Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's Thyme for the First GiveAway for July!

Good morning, Faithful Readers and/or Those-Anxious-for-Free-Beads! I'm a little later than normal posting to the blog. It seems I needed to sleep in this morning!

Over my morning coffee, I took some pictures of my latest addition to the Frost Links - Frost Links in White and Frost Love Links. I think these would look great on a ribbon necklace. A nice wedding necklace, either if you're attending or if you're in the wedding party. What do you think?

Yesterday, I said I'd have a weekly bead giveaway during July in celebration of my anniversary. Here is this week's set of beads, "Glyph Inspired." They are part of the "Glyph Series" beads I made a couple of years ago. I'll be revamping the series this summer so I want to share what I have left of the old ones with you before the new ones come out. I've thrown in some handmade red spacer beads for a pop of color and a few replica brass coin beads for fun.

Here's how you win the beads:

1. Make a comment between today and Friday, July 3rd.

2. I'll put all the names in a hat and draw a random winner on Saturday morning, July

3. Check my blog to see if you've won.

4. If you're the winner, send an email to me with your postal address.

That's it!

Oh, I'll make sure to ask a question so you have something to comment on!

On another subject, I have a small herb garden right outside my front door. Nothing like fresh herbs to cook with! I noticed this morning the thyme is starting to bloom in places. Just before the blooms open, the thyme will be at its most flavorful. It's a good time to harvest it for drying and using it in the winter.

Looks luscious doesn't it? I've got regular thyme and lemon thyme mixed in the same small bed. I love the lemon thyme, just brushing my hand over it releases such a lovely citrus scent. Wish you all could smell it this morning!

While I'm busy harvesting the thyme, leave me some ideas on how to use the Frost Links or tell me how you'd use the Glyph Inspired beads if you won them.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Broadening my Blog-Horizons and More Give-aways.

Can we talk this morning? I have my morning coffee sitting on the kitchen table ready to have some friend-talk.

My blog is designed to be about glass and beadmaking. I've broadened a bit to include jewelry making but I've pretty much stayed away from mixing in personal stories. Starting now I'm going to include a little bit more about me along with the glass.

No, it's not going to turn into a confessional type blog. I will give you a little bit more about the artist behind the blog than I did before.

Why you ask? Because most of the blogs I like to read have a bit of the person's life included - like my new friend ceramic jewelry artist Nancy. I like her mix of everything. And the ever wonderful Margot Potter who writes about craft and life and the occasional feminist manifesto (which, of course, is ever empowering!)

I also realized I've been pretty stingy with the giveaways.

I'm gonna give away alot more stuff starting now.

My wedding anniversary is in July so in celebration, I'll be putting together some Beads 2 Go! boxes and posting them on my blog. Beads 2 Go! will include my handmade lampwork beads and other beads from my stash. I'll draw a winner on Saturday and post the winner. You'll need to check Saturday's post to find out if you've won. You'll need to check and send me the email.

Winners send me an email with your postal address and I'll send you the Beads 2 Go!

Easy Peasy.

A caveat - You'll need to check back to see if you've won. Since I won't have an email or postal address until you send it to me, I can't come looking for you. If you win and I don't hear from you within two (2) weeks from the date it is announced, the beads will be put back up for another giveaway.

Remember, if you're the winner on Saturday, just shoot me an email with your postal address and you'll get your free beads!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009


List in hand, I arrived Thursday to the Rings n Things Bead Tour. Tried to get a good shot of myself outside but seems it's not that easy to take a picture of yourself in front of a sign. I took picture after picture trying to get the sign in but either I was out of the picture or the sign was.

So, since it's my blog, I chose the picture with me in it rather than a great picture of the sign.

A nice "my space" shot isn't it? You're right, I DO need a brush! But who cares about hair when there are beads to be had?!?

I grabbed a tray and made a beeline for the findings, chain and wire tables. I'm a tactile person so I like to touch and see items if I can. If I can't it won't stop me from buying based on good pictures and descriptions but this was a chance to use my sense of touch.

I had chain and navy blue on my list. I loaded up on chain, antique copper, antique brass, rollo, hammered links, plated gold and gunmetal. All just what I'd been looking for.

Next, I sought out navy blue. What's great about The Bead Tour is if you've been to one, you know the floor. The stones are organized by color so I just walked around until I found navy blue. Picked up a few strands of beads trying hard not to look at anything else.

But I had wandering eyes and looked around and before I knew it a pear green colored set of beads caught my eye. I love the combination of pear and chocolate brown. The beads had both colors in one strand of beads. I had to have them.

See - pear and chocolate brown right there! Aren't those beads gorgeous? Ok, so now I decided I had to apply tough love to myself and put my blinders on. I determinedly went straight to the check out line.

But drat!! As I'm moving up in the line, suddenly I'm mesmerized by a sea of....

....RED! Red coral in chunky sizes. I picked up a strand and started to roll the beads around in my hand. I turned first one set then another set in my hand, mesmerized by the organic quality and the color. Red is a mesmerizing color, it will grab your attention and not let it go.

I bought the strand of chunky red coral. The red contrasts nicely with the pear/chocolate stone beads.

When I got home from The Bead Tour, the news reported the death of Michael Jackson. I've written alot about punk, new wave but my musical taste is very eclectic. I love pop music too.

Music highlights your life. A song or video may play in the background and years later you'll hear it and those memories flood back.

I remember vividly one Sunday night when I was in elementary school. I was watching the Ed Sullivan Show with my family and we watched a new group of kids perform. I was mesmerized by all of them and especially the kid who was out front - Michael Jackson.

The Jackson 5 was cool, the music amazing and Michael was a kid like me!

I watched in rapt attention anytime they did a commerical. I watched the cartoon and bought the 45's.

Yep, I wore out "I'll Be There" on the stereo playing it over and over.

I grew up.

Michael grew up.

Then he recorded,"Off the Wall." A perfect album.

Disco, yes.

Perfect, yes.

If you listen now and watch the video to "Don't Stop," yes, it's disco but it's full of energy! Michael's handsome - pre-plastic surgery and you can see the resemblance between he and Janet. Michael was crazy cool.

Don't Stop

The news played the video of the first time he moonwalked - I was watching the actual night he performed, it was electrifying. If you watch the video, the crowd screams because it was so new, so different. There's no other way to express it - ELECTRIFYING.

When things started to go badly for him, I rooted for everything to work out well for all. I rooted for Michael to be better. Afterall, I felt like he was a classmate in a way - the same generation.

When we all move on from this life, I believe each of us prefer to be remembered for the positive energy we put out into the world. "Man in the Mirror" isn't Michael Jackson's highest grossing song yet it's full of hope and heart that we can do good works in the world if we put our mind to it. Like so many of his performances, Michael Jackson is mesmerizing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Making my list and checking it twice....

After work today, I'm heading over to the Rings n Things Bead Tour. I can't go in there willy nilly though. I got to have a list. Afterall, look at some of the beautiful beads they're going to have there.

I love green and blue together using a neutral of brown. Oh and the pearls! Do I need to talk about pearls?!?

Focus, Cindy. Focus!!

I need chain and links. Seriously, I do.

Last month's goody bag from Rings n Things included a couple of hammer copper links like these.

I love them! I need more so I'll take a look to see if the Bead Tour has them. If not I can order them.

I'm making my list and checking it twice. Have you gone to a Bead Tour? What did or what would you buy?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Components, Artbeads, Andrew Thornton, Green Girl and Use The Muse II

I've got lots new components sitting on my design board. I'm starting with my Frosted Links. I love their softness and depth. Now, what to pair them with?

I've just joined the Artbeads blogging partners and have some yummy Swarovski crystal ovals coming my way. The "volcano" crystal is a nice complementary color for the blue-gray Frost Link - or even the Kelp color.

But that's not all I have. I've been talking to the awesome Andrew Thornton about doing a Collaboration Exploration. Andrew is an amazingly talented artist and brother to that superlicious artist, Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios. Andrew sent a handpicked selection of Green Girl components:

How awesome is Andrew? Pretty darned awesome I'd say!

I have one last set of amazing beads on their way to me. I've signed up for Use the Muse II. Can't wait to get the set of beads.

So with all these inspirational components in front of me, I better get to work.

What kind of components inspire you?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Murrini, Russ and Backyard Mud

I've finally made a decent murrini, Folks! I've tried before but most of them came out mushy. At Flame of Mind, I finally made a half way decent one and consider this one my first real murrini:

Not bad for a rookie, huh? Russ seems to approve. (Who is Russ? Check out the Rings n Things blog)

Not satisfied, I wanted to build a complex murrini. Beau built a "on the fly" warming plate out of fire brick and a kiln shelf and away I went. I cut four of the above murrini and created a core. I melted the four pieces into the core and pulled:

The side murrini melted in and became oblong. I didn't have enough of the first murrini to go all the way around the core - I was going for technique. Not too bad for my very first complex murrini.

Russ hasn't weighed in on the complex murrini yet but I haven't heard any complaints!

We've had our backyard dug up for about a month. We spent $10K having a new septic system put in. It's done just in time for The Teen's end of the year pool party. This is the state of our backyard right now:

Potential mud just waiting to happen. Put a few teens in the pool splashing and throwing each other into the pool and you've got mud.

But we've got a hose. They can have mud and then it's the waterhose to clean them off.

I think Russ would approve, don't you?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Making New Friends: Ceramic Jewelry Artist Nancy Schindler

I haven't posted my Corning adventures as quickly as I would have liked but I'm sticking to what my one of my badges says,"Blogging Without Obligation." I'll resist the temptation to apologize.

One evening after the Flame of Mind class, I had dinner with ceramic jewelry artist extraordinaire, Nancy Schindler. We'd met online when I came across her lovely blog, The Rabbit Muse and drooled over her submissions to the ABS monthly challenge. I finally sent her a gushy email (you know how I love to gush!) right around the time I was going to Corning and we set up a time to meet for dinner.

Nancy is a great conversationalist - we started talking and didn't stop until we both had to go. We took a few pictures but I had forgotten my camera at home and only had my cell phone.

First picture attempt, pretty good picture of me but where's Nancy? I didn't snap the right angle to get her in the picture.

Ah yes, here's my usual shot - my eyes are closed and slightly blurry. This is the reason I'm a glass artist and not a photographer! Nancy looks pretty good though. Now if I could only photoshop both pictures together, I'd have one half way decent picture of both of us. If you really want to see us, Nancy has a better picture.

Nancy gifted a set of her lovely Bitten Circle Earrings. I was thrilled to receive them! Red is my favorite color!

Her packaging shows off her work perfectly and you never forget it's a "Round Rabbit" piece of jewelry. If you sell your work, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of packaging.

I had sent Nancy some Ivory Bling Links and she brought me a lovely selection of her ceramic components:

Beautiful aren't they?!? I can't wait to try a few out with my new Frost Links

I had a great time meeting Nancy, talking and sharing! Have you made a new friend recently?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Photo

I'm fascinated with the stone and ceramic decoration on old buildings. Buffalo is a great city for architecture (apparently no one has any money to tear the buildings down and there's no one wanting to re-do the buildings). This is the a close up of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Buffalo.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Learning from The Keeper

Back from Corning and an amazing class taught by Beau Anderson at Hands On Glass. I'm kicking myself for forgetting my camera at home and then not using the camera on my iPhone much. What can I say? I was too busy learning and watching and trying to make beads with new-to-me techniques.

I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures of Beau at work, though. If you ever get a chance to take a class with him or can figure out how to bring him in to teach in your area do not hesitate! He's one of the "Keepers of the Flame" (no pun intended). What I'm referring to is the second generation of glass artists. There are very few second generation glass artists in the U.S. My first set of teachers, Faith Davis Ferris and her Dad, Dave Davis are one.

Beau is another.

The Keepers start early, Faith was at the torch at age 6 and Beau was 7 when his Mom, Sage first taught him.

(The picture below isn't very good - a cell phone camera being what it is - but the stringer he's applying is the diameter of a human hair. He says that still isn't as small as some of the dots made on ancient beads. I believe him but it doesn't diminish the impressiveness of what he can do.)

Beau keeps the flame exquisitely. His work is full of precision and knowledge - if you think that might not translate into beautiful work you'd be wrong. He can do it all and he's happy to show you how too. Beau's the real deal.

I wished I'd had my camera as I stood behind him today when he was repairing a crack in a sculpture he'd made by lighting a hand held torch and healing the crack while the sculpture was in the kiln. It was cool.

Ok so enough gushing - you're probably wondering what I learned or did?

Flamework glass artists always want to know about the torch. What torch did you work on? We worked on Nortel torches in the class, Minors, Midranges, Red Max and Red Rocket (OMG I love that torch but I don't have the oxygen for it!)


Red Max:

Red Rocket: (Beau is pictured above using the Red Rocket)

Drool drool...ooopps sorry. I was looking at the torches.

I worked on a minor and got to make lots of new-to-me beads. The one I'm most fascinated with is the Islamic Folded Bead. I'll elaborate on it later but I'll be practicing that one for awhile. Let's suffice it to say that Beau keeps his students' worst bead to put up in his studio - he says if a student comes to his studio to take a class they'll be able to see how far they've come in their work. My Islamic Folded bead made it to the wall of infamy!

I learned the difference between raking and feathering and how to do it. I also learned bent beads, latticino, lacy latticino, ribbon cane, murrini, complex murrini, off mandrel implosions, three different ways to encase, berries, dots, warring states beads, creating shapes with dots, and lots more.

Remember I said I had to make my own murrini? Well I did!

I'm too tired and exhausted to take pictures tonight, but I will. You know us crazy glass people - when we take a class we go until we drop! Melt glass until you drop! So I'm just plain tired - time to crawl into bed but before I go...

You all know when you go away from work, you gotta pay the price for being away - I've got a long day of sign language interpreting tomorrow. So, I'll stop here and say learning from The Keeper was fabulous - I've got so many ideas swirling in my head now and new techniques!


Have you learned something new from someone?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Creative Re-Energizing: Flame of Mind

It's back to Corning. Today I start a three day class with Sage Holland and her son Beaux at Hands On Glass in Corning, New York. It's part of Flame of Mind - classes before and after the Glass Art Society Conference in Corning.

I've wanted to take a class with Sage since I first started making beads. I never had the funds or wasn't able to travel to Arkansas to take a class. So I'm thrilled to be going. I've been feeling burned out on life lately and hoping this might re-energize the entire me and not just beadmaking me.

Let's all knock wood together right now so that a repeat of last week's trip to Corning won't be repeated! Smile! Knock knock knock!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Corning Made the Best of It - New tools and pens!

As I was telling you yesterday, the trip to Corning was a comedy of errors and I missed out on the trip to Stueben and seeing the early morning demo but I made it to the vendors tent.

There are certain techniques I've taken classes on like marble making, that haven't become part of my studio because I don't have to proper tools. So, ya know what I did don'tcha? Seeing the Infinite Rim Marble Molds developed by Drew Fritts sitting on the Artco table, I made a beeline for it.

Look at that baby! What struck me was how light it really is! I mean light! It looks like it'd be heavy but it's absolutely not. Malcolm was very helpful - thanks, Malcolm.

So now I have the right tool to work on those marbles. It's gonna take some practice, ok, alot of practice but I can't say I don't have the right tool.

I wandered the tent - and came upon the Glassline pen display. I'm always looking for another way to draw onto glass and here it is! I like the idea of water base rather than oil base enamels, easier clean up and if they dry out, easier to re-wet and fire. I loved the option of choosing a custom color set of 14! The guys manning the booth were awesome and very knowledgeable about their product and how it applied to glass.

All in all, I came back with a select group of tools and materials to use. I'm looking forward to putting them to use.

How do you think I did? Have you had to salvage a trip like I did? What did you do?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Corning and Glass Art Conference - Not quite what I planned

I got a late start yesterday. Frankly, when I got the email from GAS conference organizers that they were starting the line-up to watch Thursday's demos at 7am, I knew I was in trouble. Money being tight, I planned to drive down in the morning, very early and get there by 8am. With line up starting at 7 am, I knew I'd end up in the overflow and watching any demo on the big screen in the auditorium.

But the whole day was not what I planned. It started when I left late and hit a detour on the way down - taking much longer to get there. Ugh, but I tried to be relaxed about it - nothing I could do about it, right? Ooohhmmmmm.

I finally got into town. Corning is all about glass - if you're a glassy, how can you not love Corning Glassworks, a company that has a large white chimney with a glassblower on it?

I went straight to the museum because Mickelson was half way through his demonstration. Sure enough, the Magic of Glass Theater was full and I was directed to the auditorium. I couldn't ask any questions or hear the questions asked but it the videocam was tight on him so I got a good look at what he was doing. One of the reasons I wanted to watch Mickelson is he does goblets - I soooooo want to do goblets! After watching him, I want to do photo resist AND goblets! I twittered about the demo but not sure my tweets got out.

When the demo was over, I went out to an info table only to find that I had to walk downtown to visit the registration table. The representative I asked didn't give me very good directions on how to walk downtown quickly because I ended up walking the farthest distance possible!

Arghhhh.....OOOHHHmmmm, right?

Got to see downtown Corning but missed the bus for the PAID tour to the Stueben Glass Factory. Since the tours were all sold out, I wasn't able to hop onto another tour.

#%$#!#%&*!! (Insert your favorite curse words here)

I made the best of it by walking back to the vendors tent. I wanted to buy a new torch - I had settled on a GTT Phantom.

After a little bit of shuffling to get the attention of the GTT people, I found that my generator probably doesn't have enough oxygen purity or PSI to run the phantom - although it's supposed to. Annoys me, I put alot of $$$ into the generator.

Ugh, argh - but I saved $1200 because I didn't buy one.

The Glassline people were really nice - very helpful and no shuffling to get attention. I bought a set of Glassline pens I'll talk about tomorrow. Gotta play with them a bit today.

I walked through the museum and snapped a shot of the Chihuly in the front foyer.

Sighhh...I love glass - don't you?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day Trip to Corning - Go Blogging and Twittering all the way

I'm up and getting ready to drive to Corning to go the GAS conference. I'll be twittering my trip and sending pictures from my blog today. So stop by a couple times today or check out my twitters at http://twittter.com/CindyNG

Gotta get going if I'm going to catch the demo by master flamework glass artist Robert Mickelson!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Inspiration in New Wave

I'm obsessed lately with singing one of my old favs - The Romantics - What I Like About You. It's still a great song with lots of edge. The Romantics were considered "new wave" which according to Wikipedia is:

New Wave is an inexact term for a rock genre that originated in 1976. The term started as applying to punk rock music. It evolved to cover punk based acts that mixed in other elements.

I've been searching around to see if I can find a few good examples of jewelry worn by the "New Wavers" (of which I was one). Skinny ties, sneakers with a suit for guys but been having trouble with the girls. I found this one - How to Look Punk: The New Wave of Sound and Style

Looks like a chain belt and/or some charms hanging from a chain - aren't those back in style now?

Anyhoo - it may or may not lead to any inspired beadmaking on my part but I have The Romantics blaring in my studio and I still remember when to clap and yell, "Hey!"

Got a harmonica anyone?

Monday, June 08, 2009

What's Ahead....

I'm hoping to settle into a schedule this summer that will give me more creative time. My backyard is still dug up and it's a few days before I'll be enjoying the Glass Art Society's Conference in Corning. I've been looking at the program for Thursday, June 11 - I want to watch the flameworking demos by some of the Italian masters - like Cesare Toffolo. Take a look - it's amazing work!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday's Photo

At the high school art show opening night, I was able to twist The Teen's arm to get this snapshot - it's a little blurry but it's the best I got!

I love that kid!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Experimenting with new media to mix with my glass

I'm jumping with both feet into different media to mix with my glass this week in anticipation of next week's trip to the Glass Art Society's conference. I know lots of you are into the scrapbooking phenomenon. It wasn't a craft I jumped into. Love all the stuff but a packrat like me can't start accumulating paper - it's just an reason never to clean! But I have a few things here and there - like the alcohol inks I used for the post "Glue is not my BFF" and the stamps I used on my packaging DIY style.

So this is what's on my dining room table (what? you don't think I'd eat meals at a perfectly good craft table do you?!). What do you think I'm going to make with it?