Friday, November 30, 2018

November's Never-ending Orders

Blown Glass Musical Ornaments
 'Tis the season......our torches are in beast mode once again. With the advance of technology, the Internet has kept this little "Ma-Pa" business hopping!  I wanted to make the time for one more Blog entry before November slips away....

Glass Hot Air Balloons waiting to be packaged.

Blown Glass Hot Air Balloon
  Companies are purchasing large ornament orders to give as tokens of appreciation to their employees for the holidays. It's all the two of us can do to keep up with the requests. We try our best and hope the end result is worth it. Meanwhile, I give the USPS a lot of business this time of year, as I ship many packages on a daily basis. And they all need a fragile sticker, because well, GLASS! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shipping packages all month long

Orders lined up, ready to be sent out to customers.
 Every year Russ makes the time to create a new ornament, like the one pictured below. I'm afraid that will probably have to do it for this year. Not enough hours in the day! Hopefully next year we will make the time to create some more new ornaments.

A new red and white striped icicle ornament
 Our Etsy Store is doing really well lately. Customers are coming back for more, (We like our repeat customers.) like the variety of roses pictured below.

Customers are requesting large orders of a variety of  roses.

 Russ doesn't have much time to fill the creative niche' this time of year, too busy filling orders. But   he did manage to create a slumped and fused piece this month. He added a screen printed fox to the     glass art below. Can you find him hiding in the woods?  Well, gotta run...the orders are piling up! 'Til next time, I hope you enjoy the season of giving. ๐ŸŽ„
The latest slumped and fused "Seasons" 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

We wanted to take a minute and wish you a happy Halloween.....
Blown Glass Black Cat and Pumpkins
 This month in the Studio we've been creating some fun Fall projects. We took real leaves from our trees and fired them onto Float glass. Then colored in the imprints with enamels, and placed  them on Kao Wool for a unique glass enamel piece.

Enamels before firing in the kiln
 We also created a fused Fall scene piece (pictured right) for a gift given this month, to one of our sons and his family. We love the Fall colors on both pieces.
Enamel and fused Fall Leaves
 Now to wait for the little goblins and monsters to come knocking on our door. (Then back to work we go, to get ready for our first Fall Artisan Show.) Have a spook-tacular Day!
We recently visited our local "Boo at the Zoo." Enjoy the night of Halloween! 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

September Mornings

                    September is a great time for reflecting down the paths of memory lane.
September in Idaho reminds me of a warm, cozy blanket. I find myself wrapped up in the warm glow of the lights reflecting just right off  the high mountain peaks. This is where the two of us feel most at home, along with the companionship of our dog pack. Whether it's a long-forgotten path to walk, or peace and serenity at a high mountain lake, we enjoy it all. The nights are crisp and Fall is in the air. At the beginning of the month we treat ourselves to one last camping trip, as we know the holiday rush will keep us hopping soon enough, from one project to another in the Studio.
Our favorite getaway for September was this high mountain lake.
Our pups patiently waiting for us to catch the lake trout for dinner.
 The high mountain lake always provides us with plenty of small lake trout, and a sense of wonder at the beauty of it all. 

 We are also busy harvesting the garden during the month of September, canning much of the fruits and vegetables we have grown over the summer. Also, we love to take Fall walks  down familiar trails while enjoying the Autumn air.
Our apple trees are loaded this year.
September harvesting takes a good amount of time.
Having had a chance to enjoy the great outdoors,  Russ' creativity has increased this month. (Funny how that works.) Pictured below are some of the new projects he has completed in the Studio. The first piece has LED lights added for a nice glow, and would look great on a fireplace mantel. The wolf was screen printed, which is a new element we are adding to some of the glass works this year. There are also new designs to try out on fused glass bowls and plates, pictured below.
Screen Print of a Wolf in the Glass Mountain Peak.
Slumped and Fused Piece- "Fallen"
Slumped and fused aqua beads
Fused glass with dichroic accents
I say it every year, but Fall is the favorite season by far. We aren't so busy that we can't enjoy the beauty of the Fall mornings with many outdoor walks. The inspiration from what we perceive outside, carries on to creations in the Studio. Much like the Aspen scene below, combining Slumped and Fused with blown glass leaves. So out we go into the woods again, to gather inspiration for the next glass art work. Until next time, I hope you can take some time to enjoy all the sights and smells of  glorious Fall.
Fused Art with Blown glass accents

Friday, August 31, 2018

Dog Days of Summer

I took a picture of Russ taking a picture of a beautiful Idaho sunset. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Family reunions filled up a lot of weekends this month, and already August is coming to an end. Nice thing about that, is no more air conditioning should be needed. One thing you can count on in Idaho, is our short summers. We can't complain though, while much of the country swelters in the summer sun, we rarely see the 100 degree mark. However, this August saw plenty of smoke from fires near and wide. That made it hard to breathe, but also made for some spectacular sunsets. And it did get hot enough a few days, to refer to the term "Dog Days of Summer". Makes it hard to work in the Studio at those temps., but we did manage to work on a few projects this month. One of them had to do with the passing of a friend's beloved pet. We also enjoyed spending time with some of our grand kids, romping around in our backyard playground.
Russ playing with our grand daughter in our backyard.
One of our friends lost her beloved furry companion Newton, this past month. She requested a memorial be made with his ashes. Russ came up with a slumped and fused design that incorporated the dog's ashes with the paw print. I created some flowers that also had the ashes incorporated in the middle and added it to complete the memorial gift, shown below. We would like to offer different versions of this idea to customers who would like to remember their pets in this way. We were thinking a framed piece that could hang on a wall would work well also.
Fused Glass Paw Print with a pet's ashes incorporated.

The finished Pet's Memorial.
In the picture below, Russ created a panel of trees based on the four seasons. We just need to attach it to a steel frame and it will be ready to hang.
Fused and screen printed glass - 4 Season Tree Panels
And there's always room in the kiln for a few new slumped and fused pieces, pictured below.
Striped Slumped and Fused Platter
Slumped and Fused Abstract Bowl
Once in a while, Russ gets inspired to create something for our living space. This month he wanted to recreate a slumped and fused piece inspired by our time spent in the mountains. Many hours were spent sawing, shaping with kaowool in the kiln, and sandblasting the float glass to create the scene of the Tetons. It was also tricky attaching it to the pine wood base and installing in our living room. But now that it's up on the wall, we can enjoy this very large piece of glass art work for years to come. 

We've already had requests to re-create something like this piece, so back to work we go. We'll miss the care-free days of summer, but at least the coming cooler temps will make it easier to work in the Studio. Well, that about wraps it up for the summer, enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Wall Art - Slumped and Fused Float Glass- The Grand Tetons

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Blowing Glass in Switzerland

Glass Blowers at work in Hergiswil Glass Factory
July was a month to remember, as we were able to fulfill a life-long dream of mine, which was to return to my Dad's Homeland of Switzerland. I hadn't been there since I was 18, and after almost 40 years, we finally had the opportunity to fulfill the dream. It is a trip that I will cherish always, as I reconnected with my Swiss heritage. One of the stops on our visit was a glass factory. Russ tried his hand at glory-hole glass blowing for a bit, and we enjoyed touring the glass museum and even brought home the ball he blew, along with a commemorative glass plate. What a treat to see how they created glass in a big factory setting. We are so used to our Lamp-working Stations, it was a different experience to see the "heated" conditions these glass workers were blowing in.
A very large glass factory in Switzerland
Glass gift shops and a museum are also part of the business
They work round the clock, using giant furnaces that generate the heat needed to melt glass.
A Portuguese gentleman helped Russ blow a glass globe.
Prepping the glass to be blown.
The finished product, taken home as a souvenir. 
A commemorative glass plate we bought from the gift shop.
The rest of the week was spent exploring the countryside, enjoying the intense beauty of the surrounding mountains and the teal-blue waters, which were fed by the massive glaciers. I also got to visit some relatives that still live in the area. My Dad has passed on, but I really felt his presence on this magnificent trip, and cherish my Swiss heritage.
Scenic mountains and lakes adorn this beautiful country.
Quaint villages dot the countryside.
We spent as much time as we could hiking in the Alps.
Lauterbrunnen was on the way to Jungfrau, the tallest peak in Switzerland.

Inside the Jungfrau were some amazing ice caves, carved into the glacier.

Reconnecting with one's roots does good things for the soul. These pictures are just a sampling of some of the spectacular scenery the small country of Switzerland had to offer. 
Funny, how I said it would be "The trip of a Lifetime", but we are already scheming on how to go back when Russ retires.... Es ist so schรถn!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Quick Tour


What's up with A Touch of Glass these days, you may ask? Well, this month I'm keeping the blog short and sweet, as we are preparing for a great adventure. (I'll explain more in July.)  We continue to stay busy with various custom projects requested by some local customers. Meanwhile, I've posted  a video of the latest works in our Studio. We hope this summer you have time to make some lasting memories. Until next time, enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May Musings

 The month of May has given us a chance to get creative with new glass projects around our property, as this time of the year Internet orders tend to slow down, giving us time to hatch new ideas. And of course, when one has time to collect one's thoughts, there is much creative musing that goes on in an Artist's brain. So in May those musings were turned into the latest creations. The first few visuals show the beginning process of fusing glass in the kiln, and then a couple videos of the final projects place around the yard. I like to think Russ might have channeled a bit of the great glass artist "Chihuly" with these florals that now adorn our pondscape. But of course, he is an artist in his own right, just not quite as famous. 
Colorful scraps of glass were fused into flowers and leaves for a new garden sculpture.
Russ plucked a rhubarb leaf out of the garden and fused float glass over the top of it. 
The following videos are short clips of  the finished pieces adorning our pond area, and a small waterfall in our front porch area. (Russ blew and sculpted a whimsical glass frog and added it to the fused leaf project.)

The backyard bar area needed a face lift, so here is a sneek peak of the new "Cheers" insert. It was sandblasted on float glass, which was cut to fit the space. We still have some fine tuning to do on this one, but thought I would share the work in progress.
Sandblasted glass for patio bar area.
 We managed to break away from all the Spring clean-up work and projects in the yard, to enjoy Russ' new kayaks he got for his birthday. We enjoyed a weekend in the mountains with family and got good use out of the fun kayaks. So that about wraps it up for the month of May's activities. Until next time, work hard, play hard. A good motto to live by. 
Russ kayaking with our Grandson.
"Yours truly" enjoying the Kayak at a pond in the nearby mountains.