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Archive for February, 2012

I love to read what others have to say about where they get their inspiration from.  And it really runs the gamut from nature, to family, to art shows and beautiful pictures.  In today’s online social world, I think we have a new dimension through reading websites, blogs, Facebook pictures, Pinterest and similar such places.  There are just so many places to see beautiful and interesting things that catch our fancy.

However, I think in the end we tend to resort back to the things we love.  For me it is the ocean, leaves, cherry blossoms and yes, symmetry.  I just can’t shake the engineering side of me!

Cherry Blossoms on Fused Glass

Recently though, my husband called my attention to the color wheel when I was having a hard time figuring out a color to pair with some green.  And voila!  I now have a whole new way of looking at mixing my glass pieces.  I have learned so much while investigating color theory.  As an example, how to add contrast versus harmony.  One theory caught my eye – the triadic color scheme – and so I embarked on mixing purple, green and a mustard color.  Oh, and I also wanted to try a new mold I had picked up at a sale.  🙂  Check it out!

Retro Fused Glass Bowl

I was surprised at the retro resulting look.  I think the triangles contribute, but then realized that the colors are very reminiscent to the avocado greens and mustard yellows.  Yes, I am dating myself.  🙂

What colors do you like to combine?  I would love to try your color schemes!

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I am in love with Ginkgo leaves and try to incorporate them wherever possible.  Recently I discovered a good friend, Stacy, had a ginkgo tree near her house.  She enlisted her sons, Jakob and Sean, to gather leaves for me and they found the best ones!  Thank you, Jakob and Sean.

I also wanted to play more with Mica powder and so decided to combine the two.   I have seen beautiful glass where someone takes a leaf and then puts Mica powder on the leaf and fires it.  The leaf disintegrates at high temperature and leaves the Mica impression of the leaf behind.   Let’s get started.

Try 1:  Here is my process:

  1. To prepare the mica powder, mix a little of the powder with Glastac, a glass glue from Bullseye Glass.  I don’t think Glastac is meant to be used as a paint medium, but it is what was in front of me and so worth a try.
  2. I am using three colors to try to add depth to each leaf.  I had previously created a sample of fired mica powders, so from my sample piece I chose Red, Gold and Brown colors for the leaf colors.
  3. Paint your leaves with the mica powders.  It is okay to mix the colors on the leaves, so I first painted one color and then added streaks of others on top.
  4. Now for the patience as we are going to let them sit over night so they completely dry.
  5. When they are dry, cut two 4.25″ square pieces of glass (one black, one clear).
  6. Place the black piece on the kiln shelf, place the leaves where you want them and then cap with the clear glass.
  7. At high temperatures, the leaves will disintegrate and leave a mica impression on the glass.

I decided to use a slow ramp (200 degrees) and a long bubble squeeze (2 hours) at 1100 to try to reduce the bubbles.

Okay, so how did it work?  Try 1 produced a large bubble over each leaf which implies that there was still moisture.  Argh.  You could look at it and say cool, but I have read in several places that this bubble can be very thin and then the chards if it were to break would be very sharp.  So better to not use this one.

Try 2:  Maybe Glastic should be used for its intended purpose as a glue and I should use a paint medium.  So after digging around because I thought I had bought some at some point, I found it and decided to try the paint medium.  I didn’t change anything else as I want to see if the paint medium/glastic makes the difference between bubble and no bubble.

Results?  Same as before.  A nice big bubble over each leaf.

Try 3:  So I know this works as I have seen it in finished pieces before.  I scoured the net and learned first that it isn’t very common to do what I am doing because it doesn’t often work.  But I am a glutton for punishment and I really wanted this to work.  So my next try was to follow someone’s suggestion and at a slightly lower temperature on the ramp up, let the kiln sit at that temperature for a really long time so that the leaf itself will burn off.  So I held it at 950 degrees F for 4 hours.  Alas, same as before.

Try 4:  I actually did all of the above in January and then not knowing what to do next, I just put all the failed pieces in a box and walked away from the project.  And then the gestalt when I least expected it!  Lying in bed one night and definitely not sleeping, it came to me.  Instead of keeping the leaf in the fired piece, what if I could instead just transfer the image.  After painting the leaf with the mica powder and then letting it dry for a few minutes, I then turned it over paint side down onto the black glass and rolled the back of the leaf with a rubber roller/brayer.  I had to try this a few times to get it right, but after I was happy with the image, I let it dry.  Later I capped it and fired, now using a normal firing schedule.

Voila! It worked!!!!!!  I cannot tell you that this is the right way to do it.  I can tell you this is the only way I could get it to work for me and I am a very happy experimenter right now.  🙂

All 4 Tries at Ginkgo Leaves and Mica Powder

Try 4 Close-up of Ginkgo Leaves and Mica Powder

NOTE:  I discovered you can use either Glastac or Painters Medium – both work once I found the right way to do it.

Materials:

  • Mica powder from a sample pack I bought from Arrow Springs at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas.  A great show!
  • Glastac glue from Bullesye Glass
  • Glass Painters Medium from Hotline
  • Black and Clear glass from Bullseye Glass
  • Rubber roller/brayer from ModPodge

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I just had to give my original Gotta Love Dots dish another try!

I had ended my original post (https://idlecreativity.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/gotta-love-dots/) saying, “Perhaps not worrying about them facing up and instead just cramming them in the space even if they are overlapping!”  Recently I was at the Bullseye Resource Center taking a class and asked my wonderful instructor, Bonnie Celeste, if I hadn’t used enough frit balls/dots and if I had to be more careful about how I placed them to ensure no gaps.  She agreed yes, way too analytical – more frit balls and just lump them in overlapping to create a good solid base.

Time to try again.  This time I used yellow and blue balls also getting green where they overlapped.  I filled two 12″ kiln shelves to get enough balls for my 5-1/2″ circle and I probably could have used more.  Cutting a 5-1/2″ circle into 1/8″ fiber cloth and using the outside (not the circle) I filled the cut-out with balls.  I tried to pat them down some to ensure I had somewhat consistent levels all over the circle.  Much better!  No dots left on the shelf and everything seemed sturdier.

Close-up of Frit Ball Bowl

Frit Ball Bowl

Not a perfect bowl but definitely an interesting little bowl.  Lessons learned – lots of frit balls and be free with them!!!

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I have noticed in the crafting industry that people in general are so generous with their knowledge and very helpful.

Let me start with the glass industry.  I have rarely met anyone who fused, whether it be at a show, in a class or on the net, that was not willing to share how they made something so that you can learn from their experiences.  And I know other glass people share my opinion as I hear people say this a lot!   This has made my experiences so much more positive as I struggled through all the getting started typical failures.  Thanks to all!

Jumping to my recent foray into selling my glass, Etsy is a website dedicated to selling handmade and vintage items.  To help you sell, Etsy provides regular correspondence on ways to improve your pages, offers free critiques of your site to help you appeal better to buyers, generates tutorials on understanding SEO (search engine optimization) so you can more easily be found, and offers forums and teams where sellers on Etsy can help each other out.  People in these forums and teams are awesome doing their own critiques of each other, giving copious positive strokes to encourage people even if sales are slim, and also answering questions.

One such team on Etsy which I find great to be a part of is called O.C.E.A.N. which is an acronym for Oregon Coast Etsy Artist Network.  The team also has a Facebook page where the members do all of the above for each other as well as promoting each other on Etsy.  They also meet weekly at a local place, which I unfortunately can’t join since I am not local to them, but love to read their posts about what they did and discussed.

In Etsy,  teams can create their own tags to make it easier for people to find items sold by team members.  Last Christmas some of the O.C.E.A.N. members did a craft fair in an Oregon mall and handed out O.C.E.A.N. business cards with the Etsy tag, oceanteam.  This was very helpful as it brought new people to my storefront just by my including the tag “oceanteam” to my store items.   It is wonderful to be a part of this team.

Lastly, related to crafting in general, there are so many resources available to help people either further their craft or learn how to better market their craft.

A few examples that I use include:

  • Glass-fusing-made-easy.com blog which is updated regularly with fusing hot-tos.
  • A daily email from interweave.com (I get the jewelry and beading ones) which provide helpful hints, small descriptions of a process, and every few weeks free tutorials for projects.
  • Business websites selling crafting products but include very helpful forums and how-to videos (I use so many here that there are just too many to list).
  • Ana-white.com, which I just recently discovered, blogs about her do-it-yourself carpentry projects and now has about 3 million views per month (fascinating just to see a blog be so popular and learn from her experiences).
  • Social Media Examiner (socialmediaexaminer.com) which provides essential knowledge regarding social media for those of us trying to start a business and learn the right tools.
  • Craftsy.com which describes themselves as “a community of people who love to make things – learning from, inspiring and helping one another.  Over Christmas they held an open project where people could make and donate hats for charity and they received over 2250 hats!  In January, they promoted and helped coordinate local community meet-ups so that crafters could get to know their local crafters.

Of course, there are so many more which are wonderful and all of these are to help you better yourself and your craft and share with others, and are free!

So once again, thanks to all in the crafting business.  What a wonderful group of people.

Do you have specific positive experiences or sites to share with others?  Please do!

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