Thursday, December 31, 2020

So Long, Goodbye 2020!

As everyone already knows, this year has been one for the record books! For our Studio, it was both a blessing and a curse. We had to cancel many of our events that would have included social gatherings, like our annual Holiday Open House. We don't have adequate ventilation to have more than a couple people in the Studio, so we opted to lay low most of the year, out of safety concerns.
However, we were lucky that our online presence benefitted greatly from the side effects of Covid-19. Many customers searched online for gifts the last few months, and we found ourselves overwhelmed with orders. It got to the point where we had to shut down our Etsy store because the two of us just couldn't keep up with the demand. What a strange time to be living in. But of course, we are so thankful to be Covid-free up to this point in time. We had to create some ornaments (pictured below) for comic relief, as this year has been pretty heavy and full of sadness otherwise.  
The  masks were an appropriate add-on to some of our ornaments this year. 

We created so many ornaments this month it was hard to keep count. Literally hundreds and hundreds shipped out the door. Below are some examples of ornaments and glass gifts made for both local customers, and customers all throughout the United States this month. 

Glass Painter's Palettes flew out the door this month. 

A wide variety of ornaments created for the last several months. 

Blown and sculpted glass angels with gold highlights. 

Blown glass cross ornaments

A new style of candy cane made with white glass.

A custom blown glass bass drum gift.
Blown glass fish are always popular for gifts. 
This was a custom piece sculpted for a repeat customer.

A new fused ornament created this year, a pair of ice skates.

Russ made time to create a glass reindeer family representing his immediate family tree, and each deer was sent to a family member. I also sent some glass reindeer to members of my family this year. Covid-19 reiterated how much we miss family gatherings that we once took for granted. Not being with family that we love is one of the hardest things we've had to deal with during these stressful times. But our struggles are minute compared with so many who have lost jobs, loved ones, homes, hope. We empathize with the many who have had their own share of struggles this year. It was a year of charitable giving from our Studio, for those less fortunate and down on their luck. 

Russ' family tree of blown glass reindeer, represents his loved ones. 

Speaking of family, we were happy to engrave and etch these wine glasses, gifted to our 4th son and his wife. They represent the three different states they've resided in since being married. And the personalized  fused ice skates pictured above were gifted to all our son's families this Christmas. 
Wine glasses were etched for our son and his wife. 

Now we are taking a much needed short break from all things glass and enjoying the simple things of life, like all our pets, along with the wildlife that wanders onto the property this time of year. 
Our 3 kittens wait for us to quit working and play.

A nice looking Buck pays a visit to our bird feeder, a regular sight for us this time of year. 

With all that has happened throughout the Nation and the World this year, we can't say we will miss 2020 in the least. Hoping for a better outlook in the new year, now that 2020 is in "hindsight". Sending our thanks to those who supported our Studio this year. We are thankful for each and every one of you. We hope the new year finds you both safe and healthy. Hopeful that we can all break free from the stress that defined 2020. Here's to a better year.....we can only hope.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Giving Thanks for the Work

Colorful Swirled Heart pendant ready to pack and ship out to a repeat customer
It's the last day of November, and I find myself inundated with work that needs to get done, glass packed, and many orders filled and shipped out the door. No rest for the weary, especially this time of the year. But as I step back for a moment and reflect on what the two of us have accomplished in our Studio, I am full of gratitude for having the ability to take on all the work that comes our way. We are financially sound thanks to the endless hours we put into our "side hustle". Internet sales continue to climb, even though local sales have stalled due to Covid related issues.(Hopefully that issue will be resolved next year, fingers crossed.)  And we are also thankful to have many repeat customers that come back year after year. The picture above is the next order I will be working on today to get shipped out the door, and sent to a repeat customer. In the month of "giving thanks", we do indeed have much to be grateful for.
Some of our Etsy listings
Our Etsy sales continue to improve, and really keep us on our toes, getting them shipped out the door               in a timely manner. Some of the ornaments we create for our Etsy store are pictured here. 
Upcycled glass tree ornament
The snowflakes ornaments have been a very popular ornament this year, but also the most tedious and time consuming pieces to create. Maybe it's time to mark up the price on them. "Supply and Demand" come to mind with these delicate ornaments. It's a Love-Hate relationship for sure. 
Hundreds of glass snowflakes were created in November
Every now and then we can eek out a customer's request for a new and whimsical ornament. The lady bug ornament pictured below is an example of that. But for the most part, we have barely enough time to keep the ornaments in stock that are on our Etsy page. We are on a crazy loop of "creating/shipping, creating/ shipping" during the last three months of the year. Don't want to complain too much, it's what we signed up for, right? 
Custom creation of a glass Lady Bug Ornament.
Our 3 Kittens wait patiently for the work day to be done, so they can play and love on us. It's a welcome nightly ritual. 
Our 3 kittens want to play.

The last of the canned pumpkin.
This month we also saw the very last of the canning season. I was able to can the last of the pumpkin patch and am glad to put the canner away for another year. The pantry is full, something else to give thanks for. I am also thankful to know it is through our own hard work in the garden, that we have a bounty of canned goods to get us through the winter months. Hard work really pays off in the end. It may not be pleasant, but worth it.
So good-bye November, and hello December. I for one, and thankful to see the end of 2020 in sight. What a year it has been. One month to go, and maybe one more full moon to light the way. Giving thanks when this year comes to an end and we earn a well-deserved rest. 
A beautiful full moon takes us out of November and into December.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Full Plate on a Full Moon


Blown glass black cat and bright orange pumpkins created in the Studio.

Last evening as I walked outside with our dogs, I was privy to watch a very full moon rise on the horizon. I was wishing I had something other than my phone to take a clear picture of the bright round lunar mass. It literally lit up the whole sky. And on Halloween eve, it couldn't set the mood any better. I was out late in the evening after a very long day in the Studio, with a full plate of tasks to accomplish for the two of us.
A very full October moon last night on my walk with the dogs.
In between the many holiday orders already piling up, we managed to harvest the last of our garden goodies. The cantaloupes were nice and sweet this year, although on the small side.  We will be carving the pumpkins later today, just for tradition's sake. (And because the garden was so generous with the pumpkin patch this year.)
Last of the harvest from our garden, delicious, succulent canteloupes.
Russ spent many hours planning and working on the wall art project pictured below, trying to get it just right for our son and daughter-in-law. The colors were tough to choose, and many different styles were created before he felt good about the latest creation. It is all hand sculpted, blown glass. He also created the copper "stems" and painted them a matte black to compliment the decor in the bathroom area where it would be placed. It was a long time in the making, and given as a late house warming gift for their beautiful new home.
Up close picture of the latest wall art work. 
Cheery and bright blue floral art.
A nice addition to a beautiful bathroom. 
Now it is on to creating many different ornaments like the mountain goat pictured below, and the holiday rush that always happens in our Studio this time of year. It seems like we are getting many more online orders this year. Probably because more people feel more comfortable shopping in their home because of that dreadful Covid19. It is certainly keeping us hopping, even with months to go.
Mountain Goat Ornament
So I'm keeping the blog short and sweet, so I can get back at it. Many orders to ship, and pumpkins to carve. Happy Halloween! 
Our pumpkin patch gave us many "Great Pumpkins" this year. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Enjoying what we have in times of uncertainty

 Reflecting back on what went on this month, other than our steady stream of Etsy orders, we were able to collect our thoughts and take a breather of sorts from the Studio and enjoy the great outdoors. I appreciated the chance we had to get away to one of our favorite places on the planet, which just so happens to be a short drive from our town. Earlier this month we delivered some new blown glass wildlife pieces to the store that carries our glass in Jackson Hole. We decided to make the best of it while there, and enjoyed a weekend of camping. The Tetons did not disappoint. Also, a short day trip and hike into Yellowstone proved challenging for someone with arthritic knees, but the beauty taken in was worth it. 

A picture perfect view of Mount Moran.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Water so clear, the rocks were perfectly visible. 

Peace and solitude at our campsite. 

Artistic wildlife that was delivered to Jackson Hole earlier this month. 
I was also so fortunate to welcome grandchild number 7 at the very end of last month. With the threat of Corona virus looming over the world, I felt so lucky to have quarantined enough to help  my son and his family out when precious baby was born. She has brought light and joy into the world, and I was happy to spend precious time with her recently. My hope is that she grows up in a world free from this pandemic. We are all waiting on edge, hoping for a medical miracle that will put an end to the Corona virus. My hope is that all the grand kids will soon live in a world without this fear. We are so happy to be the proud grandparents of 7 wonderful grand children, makes life worth living. 💖
Our newborn Granddaughter
I've also had time to enjoy our backyard pond this month along with all the bounty coming out of our high tunnel and garden this year. I have already started canning, in between trips to the Post Office, delivering packages of glass gifts to customers. Trying to create normalcy in these very abnormal times. It pays to look at the glass 1/2 full instead of 1/2 empty. Until next entry, I hope this blog gives someone out there joy, in what seems to be an increasingly dark world. Here's hoping our Studio can continue to produce glass art as an inspiration of beauty for all who happen to come across it.
Enjoying our backyard pond on a hot summer day.

The new high tunnel is not disappointing us with the seeds we planted earlier in the year.

A sample of some of the goodness of the garden this year.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Artistic Bench Collaboration-"Lazy River"

Our latest artistic endeavor titled "Lazy River."
This month's blog features the latest artistic collaboration from our Studio, which took a total of 5 months to complete. At the very beginning of March we were approached by a city council member of Garden City (adjacent to Boise, the capital of Idaho)  to create an artistic and functional bench, similar to the one we created for the Idaho Falls Arts Council some 15 years ago. She had visited Idaho Falls a couple of years ago, and was impressed with many of the artistic benches that were placed all along the riverfront and our Downtown area. Their city council were interested in having us create a unique bench to be placed along one of their nature paths. Mind you, the project was given a green light before our State went into a "Stay At Home" order because of Covid-19. Luckily that order was lifted in time to deliver the bench by the requested deadline of July. So I suppose I could say we had plenty of time to carry out this labor-intensive project. I will take you through the whole process from conception on paper to the completed bench on the river. 
When asked to create a bench, the design was first conceptualized on paper.  
After approval, it was time to get to work. 
Strips of float glass were cut in a wavy pattern.
They were placed in layers before fusing in the kiln.
Multiple firings in the kiln to create a water effect.
After they slumped, we had to apply a green luster.
Once fired and polished, the design was prepared.
Next came the tedious task of adhering blown glass fish into modeling clay.  
Russ hand carved seaweed, fern alongside the fish. 
Rebar was bent into place for reinforcement. 
The mold is now ready to be filled with concrete.
The first pour completed.
Float glass was added to the top.
Waiting to separate the concrete from the mold.
Success with the first pour. 
Next, to create the columns. 
Much thought went into reinforcing. 
An inside view.
Textured concrete stamps rolled into the form.
Modeling clay on the face of the glass pieces. 
First column poured.
The form is stripped away from the concrete.

Now comes the tedious task of picking out the clay.

Timing was critical to remove the clay before the concrete set up. 

In this picture you can see the steel in-beds in the columns that support the bench. 

Prepping the top.
Fortified concrete was added after final prep. 
Russ getting ready to begin the first assembly.
Ready for an acid stain. 
The stain is an acid-based colorant. 
Disassembled and ready for the long haul to Boise. 
Garden City employees showed up with a crane.
Thank goodness! It weighed almost 1,000 lbs. 
They transferred the pieces into their small trailer. 
This part had me holding my breath. 
Ready to assemble on the nature path.
Laying it out. 
Installing the bolts in the steel in-beds.
Almost there.
Grouting in the center column.
Tedious grouting.
Final touches. 
Blown glass fish accent.
Whew! The project came to fruition!
A nice plaque was added.
Covid-19 can't stop art! 

We were happy to provide this beautiful bench as a natural aesthetic for fellow Idahoans to enjoy.  It is located by the Nature path along the Boise River in Garden City, Idaho. We hope the local residents get many years of enjoyment from this latest piece of art produced by A Touch of Glass Studio. Until next time, stay safe out there.