Sunday, January 31, 2010

Liquid Stringer vs Bullseye Glastac

I'm adding component parts to the Glass House project. Liquid Stinger is a product that's relatively new & I've only used it a few times but thought it might be perfect for this piece. The basic premise is that you add the liquid to ground frit to make a liquid-like paste that is piped out into shapes, words, outlines, & any other way you might want to use it!

When I've used the Liquid Stringer in the past I had difficulty getting the portions correct so it would flow smoothly. This time it kept "fizzing" & getting stuck in the squeeze bottle until "SPLAT" it would all spurt out into a big blob! You see a "blob" on the kiln shelf above in the upper right corner.
Getting tired of this, I decided to try to use Bulleye's Glastac instead. I have gallons & gallons left over from the store & even contemplated throwing it way instead of moving it but now I think I've found a new way to use it ~ it's my new liquid stringer medium & it works great!

I mixed up even proportions. Squeezed out my shapes. Let it dry & then put a second layer on top. Let it dry again & then fire. These were fused at about 1385 degrees as I wanted dimension.

Finished glass components & the finished piece with all the components fired into place!

There's a lot of dichroic components & images fused in too. Some of the images are of little alien faces peeking out of the window.
I'm glad to have this piece done for the Museum Gala!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Glass Houses ~ (again)

The neighborhood is expanding!

I'm working on another large piece to donate to the Anchorage Museum's Annual Gala fundraiser.
Here's the raw layout in the kiln. I usually look through the large pieces of scrap I have & try to piece together a basic layout & then add specifically cut pieces as I need to add dimension.

The clear piece is laid under the other colored pieces & will form a structure for another embellishment (see below) that I'm going to add in a second firing. I often write notes, draw sketches & outline shapes with a "sharpie" marker on the glass. It works great & fires off without any residue. I should buy stock because I love these markers & buy big packs of them at Costco (my other favorite shop & "No" they're not paying me to say that :) )

Here's the "embellishment." That's right people! Get ready because Aliens are Invading Anchorage! The actual name of this piece will be "Aliens Over Anchorage."

I had originally fired another piece & fired in a heavy coiled wire & thought I could tack fuse the space ship on to the coil!!! "WRONG TAMARA" my 5 year would tell me. Yes, the little old man disguised as a 5 year old calls me "Tamara" & sometimes "Tammy" because he knows I really, really, really hate being called Tammy. There's a little twinkle in his eye when he says it & I have no idea where he every got "Tammy" because no one one...calls me "Tammy."

The Mother Ship was fired separately & at a lower temperature from the base glass unit. Temperature was 1385 degrees F for about 18 minutes.

Here's the basic glass foundation post full fuse (1500 degrees F). I have "plans" for this! Lots of embellishment with dichroic images & three dimensional glass at a tack fuse. I like this stage ~ the foundation is in & now the decorating begins....or rather the journey has just begun!

Beam me up! I'm ready!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunday Inspiration for Artists

You Are Unique

author unknown

Think what a remarkable, unduplicatable, and miraculous thing it is to be you! Of all the people who have come and gone on the earth, since the beginning of time, not one of them is like you!

No one who has ever lived or is to come has had your combination of abilities, talents, appearance, friends, acquaintances, burdens, sorrows and opportunities.

No one’s hair grows exactly the way yours does. No one’s finger prints are like yours. No one has the same combination of secret inside jokes and family expressions that you know.

The few people who laugh at all the same things you do, don’t sneeze the way you do. No one prays about exactly the same concerns as you do. No one is loved by the same combination of people that love you—no one!

No one before, no one to come. You are absolutely unique!

Enjoy that uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You weren’t meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.

You were meant to be different. Nowhere ever in all of history will the same things be going on in anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now.

If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.

Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!

No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. No one can convey your meanings. No one can comfort with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person.

No one can be cheerful and light-hearted and joyous in your way. No one can smile your smile. No one else can bring the whole unique impact of you to another human being.

Share your uniqueness. Let it be free to flow out among your family and friends and people you meet in the rush and clutter of living wherever you are. That gift of yourself was given you to enjoy and share. Give yourself away!

See it! Receive it! Let it tickle you! Let it inform you and nudge you and inspire you! You are unique.

Accordion ~ Japanese Style

I've been practicing a lot of new music this past week which can be both fun & frustrating. It's fun to learn new music but it takes a few run throughs to get it down. The accordion club finished up our performance schedule by playing a short set at St. Pat's in January. It's a regular monthly gig for Marge Ford & the Polka Chips & The Button Box Gang so it was really nice of them to invite (put-up) with us!

Here's a fun Japanese cartoon. Doesn't everyone love accordions????

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Wee Enchanted Garden

One of the best gifts William received over the holidays was the "Wee Enchanted Garden" kit.

Thank you again Jude!

It was created by a company called Creativity for Kids. They truly make products that inspire creativity for kids!

Here's William on Christmas morning painting all the parts of the garden. The kit comes with everything you need including the paint, ceramic mushrooms, rocks, dirt, seeds, tray, cottage & a wee Gnome! Our Gnome's name is "Bill."

It's just been a couple of weeks since Bill moved into the neighborhood but his garden is growing well & he seems pleased! Here's a snapshot of Bill taking in William's landscaping.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Artist Struggles

Martha Graham said:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening
That is translated through you into action,
And because there is only one of you in all of time
This expression is unique.
And if you block it,
It will never exist through any other medium,
And be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is,
Nor how valuable, or how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly,
to stay open and aware to the urges that motivate you.“

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alaska Wholesale Show

The Alaska Wholesale Show is January 15th & 16th at the Dena'ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. The hours run Friday noon to 8 pm & Saturday 10 to 6 pm. My booth space is #35-37.
It's the place to shop for the spring & summer season in Alaska if you own a gallery, gift shop or road house! It's also the place to be for me selling my work & new lines for spring 2010!
See you there!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The BIG Nightlight Project

Remodeling a home can be a challenge ~ especially on an older home. Sometimes there are obstacles to overcome & sometimes the obstacles become opportunities.

This installation was designed for an entry way where a stairway wall & a bearing wall left a space 2 feet wide by almost 9 feet. The contractor wanted to box it in with drywall but how boring is that??? Right, lets make a mistake & then we'll just drywall over the mistake & later you can figure out what or how to make it better (?). During this particular remodel I heard a lot of "well, you can tile over it," or "a little caulk will fix that." These are not words a perfectionist likes to hear!

Here's my fix on a contractor's blunder.

The top is a series of 4 large panels with a "ribbon" of grass meandering down the middle. The cubes & blocks along the edges represent structure in the environment & tie into some of the other glass designs in the home. Sort of a nature meets city theme in an abstract way. I added the bubbles later as I laying out the glass in the kiln. As it came together I realized it had evolved as an underwater theme & carried over to a large mermaid sculptures on an adjacent walk going down the stairs. I especially like the bubbles / floating circles as they add contrast & have an organic feel that ties in well with the wavy underwater sea grass.

The front of the light box is one large panel (about 2 feet wide by 38" in height). It slips into the wooden strip of wood with slot & fastens on the top with brackets. It's easy to turn the brackets & just lift out the front glass. I wanted the front panel removable so there was access to the light strip for ease in changing the bulb. This panel was fired a second time at a tack fuse to add the course, clear, frit . The frit provides more dimension & sparkle ~ it's the first thing you see when you come in the front door.

IMHO I think it turned out pretty well ~ everyone is happy. Glass is a perfect buliding material for Alaskan homes where we experience short days & limited light so I think this nightlight is a perfect fit for this unusual space!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Surrender Yer' Art!

Ahoy Matey!
Get out those art tools &
Surrender Yerself to Your Art!
(ps~ it's always good to have a buddy too)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Once In A Blue Moon

I'm a little late in posting this but 12/31/09 was a Blue Moon. Such a special event that we celebrated by enjoying fireworks & sipping champagne! Here's a few facts so you'll be prepared next time:

December 31, 2009, New Year's Eve blue moon is the first since 1990. Another won't roll around for another 19 years. The blue moon is expected to be visible to New Year's Eve celebrants across the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Africa, according to the AP's Alicia Chang. And in New York City, the full moon competed with the glittery ball dropping in Times Square.

The name has nothing to do with its color (although a moon can sometimes appear bluish from the smoke of a forest fire or the ash of a volcano). The old expression, "once in a blue moon," has more to do with something that is rare, special, uncommon, even absurd--but not impossible.

The most popular current definition of a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. A full moon occurred on December 2 and tonight's will be the second, a phenomenon that occurs every 2.5 years (the next will be in August, 2012). But the New Year's Eve blue moon is more exceptional. The next won't occur until 2028.

There's another way of counting blue moons that dates back to medieval times. Since 1819, the Maine Farmers Almanac has listed the dates for blue moons based on a seasonal counting system: in a season which has four full moons instead of the usual three, the third full moon is the special one, the "blue moon." By that method, tonight's full moon is the first of the winter season but doesn't actually qualify as "blue." The twice-in-a-month definition of blue moon is a more modern interpretation that is credited to a 1946 article in Sky & Telescope magazine.

The 'blue moon' expression itself dates back to old England. A 1528 work by William Barlow, the Bishop of Chichester, the Treatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, included a reference to a blue moon:

"Yf they saye the mone is belewe, We must beleve that it is true."

I believe in blue moons & I'm giving you fair notice for the next one in 2028...Don't say I didn't warn you! Happy New Year again!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Casting BLUNDERS!?!

My mini casting project is progressing albeit minor set-backs. It all started out OK or so I thought (false hope!).

Here's the next 3 small 2"x2" clay positives that I molded out of porcelain clay. I put them all together in one container to a make a larger casting mold...I'm feeling good about this!

Here's the casting mold after it hardened to a "leather hard" firmness. This is the drying state where you still have time to clean-up the edges & image before pre-firing the mold.

Still looking good with less undercuts from last time but a few more bubbles in the mix ~ which results in holes in the mold. I mixed the Master Mold a bit thicker after researching on line that it should be like "thick pudding." Now in hindsight, this was a mistake because I had a hard time removing the bubbles.

OK ~ so I cleaned up the mold, fired it, & then started to pack it with glass. This time I thought I'd try more of the powdered frit instead of the more coarser grind. Stacked it high....hmmm...thinking I'd get thinner discs that would flow into the 2"x2" square. Wishful thinking!

Post-firing. Little, beady, eyes!! Yep, the powdered frit shrunk into small cubes. The mold cracked right down the center, however, everything popped out pretty well so I think I can cast two more eyes.

Here's the four castings so far ~ I think I had beginners luck on the first eye. The other three need coldwork clean-up but they'll look cool incorporated into another larger glass piece.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It was a Great Gig!

We had a fabulous time at the Anchorage Pioneer Home for their New Year's Eve Party! There was drinking (OK...soda & sparkling cider), eating (ice cream Sunday's & cake) & lots of music! We all had a blast & hope the residents did too ~ so nice of them to let us crash their party! :)

Here's the group ~

There's William in his matching outfit taking a video of the group :) Thanks Will!
Starting on the right....John, me, Bob (our fabulous group song leader & of the famous "Rogues & Wenches" group), Lucia (also of "Rogues & Wenches" fame), Jill the band leader on the mic, Joyce, Marit & Karen!

Look at us in our matching outfits! We look like a real group :)