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...