Friday, March 30, 2018

March....Full Steam Ahead!

A float glass train created in the Studio for a relative, who works for the Union Pacific Railroad.
And just like that, the March winds are blowing right through us, (literally) right up to the end of the month. You have to be tough to deal with the high desert winds that blow through Idaho this time of year. We have a relative who fits that description. He's about as tough as they come, and fits right in with his job at the Union Pacific Railroad. Our nephew asked Russ if he could come up with a glass design to fit the railroad spike/knife. It was to be gifted to our brother-in-law. Since our nephew has been a great supplier of the float glass, sending us old used window glass, we were happy to help out on this project. Another great example of "up-cycling".  Russ used topographical contouring to create the train's shape, and the wheels and front were scored with our glass saw. We think it will be an heirloom for generations to come. 
Screen printed glass Owl accented with glass enamels.
We managed to fit in a trip to Boise this month to visit our son and his family, and celebrate his birthday a little early. The owl pictured above was a house-warming gift that we thought could go alongside a computer-generated piece of artwork he had already created, using his graphic design skills. This project is one of the first attempts at screen-printing on glass. We will be showcasing more screen printing on our blog in the future. There is still a lot to learn, but we have the basics down, and it looks like a promising medium to add to the repertoire.
Spring is blowing into our Studio, new life everywhere!
 We have been involved in many different glass projects this month, that will spill over into April. Special requests are a constant now, and keep us on our toes. But there is always time to stare out into the backyard at the sure signs of Spring around here. (Besides the wind!) And when the Mallard ducks arrive, we know warm weather is just around the corner. Happy Spring and Easter weekend to you and yours!
The ducks always come back to our little pond every Spring.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

All the Feels in February

Our luster pink glass roses are on display in many forms this time of the year.
(This one was created in the past for a family member, for her wedding.)
This February turned out to be quite different than year's past in the Studio. Normally we promote our "Hot Date Night" for Valentine's Day. Couples sign up for an hour long session and learn how to make glass rosebuds. But thanks to our latest bundle of joy and 5th grandchild arriving a few days before, the lessons were put on hold this year. (Which suited us just fine! We loved welcoming him into the world. He's just perfect, and our little Valentine!)
Our fifth grandchild born in February
 When we came back from our visit with our kids and grandchild there was actually time to create some new pieces just for kicks. The decorative slumped and fused glass plate below is my new favorite. The light captures a new color every time I look at it, thanks to the iridescence. 
Multiple fused layers of Iridescence 
This upcycled bottle was slumped onto one of my favorite molds. A nice trivet or piece of kitchen art.
Slumped "Bon Appetit" Glass Bottle
Russ worked over the microphone from last month's blog, for a client's wedding cake top. It was sandblasted for the finished touch.
Sandblasted Glass Microphone

He also experimented with another scene, but is not quite happy with it. A few more trees painted with glass enamels should add the finishing touch to the first picture. Another customer requested a special winter scene plate that could hold a picture of her beloved pet. I added a picture of two of our furry friends for display purposes. Russ used glass enamel paint for the snowflakes.

Winter scene accented with Enamels and an added picture frame.
Winter scene, not quite finished.
Believe it or not, it is time to look ahead to the next holiday season, as we already have clients across the country asking for new ornaments. We are happy to oblige, as it's always fun to come up with a new pattern, like pictured below. Enamel paints are used as highlights to the glass.
New Slumped and Fused Ornament Creations 
Meanwhile, I am enjoying the quiet solitude of winter up here, along with the many varieties of  birds like the chickadees pictured below, that like to frequent our back yard feeders. I can't complain about being snowed in, as the winter has been fairly mild for an Idaho winter. There are already vegetables sprouting up in the greenhouse. Hopefully, we can fit in a cross country ski trek in the mountains before the snow melts. Until next time, enjoy the little things in your life, they really add up!
Chickadees like to hang out in our bushes when they aren't at our bird feeders.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon

The month of January started out with a full moon and is ending with another "super blue blood moon".
January is going out with a bang, with it's "Blue Moon, Super Moon, and Moon's Eclipse occurring on the last day of this month. Otherwise known as the "Super Blue Blood Moon".  I don't know if that phenomenon is the cause of our re-energized attitudes, but it helps that we have been able to take a collective breath earlier this month, from the holiday rush of last year. We have been able to accomplish quite a bit in the last few weeks, and have re-prioritized what needs to get done in the Studio. We've cleaned up the holiday clutter, and are setting goals to create new projects with silk screening endeavors, later this year. We are still waiting on some key components before we can get started with this new technique that we look forward to working with, on glass. 

Right from the get-go, we started out the new year with a large order that kept us busy for a while, a commission from a Tennis Club in Texas. They requested tennis ornaments with a snowflake theme. We experimented and came up with this design, using soft glass and glass enamels. We filled the kiln up a few times to get them all done in time. 

Snowflake-themed glass tennis racquet ornaments fresh out of the kiln
Another customer requested an unusual wedding cake top to go along with her passion for entertaining - the glass microphone pictured below, highlighted in silver luster.

Blown glass microphone requested for  a wedding cake top
Russ enjoyed creating the blown glass multi-colored road runner, now we're thinking it needs a float glass cactus added on to complete it. 

Multi-colored glass road runner
And of course, many times in the world of slumping and fusing, what we think has turned into a complete fail, ends up turning into a "beautiful disaster". The layered piece below was meant to be a beautiful vase, but the colors just weren't coming together, so Russ totally changed his thought process and went a whole new direction on the scene below. He used standoffs to mount it in our Studio, and I have to say it looks spectacular standing out from the wall like it it a 3D look, and a much better outcome than the vase would have been. A happy fail. 

Slumped and fused glass art with enamel accents
We also like to take time to leave the Studio now and then and enjoy the Nature around our property in these winter months. And living where we do, we still get all kinds of wildlife coming into the yard this time of year, looking for anything that isn't covered up and ready to munch on. We've had to move our bird feeder 3 different times, as the deer can't seem to get enough, and we don't want them to get in the habit of expecting a free meal. I think Russ has placed it high enough now, that old Mister Buck can't reach it anymore, like he does in the video below. We love the deer, but have also realized it's important for them to eat what they are used to in the mountains, lots of fibrous twigs and branches, and as much as I hate to admit, not our bird food.

This herd is so fun to watch from a distance. We have to be careful going around the neighborhood at night, as you never know when they will dart out in the street. They seem pretty healthy from the mild winter we've been having this year. Unlike last year, when many of our deer and elk populations didn't have enough food to eat because of the devastating Henry's Creek Fire that was human caused a few years ago. I'm glad they seem to be rebounding this year.
Mule Deer Herd in our Neighborhood
So we come to a close of the first new month, in our new year, with the new blue moon, along with new ideas brewing for the coming months. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Our Year's End

Visiting our family's old cabin in the mountains of Idaho.
Time for the last blog entry of 2017, as we are coming up to the last hours of the year. Always a time for reflection of what was. After all the chaos of the busy season in our Studio, our family ended the year right with a family vacation in and around Yellowstone Park. We enjoyed spending the last week of the year with our 4 sons and their families. During that time, so many memories came flooding back as we rode our snowmobiles past Russ' parent's old cabin nestled up in the mountains. It has long since been sold to someone outside of the family, but the happy times we shared in this magical place years ago, will live on in our hearts and minds forever. Sweet memories of the joy Russ' Mom spread around to each of us when we came to visit. It's been a hard year, having lost the lovely Matriarch of our family this past July. I was reminded of her lovely spirit as we passed by the cabin. I only hope to become half the woman she was, full of humility and unconditional love. We were lucky to include this quick jaunt down Memory Lane during our short vacation.

Meanwhile, during the month of December, we have been lucky to witness our mighty Buck returning from the nearby mountains to our very own Backyard again. He must know he has found safe haven here. Not much gets done when he wonders onto the property, as our eyes are transfixed on this majestic animal.
Our Buck has returned to our neighborhood again this year.
But we managed to redirect our focus to the tasks at hand in the Studio this month, and some of the results are pictured below. I hand engraved some slumped bottles, along with firing some decals on them with festive holiday designs and sayings. They were on display during our annual Open House the first part of December.
Up-cycled bottles display festive holiday themes.
Russ created some new wall art shown below, using a combination of float and soft glass. The moon and grass reeds were cut out of float glass, then slumped in the kiln. The frog and dragonflies were cut and pieced together, along with some glass saw work, then slumped and fused in multiple kiln firings. 
Slumped and fused Pondscape
Customers that came to our Open House requested new projects,  many of them shown below. We really enjoy new challenges poised to us by customers, they keep the creative juices flowing.
Marvin the Martian was made out of soft COE 90 glass, with enamel paint accents.

Soft and hard glass were combined for these names.

Cinderella's glass slipper ornament

A special request was made for this Lilac-Breasted Roller
Another customer requested one of these popular fused scenes on Birch wood.

We make a new glass ornament for our grand kids every year.

Float glass was cut and slumped into a fun snowman mold, then I applied enamel paint and baked them on in the kiln for the cookie tray pictured below. 
Snowman-themed cookie tray

And during our Open House earlier this month Jack Frost was on full display all throughout our neighborhood. We couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of  the stunning results of Nature's works. 
Jack Frost worked his magic in our yard, earlier in December.
And so ends another year of our own productive works. As one year closes and another is just about to begin, we hope you will stay tuned for the latest in our ever-evolving world of glass: Handcrafted and blown in our Idaho Studio. We want to thank all our customers once again, for your support. Many of you are responsible for us achieving another banner year of sales and success. Wishing you and yours all the best for 2018.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The latest Endeavors of November

As the month of November winds down we find ourselves once again, involved in a whirlwind of various projects at our glass Studio. We are wrapping, packaging and shipping Etsy orders as fast as we can. It seems orders are shipped on a daily basis these days. Our third son, who also happens to be our Graphic Designer, also helped us this month with a new YouTube video. It has a festive Holiday theme, along with Russ showing how to make a glass skier ornament. You can view it on our YouTube channel or click on the video below...

We had time to create and donate the grouping of upcycled wine glasses, pictured below, to the Holy Rosary Catholic School Fundraiser and Auction this month. These particular bottles turned out to be a real beast to cut with the saw, and then time was spent fire polishing the top edges. Afterwards I hand engraved the design on each one, and used rub'n buff to fill in the engravings. Hopefully they were auctioned for a good price, because we spent countless hours on this particular project.

Upcycled wine glasses created for a local school fundraiser.
Russ completed the Fused Crested Crane and was also able to create the wrought iron background below, for a stunning Fused and Slumped Wall Art scene. He continues to evolve with each new fused project he creates.

Fused Crested Crane Wall Art
We also set our display up at our local art museum and sold to a variety of patrons at the 
'Beaux Cadeaux" event earlier in the month. Pictured below is our display at "The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho".

Glass set up for the November Art Show

On a somber note, Russel's Mom passed away earlier this year, from complications due to  Alzheimer's. We celebrated her beautiful soul on two different occasions. Russ created a butterfly cremation memorial to her, pictured below. It went along beautifully with the poem she wrote about butterflies. It's been a rough year, losing her. But the memorial is a daily reminder what a loving, creative, and beautiful person she was in this life. Russ believes she spoke to him and guided him along, as he created this artistic piece with some of her ashes encased in the body of the butterfly. We miss her every day, but know she has spread her wings and is free from the bondage of that devastating disease.  Her artistic abilities live on through her son. This piece will be cherished for as long as we live.

And now we are busy as elves, preparing many different ornaments for our annual Open House, this year to be held on December 8th  & 9th. So excuse me if I keep it brief this month. No time to waste as the "elves" must work relentlessly round the clock this time of year. 
Some of our many ornaments we create for the Holidays.

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.