Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Virtue Glass Flame Fest

Earlier this month, I traveled to Rockville, Maryland for Virtue Flameworks' Annual Flame Fest, an event in which they bring together teams of artists for a long weekend of collaboration.  I've known Matt and Amy, the owners of Virtue Glass, for many years, and was so honored to be included in this year's event.

The three days were intense, tiring, inspiring, and terribly fun.  The bulk of my time was spent working on a team with 4 other artists: Michael G-Check, Phil Sundling, Matty Phunk, and Rob Campellone.  Together, we created a wall piece that included parts made by all of us.  Rob made the green hollow disc that acted as a foundation for crows, hands, and branches (made by Phil and yours truly).  Matty spent hours painstakingly creating, cutting apart, and reassembling flat cane that acted as the frame for the piece.  Michael made the molecular bubbly elements and handled a lot of the final assembly.  Our final night- during the last leg of final attachments- went very late (this pic was taken at approximately 4 AM), but our piece was a success.  I had a wonderful time getting to work with these guys!

I also worked on a few smaller projects with other artists at the event: a winged "Goofball" creature with Joey Trankina; a colorful ruffle bowl with butterflies with Jason Gordon, another branched functional piece with Phil, and an articulated butterfly with friend Kim Edwards (https://www.kimedwardsglass.com/).  Photos below!

And a bonus: Robert Kincheloe, artist and friend, making popcorn in an enormous glass bubble on the lathe: 

Bigger projects: Butterfly Wing Necklaces

For years, I've been wanting to build some larger, more complex, more time-consuming pieces utilizing butterfly wings.  I stumbled along with a few different approaches, many using jump rings, but wasn't happy with the result- wire/ metal gave too much movement and not enough structure to the wings.  I knew the solution was in fiber- and I realized the solution was in a macrame technique from Stephanie Sersich (http://sssbeads.com/).  I've since made a few necklaces using this approach, and I'm delighted with how they've turned out.

The first necklaces used borosilicate glass, in shades reminiscent of the oranges/ ambers in Monarch butterflies.  I wanted to capture the imagery around Monarchs overwintering on trees; I just love the layers upon layers of wings!  Aside from the 40 or so glass wings in the necklace, I used vintage Czech seed beads and faceted onyx beads with the waxed linen and perle cotton.  This one is modeled by my dear friend Kelli, and found its forever home last year.  

The most recent necklace I finished was in shades of blues and greens, this time using my vitreous enameled, soft glass wings.  There's around 35 wings in this one, along with turquoise, apatite, sodalite, and fibers in muted blues and greens to match the wings.  I use a flameworked borosilicate hook as the clasp.  For as bulky as these necklaces are, they're surprisingly comfortable.  The fiber/ macrame provides quite a bit of structure and helps to distribute the weight evenly around the necklace.  The movement is a lot of fun, too- just enough to remind you that they're butterflies, but not so much that the wearer jingles every time they move!  

I'm working on a vibrant blue version right now- any color requests for the next necklaces?  I'm thinking pinks/ ambers/ purples might be next... 

Monday, June 29, 2015

New work just posted on my website!

Just a quick fly-by to let you know that AJ (the assistant extraordinaire) and I just posted a handful of new work to my website- please check it out! In this week's posting, you'll find a couple really lovely butterflies, a revisited variation on Bees, and some findings out of borosilicate glass: bails and two kinds of clasps.

Bee Pendants

 Red Butterfly

 Toggle Clasp

 Hook & Eye Clasps

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bijoux Bee and National Pollinator Week!

I haven't talked much here about my "other" business, Bijoux Bee.  Several years ago, working on a couple glass projects with a friend who has a laser engraver, I kept wanting to explore other mediums, particularly wood.  I initially wanted to make lightweight components that could complement my glasswork, but my ideas quickly expanded beyond that, and so I decided to separate the two bodies of work.  My boyfriend, Tom, gets all the credit for the business name, logo, and our website, and he still helps out with some of the design work.  (Our Heart style theme is entirely his!)

What I love about Bijoux Bee is that not only provides an outlet for my "non-glass" ideas, but it creates a wide variety of affordable, wearable, and very lightweight jewelry.  It's a beautiful complement to my work in glass, and you'll see a lot of common themes that carry over between both my glass and wood work.  While the vast majority of what we make gets sold to boutiques, galleries, and shops around the US, Etsy serves as our retail online storefront.  Check it out!

In celebration of National Pollinator week, we're honoring the bees, of course.  So, just for this week, use the coupon code "POLLEN" and get 20% off.

What's new out of the shop this week

With the help of my lovely assistant, AJ (oh, the novelty of having help has NOT worn off), I just posted a nice handful of new work to my website.

I'm most excited about two things: a newer, smaller variation on the Beetles I've been making for years, and a great selection of matching Maze Marbles and coordinating beads.  Photos below.

Friday, June 12, 2015

An extraordinary week of learning

What an amazing week!  For the last 5 days, I've been taking a class at the Bay Area Glass Institute with two phenomenal artists: Beau Tsai and Demetra Theophanous.  The focus of the class was in representing natural, realistic life forms in borosilicate glass.  I signed up for several reasons. First, this is the first time Beau has taught a group class in his thirty plus years of lampworking, so I knew this was a real opportunity.  Second, Beau and Demetra's work complement each other nicely, and I admire both of their work for their remarkable technique, use of color, and manipulation of texture and form.   While most of my exploration in borosilicate up to this point has been in smaller components (beads), I've long wanted to get over my fears of assembling larger, complex pieces out of those components.  The class more than met my wishes- both Beau and Demetra were so very generous with their time, technique, inspiration, and encouraging words.  I can't wait to get home, order more color, and take the first steps to implementing what I've learned this week and adapting it to my own work.  Aside from being inspiring and educational, I had a blast, too, much due to the hospitality of fellow artist Joy Munshower, who creates amazing bas-relief animal beads.  I was so grateful to have a class buddy! 
Here are a few highlights from the class: the fish, chickadee, and seahorse/ seaweed/ coral pieces I made in the class, Beau working on a Kingfisher bird sculpture, and our group for the week (Bob, Andrea, Beau, Demetra, Heather, Terry, me, Joy, and Nick).

Monday, June 1, 2015

I lost my marbles to Zac. It's a good thing.

Zac Cohen, marble collector-turned-purveyor, just stocked his site with a handful of marbles and beads from me.  The bulk of what he has available are a style variation on my Maze marbles and beads that I revisited because he asked nicely; I'd done a few marbles in this Paisley-esque theme several years ago.  Zac found a pic deeply buried on the web, and asked if I'd do a few different color themes for him to sell.  Check out his website- he has a beautifully curated collection of work from many talented, diverse artists.   (photo credit to Zac and his photographer extraordinaire).   Many thanks to Zac for choosing to rep my work and to all of you!