Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just joined ISGB

With a new year approaching, I decided it was time to join the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB). If you know me, you know I do not make glass beads on  mandrel. So you might wonder why I decided to join ISGB? Here's what I'm thinking. I continue to do more and more work on a torch. Primarily I create components which I use in my kilnformed work like the Navajo Blanket or in fused functional pieces. Although some of the kilnformed glass jewelery I make would technically be considered a bead, really what I'm after is a little more exposure to those flame working skills. I think ISGB just might be able to offer me that. Earlier this year I joined the Society of Artisan Lampworkers of San Antonio (SALSA) and that's gone okay so far. So I figured this would be a good next step. So here it goes...

Working with a strip of Bullseye glass on a hothead

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Treasuries

Thank you to everyone who included me in an etsy treasury. During December I was featured in eight different listings. I am always delighted to see how much creativity goes into putting a treasury together.  I included a few  here for you to peruse and a full list of all eight treasures is below. 

how fun is ... Where's the Fire? 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

It's hard not to feel like a child at Christmas. Even I, who had behaved more like Scrooge and baa-humbugged my way right up to Christmas day, found myself scribbling like a child.  I'm going to blame my behavior on the mulled wine, the abundance of sappy feel good holiday movies on television and my crazy Christmas sweater. It was all too much...

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season and a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Combing

 The San Antonio Glass Art Guild (SAGAG) recently had their holiday gathering. Jeanne served her fabulous shrimp mouse on an amazing handmade holiday tray. Jeanne is a great example of the amazing talent of our SAGAG members. I wanted to take a picture of the perfect shrimp mouse, garnished and displayed on such a lovely try. It was such a hit that in the few moments it took for me to grab my camera it was just about gone. On the bright side it cleared the way for us to get a better look at this lovely combing.

Kilnformed Glass Combing by Jeanne Turner

The shrimp mouse recipe along with many other appetizers, breads, soups and salads can be found in the San Antonio Glass Guild cookbook Enticing beginning & Sweet Endings. The cookbook is available online and at the following locations:

Proceeds from the cookbook go to the guild's scholarship fund to support members seeking to attend conferences, workshops and other educational opportunities.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Workshops Winter/Spring 2012

I am scheduled to teach the following workshops at Wired Designs Studio. You can sign up for glass by contacting Wired Designs directly at 210/4954495.
Beginning Glass Fusing
February 18, 2012
May 19, 2012
9:30 am - 5:30 pm

A one day workshops where students are introduced to the  essential knowledge required to work with fused glass including compatibility, firing schedules, cold work and other important topics. Students will create two class projects during which they will be exposed to; three firing schedules (full, tack and fire polish); the use of kilns, grinders, saws; and work with a variety of glass and glass related products. This is a great opportunity to learn something new.
Platters, Plates and Bowls
March 24-25, 2012
June 23-24, 2012
9:30 am -12:30 pm

Students will begin by designing and creating their own flat glass tiles. In doing so they will learn about volume control,  firing schedules and how to cut glass circles. Students will cold work their tiles using the sandblaster, wet belt sanders. Lapidary grinding wheels and diamond pads. We will address mold selection and preparation in order to slump the finished tiles and beautiful one of a kind function plates, platters and bowls

Sandblasting Iridized Glass
January 22, 2012
April 7, 2012
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

This workshop will open your eyes to the possibilities of sandblasting before and after firing.  Students will work with iridized glass to create patterns and shadows using positive and negative space. These techniques can be applied to base glass or per-made blanks before or after slumping. Glass jewelry makers can also benefit by adding new ideas and depth to their designs. Students will create tiles or wall hangings in this is a one day workshop.

 Powder Skills 
April 21-22, 2012
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Learn to create imagery, depth, and drama in your work by incorporating exciting powder techniques. Students will create powder wafers, explore crackled powder techniques, uses positive and negative space to create custom designs and incorporate imagery into their fused glass projects. This specialty class will show you the true power of  powders!
Kiln Carving 
March 4, 2012
9:30 am -4:30pm
Drop your chisel and learn how to achieve a sculpted look with this assistance of your kiln. We will design and create bas relief images and textures using fiber paper to form impressions in glass. This is a wonderful technique to add dimension and pattern with economy of both labor and materials. Use the smooth clean surface on top and look through to the pattern within the glass. Or turn it over and not only see but feel the shapes and textures.
Glass Casting 
January 27-29, 2012
May 25-27, 2012
9:30am -4:30 pm
Sculpt in clay; learn about mold making materials and techniques to create refractory molds; and how to measure, cut and cast glass billet for your specific mold. We will discuss the special considerations that go into a casting firing schedule, including how to heat, cool and anneal thick and uneven thicknesses of glass. Students will cast their own work in glass.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Twisted Cane and Latachino

Twisted cane and latachino ranging from 6-24" in length.
Last night I had the opportunity to sit for just a couple of hours at the torch over at Dream Fire Studio. Torch work can be very relaxing and even meditative. For that window in time you concentrate on just what is in front of you forgetting the other actives of the day. This was just what I needed. With no specific plan in mind I selected a color pallet of emerald green, Egyptian blue, and black. Laying the colors over a white center I pulled a handful of latachino and a few twisted canes. These seem to be begging to be used a piece of stringer fabric or a glass weave. I'll just have to come up with some special use for them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weekend Workshop

This past weekend I enjoyed leading a group through their first fused glass plate making experiences in  at Wired Designs Studio. Several of the students had already been exposed to creating components perfect to include in custom plates and platters in October's Liquid Glass workshop.  With this in mind, I demonstrated the special considerations that should be taken when including these custom design elements by using a progressive pattern bar from an August workshop to make a large platter.
Above, my demo from class still in the kiln after the first firing.
In additional to learning how to create and fire their glass tiles, everyone received hands on experience in coldworking. Using a lapidary wheel they ground and beveled the edges and then sandblasted the surface to ensure a clean finish. The well crafted tiles where then slumped into their final forms. Below are every one's pieces coldworked and ready for their final kiln firing.

Everyone did such a great job! I can't wait to see how they all turn out and what they do next.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day of Thanksgiving

This has been a very busy year. At times it felt there has barely a moment to breath. So today I am grateful most for a day of rest. To sit quiet in my home with a glass of wine. Hands occupied with crochet. My mind absorbing nothing more then the ideal details from a Selected Short. In the other room, the Dallas Cowboys play. Soon the smell of roast duck will begin to waft from the kitchen. Like anything else this day will not last. While it does, I will enjoy it fully and give thanks.  May you also have peace this holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue and White Decoractive and Functional Glass

Soda Lime Glass
Handmade Functional and Decorative Pieces

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Full Moon

Last Thursday as I drove  home from work, I became hypnotized by the magnificent full moon which loomed large in the evening sky. It commanded your attention and dwarfed everything else on the horizon. Driving down the highway  in the middle of rush hour traffic, I found myself in awe of nature.
Later that evening, I was loading the kilns and there was a small corner of the shelf still empty. I hate running the kilns if they are not full. It's like running the washing machine for just one outfit when you could have put in a whole load, also a pet peeve of mine. It just seems like a waist. So with the moon still large in my mind, I gave myself a few minutes and a little bit of glass to just play. It was good to do something not because it might sell or as a demo for a class but just for fun. A couple days later my seven year old niece and I were riding in the car when she pointed at the moon as said "look aunt Nicole it's just like your moon".  That brought it all full circle and made it all worth while.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Visiting Artist Johnathon Schmuck

SAGAG General Meeting  
Jonathan Schmuck Guest Speaker
When: Nov 17, 2011  06:30 PM 
5123 N. Loop 1604 W. Suite 104
San Antonio, TX 78216
The San Antonio Glass Art Guild (SAGAG) is excited to present visiting artist Johnathon Schmuck. While here in San Antonio to teach Rock 101 at Wired Designs Studio, Johnathon will be the featured presenter at the SAGAG general meeting. Johnathon is a long-time supporter of the SAGAG having done a number of exciting and educational presentations for us in the past. We look forward to seeing him again. The meeting begins at 6:30 with a half hour to provide an opportunity to say hello to Johnathon and network with glass guild members. At 7pm we will conduct or general meeting followed by our feature presentation. Meetings are open to public. Visitors are welcome.
Johnathon Schmuck is the author of "Joy of Coldworking". Illustrated with color photographs of processes, equipment, and works of art, this extensive publication on coldworking techniques is a must have resource for glass artists. I never hesitate to recommend this book to students and fellow glass craftsman. Regardless of experience level this book as something for everyone. November 17th is your chance to meet the author. Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I can relate...

-"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."|
-  Lin Yutang
I decided to post some rich golden colors of my own in honor of the season. On the left, a 6.5 inch shallow bowl with floral imagery. On the right, functional 5 inch square plates in amber and vanilla

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Get one while you have the chance...

After two full weeks of feeling pretty darn miserable, I finally acknowledged defeat and went back to the doctor. On the right meds to attack my allergies and in just two days I'm starting to feel like myself again. What does that have to do with scarves? Well my old self spent this evening coldworking glass and loading kilns not curled up on the coach crocheting scarves. So this recent little run on scarves is not likely going to last. You can grab one of these just in time for winter. Guaranteed no one else will have one exactly like it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to load another kiln with dichroic glass jewelry before Uptown Art Stroll. So much to do and so little time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Uptown Art Stroll

Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday 12-5pm
November 5-6, 2011
Uptown Art  Stroll, in the historic neighborhood of Olmos Park Terrace, has continued to grow in popularity and importance becoming a can’t miss event for art collectors, historic neighborhood aficionados, budding artists, and those who appreciate and support San Antonio’s unique art scene. This two day event gives you access to over 50 artists working in a variety of mediums at 21 locations throughout Olmos Park Terrace.
Olmos Park Terrace is in the center of San Antonio located between McCullough and San Pedro avenues, south of Basse Road and north of Hildebrand. Each location will be numbered and have a corresponding sign to make identification easier. Parking is available throughout the neighborhood. Visitors will be able to catch a RiverCity Pedicab to make getting from one end of the Art Stroll to the other even easier.  RiverCity Pedicabs are provided by the artists participating in the Art Stroll and the Olmos Park Terrace Neighborhood Association (tips are appreciated). The number to call for one to pick you up is: 279-7306.
Members of the San Antonio Glass Art Guild (SAGAG) will be at 5331 Howard Street, location #21 on the Art Stroll map.Participating Glass Guild Members include:
Glitter & Glass Studio, Jill Wilson
Barbara Brooks
Kay Lorraine Johnson
Vicki Munie
There will also be hot glass demonstrations by Dragon Fire Studio, Larry West . If you have never seen a glass blower at work this is something worth seeing.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recent Workshops

October included several workshops which I particularly enjoyed facilitating including Kiln Carving at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center (KACC) and Liquid Glass at Wired Designs Studio.
In Kiln Carving at the KACC students learned to sculpt in glass using time, temperature and gravity as their your tools.  They designed and created bas relief images and textures in fiber paper which were used to form the impressions in glass.  I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk to a fascinating group of students including one who was working with glass in the flame and a fellow Artisan's artist who typically works in clay. 
student projects from a Kiln Carving workshop at the KACC
Just this past weekend was a Liquid Glass workshops at Wired Designs.  Students learned techniques which all take place at kilnforming temperatures from1600-1700 degrees Fahrenheit including combing/raking, pot melts, wire mesh melts and high-fires.  My favorite part was watching them work as a team through the combing/raking process. They did such a great job!
student combing of spring green, driftwood grey and deep cobalt blue
 pot melt and wire mesh melts still in the kiln

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall finally blows in...

Fall is finally blowing in and with it bringing all kinds of "goodies".  So for the past week, I have been suffering (woe is me) from a hefty case of allergies. I have dealt with this by spending a fair amount if time curled up on the coach with a cup of Zengranny's tea, watching way too much television and  crocheting. These crochet scarves are full of warm romantic ruffles in firework red and eggplant. If you are interested in laying claiming to one, you can visit my Etsy story.

Fiber content includes 30% Mohair 55% Acrylic and 15% Polyamid.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

St. Thomas Episcopal Art and Craft Fair

Saturday, October 15th
10:00am to 6:00pm
St. Thomas Episcopal School 
1416 North Loop 1604 East 
San Antonio, TX 78232
St. Thomas Episcopal School’s seventh annual Pumpkin Patch includes hundreds of pumpkins of all sizes. The Pumpkin Patch will feature a hay maze, hay rides, storytelling, face painting, pumpkin decorating and more. Saturday, October 15th will include arts and crafts vendors as part of the festivities. You will find me indoors with handmade glass jewelry, functional and art items to help you start your holiday shopping. St. Thomas Episcopal School is conveniently located at the corner of North Loop 1604 and US Highway 281 North.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Asta de Toro Azul

19x12" Framed Soda Lime Glass with Copper, Silver and Gold Foil
invite you
Thursday, October 13
6:30 - 8:30pm
to an opening reception

2720 McCullough
San Antonio, TX 78212
In 2010, I created a series of glass pieces I referred to as  Asta de Toro Azul (the horn of the blue bull). The framed piece above became my "journal page" reminding me of the inspiration and execution of that series. It will be on display through December 9th at the Foundry as part of a SAVA exhibit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

VIPink San Antonio Event

Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization providing education and support to young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, is sponsoring a VIPink event in San Antonio to create awareness and raise funds.  "Bright Pink believes in the beauty and strength of women. It exists to enlighten and empower high risk individuals to take control of their breast and ovarian health by providing education, support and a sense of community for a better, brighter future. " 

VIPink San Antonio Event
October 13, 2011
Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center
116 Blue Star
San Antonio, TX 78204

I am happy to be able to support their cause with a donation for their silent auction. Two pieces from a series displayed as part of the Luminous will be available to bid on the evening of the event.
Rose de Petal - Soda Lime Glass and Mica

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Driving Home...

Driving home from a visit to Artisans in Fredricksburg I stopped briefly to admire this statue of an animal planted amidst a field of dry and brittle grasses. I had talked to several people at  Artisans  who where admiring paintings of cows/cattle. It gave me a different perspective and made me curious to stop and really look.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Weekend Well Spent

Last weekend we were casting at Wired Designs Studio. Here is a student applying a thin splash coat to pick up as much detail as possible before hand building a plaster mold around their wax form. This was not a workshop for anyone concerned about looking cool. By the end of day two we were dawning respirators, dusting plaster off ourselves and trying to wash the wax out from under our nails. Now that's my idea of fun!
After the molds set the wax was steamed out. In the past I have used a series of cheap pots and metal mesh. This go around I invested $25 in a 24 gallon tamale warmer at a local grocery store. Best 25 bucks I ever spent. Not exactly how my  mother would have used this tool but it worked like a dream.
While waiting for the molds to steam out I did a little cold working. This piece of glass is being ground on a lapidary wheel. This is one of several steps, including sandblasting and lathe carving, I take to make a functional piece (e.g. bowl or plate) that feels fabulous to touch.

Friday, September 23, 2011

First Day of Fall

Today is officially the first day of fall. Seasons are determined by changes in sunlight not temperature  So despite the local weather with highs still in the mid-90's, I have added a few crocheted scarves to my Etsy shop in hopes it will lure cooler weather our way.

Waterjet Cutting Glass & Metal

Melinda Garces of Garces Designs 
on waterjet cutting glass and metal
6:30pm Dinner  
3 course meal at Absolutely Everything Catering for $16.80
RSVP for dinner by September 27, 2011

7:00pm Meeting & Presentation
Open to the public
Garc├ęs Designs is a premier waterjet design and fabrication company serving commercial and residential clients in San Antonio and throughout Texas. We specialize in using computer-driven, precision waterjet cutting machinery to craft both traditional and contemporary designs with a variety of materials including stone, iron, metal, ceramics and glass.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cross Fire

New glass series just delivered to Artisans at Rocky Hill 
With 95% of the state of Texas experiencing extreme drought the dry landscape is a source of fuel that has become an open invitation for fire. All that is needed is the spark. In the past week the Texas Forest Service has responded to over 140 fires impacting approximately 35 thousand acres. Weather forecast give little hope conditions will change anytime soon. Fire reports have become part the daily news and the common topic of discussion with out-of-state friends. I have spotted my fair share first hand  driving from point A to point B, including one we drove through returning from our adventure in McAllen. So, it is no surprise what as on my mind while making this series last week. A golden dry landscape dotted by fires across the state.
It's no surprise that I think a controlled flame can be a useful tool for working with glass  but wildfires are dangerous and costly. We can all do our part to help prevent needless fires. For information on fire prevention visit the Texas Forest Service website.
11 3/4" Oval Platter - Soda Lime Glass

11 3/4"  Bowl - Soda Lime Glass

Friday, September 9, 2011

McAllen Adventure

Mosic Cube by McAllen Stained Glass
Hackberry & Main in McAllen, Texas
This Labor Day weekend I headed down to the valley with Nina "Sam" Hibler from Dream Fire Glass.  Sam was teaching glass bead making I and II  at McAllen Stained Glass. Although I may not be skilled at making glass beads in the torch, I was not without my contributions. Drawing on my skills as shop girl, studio tech and kilnformed glass instructor I was able to lend a hand having a good time along the way. The McAllen Stained Glass studio and gallery is located in a lovely Art Village. Galleries stayed open late with music and dance in the courtyards for McAllen's First Friday Art Walk . As visiting Artist Sam's work, including an entire herd of glass pinata donkeys, where on display.

Bead making I and II workshops on Saturday and Sunday included a fabulous group a folks.  I love to see how people respond to their first experiences with glass in the flame. Some people are immediately drawn in. Others take a more cautious approach. By the end of day I think everyone was hooked.
Marilyn watches the color of spring green glass change from orange to deep red as she learns to judge heat control while making  one of her first glass beads. Constantly turning the mandrel the glass naturally forms a do-nut shape. 
Liz took to the flame almost instantly. It may not be long before we see flameworked glass beads incorporated into the wonderful work she is doing at Hecho Por Liz. By day two she was looking right at home behind that hot head torch making beautiful pink hearts.
Sam demoing a new technique during glass bead making II.
Dedicated day one and two survivors. These guys are hooked.
To pass time on the drive between McAllen and San Antonio I read from The Secret Lives of Men and Women a  Post Secret project compilation. Although it certainly entertained, I was left feeling as if I had  snooped through someones drawers. Shocking... I'd vacillate between "really  someone actually did that... people make these up right" and every now and again "I know". I remember stumbling onto the Post Secret site years ago and seeing a postcard that could have easily been written by me. I printed it and for several years it sat next to my compute screen, a reminder I was not the only one who felt that way. The copy of this book came to me from a surprising source. I'll just same thank you and leave it at that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fire Good

Sam from Dream Fire Glass making a glass snowflake bead
Waiting and wishing for cooler temperatures while the sweltering summer heat consumes everything like fire. Fall can't come soon enough for me this year or like this snowflake I may melt. Looking forward to lighting the torch this fall at Dream Fire Glass Studio.  Every time I stop by for a visit more and more progress is made. I'm certain there is a Fiery Friday in my near future and I can't wait. In the mean time. I'll be accompanying Sam on a teaching trip down to McAllen Stained Glass. I'm looking forward to being in a room full of torches for the first time in a couple months. More to come...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cool Down with a Cool Drink

It's been so hot. All I want to do is cool down. Although normally I might enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner this is the time of year to hear ice clinking in your glass. The Greyhound is a simple and refreshing grapefruit cocktail that makes a fabulous summertime treat. Thank you Louise for the locally grown organic grapefruits. I can't imagine you would disapprove of my use of them.
  • 2 oz vodka,  I suggest trying Texas local Enchanted Rock
  • 4-5 oz grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed is preferable
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon or lime wedge for garnish
  • Pour the ingredients into a highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Stir
  • Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge 
  • Sit back, relax and remember to drink responsibly