Monday, April 16, 2018

ahhh, a break for me

So far, 2018 has been blessing after blessing.  Every residency becomes my new favorite.  They also keep getting impossibly more fun.  I've already finished three this year and each have their unbelievable challenges that surprisingly make me appreciate them even more. 

The above photos are from the first residency I did this year.  I posted a photo of the whole shebang in my previous post.  The project was 6 feet tall x ten feet wide.  This school had just gotten a glass saw and many of the students had worked with glass in previous projects I had done there.  So we decided to do something I never do in schools.  We used contrasting grout.  That means that the joints would be extremely visible and we had to take extra care to make sure they were beautiful and intentional.  I am laughing now about how ridiculously unrealistic my expectations were but we pulled it off, even with a day to spare.  Notice some of the white background tiles were star shaped!


My last project (above) was to be hung outside which means that there are many extra  considerations, the biggest being the adhesive.  A full quarter of the time we spent on the project was devoted to making the mosaic weather ready!  If that wasn't enough challenge, just imagine letting the project open to anyone in the community that wanted to help.  Above is a photo of my momma working on the mosaic.  Next weekend I am hoping to have a free day to go to the Juniata County Library to see the project hanging.

In between those two, I worked in Lewisburg on a project that only had two hours in their day to work on it.  They had a LOT of kids at a time so it had to be big enough to spread them all out.  The challenge was just getting it all done. 

In most residencies, I have between 4 and 20 kids at a time.  An average class is 15 at a time.  I've had a few classes over 20 but they are not that productive.  So the challenge in the project I am working on now is that there are some classes as big as 36!   We're talking total mayhem.  Just weaving through bodies to cross the room is a feat.  On the first day, we decided to make the project bigger because kids were so gung-ho.  Regardless, we are finishing up tomorrow, THREE DAYS AHEAD of schedule.  The plan is to have it hung before I leave the school, Friday.  And yes, it will be my new favorite.  The mosaic is a person with the top of their head cut off and color is floating out.  Photos soon!

There is no way to describe the high that comes from these projects.  The teachers I work with have been unbelievable and it seems to me like they enjoy these as much as I do.  The only thing that could possibly be any better is me and Bonz working by ourselves next week in my shop.  I started a project before Christmas and it is calling me.  How can life get any better.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

coming up for air

Wow!  I came on here to post about the residency I completed this week and realized that I had not posted about the two previous ones.  2018 has been a whirlwind so far and there is no sign of it slowing down... a good thing. I start my 24th residency tomorrow and have one lined up for August.  There's one scheduled for 2019 that will be twice as big as any I've done so far.  It will hang in a Harrisburg hospital.

Above is part of the ten foot tall project we just completed in Juniata.  It is scheduled for a Tuesday installation on the exterior of the Juniata County Library.  I will get photos of it installed when I can get up there. The continents are made up of tiles that the kids made.

The end of February, we made a dragon's eye for the Lewisburg Dragons.  The crazy part is that most of the days we only worked for two hours!

In January, at Midd West, we finished a ten foot mosaic that stayed in their school.  Again, the students each made at least one tile to go into the project.  Honestly, going in to school and opening the kiln is like Christmas morning, unwrapping presents.  I am actually depressed on the days that they have delays or cancel school because of snow.

If you are donating to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, THIS is what your money goes toward.  I wish you could spend some time with kids that know their work will hang in public.  I wish you could watch them collaborating, persevering, and hustling, then see their swag when they finally finish a month long project.  As fun as it is working with these kids, I am still trying to figure out how to get more of my own work sold.  I just hired a rep and I am thrilled about her.  So the rest of 2018 should stay busy.  How can life get any better?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

crazy how this works

For real, how does this stuff happen?  First, I will tell you some fantastic news, then I will tell you the strange turn of events that led up to it.  Good news is:  I am teaching this CLASS!  Info here:  Go ahead.  Click. D&L Artglass

Right now, I am so busy,  that I wasn't thinking about teaching.  I do residencies but that is not teaching.  Then, a few weeks back, I discovered that one of my favorite glass artists, Brian Blanthorn, had died in 2012. He kept a lot of his processes secret and I was wondering if his glass partner and wife would ever share them.  I thought about my own work and the fact that I am willing to share knowledge if asked.  Still, there are things I do that nobody is asking about.  Sharing technique elevates art universally. I don't have time in residencies to do fussy details and when I have time to get glass fancy, I'm alone.

Here is the weird part.  Shortly after this thought train, I got an email asking if I would travel to teach a class.  You know how the Universe works... the inquiry came from the place I most love to travel to - MY GRANDSON'S HOME TOWN!  Of late, Rob and I have been lamenting the fact that we're both so busy that we don't know when we will get out to Denver. Now we know.  It is still contingent on having enough people sign up to take it so if you know anybody that would be interested, please share this info!  While I am not comparing myself to the amazing Blanthorn, I do know a lot of tricks that can make 2D work look more dimensional. That's my thing.  Now it could be YOUR thing too. 😜

Monday, October 30, 2017

happiest glass chameleon ever

Ya!  "be the change" is 20 x 36 inches.  Wow, now that I am sharing more of my ideas as I am working on something, I am noticing just how much I change my mind.  I reread a previous post and see that I was going to put purple flowers in this.  I can't even imagine that now.  I was looking over notes that I made for myself and instead of beetles, it was to be dragon flies.  Weird.
Anyway, this is a really simple signature tile but I stand behind it.  I try to add a little fun close to my signature in some form, like paint spatter on the frame or some type of deviation in the border.  In this case, I put the beetles right there.
These dots and "beads" are strewn through the whole mosaic.  Virtually everything featured is rounded, the background is all square and rectangular.
I have a few extra photos of the chameleon fabrication in a  video on a Bored Panda post.  If you're on BP, give it a thumbs up, please! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

fern and fiddlehead

This is where my chameleon is right now.  A few of these tiles have moved since this photo but almost all of them are now adhered.  Then actually everything else should be breezy.  The chameleon, fiddleheads, and fern are curvy.  Everything else will be square or rectangle, brown or green.  I have some cool mottles to work with. When it gets to this part, I put in long days because I hate to quit. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

here she is!

Well, I tossed my original face and started over.  Having figured everything before, this face only took two firings! Second results are WAY better.  The other one was over fired and started to lose it's shape. Then ultimately, it cracked in half which made my decision to toss it real easy.  Thanks, Universe.  The above photo is a fast and dirty phone photo of most parts laying on a piece of black glass.  I am not yet sure what I will do with the tongue, probably shorten it.  Fling it up? Wave it down? The bottom two tongue pieces are just laying there to give me ideas.  Today I will be working on her two right paws and the branch she will be clinging to.  I have to add her right eye yet, which might be difficult because there is only a tiny bit showing.  But I really want to show her eyes in two directions.  That is the whole reason I worked so hard to find a face that is turned slightly toward me.  I used one photo for a reference of the top half and one for the bottom.  The body is just the same typical, chameleon photo. 

So far, I AM IN LOVE with her.  Gonna be even more happiness if I can get a good front paw with her palm facing me. Then I just need to make the rest of the mosaic to do her justice.  I think I will add a flower for her food to sit on.  I already know I want two bugs.  One will be her right eye focus, the other for her left eye.  Probably all greens and maybe a purple flower.  We'll see.  Green fiddleheads?  Hmmmm

Friday, October 6, 2017


This chameleon has been kicking my butt.  I think I am ONE firing away from finished.  The whole reason I did a chameleon in the first place is the skin texture.  There are very few decisions left here and then I am just adding the remainder of texture layer to her skin.  Seriously, I can hardly stand it.

I listed things I wanted to see. With about ten photos of chameleons, I narrowed down to the three that I sized and printed so I could cut and piece together to make a chameleon in the position I wanted.  On the back of the above list, I have a list just as long of the things I am adding as I am omitting things from the original list.  For instance, I blew past paisley, and I changed my mind to put her tail in front of the branch which is still in my head.
A good reason to do a chameleon is to get crazy with color.  However, I only think in blue so why fight that?  Credit me for being a little adventurous with some green and yellow on her lips and side. 
I have so few decisions left, like what to do with her tongue or even if she has any at all. As soon as I get these pieces all in the kiln, I can start on her two paws for the legs on her opposite side.  I would love to see the underside of her paw whitish but I have to really think about what the background of this mosaic will be.  If I do a black background a light purple paw will be cool.  Yeah, I just talked myself into that... or green.  Hmmmm.
This was after the first firing.  I over-fired and had to recut the tail and mouth. I have made so many eye parts and I am really happy with the eighth one.  Ewww, no, not the one in the above picture.

Both the above eye parts got trashed already.  The one part was reworked and fired two additional times before it landed in the trash.  I just want to point out why my definition of failure is quitting.  There is just so much bullshit that you just won't see in the end result of anything cool that anyone does.  I don't even call these mistakes, they are just part of the path to the eye that looks good enough for my story. The one that I am firing onto her face tonight (hopefully) is exactly how I had envisioned.  I had to stack blue glass and I used my wet saw like a grinder to sculpt this crazy little thing about as big as the tip of my thumb.  So let's see how the day goes.  I might be so excited tomorrow that I do a blog post two days in a row.  I could also wake up to find... Nope. Not going to jinx myself.