Monday, September 27, 2010

Pictures of Bubbles

I love how bubbles make kids so happy! It seems pretty universal. Tim's 1year old nephew loves bubbles - he chirps "ba-bles!" and laughs at them. We are visiting him this week and I have been enjoying taking pictures of all his cuteness. Tim's Dad was asking if pictures of bubbles turn out very well and I told him I'd post some on my blog :) because they really do! Especially at night with a flash (as can be seen above)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Early Fall Weather

The weather was incredible yesterday - I took a bunch of pictures outside the front of my house... the sun was shining so brightly that I had to come outside and capture the moment. A happy cat, some beautiful flowers... my cherry tomatoes: they are so delicious - but why now? Its almost October and they are just now excellent and turning orange at a rapid pace. I shouldn't complain, but it really has been a strange year for tomatoes in Portland. What really lured me outside with my camera was the mobiles I have hung in front of the house. They were glowing and dancing in the breeze. The shadows on the walls were almost more beautiful than the mobiles themselves!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pictures from Stumpsucking

Above and below are pictures of the same little octopus - above you can see it is encased in clear glass and made into a paperweight, below is what it looked like beforehand. So exciting. The picture above was taken spur-of-the-moment... so it leaves some to the imagination... you'll just have to believe me for now that it turned out pretty great and totally 3D inside the paperweight.
And now for some action shots! I was having fun with my camera while Brandyn sweated and did all the hard work :) Until my camera battery ran out...
Here I am setting up for the sucking... we preheated the little things in the pipe-warmer on a metal plate... nothing fancy but it seemed to work great. Also preheated the stumpsucker with a hand torch that you can see resting on the table.Brandyn seemed to need about a 2 dip gather to pick up the little things in this 1 1/2" stumpsucker. It was actually quite easy (although to be fair he did all the work!)can you see the octopus inside this glass in the picture below? This is after another dip was taken over the encasement...After some shaping with a neat steel marble mold we turned them into paperweights and put them in the annealer. It was pretty cool... I look forward to doing it again. More pictures to come of the finished paperweights... I am going out of town (visiting Tim's family in PA) and I won't get to play more with this until I get back (including taking pictures of the finished paperweights).

Studio Pictures: Sorting Scrap and Other Fun Things

Its been a fun week of lots of glass activities... I emptied my camera and found a few gems to share... these first two pictures are of some new help that has come my way. A friend from the studio suggested I hire her friend's son to sort my scrap. He is young and very interested in glass, so he was quite excited to get the opportunity to get involved at the studio and do whatever I may need for help. I had them sort scrap, its my least favorite thing to do, but I gotta do it, I have over 100 lbs of scrap that needs to be used and turned into art! So that is what he did. And he brought a friend with him (they took the train to the studio) and the friend is in a local arts magnet school (hes into photography and likes the idea of taking pictures of glass art) and the two of them dug thru my scrap.

The first thing I did was make them sign waivers (its a public access studio, we make everyone sign waivers. Oh and I told them not to hurt themselves) and the first thing they did was set up one of their little phones to play music for themselves and then immediately got down to it and attacked a bin of red scrap. They filled yogurt cups with these bits and I was really pleased (you never really know if help is going to be good until you know) - they plowed thru at least 10lbs of red scrap in just a coupla hours. Awesome. Very useful for me. Other people in the studio caught wind of what they were doing and started mumbling "Wow, I have a lot of scrap - wanna sort mine!?" and I heard the two boys high-five each other and the sheer potential. I thought that was really cute :)
Next in my pictures is Miss Amy at the studio making a marble. Check it out - she set up her laptop next to her with the webcam on and streamed herself making a marble! She used U-Stream and said there were at least 5 people watching her. I thought this was fantastic! What a great idea. I'll have to use this concept at some point...
Last picture is just silliness :) I brought my label making machine with me to the studio and started labeling things like crazy. Most notably I put all my little wires and whatnot that are cut to specific lengths in little drawers and labeled the drawers. Its wonderful. Before I kept the wire in little baggies, I like this new system much better. Reminds me of playing with Legos when I was a kid. My engineer father kept our Legos (actually we were always told they were his legos, not ours) in drawer sets like these and each drawer was labels "2x2" or "1x3" and so on. When we played it was mandatory that we cleaned up after ourselves by taking the Legos apart and sorting them into the appropriate drawers. (I thought this was how all kids played with Legos!) There was ever a drawer for the little Lego people labeled "body parts".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stumpsucking Today

Today I am stumpsucking some glass! Okay, yes, that does sound funny. I agree :)

Above is pictured a sad and shocked little tiny frog that I made and tried to encase using a tool called a "Stumpsucker". This little guy was made years ago. Today I am dusting off the ol' tool and trying again! This makes me very excited. I had to blog about it!
Here is another sad sorry attempt at encasement with the stumpsucker. This orange lady looks terrible now and she is covered in bubbles. If the object I am encasing is too cold, bubbles will get trapped. Too hot and she morphs and distorts as the clear glass encases her.
This is what the tool looks like. The black piece of graphite with the hose coming off it is the stumpsucker itself. I attached it to a tripod and put some silver Kevlar stuff around the rubber hose... its a strange and annoying tool. Too small and too awkward to really get the job done. We'll see how it goes today! I'll be sure to take pictures and share afterwards as well.
The inside of the stumpsucker has a plate with holes... so you put your little glass intricate thing in the cavity and get a gather of glass and basically suck that hot clear glass down around your little object. Simple eh? Hard to master.
Previously I have tried to work with borosilicate when playing with my stumpsucker. Today I am trying softglass. Specifically 96coe. Here is a collage picture of my little handful of things that I made up to encase. The beetle turned out stunning (if I say so myself!) and a few things lost some legs... but you know. Its stumpsucking DIY time. The name of the tool is funny and the process is humbling... but I love making little intricate things, putting them into paperweights would be a dream come true.

Years ago when I purchased the tool I tried a few times and got frustrated. Put it in a box and walked away. A few days ago a friend from Aquila mentioned they were wanting to try this and didn't know anyone with this tool - I lit up at the opportunity and made some quick plans to give a whirl this afternoon. Very exciting stuff. I am meeting up with Brandyn down at Elements glass (where he teaches intro to glass blowing classes) to attempt to stumpsuck our little creations.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Etsy Shop Maintenance

It all started so unintentionally... I was making some orange mini mobiles and I opened up my Etsy shop to make sure I was making the color combination for the listings there online... I typed in "Orange" to the search engine on my Etsy shop and was shocked to see I had no orange mini mobiles listed there at all! Wha?! Crazy oversight on my part. I love orange. I have an orange mini mobile hanging in my car right now. Quickly I fixed this lack of orange in my Etsy shop. And I made a collage of some orange mobiles that I love making :)
While I was in my Etsy shop, it seemed time to do some maintenance. I am trying to prune and get it spiffy... call it holiday prep... call it shop up-keep... I cleaned up the text on my listings last week. Today I went thru and listed a few things.

Heres what I did: I went into my shop and typed "Red" into the search field, looking at my listings by color showed me what I had overlooked. I went thru and uploaded what I could and also now I know there are a few pieces I need to photograph. By searching my shop for each color of the rainbow I was able to really fill in the gaps. It was a great way to look at my online catalog from a different perspective.

Last week I also pruned the Bike Nutz Etsy shop :) Now it looks all colorful and fun!!

Sometimes I just buckle down at the computer and get it done, happens at random times, but I quite enjoy it.

I like a colorful catalog. And I find that looking at things from a different perspective really sheds light onto a project in phenomenal ways. For a while I was using the "rearrange" feature in the Etsy catalog, which made me really know what I had listed and keep on top of things... but lately I have not been making the time. To save time, this little trick of searching my own catalog with their search engine was a quick opportunity to spiff up my shop and fill in the blanks!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Booth at the Portland Saturday Market

I was in the mood to take pictures this Saturday, so I documented a bit of what it is like to set up at the Portland Saturday Market. I love the imagery of this place, and I've taken pictures in the morning down here many times, but not really of the actual process of setting up... I've done this every weekend for 8 years now... so here ya go...
here is Mr Tim pushing my cart. Lately he has been able to join me in the morning setting up my booth before he goes to work - Thanks Tim! The yellow cart he is dragging is one of a half dozen or so carts that the market supplies to help vendors haul their stuff around the site. They are great! Sometimes its a challenge to find one to use, but its worth it. I have a few carts of my own to supplement though... you can't depend entirely on the PSM carts, there are hundreds of other vendors who also want to use them.
see here my booth is strapped to a cart. I wheel it out and set it up while Tim is dragging the rest of my stuff out from storage. This storage space is literally under the sidewalk on the South West side of the Burnside Bridge. The walls are wet with water that seeps through the concrete sidewalk. Its old and really pretty gross. Mold, yes. Rats, sometimes. Floods, I've experienced 2 in my 8 years. There is more storage in this building in the Shanghai tunnel space that is directly underneath my storage. Its awesome. Old historic creepy spaces. This is the basement of the old building that was once a brothel in Old Town Portland. The PSM office spaces are on the bridge level floor and most of the rest of the building is storage. I think the building is haunted by one of the old prostitutes that used to work in the brothel. Story goes that she tried to blow the whistle on the people being Shanghaied (between 1850-1941 people in port cities were stolen and sold to sea captains as labor - on the west coast Portland surpassed even San Fransisco in numbers of men Shanghaied) and so the prostitute was Shanghaied! She was never seen again and I think she haunts the place now! Currently a handful of artists store their market stuff (retail display stuff and whatnot, we're not allowed to store product in this storage) in this Shanghai tunnel space. Its really fascinating to me!
here is the big cart getting loaded up with my stuff. Tim built me these wooden pedestals, I love them. I use them as storage as well as retail display furniture.
here is my stuff ready to be pushed from my car to the booth. This little folding cart is wonderful. Its from Costco, its very light and it folds up real small... best part is its sturdy and holds lots of weight.
the market in the morning is an interesting site of people setting up their booths...
this coffee booth has been at the market for decades, serving warm beverages to the masses with handmade syrups and fresh local roasted beans...
heres my booth all ready to go
and what it looks like from where I sit...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kiln Moving Day

Huge big thanks to my friends for helping me move my new beast. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Especially Yed - you rock! I am forever in your debt. Seriously.
I thought it'd be fun to just make a slide show of the pictures I took while my new baby got moved into its new space. Getting it in the truck was so exciting (a fork lift picked it up), driving it to Aquila and dropping it off was no problem (thanks to Yed!), but then it had to be picked up and moved across the studio and upstairs(stairs had a corner, and there was a corner in the studio that was really tight). WOW. Its big and its black - its simply awesome. I've never seen one exactly like it and I love it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Images from my day...

I thought it'd be fun to just share some images from the last few days... I take a lot of pictures :)
these colorful plates are at Bullseye, I was there lingering while shopping for my new kiln... the colors made me break out the ol' camera while waiting
I love taking pictures of bright colors and interesting textures... flowers... and interesting things...
Earlier in the day I was down at the Lan Su Chinese Garden for tea with a friend
the garden is having a 2 for 1 admission deal for the month of September - check it out!
The lotus flowers in the lake are blooming right now... its a perfect time of year to visit the Chinese Garden
The tea house at the Garden is so amazing. Even the pots they store the tea in are beautiful.
Back at home I washed some pieces... found these pictures on my camera...

this is the mobile hanging in the car I share with Tim - my orange dancer
one picture from this past weekend: this was a tub of pieces I brought with me on Sunday to keep my hands busy... pieces to make a few mobiles...
and here is a picture of my new shop space with both tables assembled - 6 feet square of awesome tables!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My New Kiln

pictured above is the Pearl 20, I bought the Pearl 22 - it is 22" in the inside dimensions

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Article on IHeartArt: Portland

Check out the article I wrote for the IHeartArt:Portland blog (click the image above to read more) - it gives a little advice I've learned over the years on how to sell your work to shops and galleries. How to follow up a good lead - that is what it is all about.

I have worked in galleries and taken business classes on how to sell my work. I am full of good tips and techniques that I have learned over the years. There is an art to contacting a retail buyer. Most artists are pretty awkward in presenting their own work, a little diligence and self confidence goes a long way.

So to read more, check out my article:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day of Work in the New Space!

Thought I'd share some pictures from my first day of work in the new space!
I've moved my glass upstairs (WOW what a workout. I have a lot of glass scraps. hundreds of pounds)
And I began arranging stuff on the new shelf I set up... and then I got a bit of work done (consuming some of that color scrap!)
The view in this picture is what it looks like from the balcony I am working on. Its a great space. I love it. I foresee hanging another mobile up there soon :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Studio Space

I am moving into new studio space - the shop that I teach at, the Aquila Glass School, is renting out some upstairs space to myself and a couple of friends. Its a great space, and Don is fantastic to work with.
The electrician is coming on the 15th to put in all the power lines (4 kilns and two big lights). I had Tim help me build crates to hold the glass (and Amy already had the amazing crate shown above). I forgot to take pictures of the space with the new stuff in it. Today I picked up great shop tables to work on (thank you craigslist). Its been sorta intense, everything is heavy and this is an upstairs unit. Next week my goal is to pick up the kiln I am purchasing at Bullseye and get it up there. Anyone strong and burly want to help? Sheesh. I am dreading getting it up there. Today I picked up the cement board to line the surface that will hold the new kiln. So I am ready, just nervous of moving a kiln that weighs over 300lbs up a flight of stairs that turns in the middle. Yuck. I am hoping I can take the lid off the kiln and that way we only have to move 2 lighter and smaller pieces. Of course this royal "we" doesn't really include me - lets be real - honestly its Tim and who-ever else big-and-strong I can sweet-talk or pay to help heave this beast. :) A friend of mine rented 4 big burly movers when she bought a Paragon. They came in, they moved the thing, they left. It was awesome. Made it look so easy. C'ept she had to pay them for 4 hours (when in took 20mins) to make it "worth their time". hm...