LASERS!!!

I have known about laser cutting for certain metals, but thought that silver was not able to be cut by lasers because of certain refractive (?) properties. Turns out I was wrong! It just has to be a certain kind of laser.

Et voilá!

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This makes me soooo happy. To have the precision of the shapes as I designed them is just perfection. All I need to do is polish/texture them and solder on the wires, pin backs, or jump rings. BOOM.

Finished Charms

Here are some of my finished pendant charms. Some have already been sold, but you can find the others at my Etsy shop. They are a lot of fun to make, and take me about an hour to make each one, from start to finish.

A couple, like the Michigan state charm, were made-to-order. Contact me if you have one you’d like me to make for you!

 

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Excitement

I’m taking a beginning jewelry class at Pratt Fine Arts Center on Sunday nights. I’ve been super excited about this class since I signed up for it in November. I have a sketch book with ideas of my own creation, ideas about what I can do for Desert Bus and just this morning, was inspired by friends on Twitter to create some Steven Universe jewelry.

I’m not giving up glass by any means, but I think I will be focusing more on jewelry sized pieces for now. Several of my ideas could very well be made into larger scale sculptures, so there’s a definite crossover between the two.

Peggy Foy is the teacher and is really nice. She has beautiful work and is on Handmade at Amazon. Her personal site is: http://peggyfoy.com/ and she has an Etsy site at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArcanaMetalwork.

Here’s my first go round with soldering copper rings:

soldering practice
Soldering practice. It’s a bit blurry, but you can see the joins. 

 

 

Volunteering for Desert Bus

I am a site volunteer this year at Desert Bus for Hope and while I’ve been here I’ve done a few things like, cleaning, helping feed people, running errands, going to the post office, random dance parties, Epic Rock Paper Scissors (in which I epicly fail), met some great people and helped them raise (as of right now) over $420,000 dollars for Childs Play Charity.

I got to travel to Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada to spend the week doing something good, fun, and cool with awesome people who all donate their time and energy to help sick children have better experiences when they have to be at the hospital, and support victims of domestic abuse.

I didn’t manage to take too many pictures, but here are the few that I did take:

I made some art for the shifts and one as an entry for a contest.

I had loads of fun, and we still have more to come.

Thank you to everyone at Desert Bus, Child’s Play, and LoadingReadyRun.

New Studio!!

So I’m 95% moved in to my new studio in Ballard. I’m in a basement on NW 49th St. There are other artists on the same property, and it should be a pretty sweet deal. I’m very excited. I even have a “Bee Cam”… someone has a hive and it’s right across from one of my windows. Cool!!

I need to contact the electrician and then get everything set up. Wooo!!! If you can, come visit me!

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Bee Cam!
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Donald, my wonderful husband. (Photoshopped for modesty!)

 

Donald, my wonderful husband. (Photoshopped for modesty!)
The boys taking a much deserved break. 

Painted Frogs

I was contacted by a friend of mine who wanted to give a gift to a friend of theirs. We discussed what he wanted and I was pretty excited about the subject: frogs.

I have a thing for frogs and my favorite is the green tree frog. So that’s what I made for this project.

I knew exactly what glass I was going to use, too. A piece of the french vanilla with cascading rhubarb pink-green shift glass. The really cool extra about the rhubarb glass is that is color shifts from green to a reddish color depending on the light.
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Yes, this really is the same glass in both pictures. No, it's not the exact same piece of glass...
Yes, this really is the same glass in both pictures. Sunlight on the left, fluorescent light on the right.

I had just purchased my enamel paints (bonus that they are lead free!) and this would be my first attempt at color work. It was good that I had a great subject to start with.

After selecting the glass, I looked at all the molds I had to offer and we decided on a 6″ round bowl. I hadn’t had success with it the past, but I figured it was because I hadn’t actually leveled the mold & glass.

Cutting circles is tricky business. You need to cut in one, continuous motion without overlapping your starting point. Then you have to press on the backside of the score line to make the cut. It really sucks when your glass doesn’t crack along the score line.  Fortunately, my glass behaved, for the most part, and I didn’t have to grind it much to smooth it out.

Tricksy circles...
Tricksy circles…

I selected my colors, found a reference photo and painted away. It took me about an hour to get it just the way I wanted it.

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Close up!
Close up
Ready to fire!
Ready to fire

The enamels mature at 1500°F, but I didn’t want to fire it above a “normal” tack fuse temp, 1410°F. And I wasn’t sure how the enamels would look at a lower temperature. I put it in the kiln and prayed the mixed colors and the texture wouldn’t do anything funky.

To say I was pleased with the results was an understatement! I loved it so much, I knew I had to do another for myself. My friend was also happy so it was on to slumping!

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Slumping, as I have touched on in my Star Wars plate video, is where I heat the glass enough for it to bend so it takes the shape of the mold it is on or in. I set my temp for 1225°F and timed it to stay at top temperature for about 10 minutes. I leveled the mold so the glass would fall in evenly.

Or so I hoped.

Wonky little bowl... so sad.
Wonky little bowl… so sad.

When I opened the kiln the next day I was frustrated. The glass had not slumped evenly, though better than the only other time I had used this mold. I contacted my friend and agreed to make another.

Prefired, Le Grenouille Deux.
Prefired, Le Grenouille Deux.

In the mean time, I had an idea to use a different mold that I would drape the glass bowl on. Draping and slumping are essential the same, the difference is a convex vs. concave application of glass on the mold.

The second frog turned out as great as the first, and the second slumping of the original bowl was a success! My friend took the flat, second frog and I got to keep the original! Win win!!

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Froggy goodness.
In the sun, the base green glass shows it’s pink side.
In the sun, the base green glass shows it’s pink side.

I’ll be doing more of these types of paintings on glass as soon as my new studio is set up. In the mean time, feel free to ask me questions about this project. :)

Tiny Grass Dreaming

Its funny what will spark ideas. I was reading one of those internet lists of funny translations and came across this:

Dreaming Grass

I love the idea that grass could dream. So, I’m running with it.

Test panels for Tiny Grass Dreaming.

Tiny Grass Dreaming tests

 

And while I was at it, I revisited one of my river panels. I think I definitely needed to add more to them. The right one will be revised as well.

 

River Series green