Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time To Party!

It's New Year's Eve so you know what that's time to party! The Anchorage Accordion Club is playing for the Pioneer Home's New Years Eve Party this afternoon. We love to play at the Pioneer Home because the residents & staff really enjoy the music.
They're "our people" because many of them grew up with the accordion, appreciate it as an instrument & know the words to the vintage music we usually play. It's a mutual love!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Casting Tip Sheet

Was going through old emails early this morning & found an email from Bullseye Glass Co. about a new "tip sheet" on casting. How interesting I found it just as I'm working on my small casting samples.

Here's a link if you're interested & want to see how it really should be done!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Casting Experiment ~ The Eye's Have It

Will & I are working with clay. 50 pounds of clay that I've been moving around for a couple of years. I've had plans to make my own molds & to experiment with casting glass. So, instead of working on my year end accounting & 2010 catalog we're playing with the clay!

A few years ago I had wanted to do a whole First Friday show at the gallery around the idea of "Eyes." I love eyes. The symbolism of eyes. The mythology of eyes. The power of eyes. The mystery, the color, shape. Need I go on? Another artist I know poo-pooed my idea until she saw another artist's work sort of related about body parts in an article in Smithsonian....ah-ha...then my idea had validity. Don't you love it when you're right? Not that someone's opinion would stop me from doing what I want too anyway! :)

Here's the start of a small casting project. First make a positive model in clay.

Second, cast it with mold mix. I use "Master Mold Mix." The clay model is secured to the bottom of a small container with soft clay. These are 2" x 2" cubes so I'm just casting them in a small, reinforced, box but for larger castings a frame needs to be built around the model. The mix needs to be thick & creamy so it pours out smoothly & fills in all the small nooks & crannies. After the mix is dry (about 45 minutes on a piece this size) flip it over & remove the soft clay. The mold mix is still soft so there's time to so some addition carving & clean-up. Then it gets fired in a slow firing to dry & harden the mold.

Brush with Bullseye kiln wash ~ three coats in opposite directions. Bullseye shelf primer/wash is made specifically for use with glass ~ not ceramics. When the wash is dry start packing with glass.

Fire slowly to about 1450 degrees, anneal, & slow cool. Don't you love my specific kiln schedule here? Sorry, but firing schedules are boring so I program mine into the computers on my kilns & then adjust them depending on the actual piece going into the kiln. The schedule varies a lot depending on the size & depth of the glass. I keep a kiln journal to document my successes &," learning opportunities."

Here's the finished piece which turned out OK. It needed more glass to fill the corners but I purposely didn't overfill the mold as I the edges were slightly undercut & I was worried about breaking the mold ~ I was hoping the glass would pop out & I could use the mold again. Unfortunately, the mold cracked & then broke apart. I've since tried to repair it & may try to use it again with blocks around it to contain the glass during the firing. Typically, castings are done in plaster of paris molds that are used one time. The casting needs some coldworking to clean it up & remove any sharp edges.

I have four more little eyes & spirals so I can experiment with more color. This is fun. Maybe it's the beginning of a series?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Accordion in the Chapel

Yep! That's right ~ the chapel at Providence was a rockin'!! The Anchorage Accordion Club played tonight & we were gooooood!!! Of course I forgot to take my camera so there's no pictures ~ dang! We looked good too in our matching red shirts & black pants. Jill even had a santa hat on her head.

Here's a picture of part of the group from holiday practice last year (December 2008). I'm not in the picture because I was working at the gallery 24/7 before the holidays. Our group has really grown & evolved. I think we're playing better together & enjoying it more ~ I know I am!

Our next gig is at the Pioneer Home on New Year's Eve for the center party on the 2nd floor. Jill & I play there every month but the whole group will be there for the party so it'll be a great time. Hopefully Will & Big Daddy will be there too so they can be in charge of taking photos. Will's been practicing with me ~ he plays a mean jingle bell!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice~

It's the Solstice so we're....
Dancing &
Spinning &
Clicking our Heels!
Happy Solstice!

(we gained 8 seconds of sunlight today ~ Alaskans are Happy!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bullseye Glass ~ Year in Review

Hot off the press is Bullseye Glass Company's "Year in Review of New Products." Check out the link to see what's new & review all the oldies but goodies.
Bullseye produces the best ~ Made in America ~ glass for fusing, glass blowing & torch work. It's the glass I've used exclusively for the past 15 years. I especially enjoy the striker & shift glass. It's like a gift to open the kiln & see how the color has changed with the intensity of the heat.