Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Studio Upheaval

Everything is in the process of moving in my studio right now! We are re-arranging the whole place - the tables where we torchwork are moving to new spot, the kilns are doing a dance number, the office is moving clear to the other side of the place, and right now its just kinda scary and fun all at the same time.This is a view of the front door (on the left side of the picture above) . Its a bit crazy coming in the door at the moment. But after the pile moves, there will be a nice new greeting area and the guys' desks will be up front. Happy smiling faces to greet you at the door!
The guys put the big kiln on a pallet jack and parallel parked it in its new location. That was pretty exciting! :)
And here this cute artist is just beading away with all the moving going on around her! Its just a creative kinda place!


Fortunately I had some shipping to come back home to. I did A LOT before I left town. And I made some new business contacts while I was away. Today I spent a few hours shipping my artwork.

I like shipping. Its a bit hectic and time consuming though. But I make it fun, including little freebies, sometimes a story, always a sticker or two. I like getting good mail, and I hope to think I send out good packages.

This is a snapshot of my packing station in action today.

Monday, October 29, 2007

4 Uses of a Shop Vac

This weekend the Portland Crew had brought air mattresses with us to sleep on in the labs in NY... on Friday night Amy missed her train to Boston and ended up sleepin' over at the spot with a few of us - we had plenty of airmattresses for her to use but no functional pumps to blow them up with (snafus - one of them had no batteries, the other was dead...) so we tried the ever-handy ShopVac. Dang this worked well! This picture was taken in the moment, it took all of one moment for the mattress to become completely inflated. Awesome, if I say so myself :)

And earlier that evening we had learned 3 other new uses for the ShopVac from our other fellow NW invaders of the EtsyLabs - Majestic. They made this video about their favorite non-conventional uses of the ShopVac - and man this video makes me laugh! Check it out:

So there ya go - 4 new brilliant uses for the ShopVac:
1. Foam Party
2. Confetti Blower
3. Sky Guy
4. Instant Air Mattress Inflation

who said you have to clean with a ShopVac :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Im in NY!

I am in NY. I am at EtsyLabs. Trunk Show! Oct 26th 6-8pm

For Pictures of our weekend, check out the PDXEtsy Blog

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good Weather!

I dare say this is INCREDIBLE WEATHER! Late October, yet so beautiful and sunny that I had to pull over the car and take a picture of Mt. Hood in all its glory. The mountain appeared so crisp and beautiful, with the new first snow of the season. (2 days ago it was pouring rain)

I also love this picture because its got the Airport in the foreground - tomorrow I am flying out to NY. I'm all giddy with excitement.

Glassworks Tour

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Today I took a small group on a tour of the Northstar Glassworks factory in Tigard (just south of Portland Oregon).

Abe and Nancy welcomed us with open arms and gave a great tour. Thank You!

We got to see where they make the furnaces and the chemistry behind the mixing of the glass - and then the most fun for me:

the hot furnaces full of beautiful colors!

Northstar Glassworks makes some of my favorite colors in borosilicate glass rods. Blue Moon and Amber Purple (both amazing colors!) were a hit on the tour. We watched as a hot batch of Blue Moon became rods, and Amber Purple is always a super star!

The glass manufactoring in Portland, Oregon is truly amazing. Northstar is one of 4 companies that produce colored glass materials here in town. Portland is a glass town - and I LOVE living here!

They take a hot pot of colored glass, stick a rod of clear glass down into the surface, pull up and out and a trail of hot color will follow, the glass is pulled out (carefully adjusting the height of the rollers to control the diameter of the rod) in one continuous trail of hot yumminess, until the bottom of the pot has been reached.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Online Scavenger Hunt

This is Betsy

Until Oct 26th there is an online scavenger hunt on

If you can find Betsy (she was made by one of the artists flying to NY for the PDXEtsy Trunk Show on Oct. 26th) convo her location to PDXteam.etsy

For a list of shops to look in: go to

The prize: one lucky winner (randomly selected from all the correct answers submited) will be mailed a gift bag of wonderful handmade goodness by artists living here in Portland Oregon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Japanese Gardens

rock wall
Originally uploaded by LeahPellegrini
It was raining today - beautiful day to visit a famous Portland retreat: the Japanese Gardens.

I love how this picture turned out.

Every orange tree called out to me to take a picture of it! I posted some of my pictures on flickr. The Japanese maples are currently dripping with orange and red.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wedding Mobile Part II

These mobiles are a collaboration with my friend Aimee.

She made the glass, I assembled the mobiles.

The glass pieces were made by picking thru my scrap pieces and collecting up bits of certain colors, and then fusing flat sheets of those colors. Some friends of Aimee's are getting married this weekend and these two mobiles will be for them. Cool tones for the husband, warm tones for the wife.

Aimee has been helping me out at the shop, one of the jobs she has been tackling is my scrap glass - going thru it and sorting the colors, separating it by size and shape. It was fun to then take the left-over tiny scrap pieces and melt them into sheets of beautiful warm and cool colors. The shapes, circles and triangles, were then cut out of the flat sheets of melted color.

Aimee and I agree that they turned out great! Theres more pictures of em' on my flickr account.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Foutain Battle

Location: Skidmore Fountain
Portland Saturday Market, Portland OR
Time: Saturday Morning

I happened upon some promotional shenanigans this morning - quite bizarre really - a fountain full of soda pop.

Actually let me back up - because first there was a strange experience...
Unloading my booth from storage I always pass some unique homeless people that are up early with all their stuff and usually really grumpy... this morning there was one skinny old man with a backpack on carrying his entire life and bed - and he was happily drinking a Sierra Mist, looked like he had had two - and he had an entire case at his feet. I thought to myself - who gave this man a case of Sierra Mist first thing in the morning? And why? How strange.

Then as I was pushing a cart full of my stuff to my spot, I could tell there was something going on around or in the big fountain. There seemed to be more shenanigans as usual, especially for this early in the morning. After ditching my booth I walked over there and took some pictures - I always bring a camera with me to the Portland Saturday Market, because it seems there is always something strange or wonderful to take a picture of.

The story is this: Sierra Mist is doing a promotional campaign some sort of deal where they fill fountains accross the country with ice and this new Sierra Mist that is entirely chemical and no real sugar at all - zero calorie kinda thing. Then they take video of people around it and I think they are making a documentary or marketing video of some kind.

There was a green sign that said "Fountain Battle:choose a fun clear zero-calorie beverage that makes fountains more useful"

I found it strange - and personally - I say just drink water.

But regardless - I enjoyed the strangness of it all - and they seemed to put a lot of work into this project.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wedding Mobile

Currently I've got a few wedding presents in the making - the one pictured to the right: the customer had a poem that her friends had chosen for their wedding invitation - I wrote the lines of the poem on the glass pieces, and then the back of the red piece with the flowers on it has their name and the date of the wedding. The white piece I signed on the back.

(this is how it reads on the glass)
Two lives
two hearts
joined together
in friendship
forever love.

I'll post more later about another wedding project I've been working on with a friend of mine! Its spectacular!

I like the symbolism of a mobile with a wedding present - its colorful and personal and people love them because we all had them as babies, so when we look at them instinctively we feel relaxed and happy (like a baby waking up in the morning - or at least thats my theory) . The movement and kinetic nature of the mobile is like life itself, and definitely like marriage - its constantly changing and always beautiful. Its a good reminder there is always balance in life.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holiday Retail

Originally uploaded by Miss Purl
Time to get my ducks in a row!

My brain is thinking, to-do lists are growing.

Christmas shows, Trunk shows, Local shows, oh and I'm doing a show at the beach too...

I am not one to appreciate getting into the holidays MONTHS in advance - but honestly, the holiday season in retail is a whole snowball in itself - if you don't start rolling early it ends up pitiful. If I can get the momentum going months in advance, this snowball can turn into an avalanche.

Good Stuff

I like skin glue.

4 of my fingers have fresh new cuts on them (little ones - I was cutting glass today) Skin Glue is my product of choice.

The stuff is great - seals those pesky glass cuts right up - no more bleeding - just like a band-aid BUT EVEN BETTER! With skin glue on you can wash your hands and take a shower, etc. You can even use skin glue to paste down painful catching hang-nails.

Skin Glue saved me some stitches once when some glass I was holding shattered and a large sharp piece severed that little web of skin between my thumb and index-finger. I held myself together, glue my hand back up - and it was totally healed in about a week. Amazing.

Its super glue - in a different package - and the marketing works for me. I wouldn't superglue a cut back together - but I would use Skin Glue anytime!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Latourell Falls - October Hike

upper falls
Originally uploaded by LeahPellegrini
Walking is good. Hiking is even better!

We drove up in to the Gorge this afternoon and took a hike. Awesome. The trees are changing color and the air is crisp. It was lovely.

There was a sign at Latourell Falls (where we went hiking) that told about how the Gorge National Park is the first land ever set aside by the Nation as a recreational park - back in 1915. And it is absolutely gorgeous - full of hikes and waterfalls. For miles up and down the boarder of Oregon and Washington there are amazing hikes to check out. Its a great playground.

NY Trunk Show

I have been preparing for some fall shows - much including a NYC Etsy Trunk show! Very exciting stuff. The Portland Etsy Team of artists that I belong to - fondly known as PDXEtsy - is flying out to NY as a group to do a show. There is a group from Seattle meeting us there as well and putting on a Halloween reptile parade and fashion show. Our team is also going to show our work at the Brooklyn Indie Market that weekend and then back to the EtsyLabs for a big media blow-out Halloween bash, where we are setting up our work with the Etsy team to showcase a mini marketplace of Etsy sellers. Whew - that was a mouthful!

Heres the details:
Date: Friday, October 26th
Time: 6-8pm fashion show is from 8-10pm
Halloween Party is Saturday Night
Location: 325 Gold St, 6th Floor
Brooklyn NY
go to for more details

we will be doing contests, sales and give-aways leading up to the show - so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Travel Network at the Portland Saturday Market

The Travel Network visited us at the Portland Saturday Market this morning.... it was a thrill. After I got done setting up my booth I ran around the market stalking them to get a picture of them taking pictures.

First thing in the morning they set up right in front of my booth to take some stock footage with one of our staff talking about the market. I would say its because my booth in the background looked so damn good... but I wasn't even set up yet! They got there early! But I did have my sign up on my booth by the time they were filming(just no artwork up yet). So if you ever see the PSM featured on the Travel Network you might see my red sign in the background that says "Leah Glass".

The PSM needs all the publicity we can get right now. You see our home "Old Town" (a part of downtown Portland Oregon right on the waterfront) is the site of some major development. Ahh gentrification. Usually artists get squished out in this process, but our 30+ year old artist market is a huge tourist attraction for the area - actually its the #1 tourist attraction in downtown Portland! So the city is excited to dub us the "biggest catalyst" for the neighborhood and the Portland Development Commission Parks department is designing the new waterfront park (where the "Big Pipe Project" has had the park under construction since 2004) to turn into the Portland Saturday Market on the weekends. It will be beautiful! Visible from the river, part of the city landscape with the bridges and the boats and our craft booths. I'm stoked.

Portland Saturday Market
Originally uploaded by kafetzou

But construction is not scheduled to be finished until 2009 and our current site will be a hole next year - literally construction will have begun on the new Mercy Corp building where our food court currently resides.

There are interim plans, something about the city shutting down traffic on two lanes of Naito Parkway and letting us occupy the Road as well as the adjacent park and some of the space under the Burnside Bridge. It should be interesting. Personally I am looking forward to 2009 - we will look amazing then... but 2008 will be more transition... and probably hard on the artist's businesses that have previously thrived here.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Craft My Ride

I submitted an entry into the Scion Craft My Ride competition.

The little guy is a tad smaller than usual (I thought this would be cute for the Scion style) and simple just primary colors - and then a splash of black and white - the white glass piece is embellished with the Scion logo.

Hope and good-luck (and positive thoughts!) will potentially make this little creation of mine a finalist... I'm wishing for the best!

If you like what you see and would like to purchase a mini mobile from me for your car (I make them in custom colors!) check out my Etsy store!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Torchworking Glass is Fun

Today I was at the studio chit chatting and torchworking. For months now the weather has been beautiful and I've been having tea time in the park every Thursday. Today it was cold and potentially very rainy, so we had to migrate indoors. But we had a damn good time - took over the torchworking table, lit up the flames and made glass beads! I always love tea time, and this was certainly a blast - a flamey blast of good times!

I made hearts, little pocket size glass things with small indentations on them - like worry stones, so you can rub your thumb in the indentation. They are for an upcoming Candle Lighters fund raiser here in Portland. Danielle and Aimee made beads, Elaine made some vortex marbles and Mary made some glass pendants. Megan stopped by as well to chit chat Etsy - Ryan's workshop at Trillium last week was really inspirational for a lotta people. Its always fun to talk about how we are each improving our little Etsy shops.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Torchworking Classes

I have an intro to Borosilicate Glass class today - thats learning about working with Pyrex glass using a torch - its fun stuff! - and then in the evening I'm doing a rain-check class in making geckos - like the cutie-pie pictured below. I made him!

I'll take some pictures and share them later on tonight. Both are fun classes.

Anyone can join me in class anytime, check out the Aquila Glass School website for descriptions and a calendar... or go to your PCC class roster and sign up thru them (same price)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Circle Cutting in Glass:

There are many different tools out there on the market... currently I use the Silberschmidtt Repetitive Circle Cutter. And I use my own custom technique, its a little unconventional - but its fast and simply awesome :)

if I say so myself - ha!

Okay - I 've made a little slideshow - basically the heart of this technique is using a big paint bucket, and smacking the glass after you've made the score - this "smacking" (aka breaking the glass) technique works great with this German scoring tool The Silberschmidtt scores at an angle that enables this - all you have to do after making the score, is shock the glass violently and the circles fall out. No running pliers, no grouzing, no grinding - and even better, if you use a bucket to induce the "violent shock" the mess is minimal, all the scraps end up in the bucket - all you have to do is pick up the circles and clean them off.

Important Safety Note:Of course if anyone is reading this and planning on trying out this technique for themselves, do so at your own risk. I take no responsibility for the foolish unconventional methods I utilize :)

Efficiency makes me happy - the less you handle each piece of glass and the less to clean up - the more I can get done with less cuts and splinters! I cut over 100 circles yesterday, cleaned them and got some of them into the kiln, took about 2 hours of my day. Then I had a class in the evening teaching an introduction to glassworking with Pyrex Glass. Yummy!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Current Project


I just put together a mobile that is a colaboration with a friend and fellow artist that works at the Aquila Art Glass studio .

Meet Leslie Natraj

Her daughter is an amazing young emerging theatre star - and this piece was created in honor of her dance explorations for a fund raiser at the Westside Dance Academy. Proceeds go towards sending a talented group of dance students to New York this coming summer

Tickets can be purchased at Westside Dance Academy or at the door the day of Performances, Dec. 8th 2007.

I really enjoyed making a mobile with the flat panels. Each vivid red panel has a different unique jumping across it. Love it - turned out great!