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!