Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Slumped Melted Glass

This is my favorite experiment so far... the results are all mine! I will keep it and eat out of it and cherish this. Some things are meant to be kept and this is why I love successful experiments! Its kind of heavy, dunno if I can fix that in future melts. I have some theories to try. They simply turn out very thick. Lets just say they are super sturdy :)
This bowl was made from scrap, melted thru a screen, cooked into a good looking circle and then slumped into a mold. Voila. My new bowl.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Draped Melted Glass

First I melted a pile of glass scraps thru a screen to form a round flat puddle.

Then I re-fused the glass (to level out any bubbles that had come to the surface and popped which leaves sharp edges).

Finally I draped the glass over a metal milk shake container to obtain this sort of ripply vase effect...
I thought it would make a nice lamp shade (although its small, maybe 8" around and only 6" tall) because it looks incredible when its lit up like this... allows all the swirls and ripples in the color to pop...

So I went to Ikea and perused the lights, I thought I'd find something to take the shade off and use this instead (maybe drill a hole in the center of the glass to put a light fixture thru) but no luck. Very disappointing. But I didn't walk out totally sad, instead I purchased some striped fabric covered hat boxes and a few over-sized glass canning jars for other irrelevant craft purposes... Next I will check out the Re-Building Center, as they might have something older and unique that would fit the bill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


They call themselves "Avante-garde dirty gypsy klezmer jazz indie anti-folk rock!"

This band plays almost every weekend lately down by Ankeny Fountain. Street music at its best! I can hear them from where I am selling my artwork at the Portland Saturday Market, they make my mobiles dance (and maybe me too!). This Saturday I flagrantly abandoned my booth to take this video. Luckily I have good neighbors to make sales for me while I was gone :) Thanks!

They make me smile.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pictures from the Glass School

its a slideshow - press play

Aquila Glass School

1628 N Columbia Blvd, Unit A - Portland, OR 97217

This is where I teach torchworking classes - look how much fun people are having! I love this place.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Melting Scrap Glass into Art

Meet my new kiln tool - its called a screen melt system. Basically you melt glass thru the screen and it puddles in the form below. My new friend Steve made this for me, its awesome and I have been having fun experimenting with it.
The idea is simple: melt glass thru the screen and the right balance of clear and color will create chaotic patterns in the finished puddle of glass. I have hundreds of pounds of scrap glass accumulating and this screen melt system could be a way of transforming it into beautiful art.

Here's what I've been doing in my kiln experiments...

- first I weigh out the glass so that the scrap used will equal the volume I want in the finished puddle (I have been using about 800grams to make a 9"plate)

- then I transfer this scrap onto the screen in the kiln (I have prepped the screen by laying fiber blanket against the steel of the form that the glass melts into and along the kiln shelf (so that final puddle will not stick to anything)

- then I melt the glass, using a program that cooks the glass at 1600degrees Fahrenheit

- once its cold and cleaned off the scrap has transformed into a puddle!

Here are my first three melts, I think they are beautiful.

I have been learning a lot along the way. These experiments will probably turn into bowls in my kitchen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the View from the Shop

The shop where I teach is in North Portland in an old train barn on Columbia Blvd.

There are three key things that I associate with my commute to work:
  • the train (I love the colors and shapes of the graffiti and train cars)
  • the smell of cookies (there is a Kraft (used to be Nabisco) plant a few blocks from the shop)
  • the view of Mt Hood
The train always honks as it goes by the shop (there are 3 bridges it passes underneath, so they all honk 3 times). There is a lot of industry around the shop that uses these trains, as they head to and from the big ports on the river. They only thing I do not like about the trains is when they honk just as I am opening the front door - this makes me jump and I think they do so just to see my reaction! Its loud!

The cookie factory is always pumping out cookies and crackers, they make Oreos and Wheat Thins. When the insanely wonderful smell of chocolate wafts in the breeze my brain always says "brownies!" - I used to think they must be making brownie mix in that factory, but I have since learned it is the chocolate cookies for Oreos! And what I thought was the intoxicating smell of Vanilla Wafers in the making, is the vanilla cream stuffing for the Oreos. Yum. One day I hope to get a tour of this factory. Oh yes I do!

Best of all though (does it get better than the smell of cookies?!) is the sight of Mt. Hood. The view is amazing from Columbia Blvd. She glows majestically, perfectly framed by trees around the road. I always want to snap pictures, a few days ago I couldn't resist as the sun was setting and the mountain looked so amazing. That is the photo above.

The view of Mt. Hood has always been a present factor in my work as a glass artist. The first shop space I rented was in a barn up on Mt Hood. I rented there for a couple of years. Learning to snow board in the winter and enjoying the cold rivers in the summer were integral parts of working on Mt. Hood. It was an awesome way of working as a glass artist. And now I will always have this positive association with the view of Mt. Hood.

In my garage studio at home I made a painting of Mt. Hood and hung it behind an old window (there's a wall that I thought should have a window and so I put a fake one there!).