a Facebook page called ‘Dog Bless You’. I hope you’ll ‘like’ it.

As I find more creative ways to help, I’ll post them on my Facebook page.  Please check there when you have a chance to see if I’ve discovered anything else.  My friend, Karen posted this list of projects already set up by the Red Cross, Medical Corps, Save the Children, and more that need funding for Japan.

As for my studio moving forward in the aftermath, I don’t think I’ve ever had a busier March!  New venues and fresh work set up in my regular shops.  This past week I dropped off new work for Hood River Jewelers.  The display isn’t finished because it will be moved in front of the window in a few days (btw, the large blue, white & black platter isn’t mine but we left it in the display).  If you’re in Hood River, please visit  Chris, Julie and Theresa and let them know I sent you!

Each March I prepare for the Glass Craft and Bead Expo by packing & shipping about a dozen boxes.  Filled with tools, examples, and supplies the majority of boxes are 16″ cube and weigh about 30 pounds.  Yes, 30.  It’s how I prepare for my gardening season!

Deciding what to take and what to leave is never easy for me.  I want to expose students to as much as possible in our short time together!  I think my Build a Better Pocket class is almost full.

There’s still plenty of room in my Beautiful Butterflies class.  Maybe I can entice you to take it?  If you couldn’t get into my Exploring Glass Powders class, I’ll cover many of the same principles in this class.

Play Date with Paste is filling, but it’s the first day of the Expo on Wednesday and many of you won’t arrive until Friday.  Taking any of my classes or not, I hope you’ll stop in my classroom to say ‘hi’.  Later in the afternoon is best because the students (my priority) will be well on their way by then.

A last note on the quake.   This link, from the NY Times, shows photos before and after the disaster.  Use the sliders to see satellite images of each town before and after.

Edit: This link for Mashable shows 7 ways to help or donate using social media.

This link for Charity Navigator lists ratings for the best orgnizations to help.

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March Musings

March 4, 2011

I am happy to announce my colorful art glass jewelry is now available for purchase at J D Smith Jewelers in The Dalles Oregon.  The owner, Jason and I have been talking about working together since last summer.  Our schedules finally aligned to make it happen and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Jason has been in the jewelry business much longer than you might think judging by his youthful appearance and ‘with it’ attitude.  He has an artist’s eye and it shows when you walk into his fabulous store.  If you’re in the Pacific Northwest make a point of stopping in.

The last few weeks you know I’ve been preparing for the Glass Craft and Bead Expo.  I finally have all the student glass cut up and packed, and everything I ordered has been arriving daily.  I am sorry for our UPS driver who has to trudge down my very long driveway through the snow.  Everything must be shipped next week, so it will be me carrying it all back up.  I’d love to find a few more students for my Beautiful Butterflies class, so if you know anyone who might be interested, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d share this post.  The emphasis will be pattern making, imagery replication and working with powdered glass.

My handmade wall pocket vases are displayed at Good News Gardening in Hood River through the end of this month.  I decided to install wall pockets alone instead of including butterflies and ladybugs due to the hanging system.  Screw eyes are anchored at the top of the wall and spaced in such a way that my little critters would be lonely so far apart from each other.  I do need to go back and fill the vases with flowers, but if you have a chance to try the lunch menu at The Garden Cafe I promise you’ll enjoy it!

‘Cat’s Meow’

I finally returned to my ‘Raining Cats and Dogs’ series for The Dalles Art Center’s show “Raining Cats and Dogs and Frogs”, running through March.  Perfect, don’t you think?  Of course I pulled this 15″ finished platter (photo was taken before slumping) out of the kiln the day before due date!  Three sweet little 6″ plates were also fused but not cold-worked or slumped yet.  More work for after the Expo.  I hope to have them ready for Oregon Glass Guild’s “Glass Gallery” at the end of April.

One last note:  Lately I’ve had a lot of mica sales in my ArtFire shop, so I’ve moved the mica tutorial that I’ve been slowly polishing from the ‘backburner’ to the ‘get it done sooner’ page.  It’s almost finished, I just need better photos…which I’ll take after I clear all the ‘Expo’ paraphernalia out of my studio.

See you inLas Vegas?

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