Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I recently finished up my first repair commission. A friend of mine had the cap break part way off her pendant stained glass lamp. At first, I thought this would be a very easy task, but the longer I worked on it, the harder it became. Stripping the old solder and foil off the glass was a bit of a challenge, but getting it off the cap was even more difficult. Eventually I learned, through trial and error, how to do it. And clearly, if I had known how to take the actual electric fixture out of the equation, it would have been soooooo much easier.
It was a long operation, partly because we undertook a studio rebuild right in the middle of it, partly because of my inexperience at repair, and in large part because of creeping equipment failure. But I finished the job and it looked really good. I was very proud of my work and sweated the whole way in the car, driving down to North Carolina, that it would get damaged somehow from the way I had packed it.
This lamp must be cursed. Not five minutes after I returned it to its rightful owner, after having spending six months in my shop under repair, it tumbled to the ground and broke. That crash damn near broke my heart.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I can tell you that I am a very lucky person. The Art Fair I hosted this weekend went far better than my expectations. Much of this was due to the sponsoring body coming together on the last several days and throwing themselves on the work that needed to be done. I felt almost superficial when the event was determined a success.
One of the highlights for me was the success of the artist who took up my challenge to produce a secular leaded and stained glass window that might have been commissioned for a great house in the 15th or 16th centuries. As a stained glass artist, I know exactly how difficult my challenge was and found that the artist who chose to take me up on it was able to exceed my expectations. She even exceeded her own and was able to produce a piece that everyone who saw it was able to pronounce a gorgeous work of art.
I am proud of the success of my event. The head of our group came up to me afterwards and thanked me for proving him wrong. He never believed that my concept would work, but he did believe that my previous track record made me the best possible person to make it work if it could.
Originally this was going to be a one-off event. However, everyone I have heard from both at the event and since has stated that when we do this next year that they will be there. I am actually considering doing it again. Call me crazy, because it will be hard to top this year's effort. Wish the crazy lady luck!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Usually I really enjoy running stuff like this. I'm a regional arts officer for the non-profit I belong to and these functions are my bread and butter. For some reason though, I really can't get into this one. Maybe it's because of the time of year. I always get depressed in the fall, which is odd because autumn is my very favorite season.
At any rate, this close to the event it can be compared to a rockslide. It's going to happen whether I'm ready for it or not. I only hope that my artist friends are happy with their experience. Wish me luck!
Monday, October 20, 2008
I bought some xanthian gum to make liquid stringer last week. I need to boil it up and let it sit before I can use it, but I'm really looking forward to trying it out. There's definitely some cold combing and some freeze fusing in my very near future.
Ornaments seem to be really popular right now. I sold out all of the ones I posted already so I might think about doing more for the holiday. It depends on whether or not I have any fiber board left. though I suppose I could make a mold out of something else if I put my mind to it.
Anyway, those are just a few ideas I'm playing around with now. My creativity seems to be somewhat renewed with the colder weather. Heck, I'm even contemplating setting up the torch! It will be interesting to see how badly out of practice I have become.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I won the drawing for a tripod from Leah Glass? Well, here it is - proof positive that it was a fo-sure fo-real deal. There stands my brand new (and it really was NIB) tripod.
I've used it a couple of times now and it has really improved my pictures. I rarely have to retake shots because they are blurry. Seriously, if you were on the fence about using a tripod before, I'm here to tell you to go ahead and get one. This thing is awsome!
Now, before you get down on yourself for missing out on the prize, Leah does give-aways all the time. The current one is for a really cool boro pendant. All you have to do is visit her blog at http://leahglass.blogspot.com/ and make a comment. Go for it! You might be the next lucky winner.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Plus I need to clean the shop and run some errands. Clearly, I have more projects than time.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Sometimes the best thing to do in such situations is go with the flow. Forget about trying to force art. It's always a waste of time to go out into the studio when I'm not motivated to try something new or carry out an established plan.
Today, however, I had a great conversation online with a couple of other glassies. We were exchanging tips and tricks and now I have a whole slew of great new ideas to try.
Unfortunately, my husband is catering a wedding tomorrow and my friend Amy is helping him so I will be with my boys and her daughter all day. Instead of going out into the shop, I will be going to a picnic and probably a street fair if there is still time. With luck, I'll still have some energy tomorrow night to go out and get some things done.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
This year, my friend did very very well. She got a little pale and shaky, but no nausea or dizziness. I have very proud of her, both for doing so well and for sucking up her fear and getting the shot.
Sometimes we just have to suck up our fear if we want to get what we want. Right now, I need to get out into the shop and create, but I am afraid that I won't come up with anything good. I really need to spend some quality one on one time with my concept book and just go for it. We'll see how it goes this weekend.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
These first few weeks of school have challanged my ability to work in the shop. I have a repair, two commissions and two windows to make, plus new items for the Etsy shop and shows. Perhaps I will just buy some NoDoze and not sleep until Christmas. LOL!
I have all sorts of new things I want to try, including metal enameling and silver bezel setting, but time is my enemy. All I want to do is go out to my shop, get it organized again and create until I fall asleep. Sometimes I resent having to go to work.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Last night, I got the message that she had the drawing and I won!!! She is sending me my very own tripod free of charge! And guess what? Leah is having other giveaways too. In fact, she's giving away some cool glass pieces right now so hop on over and check her out.
Better pictures, here I come. Thanks Leah!!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Instead, I've been focussing on other things. My house looks marginally better, and I've been spending more time with the kids. We've been socializing a little bit too. It's nice to spend time with friends but I can't help feeling guilty that I'm not doing other "things that need doing".
I guess being overwhelmed would hinder creativity, now wouldn't it? Got to get a foothold and forge one.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Aaaaand.... I made my 10th sale today! What a milestone. Today has been an awesome day.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
First of all, it’s good to know that it’s a marketable item. Clearly, I need to channel my energy in that direction for a while until I have a decent inventory of them. On the other hand, something I thought would be a good draw (and it was!) wasn’t in the shop for very long. And, I really liked them. I mean, I like everything I sell, or I wouldn’t bother; but these pieces made me super happy every time I saw them. Selling them within 24 hours of listing meant that I had to give them up.
When I send a package to a buyer, I make a production of wrapping, and writing the thank you card and address labels. Sure, I could print something out, but if you’re buying from the artist you deserve a personalized experience and I’m happy to give it to you. There’s also a certain amount of mourning because I’m sending you something I love. Fortunately, I have the pictures to remember it by.
Today I got feedback from a buyer that really made me happy. I always worry that when I send things to someone that they will end up as clutter – neglected and eventually unwanted. My buyer wrote back to tell me about her project and how perfectly her purchases from me were going to work for it. I can imagine those pieces now in everyday use, loved and cherished.
This is what we work for.
Monday, September 15, 2008
There are a couple of things to remember when taking good pictures.
1. Find a good background. Now, I haven't settled on the look that I want for my shop yet and I continually try out new things; but consistency just plain makes your shop more appealing. I like to use posterboard and scrapbook paper because they have a nice smooth finish and a variety of designs. Try to avoid taking pictures on your carpet (ewww!) or unpressed fabric. You don't want customers to think you've put your products on an unmade bed.
2. Take pictures in natural light if possible. Either by a bright window or outdoors works great. Morning light casts the fewest shadows, though I've been known to take pictures of my glass in the afternoon to showcase the colored shadows. If you are like me and your daylight hours are swamped with work and childcare, then a lightbox is a good idea. You can buy them ready made, but I just cut the top and sides out of a cardboard box and taped white tissue paper to the sides. A couple of clip lamps on the outside and a sheet of posterboard on the inside gives a bright, seamless background that really showcases your product.
3. For close-up shots, use the macro setting on the camera. On most models, that's the one with the little tulip flower. It allows you to get good closeup shots without blurring.
4. Of course, to keep from shaking the camera and blurring your shots anyway, you need a camera rest or a camera stand. I've been using a plastic cup to balance the camera on, but I really want a tripod like Leah pictures in her blog here: http://leahglass.blogspot.com/2008/09/tool-o-day-tripod.html I covet! You should check out her blog because she's giving one away free of charge. How awesome is that?!
5. Photoshopping. Taking the perfect picture almost never happens. It's really handy to have some kind of photoshopping software available to crop, brighten and color balance your pictures. I use Picnick through my Flickr account, but Photoshop and Irfanview are considered really good too.
Sorry to bore you with photography again. It's been on my mind a lot lately.
Apparently, I'm not incredibly creative in the middle of the night. The load that came out of the kiln was uninspiring, to say the least. I'm going to refire a couple of pieces, repurpose some of them and sell the rest as oops cabs. My husband reminded me that I do have a concept book and I really need to take it out with me when I plan on cutting a load for the kiln. As it was, I would have been better off cutting a dish and filling in around the edges.
Do you ever have a plan that just doesn't work out? I went to the glass shop to get some specific glass for a commission and discovered the new System 96 brown. It's not muddy like the old one and fires up to a nice, warm milk chocolate color. I paired it with some vanilla and tourqoise and thought that would be gorgeous but it doesn't thrill me. I like the brown, but I don't know what to do with it now.
Friday, September 12, 2008
This weekend I need to put in two supply orders and work up new shipping rates on my store. I am totally eating shipping over here and it's killing me. *sigh*
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I haven't been to an Arts meeting in over a month and I'm really dragging my feet about going. It's grim and rainy and I'd far rather be catching up on just about anything-glass, housework, my day job-than go be social; but I know that's just because I'm out of the habit. Hopefully people will let me just hang out and not teach.
Well, I guess I'd better start focusing on this project at work. I'm going to get reamed for not finishing it on time! I think I'm dragging my feet because the work load is too overwhelming. Counterproductive, I know. I didn't say it made any sense!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I didn't do much. I put some friend's beads in to anneal. I can't believe how big Addie can get a bead on a hot head! She needs to concentrate on form, but her design elements are improving a great deal. She makes me so proud!
I also played with the new bottle cutter a bit. It's much easier to cut a beer bottle than a wine bottle. It is still tricky, but I'm getting better and better results. Given what I'm doing with them, it's not as essential to be perfect as I would eventually like to get, but having to practice with an eye towards it is good for teaching me patience. With two boys and a grumpy husband I'll never have enough of that!
After that, it was a little easier to go back into the house to face the testosterone blockade. LOL!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I'm in another treasury!
And here's the one I just curated:
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday was the remnants of tropical storm Hanna so I was sort of trapped in the house not wanting to treck out to the studio or risk running the kiln with the distinct possibility of power outages so I ran out this afternoon and cut a sushi plate out of a couple of shades of purple glass. It's simple, but right now simple is really appealing to me. It's firing as I type this. Tomorrow, if my mold doesn't need re-priming, I'll slump it.
I wish I had a bigger kiln so I could fire more things at one time, but that's part of the point of all this selling business anyway. Gotta pay for the cool tools somehow. LOL!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
1. Always have spare batteries on hand. Yours will always fail the minute you start taking good shots.
2. Natural light is not optimal after 6pm.
3. If you need five good pictures, you should take at least 10.
4. After about 20 minutes of crouching down on the deck to take pictures, I start to shake even when I have a camera rest.
5. It is entirely possible to delete the only good shot of an item if you are rushing.
6. Husbands hate being ignored.
7. If you want more variety, use more props. Figure this out before the batteries die.
I'll get better at this one day. Heck, maybe I'll actually get a setup where I don't have to lay down on my rickety deck to take pictures.
On the other hand, new work is up in my Etsy shop. Click on the link on the right. You know you want to. LOL!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I've been trying to brainstorm a name now for weeks and nothing is appealing to me at all. A few are OK. Two are even kind of amusing; but I have a list of about 15 names and none of them strike me as mine. I think I'm trying to make this harder than it is. I just really want this to be a successful endeavor and I know how important striking the right tone with the shop name is.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I was really happy to see how complimentary our styles are. She is a great sculptor with a torch and her work is so fascinating to me because I am a lazy lampworker. The flat glass pieces drew in the customers looking for more traditional works and together, we managed to capture about an equal market share. In fact, some pieces were so popular, Christine agreed to accept some of them on commission.
The good news is that I still have a decent amount of stock to open up my Etsy shop even if I am now out of entire categories of goods. LOL! If only I could straighten out what I want to do with my name and branding. Oh, and of course I need to take umpteen gagillion pictures and write descriptions. Ah, business life. I seem to recall now why I decided to go back to working for "the man" all those years ago. Still, even the extra work seems freeing to me. When the day job starts sapping my energy, at least now I have my art and my business to look forward to.
More as it comes..... Later!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
See, my boys have an art box. It's a blue plastic shoe box full of crayons, glue sticks, glitter pens, markers, finger paint, play do, etc. When I color a picture, I pick out four or five crayons and color the picture. When they color a picture, they drag out whatever works. Did you know Spiderman could have a glittery web and play-do eyes? Yeah, me neither but it looked good and the kids had a blast.
So that's what I did yesterday. I dragged out all my frits and played in the scrap bin. I cut up former disasters into cabochons (breaking my drive belt in the process damnit!) and just painted with the glass. It's all very abstract and I shut the kiln lid with a sense of finality figuring that it was a wasted session. It was fun, but it felt like I had just run a load for nothing.
This morning, I went out to the shop to shut down the kiln and couldn't help but pop the lid. Imagine my delight when I found that every piece in there was going to be usable. When I'm not doing straight production, that rarely ever happens. It's just not possible to have every experiement come out - or so I thought.
Maybe it's because I went in and played instead of worked. Perhaps I was just due a lucky break. Doubtless, I have found some new techniques that work for me.
Now all I have to do is clean up the mess on my bench. I'm as bad as the kids.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
See, I've been out of the market for about three years. That's a really long time and technology and the customer base have both become more refined. I don't have the newest colors in my repitoire. My constant sellers are passe; and I'm in too big a rush to sit down and work on the new ideas in my head.
I think I need to spend some quality time with my sketchbook because I don't want to be the seller that has what everyone else does. I want to be the one that everyone else follows.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Since I don’t have time to fire up the hothead before we go, I might just take apart one of my necklaces for some of my better beads to make into pendants and charms. It will give me incentive to get back to the torch later. Either that, or I’ll just do without the necklace, but I hate not having any of my own work to wear. My poor torch is so neglected. I’m just not in love with it. It just seems to take so much time to make beads when I can load the kiln up with fusing and walk away. Funny how I don’t mind spending 20 some odd hours of firing time on one plate, but I don’t want to take 10 minutes to make a bead. Yup, I’m weird.
Last night, I didn’t get home until nearly 10pm so all I had time to do was glue up a few pendants. They really don’t thrill me so I’m not sure how long I plan on keeping this product line. Sure, they’re fast and a good earner, but they don’t feed my soul. It’s too much of a crafty project and not enough of an artsy one. I am pretty proud of the one I made my sister for her birthday though. Hers is her first initial on some beautiful gold flowered paper. I hope she likes it. She likes very simple things so the paper might be too much. We’ll see.
Yes, I am stressing over this show. I don’t have enough of anything – particularly earrings. I don’t need to worry. My friend over at “A Hot Piece of Glass” will have plenty of stuff. I’m just crashing her parade for a day so it’s just silly to let it bother me. It’s just that I have so many ideas and so little time to enact them. So frustrating!