Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Paperweight Class with David Graeber

So this past weekend I commuted to Expressive Glass in Buffalo to take a class on paperweights with David Graeber. I had a great time and learned lots, so I thought I would share a few pictures with you.

Each flower in the paperweight is created off mandrel in advance. It's crazy how tiny they need to be to fit in the paperweight. You can see in the picture above the tiny pinpoint flame he's using to create the rose in the below picture. The other thing that I really liked is how in sculpting these, he only used his torch and a pair of tweezers. Tools are wonderful, but it's nice to have the ability to create something with just the glass and the flame.

My first flower that survived on day one. It's not too bad, but definitely not the rose above
 Below are all my components from day one. They are about how you expect class work to be, not sell-able or even that great, but a learning process. I actually really liked working so small because there was very little worries about thermal shock. Being the frugal glassworker I am, I also liked not needing too much investment in materials.

My first components were still waaaay too big to fit in the small paperweights we were making in class, but practice makes perfect (or at least good enough) as seen in my day two picture below. I even managed to make a tiny kitty. It just wouldn't be my work without a cat of some sort included. The grouping of the cat, blueberry, rasberries and flower ended up going in my paperweight. I wish I had a picture, but that will have to wait for another time as it went immediately into the kiln and it will be shipped to me in a few days.

Will I be making paperweights? Probably not any time soon, but I might try making some tiny flowers to add to my beads. I am going to try to build a tiny vacuum encasement setup to maybe play with marbles or decorative scenes in the future. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Electroformed Pendant

One of the newest techniques I have been playing with this year is electroforming or electroplating. That is a process where metal is deposited on a conductive surface using an electrical current in an electrolyte bath. 

It starts with my glass.

combined with copper, epoxy clay and microbeads for texture.

Next the non copper surfaces are painted with a conductive paint.

Into the blue electroforming solution below and connected to a battery.

12i-24 hours later I end up with a super shiny copper formed piece

Next comes the finishing and sealing and my piece is finished.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Back at it Again

Well, if you're still with me, then you are probably aware that I am an erratic blogger at best. But, here I am!

What's new since last time I posted, you might ask? Let's start with my newest style of bead

Blinging dichroic and a pink kitty cat with a crown and cubic zirconia collar. The cat is actually "drawn" in the flame with hairthin pieces of stringer freehand. Her tabby drawings are made with silvered ivory. The entire bead is about the width of my palm and is more intended as a collector piece, though it's not too heavy to make a necklace with it. They do take me a few hours for each bead and I end up using my most expensive glass in them. They really are a labor of love and a stretch of my abilities as a glass artist.

Why have I started making these?

Well, they make me happy and they bring a smile to people's faces. I think the world could use more of that lately.