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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paperweight... not QUITE epic fail.... but close!

The messy and squashy paperweight making zone
Yep, she is fresh from the kiln and unfortunately an all-round dissapointment..... but at least the shape was good!

The difficulties started when my two oxycons did not come up to speed for running the phantom, then the hotplate kept tripping the safety switch on the powerboard....etc.....etc.  In fact if adversity breeds success.... this should have been a whole lot better!!!  LOL

After joining my two 10L chinese oxycons, I realised last night there was an issue.... there is not enough pressure to adequately supply oxy to both the inner and out flame on my phantom.  Using a non-reducing flame was not hot enough to melt the puck and using a reducing flame put horrible "stuff" all over my work.  Indeed having to juggle between these two states caused me in the end to sit my phantom on a neutral small flame cross-flaming with my minor which was the only way things could get hot enough without turning black.
Construction in the stumpsucker to be preheated

The first and most worrying point the lack of heat because a serious issue was when I had peeled and then was trying to heat the puck to vacuum encase.... I was well aware that it was nowhere near hot and runny enough, but after about half an hour of getting increasingly frustrated I decided to plunge it in anyway.... therefore, the sails on the boats were all pressed down quite a bit and one came off looking like a sinking was occurring as you looked at it!  The buoy was enormous... nuff said!

The next issue was the constant need to re-peel the scum off everything, now that was very annoying....VERY!      But.... not nearly as annoying as 1hr of trying to melt the bugger enough to shape in for the final shape!

All in all, it was an excellent experience in trying to fix mistakes.... after this effort, I think the oxygen cylinder and a hot torch will make the whole thing so easy it will be a pleasure to make one.....

I am about to ring around for oxy cylinder hire and fills...... and maybe put two oxycons up for sale!!!!!  Ha ha ha
The finished article..... see the sinking ship at the front of the pic and the enormous buoy at the back... DOH!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paperweight planning in a nautical style

Sail boat component cane and ribbon
Well, I have for one reason or another managed to avoid making my nautical paperweight for the Barracuda Gallery...... there has always been a valid excuse, but I am getting to the pointy end of the stick and I really want to give them a bit of something special and unique - enter the paperweight!!!!

I have had the equipment to vacuum encase paperweights for more than a year now and shamefully have only got it out and given it a run once with my friend Gail at her studio.  In the meantime I have been amassing (much to Leo's disgruntlement) two 10L oxygen concentrators, a lovely GTT Phantom flameworking torch, little torch, large kiln and of course the stumpsucker and associated paraphenalia.   Yet... there always seems to be a "bit" missing.  At the moment it is one plastic bayonet fitting for the Y connection to the oxycons.....geeeze!

I am thinking I might try to Jury rig it up tonight when the sun is off the garage and shall rope in my darling 14yr old Grace to do the preheating.... mostly because Leo is away with work....again!!!!!

In regards to the planning for this one, I clearly did not see a link to a sailing, ocean themed exhibition with the usual floral type arrangement in these paperweights.  I could have done an underwater themed one like Loren showed the students recently, but I have sort of run somewhat out of time to make up some decent 3D fish murrini and do not have a flatlap to grind and polish them, so that is out.  Putting some thought into Fremantle and sailing I decided I might try something....hmmmmm.... nautical and sailing style!  Here is the rough plans along with the canes and the encasement crystal that is about to go into the kiln to preheat as I type this!
Planning sheet for making small sail boats with schott encasement crystal and component canes
I decided that the best way to make some little sail boats for the stumpsucker would be to use a striped cane for the hull of the yachts and some ribbon cane for the sail.  I did end up making a dolphin back (to poke out of the frit like a swimming dolphin) and a couple of slightly dodgy looking seagulls to add to the mix along with some red/white striped bouys, but I think I am guilty of doing my usual, enough is never enough jobs and filling the whole thing up too much.  I am keeping firmly in mind also that everything in the paperweight is significantly magnified and therefore, blobby ends and mistakes are also magnified.... doh!

The little yachts came out great although I did pull a lot of the sail cane a bit small, not considering that the sail needs to be nearly as long as the boat hull before tapering off at the top.  I think I got away with it, but next time I do something like this I will keep that in mind.

Here is the little construction before I use my little torch to put it all together and make the frit (blue frothy sort of stuff for the surface of the ocean is the plan).
Nautical / Sailing construction for paperweight
Wish me luck!!!!!!!  I have an awful feeling I am going to need it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Galleries, glass and all things good!

Orange triangle links necklace with helix twists and murrini in boro

I am in a VERY good mood today.... no strike that..... EXCELLENT mood!  I am still insanely busy and still trying to catch up on everything (still more honey dippers, murrini, pendants, beads, paperweight etc.) but I am starting to feel like I am actually making some headway.

Last weekend I went down to Canberra and saw Jess at the Canberra Glassworks who is in charge of the retail gallery space there.  I have now signed my contract with them and dropped off some work which she seemed quite happy with ......YAY  I can now say that I have work in a gallery and a fabulous glass-centric one at that!   I took one of my honey dippers down to show as well and they are very keen to get some more..... sheesh, now I really need to knuckle down and get some more made.   I suppose now is the wait to see if anyone actually wants to buy anything....I sure hope so!

I am currently working on some pieces for Barracuda Gallery in Fremantle.  It is my first formal participation in an invitation only group exhibition and I was extremely excited to see my name on the flyer.... will have to keep a copy for the brag book!

I have made a necklace that I am hoping the gallery likes and are about to make a sailing themed paperweight using my stumpsucker.  I have decided that I am going to seconde Leo into helping me with the preheating, Grace (my 14yo) would do it, but I would probably want flog her if she managed to bugger it for me.... I know thats totally not fair, but I think I am best of protecting her from any chance of wrath.... even my own!

On a legendary note.... a really good mate put me onto some glass that was being "given away to a good home".  Apparently there was a box of boro that was not being used, was gathering dust and was about to be thrown out because it was in the way....... needless to say i was up for the rescue mission and dragged Leo and my Mum along with her station wagon expecting one or maybe two cases of glass........ OMG there was a massive pile of glass and they wanted it GONE!  The pic below is not ALL of it either, but we have temporarily popped it into my dads lean to shed out of the elements for a couple weeks and then I will have to find the space here in Sydney, I reckon Leo's man shed might have to undergo some shuffling..... ha ha ha!

Rescued boro glass, tubing and stringers
I am already missing my increased stash and a whole lot of new ideas for converting it into something interesting is running through my head at night.... needless to say I am not sleeping particularly well, but I am making sure I have my nocturnal notebook and pencil ready to go which helps somewhat.  There is a heap of small diameter tubing right down to pipette sized stuff and all together about 15 cases of the stuff..... keep in mind that here in Australia a case like this costs around $350 - $500  each, its a lot of moneys worth but more importantly a lot of fun waiting to be had!

On a happy finishing note, the recipient of my glass mojination kit loved it and has already melted glass and had some fun with it...... YAY, that sort of thing makes it all worth while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emergency Glass Mojination Kit...... kickstarting your glass mojo!

Dangly boro chain necklace with tiny frog at top right side
Hmmmm, well I am slowly making some headway on my backlog of glassy work which is a good feeling.  Finally knuckling down a bit and being able to tick a few things off the list really helps my morale!  Above is a sparkly pic of my latest boro chain necklace design, I quite like it and it has a little tiny frog on one of the dangly bits too just for fun - I just can't help myself!!! LOL

But..... speaking of morale, I have been trying to work out the best way for me to brighten up a mates day.  Someone who's Mum has been VERY ill and has given up her own social time and torch time to help out when her Mum really needed it.  Interestingly this very nice lady did not complain or whinge or really say much at all.... but she is the sort of person that you notice when she is missing, a very nice lady indeed.  I have heard her Mum is mostly on the mend and she is finally getting some torch time but is having some trouble kick starting the glassy mojo.... everyone needs a boost some time!!!

Well I have been mulling over stuff and have decided that I would do something proactive as a pick-me-up for her.  Today I sent off what I am calling an "Emergency Glass Mojination Kit".  I got a whole heap of different glass garnishes and interesting things to do with lampworking, wrapped them up in a small box and mailed it off......

Emergency Glass Mojination Kit... lots of glass related fun to be had!

..... I can't wait until she gets it, I just hope it makes her day a good one after a few dodgy ones lately!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A full plate.....

Handful of experimentals
I have sort of taken a breath to work out exactly what jobs I have on my plate at the moment and really.... it looks like a VERY busy time prior to Christmas!  I am having quite a bit of trouble prioritising and have sort of found myself either doing lots of bits of jobs without finishing any completely or doing something akin to procrastination by trying out experiments when I do have some torch time... naughty girl I am!

One thing off my plate is the honey dippers.  I spent two days of marathon efforts to remake the broken ones and dropped them off to the Blue Mountains Honey peeps the other day.... thank goodness they really liked them, especially all the christmas themed ones!  Apparently they have a market stall at a local festival which is usually VERY busy and with the lead up to Christmas most of my honey dippers will go up there for sale which is really cool.  I was going to try and make a few extras, but the weather has been stinking hot here in Western Sydney.... REALLY REALLY hot which is not condusive to sitting in front of a torch with a largist kiln pumping out heat behind you..... I have been working in the mornings and evenings where possible and keep my fingers and toes crossed for a cold change!

I have been busy packaging up murrini for Affordable Inspiration too.  I should really send a parcel off tomorrow and another a few days later or I am sure I will be needing a bloody box if I am not careful!  I have a couple new murrini in there and rather than a blend, just packets of the blue striped fish or the black and yellow butterfly fish as well as restocking the run out/low ones!

Watch pendants with my beads

One thing I did get in the mail this morning was a rather nice parcel (after all who doesn't love getting a parcel) and in it were some necklace watches I bought in a bulk buy.  They are completely and utterly super cute and I am already wishing I had bought more than a handful, but I am thinking of some ways of using them with my beads and then shall list in the Etsy store.  Here's a piccie of what I did with the first one I got out of the bag!
Loren Stump underwater sphere.... given to me as a gift!!!!!

Oh, and for all of those lovely people at the International Flameon Downunder in Sydney early October... here's a pic of my "precious" that Loren stump gave to me.  My Dad's best mate Uncle Geoff is a very accomplished wood turner and he made me a couple stands to choose from.  I am thinking I might change them about depending on the mood or the decor at the time..... whoa, how posh and fortunate do I sound now..... I am a lucky lucky girl!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great Honey Dipper Disaster of 2011

Christmas Honey Dippers
Oh dear, disaster has struck at my house on Melbourne Cup day in Western Sydney.  I came home early from Leo's work Melbourne Cup function to take my new stock of christmas themed Honey Dippers up to the honey lady only to find my Mum (who was up visiting from Canberra) was in tears.... not just tears but sobbing inconsolably sort of tears.  I was understandably concerned, counted my three kids were all here, checked I had the clean undies on (something that would potentially have made her cry with frustration if not), looked around to check there were no flames.... and then asked the fatal question...... "what's wrong?"
Honey Dippers on stand before floor annealing... ie. breaking into bits!
It turns out that poor Mum had been putting a bag on the table and had knocked off my whole box of honey dippers (packed and ready to take) off the table face down into the tiled floor......hmmmmm, only one lonely one survived... wouldn't you know it.... it was the ugliest simple one!!!!!!!!!

As you can see above Leo has made me a super cool display stand for the Blue Mountains Honey peeps and I am positive they will love that bit, but I REALLY want to take along some actual stock too, so the kiln is heating up right now and I will make another dent in the list.

Broken "bits" of honey dippers
I am sure there will be a little tiny bit of angst making more of these and the reality is, being borosilicate glass, they could be repaired, but it would be quite a bit faster for me to just make some new ones.  The added benefit is also that I would know they were lovely and strong - sort of like a new car rather than a refurbished one.  At least this time around I will be a little faster and probably do a better job avoiding the odd pitfall you have with sculptural glass items.

I still feel badly for Mum who has been totally distraught for two days about this..... she's still upset I might add!

I am a bit more prosaic about the whole thing, after all, no-one was hurt and really...its only sand!!!!