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Recycling in the Studio

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Howdy Everyone!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about recycling and my business. I know…what a topic for a blog but you know me, anything goes. We have been living in Austin, Texas for almost two years now. That has drastically influenced my environmental awareness. I’ve made changes in my business to consume less energy and recycle more. The below is some of the things that I’ve been doing.

Consume less energy:
-Use a smaller, less electrically needing kiln. I use a Chili Pepper kiln for annealing now. I rarely use the Paragon because of the amount of watts it uses.

-I use energy saving light bulbs, either Cool Lite or Sylvania, in the studio and at shows. The 60W equates to only using 13W of energy. If I can go without electric at show, I do.

-I looked for a studio that has rooms so that when I’m working in a room, only that room is lighted and has AC in it. I keep the other vents shut down. I keep a schedule so that I don’t work on the torch or kilns in the heat of the day. The areas that are harder to keep cool, we normally only use those early in the day or in cooler seasons. This wasn’t a huge issue in the Midwest but it is in parts of Texas.

-I use rechargeable batteries for the camera and all the small tools like the dremel.
We changed out the ceiling fans with more energy efficient fans. They move the air, keep it cooler and having better energy efficient lighting.

-We use old washcloths, towels, and t-shirts instead of paper towels. I’m still on roll of paper towels that I placed in the studio during early March.

-We re-use most of the glass and plastic containers that we buy food in. They are re-used in the studio for various projects. Right now, all my glass stringers that I pull are stored in tea containers. Some are also stored in old pasta sauce jars. I even use old coffee cans to sort glass can, as a sharps container, and to store sterling pieces that getting ready to be mailed off to the manufacturer.

- We recycle old newspaper, any packing materials, old boxes, bubble wrap, and every other packing material.

Technology has really decreased the amount of natural resources that I use.
I send more emails and fewer postcards. It’s just less gas that is used for delivery and less paper that is used. Less shows (both buying at trade shows and show) because of the amount of fuel needed and more internet.

I’m always looking for ideas…so if you have any…let me know. There is only one Mother Earth and it saddens me that we are draining Her resources at an alarming rate.

Also don't forget, my end of year lampwork bead sale....beads are moving quickly. I will be adding more as I get pics. Here's the URL... in the lampwork section of the website.

Have a happy and creative day!


New Lampwork Beads...New 104 COE glass!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
These are much prettier in person. They are made from Lauscha and a new glass called Ornela. Monique from JoDel glass carries it. It’s a smooth flowing glass and the only compatibility issue that I’ve had has been with Lauscha Cocoa and Ornela. I have compatibility issues with both Lauscha Cocoa and Lauscha Olive when I use the Chili Pepper kiln. Not when I use the Paragon kiln with the fire brick. Either there is something off with my anneal process, which I don’t think there is because of the test beads that I’ve made…or the Paragon has less of a draft and is more of an even heat. Either way, I normally bang the hell out of them, use a dremel at full speed, and not sell them fresh from the kiln. If an issue is going to crop up, it happens normally with in the first 72 hours of the life of the bead.

If you do glass long enough, I will bet you will find issues with each of the types of glass. For example, I have troubles sometimes with encasing some of the corals and reds. That's using Effetre clear with Effetre coral. Sometimes certain opaques are shocky, some of the transparents boil, and some of the colors bleed into other colors. Enough about the compatibility and other glass issues…who doesn’t have them.

I’m getting ready to order more Ornela…it has too many colors that I can’t find else where. Plus it’s just a nice, smooth glass that’s a pleasure to work with.

The above set is one of those that I’ve wanted to make for a long time. It’s much easier since Ornela came out with the exact hues that I’ve had pictured in my mind. You can tell I like it LOADS…I made a huge set.

Have a happy creative day!


More Lampwork Beads

Monday, November 27, 2006
Here's another strand of lampwork beads, fresh and dremel cleaned. I like the colors and the surface textures. Right now I'm working on some customs. Lots of brown and mint...actually the first couple of beads were kinda fun. After that, I'm a bit sick of cocco-mint anything.

What's next on my table is some blue slate and a transparent denim. That perks my interest BUT it's grey here. The weather is gloomy and the skies aren't the typical sunshine. Maybe I'll work on the eye popping colors. Those always cheer me up when the weather is icky.

Have a happy creative day!


Beads, bead out my studio AGAIN!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I've been cleaning out my studio the last couple of weeks...I'm pretty sure that I have another several weeks until it's done. I have beads, lots of beads so I've moved up my yearly bead sale. I have so many beads that I will be adding them over the course of the next couple of weeks. If you don't find something that tickles your fancytoday, check back. If you are interested, take a peek here:

I'm also in the process of doing a jewelry update to the website. Currently, new bracelets have been added. Next week, I will be updating the sets section of the website. This is going to be a never ending process! I think I need a studio fairy or a magic wand.

Have a happy creative day!


New Lampwork Beads, kiln fresh!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The above are 18mm nugget shaped lampwork beads. These were a bit time intensive but well worth it.

Well...sorry to post and go...but I've got lots to do today. I'm in the mist of a website update. (don't ya think it's time)

Have a happy creative day!


More Lampwork Bead Experiments...oh yeah, I wanna be Xena

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
This (below) set was a color test. I like the shapes and design but the color test failed. Good enough for a small strand but not what I envisioned. The problem with glass is many times the color of the glass changes in the heat of the flame or the kiln. I’ve had beads that look kewler than kewl in the flame BUT when I opened the kiln, the colors were muddy. There are times that I’m trying to get muddy and the colors are too sharp for what I wanted. A lot of times, I don’t do the work…the flame does. Sometimes, it pure and simple luck. A lot has to do with working the glass, seeing what it will do with other colors of the glass. There a many lampworkers that make bead making look easy…it can be. I’m just not one of those lampworkers. Actually I really don't quality for the honors of being a lampworker...I'm more of a jewelry designer and silversmith that happens to do lampwork. I've only been making beads for about 3 years now. Maybe in about another decade, I can grow up to be a real lampworker.

If I was Xena, the Warrior Princess, what type of beads would I wear? Well these (below) are it. They are called Maelstrom. They are a mirage of color. So far these are some of my favorite beads. I don’t know why but I like them…in fact, I like them so much I think a series is in the making.

As you can tell, I make a LOT of lampwork beads. Many you see get made into jewelry, some are color experiments, and some are style/design experiments. Every once in a while, all the pieces of the puzzle just fit…the light bulb goes off…and poof, a series takes place. Like Kaleidoscope and Four Corners. BTW, there are many beads that you don’t see…some because I think that they are fugly and some because I can’t get a decent picture of them.
Here's (below) are the companion beads...lots of nuggets and matching pairs for earrings. The came from the same torch session and have the same hues.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday...I'm off to do errands.


More Lampwork Bracelet Beads

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Here's some eye candy...all three bead strands will be turned into bracelets.

Nothing much to say today. I'm up early and ready to start my day. I've got some ideas spinning and want to hit the torch. I've only got a couple more days of torch time and then it's jewelry making time.

Have a happy creative day!


Dream Beads...more lampwork beads!

Monday, November 20, 2006
I've been working on my 'dream' beads....remember my odd dancing beads dream from yesterday? The below is what came from that dream.

There is enough beads here to do several pieces of jewelry. I've been trying to do more mix and match beads. I hate it that I have this medium sized strand of lampwork beads...I made a bracelet and pair of earrings then have odd beads left overs. These larger sets of my idea to prevent this. We'll see if it works or not.

Here's some happy day beads. They are bright, bold, and have an attitude. I know that they aren't everyone's idea of fashion...that's ok, I like them. If nobody wants them, I'll keep them for myself.
There's the happy day beads' lampwork focal. Lots of color and lots torch time to make, but well worth the results. The bead has been encase first to pop up the background colors. All the stringers were encased, again to bring up the brightness of the glass. The results are kinda like Ronald McDonald goes to the circus.
That's all she wrote today...I'm off to the torch again. Later this week I've got to set down and make jewelry. I'm drowning in beads, I mean they are beads have litters? I don't have any bead shows until next year so...after I get some things made for my mother, I'm having a sale on the website again. More lampwork specials, these puppies need to find homes. I do this everytime my bead storage starts getting full. It's past due. My coffers are full, my storage area is full, and my desk tray is full. I'm now putting them in plastic bags and pinning them to my cork board.

I'm off...I want to finish my audio book and get a start on another strand of beads. I have a couple of 'ideas' floating around. Wanna try them out.

Have a happy creative day!


Lampwork Experiments...and strange dreams

Sunday, November 19, 2006
Ok...I confess, I got bored again so I've been experimenting AGAIN. The below are results of that. I've been listening to an audio book that has my undivided attention. I can't tell if I want to be on the torch or listening to the book I'm doing both. Lampwork is one of the few professions that you can do that...maybe that's why I keep making beads.

I was up at 5 am today, wondering what's next in the book and shaking my head over the dream I had. I had dreams of beads with little beady heads and skinny stick legs doing line dances in an old 80's disco. They were dressed in greens and purples...with lots of flat dots all over them. Remind me never to eat my husband's chili before I go to bed. I have odd dreams and gas. What a winning wonder I spend large amounts of time in the studio alone. Welcome to Moon World...the land of TMI.

The above was a color's ok. I like the design concept so I wil work on another set of this type today.

I was playing with the Double Helix glass again. I used lots of silver and played with reduction flames. They look much nicer in person...lots of patterns with in the solid areas that the camera didn't pic up. That's a nice way of saying that I suck at photography.
The above is a double layer of frit...I used a light frit, added some silver, then melted. Then I rolled it in a teal. These don't look too bad. The experiment was also the focal. I wanted more of a textured, more visually interesting bead. The concept needs some kinda looks like an alien's penis. Maybe I just have it upside down or something.

Well my studio is calling me and I'm feeling better so I'm off to the torch. More experiments today...maybe even some green and purple beads, like in my dream. :-)


Back at the torch...

Saturday, November 18, 2006
I spent my day yesterday pumping out lampwork beads. Nothing great and wonderful, mostly frit beads. I need to clean the studio but...I figured torch time would be more fun. I went for the fun part.

The below is a mix of Ink Blue, Ivory, and Silvered Ivory. All 104 COE glass and easy to do for my first set back. In other words, it did not tax my system to make these.
The below are actually much prettier in person than in the pic. The amber had a nice contract with the mauve. These were quick and easy beads, another frit bead set. They will make up into nice jewelry. Not much on the bead front though. The glass is all 96 COE.
The below is a set that I actually like. All 96 COE glass and lots of Raku powder.
The below strand was make from Val's House of Blues frit. Another nothing great and wonderful set but I think they will make up into some nice everyday jewelry. All 96 COE glass. The below is another set made with Val Cox's frit and 96 COE glass. The base is black...then slam on some silver leaf...then roll in frit. Then take them back the to flame to melt the frit...then poof, the kiln fairy does her magic.
All in all, boring but sets that I got into the 'Zen' of the flame. Today, I think I'm going to make much of the same. Easy beads while listening to an audio book. My cold is still kicking my butt and when I start coughing, the bead normally hits the water. Besides, it's kinda fun to go back to some of the more simpler beads when I'm working with one of the presses I haven't used for a while.

Hey Crys! ...Yeah, it was a very long week!! I soooooo glad to be home. I went to Cincinnati and Covington, KY. I've decided that I would prefer to rent a studio in an artist hub. The two larger ones that have walks BUT they can't accommodate my studio. So it really looks like if we want to move in that area, we have to's a dog and fence issue. Which I'd really rather wait for a year. If we would of bought here in Austin, I'd be stuck here.

Do you know anything about Dayton? Or Cleveland? (or anyone else have any words of wisdom about Ohio? We need a city that has a major airport and is within 6 hours of Indianapolis)

That's all I've got for today...I'm off to the studio.

Have a happy creative day!


I'm Back!

Friday, November 17, 2006
I’m alive…I made it back from my trip! I’m still a bit out of commission, I have the cold from hell and my allergies have decided to kick my butt. On top of all of that, I’ve paid the dentist mongo bucks for more pain.

On the bright side, I now can eat real food. While I was in Indianapolis, my temp crown popped off and spilt in half. My food selections were limited, lots of soft-lukewarm gruel. Yummy, just what I always wanted. So now I have my teeth action back, I’ve been chowing down on anything that crunch to it.

It was wonderful seeing the parents at the ol’ homestead but the weather sucked. It rained so much that I almost missed Austin weather. Since I’ve been home, it’s been like early fall weather here. Lots of sun but around 70 degrees. What a treat to come home to this!!!

I don’t have any eye candy but I’m working on the torch today. So tune in tomorrow and I should have something to show for my efforts.


Gone Fishin'...see ya next week!

Friday, November 03, 2006
I'm off for a week of seeing my parents. The below is some lampwork jewelry that I made today. Mostly ribbon necklaces, that I really like with sweaters.

This one I made for will go great with a pair of jeans and a green jacket I've got.
The below is from the set I made yesterday.

Have a great week!


Lookie' what the Kiln Fairy brought me...

Thursday, November 02, 2006
I'm in the process of packing for an out of town trip so I know I won't be on the torch until I get back. I had to make the most of my torch time. So I made comfort beads. Everyone has things that they do that they enjoy. Some folks do needle work, or bake, or drink...I make beads.

The below is a strand that was torched for a jewelry design that I'm working on. I had to turn up the propane to get the metalic touches on some of these beads. I wanted them to have an Art Deco look to them. When I get back, I will make them in to a set of a necklace, bracelet, and a pair of earrings.

The below is one of my favorite color combos to work with. They turned out OK, not some of my best work but I had a hellve' good time making them.

The Kiln Fairy decided to be good to me again. I’ve been working on focals, experiments for the Kaleidoscope Series.

The below is one that kinda works…it looks more like a caterpillar. Which wasn’t my intention, but I think it has more to do with the colors that I chose. Al’well, I have a jacket that it will look great with, so I’ll just keep it for me.

The below is one I like, even though it a PITA to take pictures of. It will look much better as a piece of jewelry than just a plain bead. The two little beads are the matching earrings for the focal.

The below looks much better in person than in the picture. It's really very kewl. This is a prototype of what I think I want to use for the series.

Ok...that's it for lampwork eye candy. I won't have many more for a couple of weeks. I'm taking a trip to visit my parents and to look at property in the Ohio area. I'm still debating with myself what my next business move will be. Do I want a gallery or do I want a studio in an artist hub. There are pros and cons to each. I just don't know yet, I guess time will tell.

It's off to the dentist for me (AGAIN)...ya know, I really don't like crowns...I like root canals even less...BUT I like to eat so that is the price that I pay.

Have a happy creative day!


New Strands of Lampwork Beads & Kaleidoscope Series

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The below is part of my 'Metals' series. These were made to be a necklace with pearls. I will be working on this tomorrow. (After my dentist appointment...yes, another one...if I keep going on like this, I will have more crowns than I have 'real' teeth.)

Crys suggested the name “Kaleidoscope” for the new series that I’m working on. I like it! When you look at the beads close up, it looks like a like a section of what you view in a kaleidoscope. Almost fractal. This is a strand, that is part of that series, in blues, green, yellow, and purples. The hues just blend together. I think that they will make very dramatic pieces of jewelry. I also did several matched paires for earrings.

There is one's a melon bead on the right. I think that I'm going to work more with this design. I did three and only one turned out OK. I have an idea for melon buttons. I've also been working on an idea for toggles. I'd like a vest made in the below colors with a toggle button. Off the button would be a tassel. So far, every one of the demo that I've created are to heavy. They might work on a coat...but that's not what I'm wanting.

Yesterday, I was at the eye doc. I’m very happy to report that I have no eye damage. I didn’t think I did but it’s better to play it safe than be sorry. Since I work on a torch, both for lampworking and silver smithing, I run a higher than average risk for eye issues. Wearing the correct safety glasses make a difference. Having good ventilation is another issue that needs to be addressed in the industry. Good lighting, good posture while sitting, and a huge number of other issues should be addressed in beginning classes.

I make sure that I remind my doc once a year to run a liver panel because of the type of work that I do. I use toxic materials in enameling plus there is always some of the fumes from lead based materials. There’s solder fumes, the chemicals that I use for matting metals, and then there is my new thang…resin. NO, you haven’t seen any pictures yet. I’m not sure that anyone will see any for a while. This isn’t going as well as I thought it would.

BTW…I did order a new pair of glasses. Ya know you are getting older that you have entered your second childhood. This time I got a pair of ‘cat eye’ glasses. No, rhinestones this time…they didn’t have any or I would of tried them on for size.

Ok...this is my last day at the torch for a week or two. I've got to get a quick fix in.

Have a happy creative day!!