Monday, August 25, 2008

What I'm Learning from "The Pulse" Survey

This is going to be a learning experience....Joining a group such as this is like an portraying an internal self portrait. Already I've learned something about myself from the question about collections. Personally, anything in groups of three is on its way to being considered a collection, which means that I have quite a few collections on the go. But what would I consider indispensable, can't live without/walk away from, N E E D.....and I'm surprised that somewhere along the way I've stopped putting so much emphasis on "things". I look at the photo of the items that I "collect" and they're very sentimental and of the past and yet what excites me in subject matter is becoming more abstract, even non-representational. I think I'm even learning to "live in the moment". There are "things" that I do covet, but nothing that you can pick up and hold. Like time......I need time to paint, to carry out ideas without having to shelve them waiting for a more convenient time... to acquire knowledge and refine skills. This is very freeing (is that a word?) Then after that I'd like to acquire a sense of balance, because without that the mind becomes encumbered with lists of things to do.
So there it is, the new "things" I want to acquire - time, knowledge, new collection.

Friday, August 22, 2008


An insight into the creative process is unfolding at "The Altered Page". A blog generously hosted by Seth Apter
to share the thoughts and ideas of over 90 artists. I am thrilled to be involved and in the company of so many inspiring people.
This edition at The Altered Page is called The Pulse and we're already on Day 4 and I am only now posting this info but it's not too late to play a bit of catchup; this will go on for a few weeks. Grab that cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable and be prepared to be inspired!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Greenwood Project

Greenwood is the name of a heritage home in my town. Bequeathed to the town by Phoebe Hyde, it has been maintained and opened to the public to share the history in which Greenwood and it's past residents (particularly Phoebe) played. Inspired by the story and photographs on display, I decided to make a mixed media fabric board chronicling Greenwood's history.
Using a linen background and vintage lace and printing the images and story on fabric I assembled the pieces onto three panels in a free-standing screen. The materials were chosen to blend with the surroundings in which it would be displayed.
A satisfying project and an opportunity to experiment with fabric next fabric projects will also include images of Hudson that I've taken recently.

Friday, August 15, 2008

This is How It Starts....

Having recently discovered working with hot glass (in a small way), I take particular pleasure in knowing that Hudson, where I have lived for over thirty years was the site of a glass industry located on the shore of the Lake of Two Mountains. At it's height over a century ago, it was still possible (at least in the early years when I first moved here) to find colored glass while walking along the beach or just below the wharf.

I'm happy to have a place to work on my torch in my home even if it is in the basement. This is at it's messiest but it's a happy, colorful mess.

The glass starts out in rod form (as you see on my table next to the torch. Heated in the torch, it melts and I guide it on to a steel mandrel coated with a bead release formula that will let me slide the bead off later when completely cooled. After the base bead, several other colors can be added (a little like painting with molten glass) and texture can be left or completely melted in and then shaped into perfect little spheres, barrel shapes, squished between graphite paddles or even molded into presses. Lately I've been experimenting with sculpting the glass using small scale steel tools (steel because they can stand up to the heat taking care not to let them get so hot that they stick to the molten glass). Sculpting beads would be for the goddess type beads as an example which require shaping with the aforementioned tools as opposed to a symmetrical bead. Upon completion and while still so hot they've just lost the red glow, they are put into a fibre blanket to cool slowly to avoid thermal shock.
Then I gather together finished beads from the fibre blanket and slide them onto some mandrels to be put into the kiln to be annealed (takes the stress out of the glass that's accumulated during the time it's in the fire) although personally I find that part stressing myself......Finally they must have the bead release residue cleaned out of the holes before I can use them in jewellery.

.....and then the satisfying part....designing the finished product....

Of Fish and Goddesses and Midsummer Night's Dreams....

As promised much earlier on, I am posting the pics of some of the beads I've produced. My raised dots are my usual favorite but now that I can work with more metals I am experimenting with how to use them. Metal effects are obtained by reducing the oxygen and using a richer fuel to bring them out with a wonderful raku look to the glass (somewhat tricky). I love the "not so little" bum on my turquoise "goddess". There is also an unintended gilded birthmark on her frontside! The fish started out as a hollow bead until I kept going with it and it grew fins.... Having used a 5/32" mandrel I can wear it on an interchangeable bail that I made especially for the Pandora/Troll beads that are so popular now. The next ones out of the kiln are all florals which I can hardly wait to assemble into a sort of "Midsummer Night's Dream" theme.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's About Time!

What a pitiful blogger I am....averaging two or three a month! Is time really moving that fast?...or am I too slow? I check my favorites e v e r y day and yet I don't update my own.....I must work on that...
I continue to practice glass techniques on my new torch set up.....and I am slowing down now to expand on my favorites so that I can produce some sets to design around. This goddess bead (based on the Venus of Willendorf of Austria 25,000 - 20,000 BC)
is my favorite one. The glass is a copper green/red which looks like oxidized bronze. Here she is in all her voluptuous glory....
My success with this bead is due to the wonderful tutorial by Teresa Laliberté.