Monday, October 30, 2017

The Colors of October

"Hiding in the Woods"
If you know anything about me, you know that October is my favorite "color". 😊 And some of this month's glass creations just happened to reflect some of those vivid orange, red, and yellow hues of Autumn, currently on full display in many of our forests. The Slumped and Fused piece pictured above is nestled in a Birch branch.
Idaho's Fall Colors
Also residing in the Autumn foliage are a good number of mule deer and some white tail deer. Russ sculpted the mighty Buck pictured below, and placed it on an antler.
The Mighty Buck
I also finished a bunch of bright red blown glass chili ristras for a customer this month.
Glass Chili Ristras
The slumped and fused vase below incorporated just about every color on the spectrum.
Colorful Fused Glass Vase
This next creation wasn't inspired by the beauty of the Fall scenery. However, this month Russ was driven to create the piece below because of what has been going on with the political discourse in our country. His thought process went along the lines that the issues we are facing are not just a matter of "Black and White." Labels continue to tear us apart..... "Right vs. Left," "Wealthy vs. Impoverished,"  "Straight vs. Gay", "Christian vs. Agnostic," etc. etc. If we don't get our collective acts together soon, and figure out how to work together instead of continuing with the current polarization going on, our Democracy could melt into an uncertain future. What if we worked harder at embracing each other's ideas and worked  towards solutions for the common good. After all, "the future is in our hands" to create a colorful, healthy and vibrant America, and remember what it really means to be a great country. Lately it seems we have lost our way, it's time to get back on track. 
(A little back story on the creation below.)
"The Future is in our Hands"
The many layers in the fused piece below were another October creation.
Multi colored fused glass plate
To end a very busy month of October, Russ is taking on a rather large endeavor. There are many layers and contours to fill in with this project. 
A work in progress
There have been multiple firings in the kiln, of this Crested Crane, and Russ is working on the background environment. Still a work in progress.
Many firings in our kiln until it's complete, stay tuned.
Well, that's a wrap for this month. Looking forward to the little ghosts and goblins coming around to  trick or treat. That reminds me, I better get some pumpkins carved. Yikes!
Pumpkins from our garden.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

September Harvest

Another batch of wildlife headed to Yellowstone
Lately, it seems the months are blurring into each other. I can't believe we are already looking  into the month of October in a few days. Time sure has a way of getting away from us. I'll take the time to write a quick blog post today, then head back into the Studio for more projects. (We never seem to run out of them these days.) Pictured above is part of the latest blown glass wildlife order from the Yellowstone stores. 

A hand engraved slumped wine bottle created for a customer in Iowa.
The flattened (slumped) bottle and logo above were made for a winery in Iowa. We enjoy creating Business' logos with our engraver. It's a hand engraver, so I take my time with these kind of projects to get it just right. No such luxury of  a laser engraver yet, maybe in the future. 

Orders are already piling up for the coming Holidays.
Pictured above is part of an order we created for an Art Gallery that's located across the country. I have lots of finish work to do, like tying cords onto each individual ornament, and adding tags of course. I take extra time carefully wrapping each one with tissue paper and bubble wrap, to make sure it arrives safely to it's destination. (You wouldn't believe how much of that product we go through every month.) The Devil is in the details.

Meanwhile, our garden harvest is full-bore this month of September. We've already harvested beans, peas, cucumbers, carrots, spinach, peppers, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, herbs, and zucchini. Pictured below are the latest vegetables to be picked. We had no choice, as the garden got hit by frost last week. Looks like I have plenty of winter squash to store this year, along with a good variety of pumpkins. 

So, multi-tasking is a must in the month of September, with the business and home and garden duties. It's a way of life we have grown accustomed to. And you know how the saying goes, "You reap what you sow". Until next time, enjoy the Harvest. 
September is a month filled with canning garden goodies.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Eclipse of the Century

The Total Solar Eclipse happened on August 21st, and we witnessed it in Idaho.
I don't know if I can use enough superlatives to describe what we just had the pleasure of witnessing this past month on August 21st. So I won't even try, because there are many NASA videos you can look up to see what my words can't describe. We stood in awe and wonder of this total Solar Eclipse.  I can guarantee we won't be around to witness this celestial event when it comes around in another 100 years. So I can say that I am one of the lucky ones to have bore witness to a total Solar Eclipse in my lifetime. Our little town of Idaho Falls was right in the path of totality and even experts from NASA were based here for the duration, it was THAT big of a deal. It was eerily beautiful for it's short duration of a little over 2 minutes as a total eclipse, with the whole event lasting close to 3 hours.  I remember envisioning I was in some kind of Sci-Fi thriller. It was so surreal to look up at the heavens and for a brief moment, see the stars in the middle of the day. And the sun's corona cast an amazing light display around the moon. This event measured up to (in my view) and surpassed everyone's expectations. The weather couldn't have been better. We had a beautiful sunny day with light breezes blowing. Our neighborhood is up in the foothills, so we had a perfect view of the Moon's shadow as it made it's way along our valley's floor. As the Moon reached the path of Totality with the Sun, I could hear screams of delight all throughout our desert valley, myself included. The spectacular experience will be ingrained in my mind for many years to come. 

So, of course, knowing the magnitude of this stellar event beforehand, we had to add to the Eclipse "craze" with some glass art works created in the Studio to commemorate the beauty of it all. This month's blog features various slumped and fused pieces Russ created for friends and family to remember it by.
Slumped and Fused "Spacey" Idaho with Total Eclipse in the center of the State.
 Above is an Idaho silhouette cut out with the glass saw and made to look like outer space, and the Eclipse right in the middle of our State. Below is a glass coaster set with an Eclipse theme. 

Eclipse themed Coaster Set

Eclipse pendants were handed out to family members that day too.

Eclipse Glass Pendant

One of our friends just happened to be celebrating her birthday on the 21st, and Russ made a special decorative plate with the Total Eclipse highlighted with gold, which was fired on in the kiln. (She and her husband just happen to be huge fans of all things to do with outer Space, and we think it couldn't have been a better present for her.)

Slumped and Fused Decorative Glass Eclipse Plate
The timing of this celestial event was much needed, as Russ just lost his beautiful Mom last month on July 30th, after a valiant battle with Alzheimer's. She always believed in and spoke about the power of the Universe. We all felt her that day, as her spirit soared through the vastness of the experience. She continues to be a shining star for all who have had the pleasure of knowing this great and inspirational woman. Many of her artistic talents still live on in her son, and we are grateful for the wisdom of her written words , and the beauty in her paintings. To say the least, she is a most heavenly being of light, and is greatly missed, but also ever present in our surroundings.

Russ and his dear Mom, Nita
The past month has been a very emotional one, and we will continue to deal with the loss of this lovely woman we have had the pleasure of calling Mom. The celestial event of the Eclipse took on a whole new meaning for us as we thought about her that day. But, eventually those of us still dealing with life on earth, have to come back to reality and carry on as best as we can.  It's hard to do, and every day presents new challenges. But there are many orders to get to in the Studio that need our attention and just won't wait, and the busy season is just about here. I suppose staying busy helps to deal with a loss of this magnitude. And busy we are! While Russ works the torch flames,  I am currently working on hundreds of fused wreaths that need to be shipped off next month to a client. I'm afraid it's just the beginning.... 

In the process of working on hundreds of glass wreaths.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Christmas in July

Colorful Hand Blown Ornaments
In our line of work, it's never too early to think about the Holidays.  I guess there's a reason someone coined the phrase, "Christmas in July."  We are currently doing lots of kiln work to create hundreds of glass wreaths for a client in Michigan. And so while it's on our minds,  we thought we'd pass on a friendly little reminder and a link to look at our Etsy shop. A good reference to keep us in mind for a unique Christmas ornament in the future. The earlier your order is placed, the better. Because once September comes around, our "to-do" list gets longer and longer. Below are some pictures of some sample ornaments.

Colored Icicle Ornaments

Glass Cardinal Ornament

A fun glass Painter's Palette 

Lots of prep. goes into making and packaging our glass ornaments

Meanwhile, here's hoping you still find the time to catch "Big Wanda" out at your favorite fishing hole, with what's left of July. Enjoy it!
Glass Trout making a Splash

Friday, June 30, 2017

Creative Works in the Studio

 This month was spent going outside the box on many special requests generated from various customers. We started out the month by working on a design for a gift/award that was handcrafted for a prominent Company in our city, Melaleuca. They requested that their logo, a Melaleuca leaf and droplet, be created out of glass...along with an American and Chinese flag to symbolize a new business partnership for them.

Creating National Flags out of glass
Initially this project was a real puzzler, with countless hours put into the design, trying to get it just right. The glass leaf was hand sawed and carved and fire polished in the kiln. The droplet was fired with gold in the kiln, multiple times. Overall, I think the end result was what they were after.

Russ also had time to create an unusual glass water fountain for our own front patio area,  shown in the video below. 

We had fun creating the piece below with an Upcycled wine bottle that I hand engraved. It's accented with colorful blown glass flowers and a butterfly attached with copper wiring.

A pretty Upcycled piece of Wall Art
 A variety of  blown glass flowers were also created for an Etsy customer this month.

A variety of purple hues were used on these sculpted glass flowers.
 Another client wanted some Tinkerbell-like pixies created. The picture below is what we came up with. 
Pixies with Butterflies resting on glass flowers
 The flowers below are part of an unfinished order we are still working on. They were a challenge, but the end result is worth it.

The blown glass Dolphins were a special order from another Etsy customer. They will be woven into a handcrafted Japanese basket.
Cobalt blue glass Dolphins
 Pictured below is the beginning stage of our float glass water fountain. Russ hand cut each piece and it required multiple firings in the kiln. 
First stage ready to be fired in the kiln.
 The leaves were cut and sawed into, then laid on kaowool for the desired texture.
Glass leaves ready to be fired.
Another month full of new projects, it keeps us on our creative toes! Thanks for tuning in to what's new from our Glass Studio. Until next time, enjoy those summer days.
Finished project

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Peaks and Valleys

Time for another blog entry as to what's going on in the Studio....This month was spent organizing a variety of  different types of glass, and wrapping up our Yellowstone order, plus creating another float glass mountain scene. The wolves pictured below were the last of the glass wildlife packed up and headed to the Park Stores. I got to hand deliver all the pieces personally, and enjoyed a side benefit of Old Faithful erupting while I was there. The Park looked healthy and vibrant,with patches of snow still hanging on in the high country.
Our Border Collie Maggie seems to want to help with the work.
Howling wolves headed for Yellowstone Park
Once back from the day trip, it was time to focus on organizing glass in the Studio. Also, as seems to be the norm now, we have to attend to a constant stream of Etsy orders coming in every month, like the colorful teardrops pictured below. 

Swirls of color were added to these teardrops
It's always nice to get creative in the Studio and try something new. Russ actually had time to create a unique piece of new art work for one of our Nephews this month. Below are the steps taken to create the "peaks and valleys". Russ started out with a concept drawn out on paper. Then he used the new glass saw that we purchased at the Glass Expo a couple months ago, to cut away the mountain range and rolling hills in sections. This project was all made out of float glass.

First stage of the "Peaks and Valleys" Mountain Scene

Cutting into the glass with our new saw. Such an improvement from the old one!
The next step was to fire them in the new kiln, to heat the rough-cut glass down to a soft edge.

Float glass ready to be fired in the kiln
Kaowool was placed under the float glass' top edges for the mountain peaks. This technique is used to give them the contour and illusion of snowy peaks. Once fired, it peels off.

Kaowool technique
The kiln was fired up to 730 C to get the effect Russ was going after. The final stage was to sandblast the rolling hills that were placed in front of the mountain range. 

Firing the Float glass
The finished project is pictured below and will be used as a back splash behind their kitchen sink, and once installed, can be seen from their kitchen and living room area in their home. We're hoping it works with their vision of what they want for their home's decor. They live in a beautiful valley in Montana surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. It was a challenging but fun project to take on. 

"Peaks and Valleys"
Below is a different background for the picture. It was so big that taking a picture was a bit of a challenge. Looking forward to having it delivered this weekend. Now on to a myriad of other projects, because around here the fun never ends. 😊

Grass is always greener on the other side....