Nicely Baked

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I wanted the building color to look like adobe, whitened where the sun was brightest on its surface. When making a new color by mixing glass from various jars, it is highly advisable to run a test so you don’t have an unhappy surprise after investing glass, time, and electricity, but I was just too excited about being back in the studio and making glass. Plus, I don’t have much time before the show to make all the pieces I have designed.

I got lucky and was delighted when I opened the kiln this noon after waiting anxiously for it to drift down to 100F. The shadows from scraggly branches look mysterious, the chimney cap is visible above the top of the wall, and the texture was even better than I had hoped. My husband isn’t crazy about it. He says it is too monochrome for his tastes and the black dominates. Those are two of the reasons I like it and have another version of it in the kiln right now. This one has straight cuts for the top and bottom instead of raw edges, and the color will surely be somewhat different, since I mixed up a new batch of powder for it.


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I spent the last few days editing photos, making film-positive files, cleaning and imaging silk screens, and finally today put powder on sheet. This piece shows shadows of branches on an adobe building.

Shattered Illusions

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I *thought* I was going to make the next version of Sky Blossoms this week, and prepared a nice frame and background for it. The background is a single flat piece of bright white glass. The frame is made of two layers of black glass strips, with miter joints at the corner. I don’t like making miter joints with glass any more than I do with wood, as I find it very difficult to cut perfect 45º angles.

I assembled the pieces in the kiln and programmed the firing schedule. The next morning, I found the white background had cracked and separated as the temperature was rising, but the black frame pieces seemed to have been undisturbed by that and they melted beautifully, holding the whole thing together. What happened was that I set the temperature to rise too fast. The middle of the white piece expanded as it heated up, but its edges were protected from the heat by the black pieces and by the ceramic dams around the assembly. The cooler edges (relatively speaking, since this probably happened around 1000°) weren’t expanding fast enough to keep up, so it ruptured.

What to do? My first idea was to fill in the crack with small pieces of matching white glass and fire it hard in hopes of getting it to melt smooth. Then I realized that this is a fantastic opportunity to do something interesting. I’ll write again after I smooth the edges of the frame on my lap wheel and start working on the new design.

ps: Shattered Illusions is a friend’s business name. I’ve always liked it, but can’t claim to be that clever.

Spring Flowers

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Are you sure its already February!? I’ve been taking time away from making lots of glass. My most recent explorations have been looking into macro photography (to capture really tiny things in detail that might be interesting when enlarged onto glass), and I just finished a short course on acrylic painting. I’m getting some new ideas and have also dug back into spring photos from last year to start on some floral images in glass. Sorry for all the reflections in the sky; I was too close for flash to work right.

OK, just one more show

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So I briefly forgot that I’m doing one more show before retreating to my studio to play with paint and glass. Julie Vincent and I will turn much of my house into a gallery for the Oregon Glass Guild’s Fall Studio Tour and Sale. Our work will be displayed on the walls and tables, and we’ll have demonstrations down in the shop. (Some would call it a “studio”, but I’ve been doing woodworking for much longer than glassmaking, so “shop” sounds more natural.)

For more info about the tour, a map, and list of participating artists, click this link: OGG Fall Studio Tour, or go to the Facebook page OGG Studio Tour on Facebook.

Time to take a breath

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Art in the High Desert is over; I delivered a stocking order of 100 Wired Up Art hangers to my first distributor; my brother and I spent a week fixing and cleaning our mom’s house in Iowa and got it on the market; Affordable Art for Everyone was last weekend; Beaverton Arts Mix ends this weekend; my gig at the Oregon Glass Guild’s vendor fair (promoting Wired Up products) is this Sunday. Whew! It’s been a whirlwind six weeks.

I’m going to visit my son in Japan, then when I get home I plan to explore new ways to use glass-on-glass printing and painting, possibly doing some acrylic paintings as a faster way of prototyping than melting glass (expensive and you have to wait 12 hours or more to see what comes out of the kiln). My big learning from Art in the High Desert was that my work needs to be less photo-realistic so people can develop their own personal impressions of the piece. I’ll let you know how it goes.

ps: The photo has nothing to do with this post. It just feels good.

New Pieces for High Desert Show

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I’ll have at least two new pieces finished in time for Art in the High Desert Aug 28-30 in Bend. The first piece in my new Arches N.P. collection is Panorama, a limited-edition series of original glass-on-glass screen prints. I’m having fun making each one different than the others in background glass, colors of powdered glass for the image, and/or mounting design.

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