Friday, 26 December 2008

Price Reductions

It's time to clear out some of my old stock to make way for new glass so I'm having a sale on Etsy and Folksy.

There are great reductions on glass decorations and pendants at Folksy. *Pendants are now half price (reduced from £10 to £5) and glass decorations are £3 for four (reduced from £1.50 each).

Over at Etsy I am having a sale of cufflinks. Reduced from $20 to $15, that's a saving of $5! All cufflinks are made with layers of Bullseye glass and silver plate studs.
Look out for new glass dishes on Etsy and Folksy from January 1, 2009.

* Sale does not apply to all pendants on Folksy, check for SALE item.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Folksy - a New UK Site

This week I joined a new hand made selling site from the UK, Folksy.
Folksy is a Beta site (test) and international shipping won't be available until February 2009 but, from what I have seen so far, it looks good. It has a great selection of sellers including some of my favourites - Buri Boo, Fibrespace and Asking for Trouble. I'm also really impressed with the Making section with tutorials and how-tos and I like the graphics and layout.
However, like all new site there are some teething troubles and I would like to be able to batch my items into sections. But it's early days yet.
Watch this space!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Yet more about collaborations and commissions

My good friend and glass artist Lawatha makes the most wonderful fused glass pendants and her signature designs are beautiful silhouettes in sepia or black on opal glass.

Like most glass artists worth her salt, Lawatha does suffer from copy cats and has found, like most of us, that the internet is not just a great way to get your work seen but it also a great way for others to copy. Now, Lawatha knows that she does not have copyright for "off the peg" designs but it is a bit galling when others use these designs along with her titles and descriptions too.

So I sent Lawatha some drawings I had made of some of MY original artwork so that she could test them and see if they fused onto glass. Here you see my "Circles Tree" design and also "FrouFrou Fish" (our little joke). Like the professional artist Lawatha is, she respects my copyright and has the right to use my designs and sell her glass.

Here is what she made. I was absolutely bowled over by her pendants and I hope they sell really well for her.

If you would like to commission me to draw some original artwork for you please contact me and I'll be happy to discuss it with you.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

More commissions and collaborations

I recently received a request from a customer, via Etsy, to make a dish with a red gingko leaf design fused onto it.

I started with some drawings. Deep shapes cannot be cut into glass unless a Taurus saw is used as it will fracture under the stress. Of course, I don't own a Taurus saw, just a glass cutter and a grinder, so I had to plan where I could make cut lines that wouldn't make the glass leaf look "pieced" together. The final drawing was redrawn in thick black marker pen so that I could see the design clearly through the glass.

I made a prototype of the design in float glass so that I could work out any problems before I committed to the final piece. As you can see, I didn't spend enough time grinding the curved shapes on the leaf and the curves flattened out slightly when fused.

Because this is a flat design (the customer didn't want any additional texture or glass blobs) I wanted the actual red leaf to have some depth so I bought a sheet of streaky red and clear Bullseye glass from my favorite glass suppliers, Warm-Glass UK.

Streaky glass is tricky stuff. The streaks of color are random so it's hard to position the leaf design so that the best streaks are used. I only had one sheet so I couldn't afford to make any cutting mistakes. Of course, the best streaks were in the centre of the glass so I have lots of small pieces left!

I fused the leaf onto opal white and clear Bullseye glass and then slumped it into a dish mold. Fortunately the line between the leaf parts has fused closely together and has not made the deep ridge that you see in the prototype. Next, I emailed the image of the finished dish to the customer and awaited her verdict.

Success! The dish was shipped off to Germany and here is her feedback:

"The dish has safely arrived this morning. Simply great! Many thanks."

Friday, 19 September 2008

Commissions & Collaborations

Working to some-one else's specifications on a commissioned piece of glass can be a either a joy or a nightmare. Fortunately for me, most commissioned glass has been a happy experience.

It helps immensely if the customer has an understanding of the versatility and the limitations of fused glass and that the customer can convey the idea so that I can visualise the glass. The perfect customer is also one who will come back and ask for alterations that are workable and not impossible.

Most of my designs start out with a doodle or a drawing in a sketchbook. If working with color is the main element of the design I use watercolors to translate colors onto the page. Although not a perfect match, the transluscency of watercolor paint is the closest I am going to get to transparent glass. These designs were for a commission for quiltmaker Carolinasquirrell who makes the most amazing strip quilts from the selvedge edge of bolts of cloth. She wanted two sun catchers in transparent colored glass based on the strip quilt design.

After emailing my initial designs and color schemes we finally came up with the design of colors in blocks of three with the metal hanging wires fused at a corner of the glass so that it hangs at a right angle.

Here is the finished design for both quilt sun catchers. They measure 4.5" and are made from transparent Bullseye glass. I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to working with Carolinasquirrell again in the future.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Glass Suncatchers

I'm not sure why these are called suncatchers as there hasn't been much sun to catch this summer in the UK! Perhaps they should be called Lightcatchers.

Each of these glass pieces has been made using both transparent and opaque glass in bright colors. the inspiration for them is, of course, patchwork quilt block patterns. All suncatchers are for sale on Etsy.

Monet's Garden is created from transparent colored glass frit fused onto clear float glass.

Impressionist Garden is again float glass but with glass tangles fused in three colors.

Patchwork Glass is a combination of Bullseye opal glass on clear glass. It has been tack-fused to give ita raised profile.

Last, but not least, Rainbow Glass is a ladder of transparent glass colors on clear glass.
Each glass suncatcher has an ornate copper wire to hang from.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Glass Quilts

Two of my favorite patchwork books are Freddy's House by Freddy Moran and Kaleidoscopic Quilts by Kaffe Fassett. Both books are a feast of color and bold patterns. So patchwork quilt blocks are the source of my glass designs for fall/winter.

Here are some examples of my glass designs in dishes and jewelery. I have used traditional quilt patterns such as Flying Geese, Nine Patch and Pinwheel and combined these with Bullseye glass to create bright fused glass. I have mostly use transparent color glass on white or vanilla opal glass as the transparent colors retain their jewel-like quality when fused. The pendants and earrings are based on the solid quilt block colors of Amish quilts and I have used opaque glass stacked together to create mini-blocks.

Below is a large glass wall decoration depicting a patchwork star. I am making a series of suncatchers that can also be used as wall pieces or hung in the bathroom too.

All this glass can be purchased from Etsy, Shaw Galleries and Keighley Arts Factory.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Gone Fishing......

More fish, fresh from the kiln. These funky fused glass fish are made from Bullseye glass and are such fun to make. Each fish has a wire loop to hang in the window or in the bathroom ort anywhere at all.

Billy the Fish available for sale at Etsy

Monty the Fish available for sale at Dawanda

Tango the Fish available for sale at Dawanda

Simon the Fish available for sale at Etsy

Celeste the Fish available for sale at Dawanda

Ethelred the Fish available for sale at Etsy

Cecil the Fish available for sale at Dawanda

Calypso the Fish available for sale at Etsy

Saturday, 2 August 2008

As I recently posted a tutorial on making accordian books here are a few of the books I have made. They have all been shown in exhibitions.

"My Son Tom" is an accordian book made from brown paper and plant fibre paper with a wooden toggle as a fastener. It measures 3" (8cm) square. The pages are a long strip of plant fibre paper that has been folded three times to form pockets. I made this book when Tom was nine and each pocket contains an item that means something to him.

The first pocket contained 3 coloring pencils but they were pinched when I took the book into a school where I was teaching book making workshops (!) The text reads, Tom likes to draw. The next pocket contains a rusty washer from his collection - He likes to collect things. Then I made a minitaure version of his favorite book, Shadowmancer - Tom likes to read. I illustrated a cartoon of the cat - and he loves our cat. I made two miniature playing cards - Tom enjoys card games and finally popped in a photo of him with a cheeky face - He hates peas!

It was fun to make although, now he's older, I don't think he's too impressed now!

RATS is a passage from Robert Browning's Pied Piper of Hamelin, a poem I learned at school. The paper is standard cartridge that I dyed with inks on wet paper before cutting and gluing the pages together.

I printed the word RATS with wooden block lettering and made the illustrations in relief by sticking the cut out shapes with sticky fixers. The roofs of the houses are pages from an old book that I dyed with ink. The book was so old that the paper began to disintegrate when wet!

The layout for the lettering took a long time as I had to space it correctly. I attached the pages together with wire so that, if the book is not handled correctly, it scratches you - like rats!

The book below is about walking my dog. We take a long, strenuous walk on the moors every day as he needs a lot of exercise.

I started with an old ordnance survey map that I bought in a charity shop and cut out "windows" for each page. The paper is again dyed but this time I dripped acrylic inks onto the wet dyes. Acrylic inks are wonderful - the colors are so vibrant and, being heavier in body than the dyes, will repel the dyes to leave fuzzy edged bright colors.

As this was about a walk in the autumn I took my camera and got shots of the moors, when the heather is very deep purple and the bracken begins to turn gold. I used these images as thumbnails throughout the book. The silver line running along each page represents the path we took, I created it by sponging silver acrylic paint between two torn strips of masking tape, using a damp sponge.

The book pages are stitched together using silk thread that I dyed and then sponged randomly with silver paint. On the cover I made a tiny book with ordnance survey pages. The book measures 5" (13cm) square.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Playing with clay and PotFest 2008

When I return to teaching in the autumn I will be doing some slab building with the pupils. Oh joy! I don't know much about clay (apart from the fact that I don't have the patience for it). So I booked a workshop with my friend and ceramic artist Sally Storr for a lesson in slab building.

So here is my first attempt with clay (don't laugh). It is a vase made by wrapping clay around an empty toilet roll tube and adding a base. I used a plastic mat to impress some decoration and punched the "button holes" with the head of a screw.

Here is a close up of the detail made with the plastic mat. If I make up some paper clay I should be able to fire the children's pots in a barbeque (hopefully). I have five weeks of the school holidays to get it right.
So, all fired up with enthusiam (fired up, geddit)? I visited Potfest at Penrith today. 100 selected potters and ceramic artists showing off their wares. It was wonderful! I could have remortgaged the house just to buy pots if I could. Here is a gorgeous Turtle Dish made by Spring Studios that I bought. Not only is it beautifully designed but I love the attention to detail, such as the feet and handles.

I bought this cat bowl (not for the cat) because it was quirky and fun.

I also love this elephant bowl made from thin porcelain.

So the next Potfest is from August 8 - 10 so I may have to take a visit there too!