Monday, March 9, 2009

Prehistory Chunky Stone Necklace

We have favorites. I'll admit it. I made one Saturday night. I came home from my glass jewelry workshop, and instead of doing responsible household things or things that other people wanted, I made jewelry.

Ha! Take that, world!

This is my favorite kind of necklace to design -- multiple strands of contrasting shapes, colors and materials! This one-of-a-kind treasure is composed of picture jasper, tiny fossil rounds, and polyhedrons of green apple turquoise capped with shells. Only the bold need apply! Visit Jellybug Artworks to make it yours.

Featured in an Etsy Treasury

I discovered this morning that my Lemon Glass Blossom candleholder is featured in an Etsy Treasury called HELLO BUTTERCUP full of bright, sunny, yellow things!

The swirly glass I used in this lovely draped piece, perfect for tealights, is indeed like a little bowl of sunshine -- completely radiant! When I dye my hair yellow, this is the hue I use.

The treasury curator, JodieMO, makes adorable handbags. If you're in the market for a carrying accessory, check out her Etsy shop!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Toy!

I'm back at Vitrum Studio again this weekend for a two-day workshop in making fused glass jewelry. I'm learning the technique for composition of layered dichroic pendants, plus I'm going to learn new edge finishing methods! We designed seven-layer pendants today (the average pendant you see for sale on Jellybug Artworks is two to three layers), but we don't get to see them until tomorrow afternoon -- they're very cruel over there at Vitrum.

During our lunch break, we're free to roam the retail part of the studio, drool over the gorgeous supplies, and lighten our wallets buying beautiful glass and the tools to work it. Having done all that last weekend, I spied a large bowl sitting on a stool. It was just done in clear glass, but the shape was wonderful -- sides that are slightly concave rather than the usual convex curve. Inspecting the mold rack, it was clear which mold it was shaped with. I was smitten, but I wasn't sure it would fit in my kiln! Application of a ruler revealed that at 12 inches in diameter, it might.

My larger kiln runs on household current, which limits its size. It has a 13" round shelf, but I can't necessarily put a 13" round mold in it because the pyrometer sticks out from the wall of the kiln a couple of inches, interfering with the vertical clearance. (What's a pyrometer?  When a thermometer is in a kiln, it becomes a pyrometer -- it measures FIRE! I derive great amusement from this.) The folks at Vitrum said they'd happily take the mold back if it didn't fit, so I dashed home with my new toy only to find that someone (okay, it was me) had put something in the kiln this morning before heading off to the workshop, and it was still too hot to come out! OooOOoh, the agonized waiting!

A few hours later, I was finally able to remove the wine bottle cheese tray I'd been slumping and eeeeeease the new mold down into the kiln. Shoved over to one side because of the projecting pyrometer, with a quarter-inch to spare on all sides, I judged that it would do. (I frequently decide that things will work whether they like it or not -- because I want them to, darn it.)

So tonight, I am prepping the new mold with kilnwash and emitting small squeaks of delight while a beautiful slab of blue Spectrum waterglass is in the kiln, fusing into the 12" circle that I will slump into a gorgeous, drool-worthy bowl tomorrow.

Ain't she a beauty?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coldworking Glass Workshop

I made this platter at a workshop last weekend called The Complete Bowl at Vitrum Studio, which is conveniently right up the road from my house. It's about 15 inches long and 6 inches across with a graceful curve. I took the workshop to learn how to use various pieces of coldworking equipment -- lap wheel, tile saw, sandblaster -- for finishing the edges and working the surface, but I also picked up some design techniques like using clear glass to displace transparent glass to make light spots and cutting transparent sheets to let the undercolor well up in the cracks.

Look carefully, and you'll see that I've sandblasted leaves into the orange stripe and horizontal stripes into the green stripe on the end.

I love the square, polished edges you get from coldworking the fused piece before slumping it. Unfortunately, a sufficiently large diamond lap wheel setup is about $5,000 and requires a lot of upkeep. Fortunately, I can rent time on Vitrum's equipment!

I'm headed back this coming weekend for a workshop on glass jewelry to gain new insights and techniques for my fused glass pendants.