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Steider Studios Basic Kiln-formed Glass Class

Come play with glass every Wednesday night in October from 6 to 9 pm at The Dalles Art Center, while learning fundamentals of Kiln-formed (also called fused) glass.  I’ll bring a ton of glass and tools, introducing you to different techniques to achieve different effects in glass.  Many former students have gone on to set up their own glass studio after this class!  Each week we explore a new technique using a different process temperature giving you a set of samples to keep or give as gifts.

No experience is necessary. Beginners will make a series of sample tiles, holiday ornaments and jewelry learning the differences between full (flat) and tack (textured) fused tiles. Students will work with dichroic glass, inclusions, textured glass and more.

A small, functional bowl, vase or plate will be developed for a final project.

Learn the basics of glass cutting, placement and firing while receiving extensive information on the technical aspects of kilnwork, safety and studio set-up.

The returning student can participate in weekly assignments or develop their own course of study based on level of experience and pre-planning with the instructor.

Students should bring safety glasses, wear closed-toed shoes for safety, and bring any glass working tools they may have along with a sketch pad or note pad and pencil and pen.

Call The Dalles Art Center at 541-296-4507 to register. Space is limited to 12 students.

Teaching at Half Moon Creek Gallery in Palmer Alaska for the third time, we landed in Anchorage with a side trip to Homer  scheduled first.  Cloud covered, we could see hints of blue sky causing our spirits to soar.  Each previous working vacation has been rainy, cloudy, and generally stormy.


As the sun came out, we knew this trip – our third – would be charmed.

Especially when we saw a moose along the highway before we’d been in Alaska a full day!

As we pulled into Homer, it was a bit dark, but hey….it was 10pm!

We splurged and stayed at Land’s End Resort Hotel, the last building on the Homer Spit.

Our room had a fantastic view and I braved the cold wind, going out on our deck often to breathe in the sea and sky.

Our first full day was long and early, beginning with a halibut fishing trip for my better half.  I had booked a birding excursion, but my trip was cancelled due to high seas.  So I Looked for eagles birds  on land….

…found some seagulls in a parking lot at 6:30 am after dropping my hubby off at the docks, then decided to treat myself to a latte since most of the birds were still asleep.

At Two Sisters Bakery I found one of the best mocha’s I’ve ever had!  Took their shelter from the rain, a warm cinnamon roll and a little wi-fi.

Next I went on a guided hike at the Wynn Nature Center and since I was the only one at 10 am I had a naturalist all to myself for an informative and personalized tour.

The views from Skyline Drive on my way back into town were breathtaking and I still had time to use my plastic at all the galleries, gift shops and book stores in Homer.

Back to my tireless hunt for birds along the sandy shore of the spit…

…found plenty of seagulls….

…and finally….the following day on our way out of town….

…after countless blurry images, this guy decided to pose for a few shots.  He wasn’t happy about it, but he did and I was grateful.

Later that afternoon in Girdwood, we took a short hike at the Historic Crow Creek Gold Mine, ending at the creek’s edge.  We stayed at a B & B and our evening meal just across the street at Double Musky Inn was one of the best ever. Thanks to everyone who recommended it!

Girdwood hosts the Alyeska Resort with an Arial Tram that takes you to the top of Mt. Alyeska, 2300 feet up in seven minutes….. with astonishing views.  When we were here last year it was closed due to high winds, so I was really looking forward to going up.

Not wanting to break our record of clouds and rain in Alaska, this was the clearest shot I had of  Turnagain Arm from the top of Mt. Alyeska.  Exhilarating, nonetheless!

The Alyeska Hotel, viewed during the tram’s descent….which might be a bit scary if you’re in the front.  OK, yes I was scared, but only for a minute, and there were children onboard, so I smiled valiantly, held on tightly and loved every moment even though my white knuckles implied otherwise.

The gardens at Hotel Alyeska are spectacular….the roads in downtown Girdwood are under construction, so I just grabbed a latte and we continued our northern journey.

Almost to Anchorage we stopped at Potter Marsh, the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge with incredible views of Turnagain Arm.

Alas, I wasn’t having a lot of luck with my birding adventure this week, but I did find a few feathered friends to photograph.

The scenery was breathtaking … as it always is … in Alaska … despite gray conditions.

Our next stop enroute to Palmer was the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage.  A lovely short hike with a warning that bears were in the area; but the only wildlife we saw were mosquitoes.  Fortunately I had citronella oil with me.

Can you tell I am completely enamored with the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis)!  I’ve tried growing them to no avail, but here in Alaska they thrive.

With time for one more stop before arriving in Palmer, we chose to hike at the Eagle River Nature Center (you know I was hoping to see an eagle!).

We found baby swallows, but no eagles in sight.  The setting was gorgeous and we had a great hike!

My Powderology class is the reason for my being in Alaska.  Two days, ten students, 4 kilns filled twice, and a ton of fun at Half Moon Creek in Palmer!  Once again, I had a set of talented people unafraid to take risks, play and explore.  Does anyone in Alaska know what can’t means?  I think not!

A collaged collection of student work, I did not pick up my camera as often as planned.  We start having fun and I forget to document!  It was one of those magical classes where everyone connected, shared ideas, and laughed together.

And we all excitedly gasped as the kilns were opened in the morning!

Our trip to Palmer wouldn’t be complete without a drive up to Hatcher Pass for stunning views.  One last treat by our lovely hosts at Simon’s in Anchorage with a panoramic view of Cook Inlet, then back to our B & B to pack up.  All in all, the third time WAS a charm!  We loved every moment and want to again thank Half Moon Creek for offering another opportunity for an amazing adventure!!

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I must be in a summer daze.  Home from Alaska where I taught at Half Moon Creek Gallery, I managed to unpack and catch up with mail and messages but that’s about all I’ve been able to muster.  Oh I pulled a couple of weeds and straightened my studio and even sorted through the hundreds of pictures I took.  Yes, hundreds.  As in over 1000!  Once again, it was the trip of a lifetime.  Here are a few highlights:

I was in Palmer teaching my ‘Powderology‘ workshop and once again Half Moon Creek provided amazing and talented students for me.

Is it any wonder I love teaching there?  In addition to a large, well lit, well equipped space, they indulge my every whim!

Student samples getting loaded into one kiln.  Two additional kilns to load.

One morning we left for class early to enjoy the scenery and found this moose browsing along the old Glen Highway.  I was so excited that he posed for me as long as he did before turning and ambling down the highway!  No doubt students thought I was crazy, showing them my moose photos!

Day three of Powderology class found everyone hard at work trying to get as much as they could out of our last day together.  I think they all came away very satisfied.  They produced wonderful samples, expanded their repertoire, and are heading in new directions.

We had a few days between week-end workshops, so headed to the Matanuska Glacier.  We realized too late that we were on the wrong highway, so just enjoyed our drive and lunched at the Wildflower Cafe in Talkeetna instead.


The following day, determined to touch a glacier, we stopped at Exit Glacier on our way to Seward.

Following a trail in the rain, I had the whole place to myself.

The glacier is huge & surprising colorful on such a gray rainy day.

For perspective, can you see the hikers at the base of Exit Glacier?

The road was flooded when we drove in to the glacier, but going back out, it was worse!

Our wildlife cruise was cancelled due to high seas, so when offered a 4 hour tour of Resurrection Bay we took it, determined to make the most of our time in Seward.  It poured, and while most passengers stayed below guess where I was?!  Yes, getting soaked on deck looking for whales.   See them?

The whales were so far away and the bay so rough that all my photos are too blurry to share, but we found this bank of Sea Lions!

At the end of 4 hours I was soaked inside my rain gear.  My camera viewer was so foggy I could hardly see the image, so wasn’t sure I’d captured these sea otters.  You know I wouldn’t have missed it and had a fabulous day in spite of weather and cancellations.

Since we now had extra time, I was thrilled that we’d stop to take Alyeska Tram up to the top!  Alas, it was closed due to high winds.  We put it on our list for next year.  Yep, looks like I’ll be back.

A good night’s rest and we were off the next day to Denali National Park.  Overcast, but no rain!

Along the Alaskan highways fireweed blends bright pink into the landscape.

From our lodge perched high above Nenana Canyon, this is the road to Denali National Park.

Nestled into our bus tour at Denali we searched the scenic vistas for the ‘Big Five’ wildlife we hoped to see.  Bears, wolves, caribou, Dahl sheep and moose.

Dahl sheep were the first of the big five, but from afar they were mere flecks of white on a green field.

We spotted two groups of Caribou – Yay, checked off 2 of the big five.  Concealed in a bus we were too far away from the majestic animals to get much detail.

Around a corner and over a bridge we came upon the highlight of our trip.  An argument between a bear and a wolf over a caribou carcass.  There was a young grizzly and a second wolf also trying to get close but the older grizzly would have no guests at this meal.  Numbers 3 & 4 of our big five located together!  Park officials thought the wolves had killed the caribou two days earlier and the grizzly had claimed it.

A compilation of the younger grizzly trying to run the wolves off.  You didn’t think I’d post all 300 shots did you?

All in all, we saw 10 grizzlies including this last one at the edge of the road, eating berries!  We also saw #5 of the big five, a moose, but since I already showed you my shot taken earlier in the week I’ll refrain from posting another.  No rain, but guess what…it snowed!  We didn’t get a glimpse of the mountain, but we were so thrilled with our time in Denali National Park.  An incredible experience.

Back at Half Moon Creek for my next class, with several returning and a few new students learning how to Build a Better Pocket.  This, after all, was the reason for my trip to Alaska!!

Loading the kilns with student work…..

Our last day together we pulled out some excellent pockets from the kilns.  I heard great reviews with smiles all around.  Another fabulous group of students that I hate to leave.  I do hope you’ll all keep in touch!

Amazing isn’t adequate to describe the talent, generosity, and imaginations I met while teaching for Half Moon Creek!  Go there if you have an opportunity, it’s an amazing studio, gallery, and resource center.  Thanks again for another wonderful time!

Our last day snow graced the higher elevations.  Snow on Aug 8th?   I learned it’s called ‘Termination Dust’, terminating the summer season.  I can’t wait to go back!

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The Glass Craft and Bead Expo hosts a trade show that delights the eye and can bankrupt your wallet.  I have wholesale accounts with many of the suppliers, so try to not overwhelm my credit card while checking out all the new tools and supplies.

I confess I did come home with a few new toys…mostly from His Glassworks.

You can take quick classes on the spot at some of the booths, most of which are free.

Or you can register for a hands on workshop and take home valuable information.  Plus samples that you make in class and tons of notes to duplicate the projects in your own studio.

I couldn’t teach my classes without the support of Paragon Kilns.

Nor could I conduct a class without the generous support of Bullseye Glass!

The wonderful team at Delphi gave my students a host of design accoutrements for our projects.

Last, but not least, my students wouldn’t be able to ‘finish’ their projects without the support of Glastar!  I truly appreciate the generous support of these companies.

When teaching, it’s difficult remembering to pick up my camera, so there are only a few shots of my classes.

Most of my photos are during lunch, or after class and definitely on the run!

My students this year, without exception were incredibly talented, intelligent and FUN!

Thank you for taking my classes, I hope you’ll keep in touch and remember I’m available for you anytime.

I’ve spent this week catching up on processing and shipping orders and just yesterday finished unpacking.  I love teaching on the road, but am always glad to be home.

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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.

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!

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Telling Our Stories in Glass

….yet another fun adventure!  We had incredible students at Maryhill Museum’s Summer Art Institute, “Telling Our Stories in Glass” course.  Everyone made a fantastic tile in such a short amount of time!  These educators will go back to their classrooms inspired and ready to bring more art to their students.

Selecting Bullseye Glass

After learning about the types of glass available, participants selected what they wanted to work with from an assortment of Bullseye glass frit, stringer, confetti and sheet glass.  Thank you Bullseye Glass for discounting glass for these wonderful teachers, some of whom will offer a glass project in their own art programs.

Educators creating glass tiles.

Students then began building their tiles.

Building their tiles.

Tiles were made based on the stories participants wanted to share about their lives.

Design Decisions

Making design decisions…. Thank you Oregon Glass Guild for loaning us tools to use!

Layering the backgrounds, and building glass tiles that will be heated to tack and full fuse temperatures.

Maryhill Museum Summer Art Institute: Telling Our Stories in Glass

Finished glass tiles:  vertically, the left 3 rows were heated to 1385º, a tack fuse for texture; and the right 2 rows plus the bottom amber tile were heated to 1485º, a full fuse for a flat surface.

After class students toured my freshly scoured studio to see where and how I work.  Intrigued by all the samples lying around that I keep on hand for inspiration and instruction, they asked excellent questions about various processes.  Maryhill’s Executive Director, Colleen Schafroth brought a gift for me, “Maryhill Museum of Art” by Linda Brady Tesner, a book I’d been planning to buy about Maryhill’s history.  Thank you Colleen!

The day ended with a great meal at Everybody’s Brewing, downtown White Salmon!

Peacock at Maryhill Museum

A post about Maryhill Museum wouldn’t be complete without another peacock picture!  I love these birds!!

Next stop, Palmer Alaska where I’ll be teaching at Half Moon Creek!  Ready or not, here I come!!  Watch my upcoming class section for updates:  I’ll be coming to The Dalles and Portland Oregon as well as Austin Texas this fall; and contracts are already in for Las Vegas and Maui next spring!

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