Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Solstice ~

A wee bit late in posting but it's been a
very, very, busy holiday season!
Such fun with good friends & family.
Thank you to my friend, Truman, who showed up on
Solstice afternoon & set up the beautiful ice votives & provided
candles holders & matches.  They were such a beautiful addition
to our evening Solstice party!
Bring on the light!
These were such an inspiration ~!  
 I am going to try & make
these next winter & have them lit all season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Time Flys ~

Time has flown since I lasted posted!
November was a busy month with art shows
& events every weekend.
I also participated in the University Women's Show
in Fairbanks the first weekend in November.
It was a balmy 15 degrees that weekend, the show was great,
& I had time to stop bye & visit some of my accounts.
I had to stop-bye Gulliver's Books to visit with the
owner, Christie, enjoy a hot breakfast & latte'.
They carry an impressive card selection & even had solstice cards!

Another favorite shop to carry my work is
The Great Alaska Bowl Company.

They hand craft beautiful bowls, wood products, my recycled
wine bottle trays, wine toppers, wine charms & so much more!
There's a large window into the shop so you can watch them work.
Here's a series of bowls waiting to be finished.
Since things have calmed down a bit & the temperature
dropped we've been turning our attention
to Solstice outside art.
Here's an ice sculpture in progress.
These are ice balls lite up from inside with lights so they glow.
Next step ~ add some colored balls & more shapes.
Happy Winter ~ !

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Lytro ~ A New Kind Of Camera

I'm a photographer by nature.
Years ago I had a dark room in my house
and developed my own black & white film.
It was additive & artsy.
I think I've kept every camera I've ever owned.
My favorite for many years was my Canon AE1;
metal body, lots of lenses, durable & heavy for backpacking,
however, it took amazing pictures.
For my September birthday my family surprised with me....
A new Lytro camera!! 
The first thing you notice is it's shape.
It's square!  And short!  And lightweight!
William calls it a telescope & that's a fair comment.
The lens cap is magnetic so it snaps off & on.
There's no visible buttons rather just a little indentation
to snap photos & a very subtle raised texture for zoom
& refocusing. 
Here's a picture of Cokie Rue our golden-doodle.
Photo by Will.
A photo of the birthday girl.
Photo by Will.
Pretty great pictures for an 8 year old!
I think the size & easy handling of this camera are a
good fit for kids.  Hopefully, I'll get to use it too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

When Good Kilns Go Bad ~!

In my studio, I have five kilns that are fired nearly everyday.
They are work horses & have been basically
maintenance free for over 10 years.

I have two Sierra Kilns which were the early
prototype of the PMC Paragon Kilns.

I love my Sierra kilns so I was a little concerned when out of the blue
my 1100 model let out a little half beep & shut itself down!
Not a good sign.

I let it sit for a couple of days hoping it would have a spontaneous healing.

When that didn't happen I got out a flashlight
& screwdriver to do a little investigation.

Here's what I found...a burnt switch.  Yikes!!!

After a quick 911 call to my trusty electrician, Truman, the 
switch was replaced & I was back up and fusing.

It looks good as new & works like a dream!
Thanks Truman! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Embossed Glass Technique ~

I'm working on a new technique to create embossed glass.
The following patterns were created by carving into
plaster blanks & then pouring slip or pressing clay into
the plaster to make a clay tile for the glass to be slumped into
at a full fuse.  It's a time consuming process.

Cubes design.
Dragonfly & spirals.
It's a process of trial & error.
Some of the bisque is breaking off during the glass firing
but I'm liking the overall effect.  I'm thinking the bisque isn't
able to take a full fuse at 1500 degrees?
After trying to use a variety of colored
art glass I've decided that these look best in a clear glass with colored borders.
More on this as the technique develops.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pacific Market Center

Seattle Gift Show!

It's the place to be this week!

Come See What the Northwest Creates!

See you in Seattle!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seattle Gift Show ~

It's time for the Seattle Gift Show!

Please visit me at the
Tuura Artists/Taku Graphics Showroom.
Pacific Market Center #147
6100 4th Avenue South
Seattle, Washington.

I'll be hanging out with the fabulous
 Kathy Tuura who rep's my work in Seattle & the Pacific Northwest.
I have some new work, old favorites & samples to sell.

I've created a new series of sushi platters
that highlight popular sites.

~ Anchorage ~

~ Denali National Park ~

~ Seattle Skyline ~

This is an iron oxide process on white & clear art glass.
It's a cool process that can be transferred with almost any image.

It's honey bee harvest time so I'm thinking next up is
a few fall images with my beloved honey bees.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Exploring Seward Alaska ~

Last week we had family visiting so we took a little trip to Seward, Alaska.

We stayed at Miller's Landing which is at the end of the road,
past the downtown area, right on the beach.
We rented this little cabin for the family &
we stayed in next door in our Aliner.
Love our little cozy Aliner!

My Sweet William at the harbor.

Playing with the kelp on the beach!

Beautiful Resurrection Bay.

My sister & I.  Can you tell we're related?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Polymer Clay Artist ~ Karen Ottenbreit

A month ago while participating at the
Alaska Bead & Gem Show
my booth was next to artist Karen Ottenbreit.

She's an amazing polymer clay artist!

At the end of the show she gifted me one of these beautiful glasses.
It's a generous sized glass with polymer clay embellishments
& swarovski crystals.

It looks too pretty to use however
 Karen said they are very durable~
even dishwasher safe!

I had a little dinner party & the guest of honor
was served iced tea in this glass.
Everyone loved it  & wanted to use the special, sparkly, glass!

I guess I know what to get friends for holiday gifts!

 Check out her web site & blog!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Glass Boxes ~!

Another class I was able to participate in while at the
Glass Expo  in Vegas was "Making Glass Boxes" with
Karen Carey of Custom Stained Glass.

Karen & her husband, Tim, own a glass shop
in Southgate, Michigan.
They offer a full range of glass, supplies & classes.
They are very popular teachers at the Glass Expo
& the first offering of this class filled up immediately!!

I was on the wait list & emailed the organizer & said
I'd take a class anytime if they were willing to teach 
a second class.

Because they are such generous souls
(and probably had the screws put to them by the promoter)
they did offer another class & I was lucky enough to participate.

Karen is the originator of this technique.

It's beautiful, unusual & the possibilities are endless.

These boxes are made with stained glass.
The only color that Karen said doesn't work well is green.
Notice what color I picked!?!?

I can't help myself ~ green is one of my favorite colors.

If they'd had orange glass I'd have picked that color ~ it's my favorite over green.
Orange probably explodes.

For whatever reason, green glass doesn't adhere.
I was slowest in the class because I was
literally watching the glue dry!

I'm very curious about that so next time I'm laying on the beach
& have nothing to do I'm going to goggle it & do some research.

Anyway...what do you think about my first
"Glass Box" ala Karen Carney design?

Thank you Karen & Tim!!

I loved the class & hope to see you at the next Expo!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Equipment & Strippers ~

While at the Glass Expo in Vegas
I bought some new equipment.
One of the things I have wanted for years is a
really good quality circle cutter.

I have a couple of small lens cutters but they only
expand to about 6 inches & the cutting is so-so.

Monorail makes a beautiful circle cutter!
I'm a bit of a tool junkie, I admit it & I've looked at this
particular tool in past years but had a hard time justifying the >$200 price tag.
This year, I decided to treat myself ~
plus it was free shipping!!

My husband thinks I'm one of few woman who
love to get tools for gifts ~
Nice drill with extra batteries ~ love it!
Carharts for the shop ~ love it!
New set of socket wrenches ~ love it!
Saw blades ~ love it!

(Sorry this picture is sideways ~ I formatted the correct orientation & when it uploads it turns vertical.  UGH!)

So, this long narrow box arrives in the mail.
I like to play a little game where I guess what's in the box
before I open it so I glanced at the return address & saw the word

UHHHHH?????  What??
Even my postal carrier was intrigued & asked me what I ordered?
She had a little smirk on her face & I knew she was thinking it
was something of a personal nature. were wrong "Queen."
Yes, my mail carriers name is "Queen."

Anyway, it was my new circle cutter from MONORAIL ~
The full company name is DK MONORAIL STRIPPERS?


Here it is all assembled!
I'm loving my new deluxe tool!

Heavy weight, well made & sure to last a lifetime!
Thanks Monorail!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Peter McGrain ~ Glass Artist & Accordion Player

One of the classes I participated in while at the
Glass Expo was a glass painting class with Peter McGrain.
This is technique is described as
Vitri-fus'alle: a word made-up by Peter.

This technique incorporates fusing with traditional
glass painting used to embellish stained glass.
Think of the beautiful stained glass in European churches
and that's the influence & look created...with a modern twist!

(here are Peter's hands working on the light table.  I have more
pictures of him but he didn't answer my email for permission
to show them here so it's only his hands for now....)

Traditional glass painting uses the methods of
tracing and matting.  These are layers upon layers of
painted tints that are built up & then removed to create the
shading & highlights in the figures.

Here's my humble study via Peter McGrain.

Peter recommends using System 96 glass ~
I've been considering switching over to 96 vs 90 due to a variety
of issues so maybe this will clinch my decision.
I'm excited to play with this technique & see
where it goes.  Have lots of ideas rumbling around in my head.

Thanks Peter for an inspiring & fun class!
During the class I also found out that Peter is an accordion player!
I knew I liked him!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Glass Expo ~

It's been a busy month since returning from
the Glass Expo in Las Vegas.

Fabulous event.


Little time for relaxation.

I bought some new equipment, shopped for supplies,
took classes & saw a show.

More to come....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Learning to Sew ~

It's spring break so my son & I are working on some new projects.
One is learning to sew...or teaching a 7 year old
to operate the machine & complete a project.

The first step is to choose the colors ~

My plan was to use up some pre-cut fabric noodles, sew them together,
cut them back into strips, sew again, & then make some small
projects like potholders, doll blankets, etc.
You know...things I need for the house & kitchen?

William's plan was to sew up the noodles into a tube,
stuff it & make a "snake."

After making his fabric color choices he got right down to business
on the machine.  He's sewn before & even remembered to put the
right sides of the fabric together before starting the seam.

Good job William!
He needed a little help to guide the fabric straight &
 keep the machine at a steady speed. 

 Notice the machine??

It's a 1938 Singer.
Perfect for quilting & teaching kids to sew.
It only sews back & forward but after all these
years & many projects it still sews like a dream.

It's a perfect size for little hands.

After sewing the strips together & turning the tube
right side out ~ stuffing was next.
The puppy had ripped a hole in a sofa pillow so Will thought
it was perfect to use for stuffing.

A sword also works well to push the stuffing down into the snake.
Next...tongue & button eyes!

(notice the crazy hair & weird "clothes" ???
It's a jammy day at our house)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aurora Fireweed

I'm working the Aurora Series Florals.

Here's a close up a fireweed panel.
(I'm too lazy to set up the photography equipment for a full shot)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bullseye Glass Delivery

American Fast Freight delivered my glass order from Bullseye today.
It was quite a feat considering the snow in the alley
& the maneuvering of the truck & lift.

It was a little nerve wracking...for me.
Not the guys ~ they were calm & efficient.

All of these boxes of glass were on top of the two crates pictured below!


All total it's almost 700 pounds of glass.

It's a lot to unpalatize & move.

I'm going to be sore tonight!

Monday, March 5, 2012

1st Grade Fused Glass Project ~

My son, William, is in 1st grade.
He loves to help in the studio & create his own glass pieces.
He's pretty handy around the studio & often helps me with my production work.

He loves his classmates & teacher so we thought we might like to share a
glass project with the class.  We decided to ask his teacher if she'd consider
 having the kids help create a fused glass platter as a
gift donation to the Anchorage Museum for the 2012 Gala ~ & she said "Yes!"

I pre-cut opal glass, primary colors, in basic shapes.
Each child received a 3 X 3 inch clear blank &
then had free rein to layer, sort, line-up, & create a pattern of their own design.

We discussed safety ~ thus the goggles ~ even though they weren't really needed
it's good to get used to wearing them ~ practice safety!
And the use of tools; safety, how to handle, clean & put away. 

In the studio, this is a must! 
Tools must be put back after use or there
becomes so much disarray that they can't be found & time is lost!
It makes me a little crazy...organized chaos is fine as long as I can find my tools.

And tweezers!  Kids (of all ages) LOVE tools!
I brought big & little tweezers, for picking glass up, & it was a big hit.
Again, not really necessary but the kids love to handle tools like this &
it's fun for me to see how they do ~ it varies quite a bit student to student.


As the kids completed their 3X3" squares I placed them in divided boxes
and labeled each square with their name.  Each child also completed a small magnet
& these were also placed in the same labeled space.
Here's a quick shot of the pieces as they were put together by the kids. 
After all the 3X3's & magnets were completed I transported them
back to the studio firing in the kiln.

I created a grid that was drawn on fiber paper so I could lay out the
3X3's & also make a map to keep track of each child's piece.

The grid is filling up....

Almost filled in with a balance of lots of color & some pieces with more "space."
White space is good ~ a little resting spot for the eye.
This helps to create balance in the overall design too.

Here's the glass blank pre-firing.
I decided to fire this at about 1419...below a full fuse
to get a little texture but still allow it to be used as a platter.

There was quite a bit of glass left over so I decided to make a
small platter for William's teacher as a thank you.
She's been a great teacher & open doing new things with the kids.
The kids love her!  Thanks Ms. G~!

Each child also made a magnet ~
I think it's important that they have something to take home to show
their family & have a memory of the process.
A little pocket piece.

Here's the piece post firing.

William got busy making a chart & placing the magnets on a display board.
A fun way for all the kids to look at every one's work.
And another helper peeking around Will....

Thanks Will!  Good job.

Here's the finished platter!
Size:  15" X 15"
Title:  Primary Colors

Thank You First Graders ~ you're amazing!

Now for the "Artist Reception" at school!