Wednesday, November 30, 2016

'Tis the Season

Slumped and Fused Art
Lately I've got a bad habit of waiting 'til the last possible moment to write my monthly blog, through no fault of my own. Hectic doesn't begin to accurately describe what this month has been like for us in the Studio. First we had to prepare new art pieces to participate in a local art show, then create custom commissions for clients, then stock and restock all our ornaments that we are shipping through our Etsy storefront. Not to mention create custom blown ball ornaments for clients both local and across the country. I'm getting that stress knot in my stomach that tends to inflame around this time of the year. I suppose I need to focus on the end results, which is, that we are constantly validated these days both in the art world, and our home grown business. Makes it easier to lose sleep over I suppose. 

Our large Ornament rack holds lots of unique ornaments.
Set up for a local art show in November
We created a fun fused coaster set out of different hues and shades of red.
Red glass fused coasters
Bigger and more unique wildlife pieces were sculpted in the lamp working flames, like the pieces shown below.
Blown glass Owl on Manzanita Burlwood
A crystal clear trout making a glass splash out of the water
Blown glass Moose in Cattails

Sandblasted Mountain Goat on a glass rock ledge
While our Wildlife scenes are always popular, Russ went outside his comfort zone with soft glass, and spent hours and hours creating the Aspen scene below. A nice, thick piece was created by added layer after layer of various colors. The real Aspen log set it off perfectly.  Definitely one of the more intense pieces created to date.

Slumped and Fused Aspen Art Work
A real piece of Aspen bark was also used to help create a mold for the unique slumped and fused piece below. A light adds a soft touch to it.

Another unique glass Aspen piece
Russ was really pushed to his creative limits on the piece below. A client wanted a type of Salvidor Dali inspired piece of art work. This piece really moved me, almost to tears, as he described his inspiration behind it. Hours and hours of intense kiln time and flame working time were spent on it. Both ourselves and our client were extremely pleased with the outcome. 

This piece has many interpretations and levels to it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Another couple of unique projects are wrapping up this month, as two different clients wanted us to create their logos on the inside of their custom blown balls. Inserting the logo inside the ornament gives it a kind of floating-in-air impression. Lots of time and effort is being spent to get it to look just right. Hoping they are both happy with the outcome. 
Custom made blown ball ornaments
And of course, what would this time of year be like without our trusty source of income, affordable Christmas ornaments. These happy snowmen are just about to be fired in the kiln.

Slumped and Fused Glass Snowman Ornaments
Now if you will excuse me, I've got to rush to the Post Office to ship yet another car load of glass goodies. I need 4 sets of hands to get it all done!

Many packages waiting to be shipped out all across the country.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Pumpkin Patch

Black glass cat in our "glassy" pumpkin patch

I come from the generation that first fell in love with Charles Schulz's classic, "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".  This year really dates me, as they are celebrating 50 years of the classic cartoon. Linus, Snoopy and the gang were a much anticipated Holiday treat that we first watched back in the 60's at both of our homes. Still to this day, I eagerly anticipate watching the whole Peanuts gang on Halloween night. Makes me feel like a kid again, and there's nothing wrong with bringing out the inner child now and then. Along those lines, while we didn't have much luck in our own pumpkin patch this year, (Only a few good pumpkins were picked) we enjoyed creating some out of glass, black cat included.

White Glass Frit accents our Snow Owl
We have also had our share of owls visiting the neighborhood this year, probably from the abundance of rabbits. Russ got inspired by the nightly hoots and created a cute glass Snow Owl this month.

Slumped and Fused Glass Vase accented with Fall colors
He also experimented with various scrap glass pieces and created a few new slumped and fused vases, including the one pictured above. 

Glass Display Stands in the Studio
It was time to update our display stands for an upcoming Art Show, so Russ used his welder for the base of the new stands. Then, using the scallop tool on float glass, he created the display stand pictured above. It accents the slumped and fused pieces quite nicely.

New creation of a slumped and fused decorative plate
Another iridescent and colorful plate was created this month. It has a riverbed of glass rocks fused and incorporated into this decorative piece.
Now if you will excuse me, I've got to be short and sweet on this month's blog, as we have lots of prep work before the first show of the holiday season. Here's hoping you found your own "Great Pumpkin" and have a spooktacular Halloween!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sentimental September

Anyone who knows me knows my love of September, as it ushers in the most glorious time of the year, Fall. It brings out my sentimental side. Fall has a look, smell and feel to it, like no other season. Breathing in the crisp mountain air sends me back to another place in time, where I didn't have a care in the world. Except to rake up a giant pile of old, crunchy leaves and gleefully jump into that earthy Fall bliss with my siblings, back in the 60's. Still to this day, I eagerly anticipate our Fall drives into the mountains, as they remind me how symbolic the season is. It represents everything cozy and comforting, calm and peaceful, with it's glistening golden hues. It does a body good to break away from all the mundane day-to-day dealings of life, and pause to witness Nature in all it's glorious golds, reds, and yellows. The drive has come to be one of the highlights of my year.

Fall colors on our annual drive
Aspen trees were brilliant gold colors 

 Can't stay in the woods too long because as always, we have been busy working on many new ventures in the Studio. Russ worked on some new slumped and fused pieces and created a "Facehugger" wine glass gift for a customer. He liked the outcome so much, he decided to make a whole set for a friend's birthday gift.

Cutting glass for a slumped and fused project
Facehugger wine glass

Set of 4 unique glasses

Another multi-colored bowl was created this month, with a new shape slumped in the kiln.

Multi-colored slumped and fused bowl

The upcycled bottles below were also created for a customer, with a southwest design. We added glass chili peppers to them as an accent.

Artistic slumped and engraved upcycled bottles

I am also in the process of packaging up a large order and getting it shipped up to Alaska next week.

Many ornaments to pack up and ship

Before the holiday season hits us full-bore in the Studio, I'm hoping we find the time for one more drive into the mountains, as nothing gives me greater solace than this golden age of Fall, and all it's brilliant colors. 

A beautiful Fall drive in the mountains nearby

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Fires

The Henry's Creek Fire roaring in the hills behind our property

August was not the most productive for us in the Studio, as we had many other things on our mind, including the largest range fire our region of Idaho has ever experienced. It started just a few miles from our neighborhood, and ended up consuming over 53,000 acres, in just one week's time. At one point, we were on alert for evacuations. As I write, I believe it is still not completely out, the paper says it's 81% contained. The devastation will have far-reaching ill effects, especially for the wildlife.  Their winter feeding grounds have been destroyed in the blink of an eye. They are saying it is human caused, which is really a red-hot-angry-button topic for me, but I will spare you, and not get into that can of worms on this blog. Suffice it to say, we had a lot to think about this past month besides our own torch fires burning.

Smoke has filled the air the whole month of August
Before the nasty fires started up, the month actually started out on the right note with a family reunion that was a long time in the making. It  was especially poignant to have everyone attend on Russ' side of the family, as our parents (in-laws) have been dealing with many medical issues this past year. It was nice to see so many family members come out and support them. And also, now that our sons are spread far and wide all over the country, it was nice to get a few moments of alone time with them after the reunion wrapped up. We managed a game of mini-golf at the same course they went to when they were young. Nothing makes us happier than spending time with our adult children.

Our sons enjoying mini golf
We also started and ended a few new projects this month, including these fun white water rafting ornaments.

A variety of white water rafting ornaments
And customers are already ordering a variety of other ornaments, I suppose to beat the rush that will soon be upon us in the coming months. 

Shipping out a variety of ornaments
For the first part of the month, the kiln was filled with these bulbs, as they annealed alongside some of our lustered hummingbirds. They were a special order for a customer who wants to incorporate them into a unique chandelier.

A custom order of bulbs and birds getting annealed in the kiln
Now that August and summer are drawing to a close, we are hoping the only "heat" we have to deal with from now on, comes from our own torches and kilns cranking out new projects.  A controlled environment is the best place for fires. Signing off for now, we hope you enjoy your Labor Day Weekend.

Firing a new project in the kiln

Friday, July 29, 2016

Wild West Creations

Manzanita Burlwood really accents our glass wildlife

July has proven to be yet another busy month in the Studio. Along with the usual Etsy orders shipped all over the country, we restocked the store in Jackson Hole with a new selection of wildlife this month. Pictured below was part of the selection of wildlife we sent up there, including some fun wildlife ornaments.

Blown Glass Fighting Elk Scenes are very popular

Blown Glass Moose with cattails

Our Bucking Bronco Ornament can either stand or hang

Moose Ornament with Gold Antlers

Glass Cowboy Boot Ornament

White Water Rafting Glass Ornament

Pouncing Fox Blown Glass Ornament

Bugling Elk Blown Glass Ornament

Cowboy/Bucking Bronco Glass Ornament

Blown glass Moose Ornament

Blown Glass Trout Ornament

Russ also created a Southwest themed slumped, sandblasted glass bowl this month.

Southwest themed float glass decorative bowl

While we do have a lot of success when shipping our glass, every now and then we endure the hassles of shipping mishandling. The Daisy pictured below was so beautiful, but when the postal service broke it not only once, but twice, both us and the customer were at our wit's end and we have decided that is one flower that can't endure shipping. Anyone wanting this particular flower will need to personally pick it up at the Studio. We're just like any business out there, can't seem to escape a little drama here and there. But overall, the rewards of glass far outweigh the mishaps. That's why we keep moving on.

A Fragile Blown Glass Daisy

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gone to the Fishing Hole

One of our Custom Blown and Sculpted Glass Trout Scenes
 What better time to get away to the local fishing hole than the month of the Summer Solstice? While the month of June was filled with honoring Dads on Father's Day, celebrating our anniversary, and spending time with our kids and one of our grandsons, there was lots of hard work in the Studio, projects in the yard, and keeping up with the gardening. So the last weekend in June we decided to stop working long enough to have a relaxing and fun "gone fishing" weekend too. We were able to make a trip up into the mountains nearby, in our new camper for the first time. We have been tent camping all our adult lives until this year, and I have to say, someone should have knocked some sense into us a long time ago. The camper allowed us to enjoy the great outdoors like it was meant to be enjoyed. I guess we aren't into the "inconvenience" that comes with tent camping anymore. It comes when you reach a certain age of sensibility, I suppose. We were much more comfortable and relaxed this time around, and look forward to many more weekends of convenient camping.

Enjoying our new camping experience.
 The past weekend was spent with our oldest son, his wife, and all our dogs. It was a beautiful couple of days with perfect temperatures, and the fish were biting consistently. It has been a long time since we could just relax and enjoy Nature's beauty. All the dogs were in heaven too, as they splashed in the water and chased sticks and birds.

A beautiful day at Palisades

The stringer was full of trout
 Well, the fun had to end. Now it's back to the grind for a while. I'm waiting in anticipation for the next getaway. It does a body good, to forget the worries of the day and just fish. Retirement is less than 10 years away and I have a feeling it will become the norm, to head into the hills at that time. Until then, we need to make a living. So off to complete more orders like the one below. Of course, when you love what you do for a living, it really doesn't seem too much like work. I hope you can find the time to balance work and play in your lives too.

A custom order for a client