Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

I didn’t plan on getting obsessed with stringers, but it happened.  My original goal was just to create something different and bold for a wedding present.  I found a tutorial using stringers and made my first obsessive plate.  It ended up exactly as I had hoped and wanted.  Sorry, but I can’t explain the how of this one since I got it from a paid tutorial from Vitrium Studio if you too want to buy.


This then took me down the path of other tests with stringers.  I have often obsessed over Richard Parrish’s tapestry projects .

So I set out to create a geometric.  I made two part sheets of stringers and decided to use the blue one for this project.  Many and many hours later, I had cut and pieced it together to get something similar to what I have seen Richard produce.  I am guessing I did not do this exactly how he creates his, either that or he is a very, very patient person.  I am not, so this may be a one and only for me.  Here were my basic steps (not including my hours of figuring out how to cut and place the pieces):

Tapestry based on work by Richard Parrish

  1. For the part sheet, I used 3mm sheet glass and then placed quite tightly different colors of blue/grey/lavender/pink stringers using Glastac to keep them all in place.
  2. After an initial tack fuse to get my part sheet, I then started cutting it into strips and aligning.  Each strip was 1/2” wide and I needed many more strips than the size of the plate as I had to use bottoms of some, tops of others and so forth all in an effort to get the chevron pattern that I wanted.
  3. When I was finally ready to fuse again, to keep the stringers as straight as possible, I put the part sheet with the stringers down onto the kiln shelf and then added a 3mm clear sheet on top and dammed the whole thing.  Again I only went to a tack fuse at 1350 degrees F.
  4. Now you get to choose which side you like better.  I liked the look of the piece when looking through the clear as it gave it more depth, so I left it facing the way I had fused it with clear on top.  I might have been able to combine steps 3 and 4, but I really wanted to ensure that I keep my lines straight and so usually a tack fuse before the full fuse usually works best for me.
  5. I then ground my edges to get them all even and re-fired this time to an almost full fuse to get a nice even and smooth edge.

For the second part sheet I had made, I wanted something easier meaning less hours trying to get the right pieces lined up correctly.  So I decided to cut the strips wider and on an angle.  As I was laying them on the workbench, some were up and some were down and it looked quite cool.  So I decided to fire them that way, however this time I wasn’t sure how to keep the stringers straight as some would be facing down and others facing up.  Here are my steps:

Zig Zags

  1. I used 3mm sheet glass and then placed quite tightly different colors of red/orange/yellow stringers using Glastac to keep them all in place.
  2. After an initial tack fuse to get my part sheet, I then started cutting it into diagonal strips and aligning.
  3. In the kiln, I placed a sheet of 3mm clear on the shelf and then placed every other strip face up and the remaining face down.  I didn’t bother constraining it this time but again only took it to a tack fuse at 1350 degrees.
  4. This one looked the most interesting looking at it from the top where some of the strips had clear on the bottom and top and the others had two clears on the bottom but just the stringers facing up.  If I flipped it over the stringers just seemed lost.  However the top was not as smooth as I would like, but had a very interesting effect and one I wanted to keep.
  5. I ground my edges to get them all even and re-fired but kept it at a contour fused to not distort the stringers and keep the effect I liked.

If you zoom in and look closely you can see that where the stringers were sandwiched between the bottom clear sheet and clear on top, they did distort a little but it gives a very interesting effect as it leads your eye to the next piece.

Hope you enjoy these projects!  Give them a try sometime and let me know how yours turn out.

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I am a member of a Co-op Art Gallery, Backstreet Gallery.  Every year we do a community challenge to give the local artists a chance to branch out of their artistic comfort zone and try something new and then display/sell their artwork at our gallery.   This summer’s challenge was ‘Bots and Beguiling Beings.  I immediately thought of robots and trying to make them stand-up on their own weight. 

Lucy and Leonid, Fused Glass Robots

I did a sample test first with clear glass, two feet and a rectangle above connecting them with 14g copper wire and it worked great.

I had saved some leftover house copper wiring scraps when we were doing house projects and therefore had scraps of 12g and 14g as well as a spool of 18g and 24g from jewelry projects. The copper wire will come out of the kiln after firing with scale on it and you will need to sand it off unless you like that look. 

I cut 3” lengths for the legs and arms, and then 2.5” for the neck and ears. I used mostly the 14g scraps and then 24g for Lucy’s hair. In hindsight, I had intended to twist the necks but then decided not to, so I would make the necks slightly shorter. The glass should fuse right around the wire at a full fuse, but to make it nicer looking, I used a hydraulic press to flatten the ends of the wire first before sandwiching between the two layers of glass.  You can also accomplish this with a hammer.

I read that the best way to clean the wire before fusing was salt and vinegar, so I made a small bath and soaked the wire before fusing.

I first fused those pieces of glass that I wanted to fully fuse with the copper, so the head, body and feet.  I then tack fused the extra’s like eyes, mouth, buttons, lace, shoe strings and bows for Lucy.

The hardest part was probably sanding the copper wire after firing using 220 grit sandpaper. I was just a little paranoid that I would break the glass as I sanded, but I sanded while the piece was still lying flat on my work surface to make it easier.

To stand Lucy and Leonid up, I used a piece of 3/4” pvc pipe to curve the legs and adjusted them a little until they were self-supporting.

I didn’t want people poking themselves on Lucy’s hair, so I used a propane flame to round their ends. If you hold the tip of the copper wire in a flame it will ball up into a tiny bead. Then I twirled the wire around a thin metal stick to curl it.

I found some matching glass beads for their hands and added them to the arm wires.  It took me awhile to figure out how to decorate Leonid’s ears and head. I finally decided that coils of copper would be right.

I had a lot of fun making Lucy and Leonid.  Hope you enjoy them and try something new yourself this summer!

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Happy Valentine’s Day Cards

Sometimes you have to put something temporarily away to reduce frustration and perhaps later have success.  At Christmastime, I tried to make holiday cards using Christmas Ornaments and then adding them to the cards.  I bought red cards and envelopes at Michael’s and then some white card stock.  My goal was to use my Cricut to cut out everything like the holes on the front, print something on the front, print something on the inside card and then print on the back, Created by IdleCreativity.  Maybe it was the hecticness of the holidays but getting exactly what I wanted on the Cricut wasn’t working.  So I boxed everything up and put it away.

Two weeks ago, I realized Valentine’s Day was fast approaching and thought, perhaps I will try again.  This time, I decided to go simpler.  I used the red cards as I bought them with no writing, used a hole punch for the holes on the front, and used the Cricut to create the inside card.  Some inside cards I left blank, but others I added “Be Mine” and I cut a heart out on the opposite side.  I created a small card to add to the cellophane bag to indicate it was Created by IdleCreativity, the price and a message indicating to only send through the mail if it was placed in a padded envelope.  Much simpler project and it worked great.

They have flown off the shelf at the gallery where I sell them.  Give it a try!

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Just wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays and thank you for reading my posts and following my blog.

Have a great 2016.  Happy Fusing and Creativity!


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Two exciting things happened this last week.  The first is that a good friend of mine, Elecia White, and I discussed glass fusing and Etsy on her podcast, Making Embedded Systems: The Show for People Who Love Gadgets.  While fusing glass is not exactly embedded systems, we do use lots of gadgets like kilns and tools.  The episode is called “Hot” and here is the link, http://embedded.fm/episodes/2013/8/12/14-hot .  I had a lot of fun, so Thanks, Elecia! for giving me the opportunity.

While on that site, you should check out Elecia’s other podcasts.  She is a very creative and excellent engineer and loves trying new gadgets to create new gadgets that will make you smile when you hear/read about them.

The second is that I braved walking into a local store to learn more about how to get my glass sold in stores.  It was a wonderful learning experience and there were definitely some interesting lessons learned.

1.  Wholesale pricing, what does that mean?  I have watched several videos and read forums and newsletters and what I learned is that basically the store wants to sell your item for the same price that you sell it on the internet.  They give you then typically 50% of this price.  So if you sell something online for $20, they will buy it from you for $10.  So you need to make sure that you can make money selling it to them for $10.

I have struggled a lot with pricing as I know many others do.  There are great formulas out there for how to price your product including materials, time, marketing, and then doubling to add profit.  But then you search Etsy, as an example, and look at all the others selling similar items and if most of them are selling something for $20 dollars and you are selling it for $40, yours had better look from the pictures worth the extra $20 or you will not get the sale.  So now if you want your items sold in a store and you sell to the store at a price that makes sure you make a little money (or at least covers your costs) you will have to ensure that your prices online are high enough even if this means you are higher than similar sellers.  Interesting quandary.

2.  The owner explained to me that some stores rather than buying your products outright will instead do consignment.  With consignment, the store does not pay you until your item is sold.  Here you have the greater risk of your product not ever selling or breaking or … and so you tend to get a higher percentage like 60%.  With selling to the store before they sell, they are taking the risk of it never selling, breaking, getting stolen and hence why they take a higher percentage in this case.

3.  I have also read that you need to have a portfolio created which includes pictures of your products, an artists bio and then a price sheet made all in a nice folder that you can leave with the owner of the store.  I am sure if I were walking the streets going into a wide variety of stores trying to get them to buy my products this would be a great thing to have.  Don’t laugh – the owner to whom I was talking indicated this is exactly what she used to do to try to sell her jewelry and it was hard work.  However, to get started and get into a single store perhaps similar to the one I visited which is mostly handmade items, the owner said she really didn’t care about a bio and glossy info.  So if you are like me and just starting to brave the walk-into-a-store-you-like and talk to owner, don’t spend  a lot of time creating your portfolio.  You can do that later if you decide this is really how you want to sell your products.

4.  The last and perhaps most valuable insight I received was peddle one line.  Basically do not overwhelm.  After talking with the owner for a while and gathering all this valuable advice, I asked if she was interested in seeing some of my fused glass.  Since I knew this shop specialized in smaller items, I brought a variety of small items:  coasters, barrettes, soap dishes, glass boxes, christmas ornaments.  To her, as a perspective customer of mine and potential seller to others, she was overwhelmed.  She told me to pick a “line.”  That line could be coasters, as an example.  And  then when I approach a store, take a sample of maybe 10 sets of coasters.  But definitely not a little of lots of things.

Since right now I am still enjoying the learning and experimentation with which I can make a wide variety of things and assumed showing such a wide variety would be better, this was very wise advice.  It doesn’t mean you can’t sell coasters in one store and barrettes in a second, just have a single line for each store.

There, now I have shared my wonderful learning experiences for the week.  Didn’t get any new experiments completed this week, but did make a nice new set of coasters.  I also started a new experiment which I will hopefully share next week.  Have a great week!

Seaside Coasters (available in my Etsy Store)

Seaside Coasters (available in my Etsy Store)

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