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Rainbows of Earrings

November 25, 2012


I finished 8.5 dozen earrings in time for the Soroptimist Extravaganza Sale!  Sold quite a few!  I love wearing bright, lightweight, colorful earrings & get loads of compliments when I do!  You can too!!  I’ll have more time to add these to my  Zibbet Shop  in January, but if you’d like a pair or two before then just send me a note & tell me which ones you’d like.

If you need something to do in Portland OR, Dec 7 & 8, come see all my new earrings!  Hope to see you at the Multnomah Arts Center, in the Gym!  Until then, I have hundreds more to finish up and add to these collections!!

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One of my favorite stores, Artisan’s Jewelery and Gallery asked me for green earrings.  Anyone else might have made a dozen pair, but I wanted to explore as many design options as possible.

I pulled out all my Bullseye green sheet glass and only eliminated a couple of shades because they were so close in tone.  Next, I cut each green into two lengths:  a long dangle and a short dangle.  Normally I would make a wider variety of lengths, but I was exploring color combinations, not lengths.

I cut out six pair of each length from each color, taking a few days to get them all cut, cleaned and placed on my work bench.  I had a wonderful selection of opaque and translucent greens to play with.

Next I chose design options by auditioning different dichro patterns and colors on top of each sheet of green.

For my own entertainment I also cut lengths of patterned and textured dichroic glass to make earrings that I know will sell quickly.

In addition to squares of patterned and colorful dichroic glass I used frit balls, decals, and sliced cane for adornment.  When I had enough earrings to fill a kiln I fired them and continued making more.  I ended up with about twelve dozen pair.  A gross of green glass earrings!  Plus some dichroic and a couple of strays I picked up along the way.

 

I finished all the earrings in batches of one or two dozen, starting with those I liked best for Artisan’s (and friends who came up to purchase), cleaning up any rough edges and checking for quality control.

I then glued on findings to attach the earring wires.  I use E6000 and let it cure 48 hours, then clean off the excess glue with a razor blade.  Not a fun task, but as I tell students – the back should look as nice as the front.

The final step is choosing which colorful niobium ear wires go with each pair of earrings.  Or in some cases sterling silver.  I rarely use 14k anymore due to the cost, but I keep it on hand for those folks who prefer quality gold.

As soon as the last set of green earrings were finished, I pulled out all my other colors of sheet glass and cut earring lengths!  I’m excited to make earrings in all the shades of yellow, orange, purple, blue and red (in that order) that I have.  Also more dichroic earrings because I’m so drawn to shiny sparkle patterns and I have a new sheet to try!

Fall show season will be here soon, and I need to place all these finished earrings into my online shops; but for now I’m squeezing in every bit of garden time I can with my cameras and flowers while the sun is shining.  You can see my garden at An Artist’s Garden.

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Square to the Tenth Power

November 23, 2011

The last month has been devoted to a new series of bracelets.  I can’t tell you how many squares of glass I’ve cut, but I photographed my process to show you.  By the way, you can purchase my bracelets-‘Adornment-for-Your-Wrist’ online via this link.

I like the rhythmic sound of my glass cutter zipping a long score line down a fresh sheet of colorful Bullseye glass.  One inch at a time.  Zip, zip, zip, the motion, the sound, the rhythmic scoring and snapping off each strip of glass is Zen like.

Those strips become squares and are built into fun, beautiful bracelets.  I keep a sketch pad on my workbench to document all the new ideas that flow into my head as I methodically score and break.  After all the glass is cut I slice a million strips of fiber paper.  Yes, a million.

I confess I don’t enjoy the process of ‘building the guts’ of my bracelets, cutting tiny strips of fiber paper to hold channels open and placing them precisely on the blanks.  If I have good (loud) music playing in the background I get them all built in spite of the tedium.

The design work is divine.  I love the design part….whether I’ve preplanned with sketches or just start moving bits of scrap glass around into pleasing shapes styles colors etc.  And who can’t resist a little dichro!

I made ladybug murrini for the bracelets going to the Yard, Garden and Patio Show in February.  Then I bought some of Andy Nichols’ cane but it was too large to go through my tile nippers.  The arrow points to my own murrini, the perfect size.  When I whined on my Facebook Page, Cynthia Morgan recommended a big nipper from HD, using a hammer to close the jaws.  Thanks Cynthia, that did the trick!

In the midst of my mess, an old friend asks “where’s the cobalt?”…so I stop my process & go back to cutting squares.  Of course, I can’t just make one.  By now, you know that about me!

Fresh from the kiln, forty two bracelets, after a second firing for textured, three-dimensional designs are now ready to clean up and string.

A tedious and dreary job, cleaning the spent fiber paper out of the channels.  Even worse is cold-working all the spurs left behind in most of the channels.

Once they’re cleaned and dried, all my beautiful new bracelets are lined up and ready to string.

To make it interesting, I clean up about a dozen at a time, choosing my favorites at the moment.

Have you been counting?  Between 7 and 8 dozen fresh new bracelets will be ever so slowly added to my online shops.

Three dozen bracelets remain in various stages of completion.  Some are waiting for more design components to be added & re-fired; some need to be cleaned and cold-worked; and some just need to be strung.

Edit:  Photo above and below added post publication for documentation purposes.  One last batch waiting for additional design elements may not be finished until after the holidays.

Some earlier work with squares, this bargello bowl, was donated to The Dalles Art Center for their annual auction earlier this month and I was thrilled the gallery director won the high bid.

The early part of December I’ll have a trunk show at J D Smith Jewelers in The Dalles.  We haven’t firmed the date yet, so if you’d like to join us let me know so I can send you a note!

Wishing you all a peaceful Thanksgiving filled with love, family and great food!

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Three quarters of the way into January, this year is starting off even faster than last year.  I began the new year with a new tool.  Hello to my new custom flat lap built by John Groth of Waterjet Designs.  Loaded it into my Honda Pilot at John’s shop, then unloaded it into the snowy winter weather and slid it down the hill on top of a cardboard sled.  250 pounds of steel, motor and tire with brushes to help keep water splashing at a minimum and pipe insulation for an armrest.  No mishaps along the way and we managed to get it in the building standing upright with little damage to body or soul.  Bank account damage yes, but that was to be expected.

The discs just arrived from His Glassworks so I’m ready to roll.  Well …. almost.

The building is formerly a potting shed, soon to be my coldworking room.  It is about 10 feet away from my studio annex where my kilns are kept busy year round in a covered patio.  The trench is dug to bring electricity to my ‘coldworking room’ (I’ll have to get used to saying that!) and I can hook up water via a hose and water heater for now.  This summer I’ll have to insulate the building so I can use it year round.

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In other news my work was included in a blog article today along with Raphael SchnepfEllen AbbottMarcy Lamberson, and Alexandra Farnham.  Written by Linda Hedrick who writes about a range of topics at Cerebral Boinkfest, (as she states: A blog about the arts, books, flora and fauna, vittles, and whatever comes to mind), I especially enjoy her articles on historical women.  “The Art of Studio Glass” is a synopsis of studio glass today and I was thrilled to be included.  I added a copy (with Linda’s permission) to my own blog under “Publicity-is-Always-Good“.

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I’ve also been adding links to my glass shop via my blog pages under Glass Hearts Available Here.  And building up inventory in my little glass shop.  Of course what’s in the shop doesn’t begin to show you how much inventory I’ve built up.  So, each week, a bit more gets photographed, listed, and described in a way that will hopefully entice you to purchase.  Sparkle and shimmer seem to be my adjectives of choice as I’ve used them so often lately.  How else can I describe my sparkly, shimmery earrings and bracelets?

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And lastly, I’m keeping busy with a couple of small corporate gift type jobs.  Interesting projects, I’ll post more about them as they evolve.  One is exploratory, for which I’m competing with other glass artists and will submit my ideas to the corporation soon.

Another is an exciting opportunity that I’ve been working on for over a year and instigated by an old friend from childhood.  He’s not ready to go public yet, so I can’t tell you any more about it … for now.

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2011.  I hope it’s successful, profitable, adventurous and most of all fun for everyone.

After a week of reclaiming my house after Christmas & New Year celebrations I am finally putting earrings into my on-line shop.

I’ve been talking about adding earrings for months but always dread the photo edits as I am terrible at photographing glass!

When adding merchandise to my on-line shop I’m told I need multiple shots so my customer can appreciate all angles of the object as if they were holding it in their hands.

You already know that when I make earrings (or any jewelry for that matter) I cannot make just one set because there are so many variations to be explored.

So you see the same earring in at least 3 different lengths…

…and 3 different angles for the camera.  I generally shoot  7 or more different angles, then choose the easiest to edit!

Then I change to horizontal texture instead of vertical …Oh I forgot I sold out of that style…..

So I move on to a different color and style because I can’t take more of the same today….

The Pantone color for 2010 is Turquoise, so let’s go with that…Turquoise and Cobalt dichro.

Turquoise and Purple dichro.

Turquoise and Silver dichro.

Then I start over again with different lengths.  And different ear wires!

I have a great photographer in Hood River, Denise at Photosensitive Portraits, but it means packing everything up and driving down into town.  In retrospect, that would’ve been faster!  Got any time next week Denise?

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My studio sale was the last show of the season for me and I thought I’d share some of the details with you.  Jean & Angela have helped me set up and run the sale for many years.  A couple of times I’ve been close to not having it due to time constraints but they’ve insisted and I’m always grateful afterwards.

My very first studio sale was small with everyone I knew invited, including my doctors, dentists, and those I did business with.  I invited another artist to bring and sell work which gave our customers a wider selection of artwork to purchase.

Eventually as I realized I had more work to display and less room for co-exhibitors I began having solo events.  There is only so much room in my little cabin in the woods, turned gallery for a day; and as you can see in the before & after shots, I have a lot of work to display.

Thankfully my friends are always willing and ready to help because I couldn’t pull it off without them.  They’ve helped me clean, clear out my personal collections and have moved books and furniture.  They’ve baked cookies and made hors d’ oeuvres for me.  They’ve washed windows, swept off my deck and even dusted off houseplants.  They’ve kept me sane when we were out of time and almost ready.

Angela and Jean have helped me for the last five years.  They insist.  They love unpacking my stored glass and arranging it throughout my house.  Before them I asked different friends for different types of help each year because I didn’t want to take advantage of them and I wanted each person to enjoy the task at hand.  Yes I DO have friends who enjoy cleaning, although I try to set aside time to do that part myself.

Angela and Jean are both fabulous with displays.  I try to not be so controlling as they are creative women who open my eyes to new possibilities.  Each year we start out together surveying the space and our available display tables, then after an overall plan is developed we each take a section to set up.  Over the years it’s become easier to simply let them set up their way.  I end up with a fresh new look for each sale.

Angela always does the flowers for me because she happens to be a great floral artist.

Jean is a fabulous administrator and keeps us on task.  Also an artist she is usually the one with vision for the overall set up.

When we have the main area almost complete, we shift our attention to my studio where experiments and seconds (not up to my perfectionist standards) get displayed.

I’ve stashed all my work equipment outdoors, or in cabinets and under my workbench.  I put up barriers so you won’t see the mess.

Usually the guest room, aka shipping/receiving and storage room gets our attention last.  It’s a small room with a lot of work to display.

This is the room with the closet that you don’t want to open.  I’m guessing you know what I’m talking about.

We put all the discontinued work in this room.  Some of my older series I’d love to get back to one day, but I have to admit to myself it might not happen.

When that room is ready we call it a day, get a good night’s sleep and come back to finish the following morning with fresh eyes.  We prepare the food and flowers, then throw open the doors to welcome our guests!

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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