Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Very Own Dichroic Tile

Today, for the first time, I really dug in and played with some dichroic glass. It's always been a bit intimidating for me, because the stuff is so expensive! But, I must say, it was far less painful than I had made it out to be.
For the tile, we started with a 4"x4" piece of thin glass. For the next layer, we used mosaic nippers to break up opaque dichroic pieces, staggering them on the bottom layer. And then, we topped that layer with broken pieces of transparent dichroic glass. The last layer is a thin piece of 4"x4" clear glass.
The tiles will be dammed in the kiln with fiber paper and hot bricks so that they keep their dimensions. After firing, we will cut them, re-fire them at a low temp to soften the edges, then glue on bails, or drill holes into them and they are ready to wear!

The line down the middle of the tile is the score line I made to start cutting it into little pieces for pendants...Then, I remembered I wanted to photograph the before image! So, I've finished snipping it into littler pieces, and the next step is to fire them in the kiln again to soften the sharp edges.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Finally getting some soldered pendants done!

You may recall back in my March 16, 2007 post, that I mentioned I had some new pendant ideas...
I have finally figured them out completely and have taken the pictures I need:
First, my custom pendants...
This one is for my friend who's daughter is turning 3 this year. Although, I've got presents for her daughter, Sequoia, I thought that it would be appropriate to put together a necklace for Mommy. Someday she can pass it down to Sequoia, when she's old enough to appreciate it.

Another custom image pendant I did was with a photo of a Giant Sequoia:

And then, finally, I finished my stained glass leaf and flower pendants. Very time consuming, indeed! First, you cut all the tiny pieces. Then, you wrap each one with copper foil and burnish. Then, arrange them without letting them slide all over while soldering. Attach a jump ring, rinse, polish, and voila! They are very pretty. I think I'll incorporate them into some beautiful beaded necklaces.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Beginning fusing and stained glass classes...

Both classes went extremely well this week. Unfortunately, it seems that not many people are interested in fused glass this go around. That just means that my ONE student will get very extra special attention from the three people available to teach her! Also, it means that we can add another independent study night at the studio.
The stained glass class was overwhelmingly popular in comparison. We expected only four students to walk in the door and have now got a class roll of nine! Yea! I have a good feeling about the next 8 weeks and some of the amazing projects that will be spilling out the door in the hands of this group of students.
Well, I'm off to bed to dream about glass and mosaics! Tomorrow evening is the mosaic stepping stone class and I can't wait to make mine! Hopefully, I'll get the chance to head to the new climbing gym in Napa with Todd. I can't wait to try it out.
Goodnight and sweet dreams:)
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Love My New Dip Dish!!!

Fresh out of the kiln, I'm so happy with the way this dish turned out.
For before pics, check out this post.
Notice how the red glass struck (turned color with the heat) to a bright orange.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Have I mentioned Etsy?

I absolutely love this site for finding homemade and handcrafted items when I'm looking for gifts for others, or if I'm just in the mood to indulge myself! Also, I've got a shop there, of course!

I highly recommend that any sort of crafty person be involved in some way on etsy. Marketing is a different story. But if you're crafty enough, I suspect you'll be just fine:)

New Plate! and I may be close to finishing...

My final project from Intermediate Glass is going in the kiln within the next few days! Finally!
There's been a huge line-up at the kiln for a few months, but it's time... Soon, this piece,

will be totally altogether as one. I'll photograph that as soon as I have it:0)

And these lovely pieces below...
at top : the mold,
the bottom layer of glass in in the middle, and the top layer of glass at bottom.

Also, I assembled a new dish to full fuse. I'll have it out of the kiln and then back in for a slump firing which will give it its shape. I will post those as soon as it's done as well!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Plates and Paperweight...


I went outside on this beautiful day, in the sunny Napa Valley, and took these shots of my newest projects:

This is the fused paperweight I made in February during Bryan Northup's class at M.Mitcavish Glass Studio "Pattern Bar & Kiln Casting."

Kiln casting is the technique. We used firebrick and carved out a design, which we then filled with pieces of glass, including some of the pattern bars.

These are images of the plate I worked on in March, in Intermediate Glass at M.Mitcavish Glass Studio. We created a cut sheet first, which are the three pieces in the middle picture. Then, I surrounded it with the teal green and transparent purple pieces before fusing it together. Finally, it was slumped into a mold to give it the shape.The lovely fruit bowl (at the moment) set is Spectrum 96 COE glass. It's beautiful splotches are the big attraction to this series of glass. I've been working on some cheese plates, with accompanying oil & vinegar dishes to create matching sets. I even created my own mold for the O&V plate!

On my way to the studio...

Yesterday, I finally finished cutting all the pieces for my Frank Lloyd Wright window that I'm working on for the studio. Yea! I'll remember to take my camera today, I hope, so that I can get some pictures up here!

Today, I want to go and play with glass and make some plates and bowls with the new molds that Michele picked up down in Vegas, baby!

Oh, and, if I remember this as well, I've got some plates sitting around that I've been wanting to get online as well. I'll go get that done right now! See you soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What a fun night I had...

For anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to work in a restaurant:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Picture of a Prairie Window

Found an image of the original piece from which the pattern I am working from is drawn.
Here's the photo.
The piece resides in the Barton House and is in a door of a dining room oak buffet. It's hard to tell what the color scheme is based on the photo, but I think it's a light blue...
I am using Chicago Art Glass that Michele Mitcavish has been hoarding since her Delphi Glass days. Chicago Art Glass reproduces glass that looks like the glass that Frank Lloyd Wright originally used in his stained glass pieces.
I'm getting very close to being finished, with the cutting of glass. Then, I only need to lead, solder, putty, and polish! Is that all?!?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Frank Lloyd Wright Stained Glass & my new best friend...

So, I've started my next big project at the studio....
On May 6, Michele's studio is on the list of studios being featured in a private tour for Magrit Mondavi and some friends. This is a big event! Michele's studio is filled with marvelous pieces of art, but she has been wanting to display some pieces more prominently for quite some time and this is just the kick in the pants that she needed. (You know, the house always gets the cleaning it needs when guests are coming over!)
So, she's had some Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Glass Stained Glass Window Patterns that she has wanted to hang and has graciously allowed another assistant and myself to learn leaded glass on the pieces. So, we each have our very own pattern to use in creating a beautiful art glass window with Chicago Art Glass, no less (That's antique glass that Mr. Wright used in his windows.) It's like our own private leaded glass window class!
I've begun to cut my first pieces for my pattern (the name I cannot recall right now - I can't even find a picture of it on the web!) Let me just tell you, the Morton board and cutting system is my best friend just about now!!! Can you believe that the diamonds he cut for this window are not 45 degrees, but an even 44-1/3 (or something crazy like that)! So, the cutting of the diamonds (mind you, they are not even all the same size) has provided me with the inspiration I needed to more fully understand and appreciate the inner workings of the Morton glass cutting system. Granted I was just learning, but it still took a good 2 hours (or slightly longer) simply to cut the fewer than 20 diamonds! Of course, seeing as how the pieces I was cutting are from the very limited supply of antique Chicago Art Glass, I was extremely precise and made sure that my diamonds were just so, cutting up scrap pieces of clear glass first and fitting them to the pattern.
I'm looking forward to going to the studio again tomorrow to begin cutting some squares. Much, much, much easier! I should whiz through those in no time at all. Before you know it, I'll have finished pictures up:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sauteed Seitan in Miso Sauce

Serves 3-4
1/2 cup miso
4 T water
4 tsps sake or dry sherry
2 T sweetener *see note that follows ( I like to use 4 T apricot or plum jam)
1 pound seitan, sliced
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp chili oil
2 leeks (white part only-clean thoroughly to remove dirt), julienned
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
2-3 carrots, julienned
2-3 stalks celery, julienned

1. Prepare sauce by mixing miso, water, sake, and sweetener. Simmer sauce over low heat for 3 minutes.
2. In skillet, saute seitan to crisp and brown. Set aside.
3. Over medium heat, add vegetable oil and chili oil to empty skillet. Add leeks and saute for 3 minutes until translucent.
4. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute.
5. Add carrots and celery; saute for 5 minutes.
6. Stir in seitan and sauce; turn heat to low and cook for 2 minutes.
7. Serve over rice.

*Sweetener substitution and conversion chart:

1/2 cup sweetener =

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1-1/4 cups maltose
1-1/2 cups barley malt extract
1/2 cup fruit juice concentrate
1 cup sugarless fruit jam or jelly
1-1/4 cups rice syrup
1-1/4 cups dried fruit puree
2 cups fruit juice
1 cup fruit juice and 1 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup unsweetened frozen juice concentrate

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tree of Life - Kiln Casting

The beginning fused glass class that Michele offers through the Napa Valley Adult School just completed their final projects - kiln casting.
Since I'm helping out with the class, and there was plenty of materials leftover, and space in the kiln...I decided to try my hand again.
First, we sculpt the piece out of clay. When it looks just right, we prepare a mold of the clay and then fill it with shards of scrap clear glass. The emphasis on this project is 0n the amazing textures that can be accomplished with just clear glass.
Overall, I'm very pleased with how this turned out:)

I Love Alanis Morissette! and other studio news...

Check out this great spoof on the Black-Eyed Peas "My Humps" from YouTube.

In studio news, Michele has been in Las Vegas for the last week with a couple of friends checking out the glass expo. She promises to come home with lots of new toys!! Yea! I can't wait to see!

Also, with Michele away, I've been firing the kilns. I love coming up with my own firing schedules - even more so when they turn out the way I thought they should.
I just unloaded a bunch of new pendants for my shop using 22k gold decals. I'm so excited to get them finished and up online. Hopefully within the week!

Plus, I've got a bunch of stained glass pendants that need to be soldered.

So, finally, after a long vacation, I am getting back to my work. It feels so good!


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