A (somewhat) daily rambling on the life of a polymer Clay metal clay and Fused Glass artist/teacher/author.

Very soon my blog will move to my website...as soon as it is done that is. This blog will be my Theatrical life of directing The Secret Garden

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good news, Great news, Wonderful News!

One of the main reasons I came to the Bay Area on Sunday was to have a few days visiting with my sweet sister. I hadn't come down her way for two years... She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and while I was helping her with her new blog yesterday, her surgeon called with the news that they had got it all.

GOT IT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, didn't know I was holding my breath this long. By the way, she really likes the 'Sisters' pendant I gave her. See images below.

Okay, this is my third trip to visit her. Don't 'cha think she needs to come up my way for a few days?


Monday, April 28, 2008


I am so lucky to have an incredible, loving and 'Wind Beneath My Wings' Sister. I am in the San Francisco Bay Area for a several day visit. She is the best ever. We get together for a few days every couple of years ~ so this time I wanted to make "Two-of-a-kind" pendants. The thing I learned from this project was that, even though I made them at the same time, using the same glass, the work turned out slightly different.... just like us. The fused glass is a wonderful medium with which to work. I turned two pieces of Dichroic glass differently on the work and got a surprise.... Same but different. I ground the pieces a bit uniquely too. Not too far off... but the same. The pure silver metal clay was a great exercise.

I use Art Clay Silver, I am a Master Instructor, and learned that if you photocopy your 'stones' by increasing the size by 115%, take the images and make the metal clay 'settings' the photocopy size, you will have a perfect setting after firing. I fired these pieces up to my kiln's fire polishing temperature. This way the metal would not shrink further and damage the fused glass.

Then I tossed them into the vibrating tumbler and gave them a bit of a burnishing with the stainless steel shot.

Then I set the stones into the MC... actually they 'snapped' into place. The math worked!!! The fused glass was a perfect fit. Next I fire polished.
This process got the glass 'warm' enough to marry into the metal clay. Therefore there was no 'chemical bonding' or the use of a 'jewelers setting agent' to hold the glass into place.

Another plus was that I had extruded several bails for future use and they were at the ready when I needed them for this project. I used the Makin's Clay extruder with their hollow core adaptors. I use this a lot for my bails and the sterling snake chains just glide through.... I am liking to leave the backs open on my glass work - just because I like to sign the glass in addition to the silver.
Click on images to enlarge.
Before I left the foothills of the Sierras to come and visit, I made an experiment with different sizes of a Red Opal frit. I liked how the glass turned out and then tried another way of setting the metal clay on it. It has been fired and I will burnish it when I get home an do another blog post at that time.

I love teaching too. Had a certification workshop last weekend and have two more classes this coming weekend.

Art IS bliss....

Monday, April 21, 2008

State Fair Entries

Whew! Finally have a moment to post. Been a teacher and a maker this month. What fun is that? Major good times.

Last year I entered the California State Fair with my metal clay and gemstones (won an award) and this year I thought I'd enter with some fused glass on one and 24k on the other. My polymer entry of 2007 wasn't accepted. Drat. So, I am sticking with the precious metal this year.

This first piece was inspired by the peridot trillion stone. Wanted to stay with the triangular shape and build upon that theme with the metal clay. The pendant needed some emphasis on negative space... so I carved it out and it worked! Then the 24k gold was added to create contrasting color. The bail was set upside down... for spite. Just to be different. But, that's just the way I am.... so there! It hangs pretty cool ... surprise ~ surprise.

The next image is of my glass fusing work. I sketched an image of what I wanted to do with the glass before I took the class in March. This pendant is of my first 'controlled ' work. The glass was built upon the drawing as well as the pure silver metal clay and the Tahitian pearl is just there for glamor. We'll see if they get accepted... or not.

It is such a joy to be able to work in the bliss. To be able to create without any time constraints. When I had the day job, everything had to be done in a hurry... so the enjoyment of the process wasn't fully there. Now it is. I am torn by my three masters: metal clay, polymer clay and fused glass.

Oh, oh... I hear my house calling too, "Clean me, clean me".


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Class Section in Studio is DONE!

After much hair-pulling the class portion of my studio is done. The general organization is almost done.


Click on picture for a larger image.

The coolest thing is ... I now know where just about everything is. Amazing!!!!?!!!.

On top of the steel shelving is my supply area for paper towels, class supplies, extra materials and my photo studio in the Cloud Dome box.

The left area is where I have metal clay and polymer clay stuff for sale. I only sell during classes. Do not want to become a retail outlet... Been there - done that. The draped area is where I store all my polymer, metal clay and glass fusing things. This is for classes and my personal work. Having it covered during workshops is good for students: less clutter to mess up their concentration. I went to K-Mart(tm) and in their curtain area they had Magnetic curtain rods. Oh, this was sent from the Studio Gods. I threw the rods away, bought some doweling from Home Depot, painted them black and now have custom curtains for under $30.00. The have a tendency to move a bit. So, when I find the permanent place for them, I will put some 2-part epoxy on one base of each set and be done. Hey! If I were a student there and there were no curtains, I would be looking and saying to myself, " Oooh, whats that for? Hey, I want one of those too!.... ". The area to the right is for my hubby's storage, but I used the doors for my white board, awards, posters and certificates.

But, my most favorite area is the center. I put both 6 foot tables together and ran a power strip down the middle. Now I have somewhat permanent lighting and power for heat guns and hot plates. Or pasta machines with motors... When I do not have classes I use this ,very spacey and well lit, area for my glass cutting and fuseing designing.

You are reading a blog from one waaaaaay happy camper.

Not finished with my personal studio space and goldsmithing area. But... will post when I get a chance. This is my teaching month and my time is quite limited.

Now, on to finish the taxes for Mr. Sam. He is not my uncle... my uncles would not have wanted any of my money... they had enough of their own.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Glass, Glorious Glass

Now that the ugly chest cold is gone, I got to run some tests on fusing glass. I noticed from the workshop I attended at Arrow Springs Glass, the material, dichro and regular, can and WILL change colors after the fusing is complete. So, Monday I made test pieces. I took small squares of black and clear and put small pieces of dichro on the top. One set per dichro color and on each set I put the dichro side up and the dichro side down. Fused them and am now going to keep the sample with the actual glass. This way I can design with color as well as shape and materials.

  • The first image is the glass ready to fuse on the pink kiln-wash board.

  • The second is the above fired and

  • The third is the fused test pieces near the dicro glass.
    Click on images to enlarge.

The studio is almost done. I will post an image as soon as I can...... so, I guess I should go back and finish it.

Got a great class coming up this weekend in Sacramento at U Bead It in Sacramento. Love teaching metal clay. Love it.