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I’ve spent the last few days of May uploading items into my Zibbet shop.  Mostly wall-pocket vases, but also a couple garden fairies and earrings.  I haven’t put a dent in the amount of work I have here that needs to be photographed and written about, then loaded into my shop.  I plan to use my non-garden-worthy days this summer to accomplish that task.

Most of the end of May was spent putting my cabin back together after back to back studio sale weekends….well, almost.  There’s much still to do, but I’ve got the major tasks accomplished.  We can toss the dog toys again, so it’s back to normal living.  And I can get back to work!  I have a couple interesting orders waiting on my workbench.  And I need to make more bracelets!

This last week I’ve been talking with a couple of studios about teaching.  Confirmed is Palmer Alaska at the beginning of August.  Yes, it’s true, I’ll be teaching for Half Moon Creek again.  How I love that studio/gallery and the ladies who own it.  Let me count the ways by sharing (again) my class from last summer in this post.  (Just in case you missed it the first time).

I love Alaska and can’t wait to go back!  I’ll be teaching Powderology again plus my ‘Build a Better Pocket’ class.  I think the classes will fill fast, so if you’re interested in joining me in Alaska (and I do hope you are), better contact Half Moon Creek soon!  I promise you’ll have a spectacular time!

Welcome to Palmer Alaska

June 25th will be the one year anniversary since I launched Steider Studios Glass Medium™.  I plan to have a follow up blog post showcasing how you are using it. I have a few photos that some of you sent me, and will be posting them unless I hear otherwise. If you’re using my medium, I want you to send me a photo or two for sharing – with links to your sites. Yes all your sites, I’ll promote you with wild abandon!

Whether you call it ‘glass clay’ or ‘glass paste’, I’ve seen some amazing work that’s being done with it & can’t wait to share it with you.  Send your photo(s) to me at:  Linda at SteiderStudios dot com.  Thank you!!

Most of you know that BECon is happening mid June and I’d been on the fence over whether to go or not.  I was looking forward to getting together with friends coming in from all over the world while they were here in Portland, only an hour and a half from where I live.  Alas, Granny decided for me that I definitely wont’ be there.  She wanted to rest eternally next to Grandpa in Rose Hills and as it happens Rose Hills was booked until mid June.

 Lastly, I’d like to invite you to a gallery show I’m participating in, ‘Get Centered‘ at  Columbia Arts in Hood River.  The reception is this First Friday, June 3rd from 6 to 8pm and runs through the 26th.  It’s a celebration of Columbia Arts’ first five years in the current space.  Some fascinating work was delivered today, don’t miss it!

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Special Holiday Pricing just posted!  Join me on Maui swimming with sea turtles, running barefoot through the sand, whale watching, snorkeling with dolphins…. oh, and playing with some powdered glass, too!  Join me at Akimbo Studios  for a special version of Powderology plus Clay Play together on Maui for five days of joyful creative fun!

Take advantage of the low airfares, book now!  Tell me you’ll be there!!

Imagine the first day … snorkeling with dolphins in the clear blue water, soaking in the warm rays of sun and feeling the soft white sand between your toes.  Bring your camera and sketchbook to record every inspirational moment to use in class.  Palm trees swaying in a breeze,  ocean swells, sea shells, botanicals, marine creatures and so much more.  We’ll capture the color, flavor and aroma of our experiences.   Prepare for the ultimate creative experience as only Hawaii can offer, ending with a sunset catamaran cruise.

You don’t have to be an artist or know how to work with glass.  I’ll teach you to do both.  I promise.  It’ll be fun.  You’ll love it.  I’ll love it.  And we’ll be forever connected to Maui and each other after this magical experience.  Join me!!

Welcome to Palmer Alaska

Half Moon Creek is an amazing glass gallery, Bullseye Resource Center and studio.  The owner/partners treated me like a queen and lined up a full class of incredible students.  Four days together without a hitch or a glitch.  I adored each student and the tiles they produced were nothing short of inspirational.  I can’t stop thinking about my experience, it was one of those adventures that I’ll remember the rest of my life.  The land and the people.

After landing in Anchorage, we headed south along the shore.

I’ll try not to overload you with over 1000 photos that I took, but only a few to tantalize.  I arrived a day early and took a quick trip south of Anchorage to find glaciers, whales, bear, moose, eagles, and everything wild that I’d read about Alaska.

broken off glacier

I found a glacier just before going into the tunnel leading to Whittier.  Or a piece of one, broken off, I later learned.

Elk at Wildlife Refuge, south of Anchorage, Alaska

I found elk, bison, caribou, and moose at the wildlife refuge but never saw one in the wild.  Didn’t see any bears either.  I was really looking forward to seeing a bear.

I took hundreds of photos, but don’t want to spend my time processing & editing!

It rained and clouds settled in during my entire week there, with rare exceptions.  I didn’t care, I was THERE.  In Alaska!  I planned to experience every moment, in the moment from my class to the daily treks after class.  The sun only sets for a couple of hours in August, so I had all day to teach and all night to explore.

Morning of Museums around Palmer & Wasilla

We played tourist to the hilt, going to all the museums in Palmer & Wasilla before class began and generally exploring the area.

Summit Lake in Clouds

Hatcher Pass was so cloudy and rainy we couldn’t see Summit Lake just beyond the wildflowers!  Can you see it?  We didn’t see Independence Mine either!

Little Susitna River

Which river photo to show from our drive back to town…..how about this one!

Knik Glacier from our B & B

View of Knik Glacier from our B & B….

Knik Glacier with telephoto

And zoomed in.  A spectacular view every day in spite of clouds or rain.

First day of class

Day one in class saw a full slate of students working diligently, modeling glass paste and getting to know one another.  Chris and Christian had the studio well stocked and our every wish was their command!  Not to mention the catered lunch with truffles for dessert!

Using Steider Studios Glass Medium as a binder for small components

We had one kiln filled with beads, buttons & cabs; and another kiln filled with small sculptures.

Susitna River

Day two, I forgot to pick up my camera in class, we were so busy producing samples and discussing possibilities.  That evening, still playing the role of tourist by night, we drove out to Talkeetna, the staging camp for Denali, hoping to see Mt. McKinley.  No sun, no mountain view.  But the clouds made for a dramatic view of the river!

Will the sun shine today?

Day three of class … yep, more clouds with a wink of the sun.

Samples from Day 1 Powderology

These are samples from day one of Powderology, our second day together. Two more kilns full of tests yet to view and discuss!

Viewing samples, comparing notes.

Excited students dove into their samples with gusto, curiosity, and risk-taking attitudes.  I think I surprised them with how much could be done with powdered glass!  I caught a couple of them talking about exhaustion!!

Matanuska Glacier

That evening we drove out to Matanuska Glacier.

I am so inspired by the colors I can’t wait to start my ‘Glacier Series’!

Still light at the B & B, I grabbed a few shots of surrounding color.

Last day of extended Powderology course

How many different ways can you visually say the same thing?  Using wafers; full vs tack fuse; kiln-carved; and so much more.

Working with glass powders

Last day of class everyone worked long and hard to finish all the experiments they wanted to tackle.  We filled three kilns plus a load of wafers earlier in the day.

At the end of the day…

Ten very happy students and one extremely happy instructor that last afternoon!  Who looks more spent, me or students?!!

Reindeer Farm

After class we headed out to the Reindeer Farm.  Had high hopes of seeing Santa, but alas he was vacationing in a warm sunny part of the globe, we were told!  Do you know how expensive it is to ship an antler home?  A gift for my garden!  OMG!

Our last morning the sun came out!

We woke to sunny skies on our last day.  Yes, this is what the sun looked like.  Did I say the landscape is incredible?  Awe-inspiring?  Beyond spectacular?  The memory takes my breath away.

Our view coming into Palmer Alaska

Our last drive into Palmer was gifted with a sun-filled sky….joy  still welling in my heart to see this photo of it!

Collage of projects

Back at Half Moon Creek unloading kilns, giving a final critique to everyone who could be there & packing up my tools & samples.  Wish I had been more diligent with photography in class to show you how much our students accomplished!

Hatcher Pass

Then we headed back to Hatcher Pass to see what we missed due to cloud cover the first part of the week.  I could show you a hundred more pictures, but will try to refrain!

One last view of the first glacier segment

And a speed trip back to Whittier, where it was still cloudy, and raining; accompanied with the eerie news of Senator Steven’s plane crash.

It was the trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to go back.  For the incredible people, the enormous landscapes, and next time I really, really hope to see wildlife in the wild. Oh, and Denali.  And Valdez.  And Seward.  And Homer.  And bears!  Next summer I’ll  bring Powderology Plus back to Half Moon Creek!  Alaska is awesome, I can’t wait!!  Thank you Christian and Chris for the invitation, you were wonderful to work with!

If you like this post, sign up to receive an email for future posts so you don’t miss anything.  It’s easy, just click the box at the top right of this page that says ‘Sign me up!” and type in your email.  It’s right under the yellow close-up photo of my work.

Effective 4.1.15 this part of my business is closed.  I have sold the last of SSGM and it is no longer available. Thank you so much for supporting my efforts all these years.

I’ve been asked often lately about making glass clay (glass paste), so thought I’d give you a quick review:  what it is and how I make it.  I’ve taught this technique nationally since 2004, at the Art Glass Association Conference in Portland Oregon.  This is the first year in the last six that I did not teach Glass Clay (or Pate de Verre Without Molds) at the Las Vegas Glass Craft & Bead Expo!

Essentially glass clay is glass paste, another form of Pâte de Verre, but without having to make molds.  Certainly not a traditional technique, but a fun, easy, fast way to make small glass sculptures, buttons, beads, and more!

I make a clay-like substance, glass paste, by mixing powdered glass with a liquid binder or medium.  I prefer to use Steider Studios Glass Medium™.  After testing many different materials my new Medium burns out cleaner than anything I’ve ever tried, while still being able to carve more detail into it after it’s dry and before firing.  Most people use CMC, and I’ve heard of and tested many other concoctions that may or may not work for you, but rather than go into them all I’m going to just tell you how I make it, using the best Medium I’ve ever tried.

I mix Steider Studios Glass Medium™ with room temperature or warm tap water (if your water contains heavy mineral deposits, you can use distilled water, but it takes longer to set up…as long as a couple of days!):  Fill a clean jar with a cup of water.  Sprinkle in one teaspoon of Medium for a very thick paste.  (If you live in higher elevations, you’ll need two teaspoons.)

Use a whisk or fork to stir until dissolved, then let stand 30 to 60 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.    I like it to be the consistency of jelly.  I have stored Steider Studios Glass Medium™ in my studio for over two years after mixing, but typically it’s used up within a week.  I have used other binders that developed mold and just so you know, the mold adds an interesting patina.  If you prefer a less gelatinous mix, by all means thin it with a little more water.  Also, if you’re planning to use it for liquid lines, you’ll want to dilute it.

Wearing a respirator or N95 disposable particulate mask, place your glass powder into a mixing bowl.  I prefer to use a small glass bowl, but often use a 4 or 8 ounce plastic food storage bowl.  Ratios of glass powder to Medium vary, depending on the powder.  Straight out of the jar glass powder can be as grainy as sand or as powdery as talc.

As a starting point I use 2:1, glass to Medium.  I’ll place 2 heaping spoonfuls of glass powder into my bowl, then drizzle 1 heaping spoonful of Steider Studios Glass Medium™ over the powder.

Using a palette knife or spoon mix well, mashing Steider Studios Glass Medium™ into the glass powder until it’s glossy.  It should be the consistency of cookie dough, or a wet pie crust, holding together when pinched or rolled into a ball.  If it’s too dry, your project will crack; add more medium a couple drops at a time.  If it’s too wet, your project will sink down into itself; sprinkle more powder into the mix, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Once it’s mixed to a consistency that feels like clay or cookie dough you’re ready to play.  You have about 30 minutes working time to sculpt it, make pattern bars or press it into candy molds to freeze, then it begins to dry out.

I mix all my colors  before beginning to sculpt, and wrap each with plastic wrap to keep it wet until I’m ready to work.  I can store glass clay like this for weeks and have left it for up to a year.  It can be a bit sticky, so I work on top of waxed paper to stay as mess-free as possible.

For sculpting I use dental tools, metal and plastic sculpting tools, plastic make-up applicators, toothpicks, kitchen implements and whatever happens to be close at hand.

I’ve made faces, flowers, animals, and small open vessels and bowls.  These small sculptures can be used for door pulls, plant and garden decor, adornment for lidded boxes and much more.

You can press glass clay into candy molds, freeze for an hour or two, then pop it out of the molds.  The advantage to using Steider Studios Glass Medium™ for this application (known as ‘freeze and fuse’), is you can ‘cold work’ the edges and carve in additional detail before firing, after the piece is completely dry.

One of my favorite ways of working with glass clay is making paste pattern bars.  Have you played with polymer clay?  Play dough?  I use the same principles.

Roll it out (or roll it through a pasta machine) between sheets of waxed paper & stack layers of different colors, then slice, re-stack and slice again.

It’s easiest if you roll between two pieces of waxed paper because it can be sticky.

Make what I fondly call ‘Pig in a Blanket’ by making a rope, then wrapping it with a different colored ‘blanket’ that’s been rolled out flat.  Or roll your pigs into many blankets for ‘rings’ of color when you slice.

Pattern bars are sliced with a tissue slicing blade, rolling the bar one quarter turn after each slice so you don’t end up with one flat side.  Use these slices for buttons, beads, cabochons, or as decor for other glass projects just to give you a few ideas.

Make coils or ropes of clay, place different colored ropes next to each other for millefiore.

More food for thought:  add mica!  A little mica goes a long way.   Adorn with dicro slide!  Use a cute scrap-booking punch to cut shapes from Dicro Slide that enhance your design and apply just before firing.

To get a spiral effect, stack rolled out sections on top of each other.

Carefully peel off the wax paper, keeping it close to your work surface.

Then roll it up, smooth out and slice.  The ends will be uneven unless you roll out rectangular shapes instead of ovals.  I slice off the ends, roll them into balls, pushing the colors into a marbled pattern, then flatten them for buttons and cabs.

The next step is to let your projects dry on paper towels.  Use a food dehydrator, or just set them aside for a few days.  In a one day workshop we use hair dryers to speed the drying process.  Once dry, glass clay is very fragile, like a meringue cookie so use care in handling it.  Gently peel off the paper towel from the bottom.  Using an emery board and wearing your respirator, file off any rough edges along the bottom.  Use a wooden skewer to sand off any rough spots in your details.  You can use a skewer or a dental tool to carve in additional lines if desired.  Just remember to take care as it’s fragile.  Did I already say it’s fragile?  It’s very fragile!

When you’re ready to fire, try to fire like sizes and like colors together.  For larger projects or light colors, your soak time will be slightly longer.  I strongly recommend using a kiln that you can watch the progress so you’ll know when to stop and anneal, and you can note the process temperature in your kiln.  Your pieces are going to shrink approximately 25 to 30%, depending on your process temperature.  The longer you soak at process temperature, the glossier they’ll get and the more they’ll shrink.  Vent your kiln until it reaches 1000º while the binder is burning out.  You can ramp up AFAP, but I think it’s better to control the ramp up; and do start peeking around 1200º to 1250º.  Be sure to wear your safety glasses when looking inside the heated kiln.  In my kiln, depending on the size and color, my process temperature is 1300º with a 30 minute soak for small two to three-inch sculptures; or 1350º with a 13 minute soak for beads and buttons.  I anneal at 900º, using Bullseye’s annealing_thick_slabs chart for thickness.

I love introducing people to working with glass powders, whether wet or dry.

I hope you found this post useful.

Have Fun!  Be safe, wear that respirator and don’t forget your safety glasses!!

Effective 4.1.15 this part of my business is closed.  I have sold the last of SSGM and will not be re-ordering supplies.  Thank you so much for supporting my efforts all these years.

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!

Commitments and inspiration

October 16, 2009

Sunrise

Sunrise…

Another day begins…

After taking a skip down my road I had to settle in and finish up some commitments I’d made in the studio.  Earrings, bracelets, butterflies, and beautiful glass boxes are finished and delivered or underway and nearing completion.

Earring group copy

Earrings coming to my on-line shop ~ Steider Studios

I also had some upcoming teaching commitments that include my basic six-week kilnforming class.   I’m hoping we have ten new converts to the wonderful world of kilnformed glass via The Dalles Art Center!  My students are having fun with their projects so far!  Tomorrow I’ll be hosted by Georgia at Glasshopper Patterns, the Queen of DICRO SLIDE for a glass clay class in Portland.   I’m packed up and ready to have a full day of fun with a great group of students that Georgia has invited into her studio.  Next weekend I’ll travel to Cascade Glass Art Center near Seattle for my Powderology’ course. There might still be a spot open if you’re interested!  Join us!!

Di's prototypes

For order inquiries SteiderStudios

More commitments coming up include participation in another Pittock Mansion Artist Spotlight, and working with local elementary age students in an after school program.  My local art galleries are already preparing for their holiday sales, so the next round of glass work will no doubt be geared for them.  And somewhere in between I’ll have my annual studio sale.  Would you like an invitation?  Send me a note so I can add you to my invitation list.  I turn my entire house into a gallery setting filled with sparkling beautiful glass for your shopping pleasure!

Sunset along the Columbia River Gorge

Sunset along the Columbia River Gorge

Between commitments I try to keep breathing & every once in a while remember to look up and enjoy the incredible vistas that surround me every day.  I take great inspiration from the landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge. The majesty of it gives me energy and spirit to move on to the next round of projects and the next set of classes.  Sometimes I have to stop everything and just breathe it in.

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