I'm excited to be using Argentium sterling silver for all my new work. Argentium has a slightly higher silver content (.935 instead of .925), and contains a bit of Germanium (yes, that's an element). It has characteristics that make it easy to work with but most exciting to my customers, it is brighter, more hypoallergenic and tarnish resistant. Yay!
Thanks all for the feedback, I appreciate it and have been busy trying out some of your ideas. I've made three pairs of cufflinks, a men's ring and a pendant that I think might appeal to men. Let me know what you think, are these what you had in mind?
I will note also that other suggestions I got for men's jewelry include tie clip (with matching earrings, wedding gift!), hat bands, belt buckles and bolo ties. I'm working on making some samples of those -- stay posted!
My friends Fred and Leslie tell me I should make jewelry for men. What do you think gentlemen, would you wear a necklace? A ring? Or what about cuff links? (Ladies, you might need to weigh in for the guys since mostly my emails go to you.)
Could you imagine any of the pieces below on a men's necklace (probably mounted in a simpler setting), or on a ring? Or how about the more organic pieces on the right? Comment here to let me know, thanks!
So the fall show season is upon us, and I will be at shows on many fall weekends. And yet I'm itching to offer more creative opportunities, for gift-making and stress-reducing and general fun-making.
So I'm experimenting with doing evening sessions, and have one planned for Thursday October 12th making jewelry, and another on Tuesday October 17th making plates. So since they're not afternoons, what should they be called? They're not classes, since they are just one session and the focus is on making a beautiful object and having fun, more than teaching.
Are they Creative Workshops? Creative Sessions? Is there another word that captures the essence of the experience? Let me know what you think!
People who have participated in a Creative afternoon asked me if I have additional afternoon workshops they could come to and make something different. I considered that idea, and decided that people who have gotten an afternoon of glass plate-making could probably make a bubble piece, in which you use thin "stringers" of glass to trap bubbles in a regular pattern. I was right -- the technique is challenging (making consistently parallel lines -- being OCD is helpful!) but not terribly complicated, and there are indefinite variables in size, colors and qualities of glass.
You can see some of the beautiful results below.
So what will be next? Once you have the basic understanding of how glass works (admittedly a 3-hour experience just scratches the surface) people make amazingly nice pieces, and with only a maximum of 6 people I am able to help everyone who's stuck or needs some assistance.
Suggestions or requests, anyone, for additional 3-hour glass workshops?
I thoroughly enjoy getting people hooked on glass, and can steer them to other art glass resources such as the Glen Echo Art Glass Center when they want to go to the next step.
Five people who live within a block and a half from my studio signed up for two different Creative Afternoons - and I didn't know them! Is it something in the air? Or perhaps creativity is just contagious!
Join in the fun! If you have neighbors, family or friends who would enjoy a creative afternoon making glass -- get together and save 10% if you have 4 to 6 people! Or come on your own and make new friends.
Throughout my career in the environment and clean energy, I have always been attracted to the "people" side, whether it was educating the public about solar and energy efficiency or developing programs to engage young people in saving energy in their schools and homes. (Even back in the 70's when I was building my own passive solar house, I taught woodworking at the UMass women's center.)
I seem to have the same inclination lately in my glass work, as I find that I love to help people experience the fun of glassmaking. I will never stop making art and that will probably continue to be my primary focus, but I also hope to expand the ways in which I bring other people into my studio to make glass art.
I am doing that through my "Creative Afternoons" in which up to 6 people make either plates or jewelry. These have been just delightful for me, and I believe everyone participating has had the same response. I hope to do that also in introductory fused glass classes -- 10 hours probably, divided into two 5-hour blocks or 5 2-hour blocks. And I have invited a talented neighborhood 9-year old to come work with me on occasion. Lots of joy to spread around!
Let me know if you are interested! I'm just getting classes started, but eager to have a small group and get going. And if you have a few friends you want to gather for a fun afternoon, we can find a time!
On Saturday my studio was graced with three sets of mothers and daughters, including a mom and her enthusiastic 9-year old, a mom with her mother-in-law, and my own daughter-in-law. What a treat! Everyone seemed to have a great time, and the plates are gorgeous! Most of the plates are still in the kiln, but below is one beauty.
My booth at the Maryland Christmas Show was right by the fabulous santa, so I had a front-row seat to the stream of toddlers dressed in charming holiday outfits and older kids holding their belief in Santa close to their chests like a precious charm. It was a fun time, and while the conversation was occasionally interrupted by the wail of a frightened child I enjoyed talking to the shoppers and browsers.
Every show has its own personality and favorite pieces, and this crowd was especially interested in the my Christmas tree ornaments, pendants and earrings. I originally made only the tree ornaments, but after the fifth person asked if they were pendants I went home and made a bunch of them into pendants and earrings! I'll have plenty of these on hand for the Studio Open House and Sale on the 10-11th.
This won't be a surprise to you -- but I think glass is really beautiful! (Check out joyofglass.com for more reasons.) And I have a lot of great small pieces in my studio that I love but don't know quite what to do with. So when my friend Rana asked me to make pocket pieces, I was intrigued. Pocket pieces? She explained that these are small pieces of beautiful glass that you can keep in your pocket. Not jewelry, not even key fobs (although I could put a hole in them) but just a small piece of art to have in your pocket.
I am in favor of anything that gets art glass out into the world, even if it's usually hidden in your pocket.
These are samples of what I would consider Pocket Pieces. I would charge $15 for small ones (dichro about 1"x1", non dichro a bit larger). Leave me a note and let me know what you think -- would you like glass in your pocket?
Join me at Art in the Park in Annapolis this weekend if you're in the area. Joy of Glass will be at Quiet Waters Park, 10 to 5 both days. There will be 70+ artists, as well as music and food. (Cost - $6 per car per day.)
Give a unique wedding remembrance box to your favorite bride and groom. The glass lids of these finely crafted hardwood boxes can highlight a photo or invitation (or both), and provide a special place to keep the precious objects that remind you of the joy of your wedding. Contact me if interested.
I was able to spent lots of time in the studio last month, so I cooked up some new styles and pieces. I'm most excited about creating an innovative technique that builds heavy, organic-looking silver "frames" behind which I mount glass using prongs and partial bezels.
My goal for these pieces is to balance my glass cabochons, which are often bright and dramatic, with a substantial silver frames so that neither overwhelms the other. Here are some of my new pendants, what do you think? Leave me a comment if you have an opinion!
And by the way, if you haven't yet visited Glen Echo, this is a great time to do so -- in addition to artist studios, try out the the merry-go-round and visit the puppet theater.
These two pieces illustrate the difference. I love having the option to fit the mood to each particular piece of glass and silver design.
Which effect is your favorite? Are you a sparkle person, or a glow person, or does it depend on your mood?
I'm using this page to talk about the art and joy of working with glass and silver.
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