Tuesday, March 8, 2016

artVenture 2016 - Girl Scouts fundraiser

"Abduction Hour" by Jessica, Megan, and Rhianna
12" x 12"; fused glass
 For this year's artVenture workshops, I invited Daisies and Brownies to the studio for one session and Juniors and Cadets in for another session. During the studio visit, I like to bring them into Architectural Glassarts so they can see a real, working studio.
"Amazing Life of a Girl Scout" by Kyleigh, Steph, and Morgan
12" x 12"; fused glass
 While we wait for everyone to arrive, I like to start a casual conversation with the girls that are there to find out where they go to school, how old they are, learn their names and hopefully open up the conversation so that they can make new friends and start getting comfortable with other girls that they may not already know.
"Sunset Trio" by Haylee, Carly, and Hailey
12" x 12"; fused glass
It's important that they be comfortable enough with each other to be able to communicate and share their ideas because they need to collaborate on a piece of art that will go up for auction in a few months at the annual artVenture gala.
"Prairie Sunset" by Abbigail, Sierra, and Faith
12" x 12"; fused glass
 In years past, I've brought in images of famous artwork for the girls to get inspired by and recreate in glass. This year, I brought in images for the older girls to look at and be inspired by. But, I asked them to put a name on what was inspiring them about the particular images they chose. Then, we divided into groups based on the images that everyone felt drawn to, and each group discussed the ideas that they had for subject matter for the collaborative fused glass art piece. Some groups were on exactly the same page, while others had a more give and take design process. The 12" x 12" pieces were made by the Juniors and Cadets.
"Girl Scout Sunny Moon" by Alexa, Olivia, Sarah, and Mikayla
 With the Daisies and Brownies, we talked about symbols and their meanings instead of looking at artwork. Each group came up with a list of symbols that they wanted to work on. Once an symbol was agreed upon, they sketched out their ideas and then those sketches were blown up to fill a 12" x 12" paper.
"Bounce Winner" by Delaney, Jordyn, Ella, and Mikayla
Each group learned how to safely cut glass using mosaic nippers. Then, the learned how they needed to fill in their design and add bridges, making sure all the pieces overlapped so they would fuse together in the kiln.
"Silent Sunrise" by Elizabeth, Kaitlyn, Ashley, and Adryanna
 After making their collaborative pieces, all the girls made something that they got to keep for themselves after going into the kiln.
"Magically Wonderful Gem" by Abby, Vittoria, Margaret, and Willow
To see all the pieces in person, make sure to join us at the artVenture gala!
Sunday, April 24, 2016
3–5 p.m.
Lincoln Station Great Hall
201 N 7th St., Lincoln

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Nebraska Landscape Commissioned Lightbox

Detail of fused glass hills, mosaic flowers,
painted church and cloud.
During my last visit to Flowing Stone Art Gallery in Beatrice, Nebraska, I was able to slip into the public library to see my piece installed. The remodeling of the library has taken a bit longer than planned, so the piece has been waiting to go up for awhile. It looks so great on the wall, all lit up in it's own framed light box. I heard that the family who commissioned it was all really excited to see it and happy with how it turned out. It's a memorial piece for their father, and they all agreed that he would have been very happy with it.

Installed on a basement wall within a light box.
The window is a combination of techniques in glass. The whole thing is leaded together in the traditional leaded glass technique. The cloud and the church are painted on with stained glass paints that are fired in the kiln to be permanent. The flowers are glass on glass (GOG) mosaics, glued and grouted, then leaded into the panel. The landscape glass is all fused glass, with several bits of glass tacked together to make it layered and textured.

To view the window in person, visit the newly remodeled Beatrice Public Library.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Creating an Art Research Journal from a Paper Bag

How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book
by Esther K. Smith

Making an Art Research Journal is a great way to document process and record ideas. I like incorporating Art Research Journals into my artist residencies because the students are generally collaborating on an art project that they won't be taking home. With a journal, at least they have something they can take home as a reminder of the project and process, but also something to share with their family and friends. In addition, an Art Research Journal can also be an assessment tool for teachers to see that the students are understanding the process, feel involved and are having their voices heard, and for sticking a grade on something, if necessary.

This particular style of book is great because it starts out as a paper bag, which I have a seemingly endless supply of as they pile up each time I forget the reusable bag at the market! First, the bag has to be cut open (or carefully torn open) and then trimmed a bit to take off the rough edges and even everything up to be a rectangle. Then, following the illustration below...
Illustrated step by step to build a mini book out of a paper bag.
 A) Fold the bag "Hot Dog" style and unfold.
B) Fold "Hamburger" style and unfold.
C) Fold the open ends back to the spine, and then unfold.
D) Cut on the middle "Hot Dog" fold line from the folded side of the paper bag, but only cut halfway. Then, there's a tricky bit of folding and the book is ready to go!

I generally use a glue stick and glue the insides together so the book stays together without unfolding. The inside is the outside of the bag (with the print on it).

Sample paper bag books

An Art Research Journal is also a great tool for artists to use! The book above shows the samples that I've been working on with a new product and technique. A peek inside:

Finding the perfect firing schedule and experimenting with lettering.

Examining shrinkage of powder wafers on a tack fire
and different firing schedules.

Writing my observations next to each set of samples
helps me to remember and explain what I did. Then, if I
want to reproduce my results, it's easy!
There are a bunch of other book suggestions in How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book. This one seemed to be the easiest for the materials I had on hand and the size is really nice for glueing separate samples in and building a journal scrap book style.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Floral Mosaic Serving Tray

Napa Glass Therapy is hosting me for
this Father's Day 2015 weekend workshop.
I am so excited to be "coming home" to Napa for a Father's Day weekend workshop in mosaic making!  This is going to be a very fun class where we'll complete a luscious wooden serving tray mosaic at a relaxed pace over the course of the weekend. 

A commissioned mosaic tray made with my signature lotus mandala pattern.
Napa Glass Therapy is excited to host International Glass Artist and instructor Carrie Strope Sohayda for a 2 day luxurious workshop in Napa, California on June 20th and 21st. Experience the therapeutic qualities of glass as you create your own keepsake mosaic tray.

My example for the class is very eye-popping! (I love bright colors.)
During this 2 day workshop, Carrie will teach the tricks and skills she has learned and perfected over her years as a glass artist. earn how easy it is to use No Days Groutless Mosaic Adhesive on wedi board in creating a sturdy wooden serving tray mosaic at a relaxed pace over the course of the weekend.  We will discuss basic color theory to help you choose your glass, talk about pattern variations and the best way to approach cutting a pattern out of a sheet of glass, learn tricks for cutting circles and finish with grouting pointers as we complete a mosaic in a weekend.

  AND, since it's wine country, we'll be going out each night for dinner and drinks, with a little wine sipping, too! Anyone coming from out of town is more than welcome to join us, if you don't already have plans :)
Student projects from a previous class taught in Southern California.

Learn how to cut glass so that it breaks where you want it to every time, join in the fun and at the end of the second day, leave with your own gorgeous mosaic keepsake tray measuring 13.5" x 19" serving tray that can double as a small mosaic table top. No previous glass experience necessary!

$200 includes all materials, tools, supplies, as well as lunch for both days, delicious homemade snacks and sweets, and specialty, organic, fairtrade roasted coffee to keep you focused!
Contact Carrie Strope Sohayda at 707.225.1361 for more information and to save your spot!

I hope you'll join us for this great weekend.
We always have a blast in my classes!

Carrie has been working in glass since 2005 and is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge with participants. If you've got questions about fused glass or stained glass, she can answer those (or point you in the right direction), as well as all of your mosaic questions. Carrie has experience working with preK-12 students in the classroom with glass and has lots of project ideas that can be adjusted to the capabilities of your students.

This is a great class for refining your glass cutting skills. You'll learn how to cut glass so that it breaks where you want it to every time, join in the fun and create a beautiful keepsake 13.5" x 19" serving tray that can double as a mosaic table top. Carrie has several resources for teaching artists and teachers in finding tools and materials for the classroom, as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Children's Books on Bugs - Woderful Worms

"Wonderful Worms" by Linda Glaser

"Wonderful Worms" by Linda Glaser, Pictures by Loretta Krupinski 

Of the two books I looked at this week that depict worms ("Diary of a Worm" is the other one.), I prefer this one. Not only does it meet my criteria for showing levels and layers (both underground and above ground at the same time), it teaches a little about what worms do. It also has lots of illustrations of  plants (roots, trees, leaves, grass, flowers, mushrooms, seeds, ferns) and animals/creatures (birds, worms, mice, people, snakes, chipmunk with acorns, toad on a rock, dog digging for a bone, mole catching a worm, lizard, snail, rabbit eating strawberries, butterfly).
While reading the book, we'll be able to talk about the plants and animals and what they're doing, as well as observe patterns in the different leaves, snake scales, robin's feathers, mole's fur, etc.

Look at all that action above and below ground!

I'll definitely be presenting this book to all my mosaic kiddos. I really like the way it talks about the importance of worms in the garden and the illustrations are perfect for talking about layers and levels. There are so many creatures and different plants to look at discuss. There's also a page at the very end that gives "Facts About Wonderful Worms:"

 Q: "Which animal is the most dangerous to earthworms?"

A: "People who spray insecticides (bug-killer poisons) on the earth are the biggest danger to earthworms. that's because poisons can kill many acres of worms at one time. And there can be over a million earthworms in one acre of fertile land!"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Children's Books on Bugs - Diary of a Worm

"Diary of a Worm" by Doreen Cronin
In my continuing quest to find books that illustrate the natural world (i.e. garden and outdoors) for my mosaic kiddos, I picked up "Diary of a Worm" by Doreen Cronin, Pictures by Harry Bliss. What I'm looking for in the books are some good illustrations of layers and levels, like underground, above ground and sky. I'd like the illustration to spark some design ideas for the kids in creating the sketches for the collaborative mosaic we'll be working on.

Some of the bugs and bees (before firing in the kiln)
that we'll incorporate into our mosaic.
We spent two weeks creating components (some bugs, bees and caterpillars) to incorporate into our mosaic, but now we need to come up with an overall design to begin filling in with glass.
The "Diary of a Worm" is a pretty funny book that I think my littles (preK-1st grade) will really laugh at. I got a chuckle out of several of the pages: " Today we made macaroni necklaces in art class. I brought mine home and we ate it for dinner." But, I also appreciated that the author touched a little bit on the purpose of worms: "When we dig tunnels, we help take care of the earth. 'Must make tunnel-help Earth Breathe.'"
I also liked the illustrations on several pages that showed a side view of the ground, both above and below. I'd like our collaborative mosaic to have a similar style, showing viewers what's happening below ground, above ground and in the sky at the same time.
I also want to get some of the other books by the author: Diary of a Worm: Teacher's Pet, Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly. I think my niece (~6)  would enjoy these, too, and be able to read them on her own.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Nebraska Art Teachers Association Fall Conference ~ Mosaic Glass Workshop

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Children's books on gardening and growing

I'm on the search for some good books to introduce plants and their growing cycles to my littles...
I did a quick search and found some links from other blogs to different books. I should qualify the following reviews by letting you know what I'm looking for in a good book:
  • Shows plants, critters, stages of life and/or life cycles.
  • Shows above ground and underground.    I want to introduce layers or levels to my kiddos. I'm hoping to create a collaborative mosaic that shows what's happening underground, above ground (in the garden/fields as well as in the city/country) and in the sky.
"Rooting for You" by Susan Hood
 My impression:
Meh :/ - kind of cheesy; has a positive message, all the insects are cheering for the seed to grow. The seed seems kind of whiny and intimidated; he is scared of the dark, of the light, of monsters that may be under the bed(?), of monsters that may be over his head, above ground. In a couple of sections, the pages open up and fold out in different directions. There are plenty of bugs and creatures to spot both above ground and underground. One page vilifies a spider that's minding her own business underground.
Some of the pages fold out in different directions.

This book did show layers... I liked the way that the ground and above ground were presented in layers and levels. This style of illustration is similar to the look that I'd like the mosaic to have, so it may be a good book for discussing the illustrations. But, I don't think I'll be reading the book to the kiddos.
"Miss Maple's Seeds" by Eliza Wheeler
 My impression: During my first thumb through, I wasn't too impressed with this book. However, when I looked through it again, I started to notice a few different things that could spark discussions. This book could be a good discussion starter for seed saving and where plants come from, as well as different landscapes/ecosystems/environments.
These pages show both my favorite illustration (all the different seeds),
and favorite line, "Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small."

 This book did show many different landscapes and environments for different seeds to grow... For example, Miss Maple takes the seeds on a field trip to a river where frogs on a log, dragonflies, tadpoles and water lilies live. It's a fun introduction to what seeds are and how they might disperse, but leaves a lot of room for discussion.


My impression: 
While not specific to actual gardening, the main character's imagination creates her own whimsical garden with chocolate rabbits and jellybean bushes. I like the idea of introducing this book to get the kiddos thinking about abstracting their garden mosaic designs to incorporate things that might not grow in a garden, as well as coloring flowers or things non-traditionally to free them up to the idea of creating in glass. For instance, we may not have access to as much yellow glass as they'd need to make a sunflower, so they could create a pink or purple or white one instead.
"My Garden" by Kevin Henkes
 This book did have really good illustrations... that could be interpreted into mosaics easily. While I don't want to have the kiddos copy the illustrations, they could observe them to talk about the criteria and qualities that make a good mosaic / image.

I like how the illustrations present subjects in untraditionalcolors or styles.
"When the Root Children Wake Up"
by Audrey Wood and Ned Bittinger
My impression: 
Absolutely GORGEOUS paintings! I adore the style and the story in this book.

The paintings that make up the illustrations are breathtaking!
 This book did not quite fit my criteria for the mosaic project I have in mind. Although, it would make for a good introduction to the changing of the seasons and I'm sure we could have a good discussion surrounding the story and perhaps work on a supporting project that got the kiddos thinking about subjects they may want to incorporate into their mosaic.
"The Vegetables We Eat" by Gail Gibbons
My impression: 
I love the way this book explains and defines words related to vegetables and producing food. It even goes into how we grow food in a garden, on a farm, as well as touching upon how food is processed, shipped and made available in grocery stores or farm stands. Some of the vocabulary: perennial, annual, leaf, bulb, flower bud, root, tuber, stem, fruit, seed, fertilizer, shovel, rake, starter plants, harrow, plow...
A look inside: classifying vegetables by anatomy, producing vegetables in a garden.
The illustrations will be helpful references for looking at different vegetables and drawing them. I think I'd like to add it to my personal library.
Food production, from farm to store.
 This book did... explain a lot of vocabulary, showed a process, categorized vegetables by anatomy.

Do you have any good children's book recommendations?
Please let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

artVenture 2014 - Girl Scouts and Fused Glass

Interpretation of Wassily Kandinsky's "Circles and Squares"
 This year's artVenture collaboration took place once again at Architectural Glassarts in Lincoln, Nebraska. For the collaborative pieces, the girls picked a master's painting to interpret with fused glass. Check out this great article in L Magazine to read all about it and see more pictures!
Interpretation of Claude Monet's "Waterlilies"

Interpretation of Claude Monet's "Waterlilies" - detail

Interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Interpretation of Paul Klee's "Lagoon City" - backlit

Interpretation of Paul Klee's "Lagoon City"

Monday, July 28, 2014


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