Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Around the Corner - Digress from Glass

Today I'm going to digress from glass - New Year's is just around the corner and the media is filled with the annual "lose weight as your resolution" commercials. Ugh! As if extra weight didn't already make you feel bad about yourself, there's a commerical full of before and after pictures to make you feel bad. Ugh.

Yes, I've changed my diet but I wasn't spurred on by the ubiquitous New Year's lose weight resolution. I've developed a health problem that has forced me to re-evaluate my entire diet. I had thought the foods I ate were good, no junk food, no red meat, mostly vegetarian - that's good right? Wrong. Even though I was eating "health food" it was all highly processed. Not good. I can't eat processed foods anymore without a serious reaction. Or wheat. Or nuts and seeds. Or dairy (sniff sniff - I'm made of cheese you know and I grew up on a dairy farm). So, I've been on a mission to learn how to include unprocessed grains into my diet and find recipes that don't include meat and dairy...ummm that would be vegan recipes.

Right off the bat, I've been frustrated trying to find grain recipes. Most vegetarian and vegan cookbooks include a "grain" section that is primarily rice recipes. Rice is a grain but little if no fiber. It's like a potato, all starch.

At the health food store, I found a whole grain, Kamut. Very few recipes out there for it as well as other whole grains so I've had to be creative. One of the things I do with grains is to cook them in lemon broth. It gives the grains additional flavor and makes them a tasty addition when sprinkled on a salad. What is lemon broth? It's my own recipe:

Kamut in Lemon Broth

1 cup Kamut

2 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup organic lemon juice

Cook the kamut in the lemon broth until all liquid is absorbed.

I cook up a pot of Lemon Broth Kamut and then place it in the refrigerator to sprinkle on my salads like the one below.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Year End Loose Ends

I've got several end of the year chores I have to do. One of them is completing all paperwork including business mileage. That's my to do list for today, adding up all the mileage and getting a total. Early next week it will be the dreaded inventory of glass!! Oooo - spooky!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Altered Art: Prototype

I've talked about the creative process and making prototypes. I love the look of altered art. I experimented with the idea and this is what came out of my kiln: a prototype fused cabachon with an image created in enamels. I'm going to polish the edges and drill a hole for a bail. Any thoughts on this one?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

Thank you to my customers for supporting me through your purchases, I am deeply grateful. Have a joyous holiday and new year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Spontaneity or Wandering Thoughts at the Torch

I'm weird, I know. When most other bloggers are slowing down or suspending posting during the holidays, I seem to be revving up. Why would I do that? I probably have even less readers now than normal. But when you're a self-employed freelance sign language interpreter, now is the time when contract work slows down to nothing. A natural lull gives me time to torch and be creative. New glass work starts to pour out of my studio. When new work is pouring, it's time for posting.

That's what today's post is about - sparking creativity or how following a wandering mind is worth it sometimes.

Last week, I was working on an order for spirals and had particular colors of glass chosen. Once I had made the order, my attention started to wander. I made a wind of glass on the mandrel that wasn't quite right. Using dots to even it out, I thought what would happen if you layered dot on dot on dot for a horned bead but flattened out the end of the horn?

This what happens:

The beads look like plumbing parts but with alot more color. I like them and made a set of twelve. I like the idea of a flattened horn, it's very Dr. Suess - ish to me. This is different for me, but I don't think I'll continue making them as part of a round bead. I have other ideas in mind for them.

I wouldn't have those other ideas if I hadn't following my wandering thoughts.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Goth Kid Series: Big Heart

Here's another in my Goth Kid Series...this one is called Big Heart after some of the real life kids I know who are big hearted.

I'm working on a newsletter to send out to my customers. Since there is no more Urban Glass Bead Expo, I won't be making a trip to NYC this year. Instead, I'll be sending out a newsletter and offering a special sale to my customers. So, keep an eye on your inboxes in early January 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Developing New Designs...the process

Yesterday's Twisted Blues for Ornament Thursday included a new design. I thought I'd let you in on my creative process - a few days ago, I posted on The Big Mouth Series and how the look of the bead was inspired by the 1979 playbill art of Sweeney Todd. Still working on the Big Mouth beads they aren't quite there yet. My studio is full of prototypes like the Big Mouth and today I'll show you another series that is going to be added to the website soon.

Flameworked glass headpins is what I've been working on for about three (3) years. No, I haven't struggled with the design nor the actual process of attaching glass to wire, it's the prototypes - I wanted to be sure the glass and wire were compatible so they didn't cause cracking even though the glass was thoroughly annealed. I won't sell anything that won't hold up for the customer. So prototyping is critical to me, it allows me to stand behind my work.

I made these silver and transparent glass headpins three years ago.

Not a crack on them! No cracks mean the glass and wire is compatible and will hold up for a customer. Now that I have the practical elements of the design worked out and tested, I start making the design regularly and make them available for sale. The new designs are made with copper and sterling wire and are on my website under Glass Headpins and Findings.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ornament Thursday: Twisted Blues

The final ornament for 2007 is quick and easy just like I love 'em,and is called "Twisted Blues" for the spiral and twisted glass headpin and the music. I love the blues although I never liked the smokey bars where you could listen to it. I guess with the no smoking laws the bars aren't smokey anymore. You won't have to make this ornament in a smokey bar, just turn on some BB King and enjoy!

You'll need one (1) extra long spiral in transparent aqua; 2 small rainbow spacer beads in purple; 3 daisy spacers and 1 twisted blue glass and copper headpin.

String together on the twisted blue headpin in this order: 1 daisy spacer, 1 purple spacer bead, 1 daisy spacer, 1 extra long spiral, 1 daisy spacer and last one purple spacer (optional).

Make a small loop at the end of the remaining wire and then make a large loop for the ornament hanger.

Quick, easy and almost instantaneous gratification! Turn up the blues and enjoy the Holiday!

The ornament project above were posted in celebration of Ornament Thursday, a fun blogging event happening this holiday season on the blogs of a growing group of popular designers. Jewelry makers, mixed media artists, plush artists, ceramic artists, paper artists, and more have been making ornaments and using their blogs to show how they do it! Check out some of these great blogs today to see more:

Christmas cookie - Jennifer Heynen
Christmas tree finger labyrinth - Hali Chambers
Ring in the New Year - Kriss Kramer
Quilty pieced snowman - Linda Augsburg
Simply striking sparkling spheres - Margot Potter
Beaded memory wire - Elaine Luther
Wire & beaded tree - Lynn Kvigne
Beaded sun catcher - Debba Haupert
Lovely Ornament- Lisa Liddy
Jolly and yummy ceramic candy - Melanie Brooks Lukacs
Polymer snowflake embedded in resin - Melissa Lee
Beaded candy canes - Candie Cooper
Polymer clay gift tag/ornament - Heather Powers
Twisted blues - Lampwork Diva aka Cindy Gimbrone
Holiday spiral tree & party pixie - Art Bead Scene
Wire bird's nest - Rebecca Peck
Plush gingerbread doggie - Jenny Harada
Swell ornament - Alexa Westerfield
Holiday paper crafting - Brandy Lung Gill
Shaving cream & chipboard ornament - Michelle McGee
Easy needle-felted orb - Katie Hacker

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This time it's political....Big Mouth Series

I don't readily parade out my experimental beads. Usually, they're very rough and I'm not sure an experiment are a part of the body of work I want on line. But sometimes you have to do something outside your comfort zone. For me, that is actually showing a experiment,a less then perfect bead. First, a little background.

Upset over political rhetoric one day about 18 months ago and sitting at my workbench with a large hollow mandrel in hand, I remembered the artwork from the original 1979 Broadway production of Sweeney Todd. I wanted to create a statement about the political rhetoric, how a politician becomes a "talking head" and their bodies don't seem to be a part of them anymore. I wanted to portray that concept in a grotesque way to represent the content of the rhetoric. The Sweeney Todd drawing perfectly captured what I was going for - I had the image in my head but wanted to double check my memory by finding a picture on line. Could NOT find it. Seemed it had disappeared from the public record. Ah, but now that the movie with has been released and Johhny Depp is making the rounds on tv with Tim Burton, the 1979 original playbill is readily available.

Although, my experiment is about 18 months old, I unveil my EXPERIMENTAL Big Mouth bead today - inspired by a politician's rhetoric, my disgust with the rhetoric and the original artwork of Sweeney Todd.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Zen of Snow....

Snow storm is on the way and I'm feeling philosophical about not having finished Xmas shopping yet. Every year I wait until the freelance interpreting work falls off before I start shopping, I mean, I need to have $$ to be able to shop, right? This year, my phone is still ringing with offers of work. I finally had to schedule in time and now I'm wondering if I'll have enough time to do all the shopping I need to do.

I'm sure I'm not alone. How many of you are finding yourself in the same situation?

So. let's use this picture as a metaphor - quietly overwhelmed, the buddha is still able to remain calm. I've still got a week!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ornament Thursday: Jingle Spiral

I'm all about instant gratification when it comes to crafts. If you're like me,today's Jingle Spiral Ornament will satisfy your need for craft speed! I used one of my handmade extra long (55mm or 2. 25 inches) flameworked Holiday Ornament Glass Spirals, 20 gauage silver wire and tiny oxidized silver metal bells. You'll need your flush cutters, round and flat nose pliers. (Pictures follow directions.)

Since measuring impedes instant gratification, I used the spiral to figure out how much wire to use. Unwind twice the length of the spiral or about 4.5 inches of wire. Cut using the flush cutters, it will give you a nice smooth end.

Use your round nose plies to make a loop at one end of the wire.

Straighten the remaining length of wire at the neck of the loop. You'll want the ornament to hang straight.

Add 3 tiny oxidized metal beads.

Add spiral.

Make small loop above the spiral.

Use your index finger to make the large loop for hanging the ornament.

Your Jingle Spiral is now ready to hang!

Other crafters and designers are making beautiful ornaments for Ornament Thursday. Hop on over to their blogs and snatch up more ornament projects!

Sara Naumann
Lynn Kvigne
Candie Cooper
Katie Hacker
Margot Potter
Linda Augsburg
Melanie Brooks Lukacs
Art Bead Scene
Polymer Clay Craft Gossip
Alexa Westerfield
Debba Haupert
Elaine Luther
Melissa Lee
Rebecca Peck
Jean Yates
Michelle McGee
Jenny Harada
Jennifer Heynen
Hali Chambers
Kriss Kramer
Brandy Lung Gill

Monday, December 10, 2007

Twelve Days of Projects at ABS

Happy Holidays from the editors of ArtBeadScene! As a thank you to our readers, we, the editors of ABS will be posting the Twelve Days of Xmas Art Bead Projects. Click on over and make that last minute holiday gift!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Worth It to be Cautious?

I'm a cautious person. I don't jump on a bandwagon easily. I tend to be leary of someone hawking the latest and greatest.

So, in the glassbeadmaking world, that translates to not buying the newest color glass which means it is only now that I've really run Effetre's handpulled Opal Yellow glass through its paces.

I tried out the color when it first came out and wasn't impressed with the brownish rods. I put it away for about 8 months and tried it again when they came out with a "baby chick yellow" opal yellow. I was hoping it would stay a pale yellow so I made some test beads. Wasn't quite sure what to do with the opal yellow because the longer it's in the flame, the colors vary between a pale yellow to blush pink. The variations in color within each bead was what stumped me.

Then it hit me one day, I could use the opal yellow and it's variation in color to represent pale, paste-y skin. Voila! Perfect for Goth Kid beads

I know, I know, I know! Most of the glassbeadmakers use the "reactiveness" of the different colors to create lovely and visually stunning beads. I chose to create pale paste-y skin! But only a glass color that will change color based on the amount of time it's heated will allow me to re-create that skin color in glass.

Most recently, I've combined the opal yellow with a blue iridescent glass for a stripe in the spirals. The opal yellow serves as a perfect contrast to the iridescent blue.

Having done all that with the opal yellow, I finally did get around to using the reactiveness in opal yellow - I finally gave in to the pressure of peer conforminity - I used Pink Gold (rubino) glass on the opal yellow to create orange and then again with Orchid (EDP) and copper green to create lines.

Opal yellow is really a fabulous color, was it worth it to be cautious?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blog Work Out

Ok, I've been blogging for awhile now. It's time to change things up a bit, give the blog a work out so to speak. I set myself a couple of short goals - write short, and more interesting (hopefully) posts.

To help myself with my goals, I bought a book entitled No One Cares What You Had For Lunch by Margaret Mason of Mighty Goods. The book is full of idea starters - "fill the gaps," "ante up," "be a sage" - something to get you started and keep your blog worth bookmarking and reading everyday. Afterall, if all you ever do is write about lunch, then you're going to get flabby and you'll need that work out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lighting up and addiction to color

Ah! Now that I've finished the fall theater experience, I can't wait to light the torch! I have to resist running out there right now so I take a few minutes a browse my favorite inspiration sites.

Have you seen Color Addiction? I've "known" Kandice Seeber from the glass boards and remember when she was the newbie. Well, she's not a newbie anymore and is a master of layering colors to broaden the glass color palette. Kandice reviews glass colors and weighs in on each one - I do find myself wishing she would write more about layering colors to create a particular hue like she does with Effetre's transparent lavendar. But that's a minor point - Kandice gives good advice and reviews the colors fully. She's "grown up" to be an admired master of color.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

She's here!

My midrange burner (torch)! She arrived on time and is in my studio just waiting to go! She really makes my minor look, well, minor! I'm glad I decided on the midrange first instead of the Red Max - which is bigger than the midrange. I would have been overwhelmed by the Red Max - the midrange is just right!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is it just me?

Or are you having trouble finding curtains you like? I painted the living room in September and it has been curtain-less since then. Yesterday, so disgusted at having gone without for so long, I bought some chocolate brown lined taffeta curtains at $250.00 for 1 window! I have two in the living room. Yikes! I don't even like the curtains that much!

Have you done that - spent too much money on something for the house and not really liked it that much? Is it just me?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More fire!!

I finally did it! I bought more fire for the studio and here she is....a Nortel midrange with premix top. No, it's not sexy and in fashion, but she's mine and can't wait to meet her next week!

What does this mean for my customers? More beads, more sculpture, boro glass and all faster. YAY!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween at ABS!!

Happy Halloween! Hop on over to ArtBeadScene to add your Halloween art bead creations to this month's drawing. I'm one of the sponsors so there are lots of cool handmade art beads to be had simply for entering an art bead piece.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Variation on a spiral

Here's a variation of the spiral I've been working on. Iridescent blue with unpredictable opal yellow. Abstract and fun!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Time to make the beads....

Busy in the studio making beads. Artbeadscene has a great theme in store for the holidays - gotta make the beads!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Halloween approaches Goth Kid is ready!

Goth Kid looks scary to some but I know Kid's heart is soft.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Off topic post....

Off topic post today - I'm bleary eyed from the events of the weekend and my torch was off for the weekend because of it. Saturday night while my son and his girlfriend were at the homecoming dance at his high school, the phone rang. It was the school calling, my son was hurt and being taken by ambulance to the local emergency room.

It's the worst phone call in the world. It scares the be-jeesus out of you. Thankfully, it wasn't life threatening. He had dislocated his knee when he slid on the dance floor. Spent Saturday night and early Sunday morning at the emergency room while they put him to sleep to push the bone back into place. He's in a soft cast now for the next four weeks.

I didn't feel sleep deprived yesterday but it's caught up with me this morning. No sleeping in today and a late sign language interpreting job tonight. Hopefully, I'll catch up and post a little later in the week.

I did get a chance to post to my crochet blog this past can pop on over there if you'd like!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Beads and books....BeadLit

Beads and there nothing better? I have a huge collection of books (and beads) of all kinds, literature, history, biography, how-to's. A large portion of my library is Bead related literature - BeadLit. I love BeadLit so much, I started twittering the first lines of bead books with a link to buy the book through Each month or so, I post all the BeadLit Twitters on the Beadlit Blog.

Doin' my part to spread the bead-love!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Variation on a theme: Spirals

I toyed with the idea of a spiral-on-a-bead in the bead set I made for last week's Collaboration Exploration (see below). Laura Bracken included the blue/green spiral in her art necklace, Flight of Man and Bridgitte Tucker created her Del Mar series with them. Yet I made this little beauty first. As a prototype bead, I wore it everywhere to make sure the design could hold up to wear before I offered it to my customers. It passed the wear and tear test and I made the spirals for the Collaboration. Now it's time for this one to step into the spotlight!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Collaboration Exploration: Part Deux

A couple of months ago, I coordinated a collaboration between another beadmaker, Melanie Lukacs, a designer, Jean Yates and myself. I had so much fun with that one, that I've been working on another collaboration. Swapping beads with other beadmakers has its perks, you get to work with new beads that always inspire and create wearable art. Can't get much better than that! I swapped a set of spirals with beadmaker/designer, Bridgitte Tucker. Bridgitte sent me a lovely set of her enameled copper stations and links in deep blues and greens. Bridgitte and I teamed up with designer, Laura Bracken, who creates stunning jewelry pieces made with art beads.

Bridgitte and I decided on a color palate and then made a set of beads to send to each other and the Laura. I was so excited when I opened the package of beads that Bridgitte had sent. I haven't had the chance to work with enamel pieces and I was thrilled to receive them. In the package was a set of enameled stations, one large rectangle with holes on each corner and two round stations with a hole on opposite sides. They were a lovely hue of blue on copper with a weathered patina.

I was immediately taken with the patina on the copper that accented the blue enamel.I had made a set of copper double head pins earlier - I like the patina on the copper head pins - a red/purple color that accented the blues in Bridgitte's pieces perfectly. Setting aside the large rectangle enamel for another exciting project, I decided to use one of the round enameled stations.

I strive to create pieces that are symbolic - the glass spirals I create reflect the cycle of one's life - with this collaboration, I wanted to create a pendant that included fundamental symbols so that it had an underlying universality. Inspired by Mary Hettmansperger's Fabulous Woven Jewelry I used the double head pins to create a woven copper station of my own to incorporate and tie the enamel station to a iridescent spiral of green and blue. I repeated the spiral by creating a coil copper bail to hang the pendant from to finish the look and not mix metals.

Without further adieu, today's collaboration is entitled, "Universal Truth."

Thank you, Bridgitte and Laura for joining in on the collaboration! It has been an honor and a pleasure working with you!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Drum roll please....another Collaboration!!

I just can't get enough of collaboration! So, I coordinated another one! Tomorrow I'll unveil the piece I made along with my partners-in-collaboration, beadmaker/designer Bridgitte Tucker and designer, Laura Bracken .

Monday, September 24, 2007

Development: Small dishes

In development for several months - I feel ready to unveil a new line I've been developing - small fused glass dishes. Small 5 inch by 5 inch square dishes to use for sushi, soap, candy or as a catch-all on your desk. This one is made of transparent bronze colored glass with hand applied paisleys. It was fused onto a kiln fabric so the bottom has texture and won't slide on your furniture. It's hard to see in this picture, but the middle of the plate has an impression, a hollow so the edges are higher than the middle - it's not a flat plate but rounded. The bronze allows it to go with any decor. I've done several of these plates and have combined lampworked pieces into them. I'll be posting them over the next week. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 17, 2007

What does a beadmaker do when she's not making beads?

A week ago, I went to Rockin' at the Knox - the annual fundraiser for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Headliner was Elvis Costello - one of my favorite musicians! He performed Green Shirt which he hasn't performed in years - over articulating the "t" and "k" at the end of the words - awesome. The encore was What's So Funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding" a song I've been blaring on my car stereo every morning. It poured that evening - all of the concert goers were soaked but most of us stayed.

My son, the budding photojournalist, took these pictures. Upon arrival at the festivities, he went to the stage and stayed there the entire 6 hours! For me, these shots wer worth it.

The best thing about the concert, though, was that I was standing next to my 15 year old who loved Elvis as much as I did! He was very impressed his Mom jumped up and down and screamed the lyrics along with him. Doesn't get any better than that - I am a lucky person!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fall Colors in a Hollow Focal....

I've succumbed to fall - a hollow bead in olive, kissed with brown frit and drizzled with intense black.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Studio Improvements

Every home improvement project takes longer than expected. I installed new ventilation in my studio - a more powerful fan and added a hood to enclose my work bench. I planned on a few hours one morning and it took the entire day! Now that the ventilation is in, I can order a bigger torch.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I love this

Art is alive and well at the Albright Knox tonight. It's Rockin at the
Knox where paintings come alive! I love this! Art in motion! Good art
coupled with good music. Elvis Costello is playing and its a warm breezy
night. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Goodbye to summer.....

The first day of school always marks the end of summer for me. I feel a little sad today and a bit of excitement. I love it when the days are a bit cooler. Yet the sound of geese flying over my house as I drink my morning coffee makes me melancholy. It's a yearly ritual of mixed emotion regarding the changing seasons. I'm stuck in a transition and transitions are never comfortable but always lead to something new. So I wonder what exciting change this transition will bring me?

What change do you predict is coming your way with the fall transition?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The shoreline....

It's September which means I have to let go of always comes too quickly for me. I was organizing the summer vacation photos and was inspired to create a spiral that reminds me of the beautiful hues of green and blue in the water of Lake Huron.