Monday, June 1, 2009

Elegant maidens, elegant forms...

It is always an adventure to embark on a new style, well, new to me, and see where it goes. As you scroll down you can see the route my mermaids took, from esoteric and colorful in the beginning, to these simple and elegant forms...less is more, they say.

I love the idea of these maids ascending from the nautilus shape, with textured copper electroforming suggesting the sea foam delineating the two elements. The torsos are etched on most of these mermaids, and the swirling, coiling tails are mostly made with silver-based glass which will always yield a surprise set of colors in the end!

I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed making them. And in your seafaring travels you just may see a sea maiden who reminds you of these.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beware of ladies on seaweed-strewn rocks...!

Yes, these are the stuff of sailor men's dreams.

Under the sea for 80 days...!

The Sirens are calling...the odd, the beautiful, the colorful and the classic. I think Odysseus would have been really late getting home if he had seen some of these girls on his voyage!

The mermaids began as fairly classic forms, in colors, with frit, metallic glass, and of course with tails, even hair in some cases. I began seriously incorporating electroformed details, mainly the belts. Some are left bright, and some were patinated. At some point the mermaids changed their forms, and began emerging from nautilus-like shells. This evolution is a source of joy for someone like me because it shows I really can get out of the box and come up with something new and good. Thank the sea gods for that!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Earth is balanced on a cusp of weather change these weeks. One day it will be warm, oh say 41 degreesF, and we are all used to that temperature and don't feel cold. With a flick of clouds it will turn damp, foggy, windy, rainy, and downright uncomfortable. But early in the morning and at dusk you can hear a lot of birds, and the feeders are empty every night because of their appetites and the lack of fresh things to eat. They are gearing up for spring and nesting.

Yesterday I saw three glorious male turkeys just about one block from Route One (you know, a highway) in Rockland, so charged and puffed up for mating that they were just about incapable of doing anything but waddle around trying to interest the ten females who were pecking at bird seed on the grass....all dressed up and nowhere to go! I can see why Ben Franklin wanted them to be the national bird. I prefer the working-man look myself. And I definitely admire the nobility of the American eagle.

That's it for outdoors excitement in my part of the Maine landscape. In my studio roses are abundant, still. Here are more of the painted roses I have loved doing, with different background colors, and finally, in Gaffer Glass, from New Zealand...that will be the bead with deep ruby roses that pull you deeply inside their centers, the bead at the top.

Thank you for stopping by. Next time I will take you somewhere totally different!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Sun, Full Bore!

The Arctic air is blowing through town, but the sun is shining! Although it is distracting as I sit all day at the torch, I love it, even though I have to fight with the bright rays competing with my concentration on a ball of molten glass, I am so happy!

There was that hiatus for one month while I struggled with even more new stuff, and the latest floral beads are the result. I mentioned a new tutorial I have been working on, from Lydia Muell. All of the past month's work has led up to being able to make even more sophisticated roses. And I am learning new ways to "paint" them and their buds and foliage. I don't know why I didn't just take up painting in the first place, since this is just about the most difficult way to do it. Imagine painting with hot fluid glass, on glass, where you cannot exactly mix colors like you can with paint, and you can't remove it once you lay it down.

I hope you enjoy these beads. The largest is about 25cm round, and the longer ones are about 35-40cm long. Some are etched, but that is a leap in faith, believe me, taking the shine off a bead. One never knows wehre the details will go when one does that!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Full Circle

It has been nearly a year since I began my blog here. Once again we are having this teasing weather...sweaters one day, pouring rain and sleet the next, and a mass of mud and ice outside.

My spruce tree is a hub of activity...chickadees, two pairs of cardinals, blue jays, nuthatches, finches by the dozens, all enjoying the various feeders hanging in the tree. And then, if I am lucky, the tribe of twelve turkeys also feeds there, gathering up the carelessly dropped sunflower seeds. And if I am REALLY lucky one of the two woodpeckers will stop by and have a nibble.

Meanwhile I am steadily working on roses. I have a lot to show since my last entry in January so I will begin with these beads. All the flowers here are encased in clear, mostly done in Reichenbach and Gaffer glass. The cool red bead was pressed into a neat shape...looked at from the end it is a diamond form rather than a tubular bead, so there is lots of glass on the edges that adds to the depth of the bead.

I am working on a tutorial by Lydia Muell, and next post I will show the beads I have done with what Lydia has taught me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ahhh, winter...

I will not be discouraged, although we should get up to 20 inches of snow in Maine....maybe not here on the coast. I can always go into my studio and conjure more roses to humor myself.
I have added one more bead from Sunday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There is Always Something to Learn

This past weekend I participated in a roundtable discussion with three other artists from the Flower Power show at CMCA. The two painters, of watercolors and oils, were discussing the process of developing technique and style over time, and also the ways they could erase pencil lines, go away for a while, redo a line...or maybe put their whole bodies into painting a line that traveled over quite a large area. They could draft elements, or they could block out an area for painting their flowers or scenes. The more I listened the more I realized that glass work is really a one-shot deal, and every now and then the whole thing really comes together as something I am proud of and like.

My favorite floral artist in glass, Lydia Muell, has been inspiring me for a while, and some of her beads really do look like paintings. Connie Hayes was talking about the process of painting roses at the roundtable, how she gets the "glow" of a particular rose, or captures its personality...which can change throughout the day as it matures and responds to light. So when I next sat at the torch I attempted a more painterly style, in glass, looking at Lydia's roses and rosebuds, and at Connie's roses, blending colors, laying down good underpinnings for my flowers.

I am ecstatic about these beads, done in Reichenbach and Gaffer glass, 96 COE, because for the first time they subjects don't really look like they are in beads. They are loose and bold...a style I never thought I could emulate. Thank you, artists, for sharing what you know, and thank you glass gods for letting me "get it" once again!

Monday, January 19, 2009

In from the Cold

As cruelly cold as it has been, the inspirations for artists burn brightly in our hearts during these months. While thick fluffy snow fell all day yesterday, my eye was on the pinks and yellows of spring and summer flowers, namely roses. I have added some new elements, along with more variation in the color layers of my leaves...painting, I guess....however I don't know anything at all about painting!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


It is a freezing cold day, one to keep me in for the duration. I have been reflecting upon the ways we give the intangible to one another...a piece of beautiful music, like the melody you are hearing at this moment from Solas, which I found on a friend's Blog, and which I am learning; or as in yesterday's visit to my friend Tim's photography book store. I was looking at several photographs he has hanging on his walls. I recognized one of the bridge at Big Sur, and commented upon one of an old majestic building in New York City. There was one of several men around some bocce balls, and one of a buffalo on top of a wagon. Tim had been given snippets of information about all these photos, from people who come from all over the world to his store. The bocce players were in France, and some congoscienti could tell him who the famous players were just by the way they stood and wore their pants and shoes (the photo cuts them all off at the waist)! The buffalo was part of a rodeo act. And I had been over that bridge.

I was thinking about all these bits of information as gifts given to Tim over time, and mentioned a book I was reading, The Names of Things, by Susan Brind Morrow. This is the third time I have read it and have never known anyone else who has read it. Tim said it was one of his favorite books. I brought it up because she mentions how, in Egypt, travelling in the 1980's alone, she discovered she could give songs to people, and they would give songs back, just as people gave Tim information about his photos. Nothing material was exchanged, and the gift could be ephemeral or everlasting in the spirits of the recipients. Great gifts!

As an aside, I treasure the gifts of nuance that I find, sometimes, in my beads. The effects are often accidental but I feel a surge of delight when I get it right!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Something new...

I hope you enjoy the music I have added to my blog. Some of it is taken directly from the playlist of my friend Victoria Pittman, and I love the first piece played by Winifred Horan, with Solas. Her fiddle was made in Maine by Jonathan Cooper, it is the most beautiful sounding fiddle in the world (except for Joshua Bell's, of course). I bought a lovely Italian violin from this man years ago, and I am currently helping it to learn the haunting Solas piece on my playlist.

It is so freezing cold in Maine today that I have hesitated all day to go to my studio to work. My kiln will keep me warm but the intake air for ventilation will make my little cockatiel the woodstove is going in hopes of warming up the house enough to stave off the bitter cold I will be letting in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flower Power

I am in a beautiful show and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine. It is called Flower Power. Anyone who goes to see this show will feel so happy for being able to see 14 artists' interpretations of flowers, offered in the middle of January for extra effect!

Interestingly enough, the piece that most captivated me is lying on a white pedestal. It is a crushed copper bulb, open at one end, attached to a gently curved pipe. It looks like a poppy, in a way. The copper is beautifully and richly oxidized, and all the crenellations and dents bear the emphasis of the deep copper blue surface. So how is this so intriguing? From poppy, to crushed, to lying flat on a surface, my mind leaped to the Middle further explanations necessary. It was a simple, strong statement to me on how things are in that part of the world.

I was inspired by 24 small black panels mounted on the far wall, each bearing roses of different colors and types...just breathtaking, by the artist Connie Hayes.

And somewhere along the way to her wall is a glass case with my offerings, the foxgloves and sweet peas that make up these three necklaces. They are made with Bullseye glass, and the pinks and purples of the one sweet pea necklace are hand-blended colors. I love the goofy first shot because the way light travels through glass makes my heart sing!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Making Interesting Artifacts

Well, Missing in Action, for sure. But in all the months I have not posted in my beloved Blog I have been working through a lot of glass, learning, practicing, trying to understand things that other glass artists already know.

For most of the four years I have been working with molten glass I have tried to understand how some artists are able to portray flowers, specifically roses. Kim Miles has a technique that makes the petals look like tissue paper. And after several written tutorials with Lydia Muell of Ashton jewels, I have been smitten by her venture into roses as well.

So a student studies, and I have, looking, looking and looking some more, until the lights went on, the colors developed as they should, and I finally started to get that lovely texture in tiny rose petals. Maybe it isn't how Kim does it, and that would be really good. I switched to Bullseye glass part way through last week because the glass is harder and more forgiving of the encasing process, and they make awesome colors, especially pinks.

So if you have been waiting and wondering, as I hope someone has been, here is what has come out of my kiln in the past five days. I, for one, am truly delighted!