Ruby Lane's Creative Hands Newsletter for June 2006
IN THIS ISSUE:
- SHOP SPOTLIGHT: Designs With Attitude
- WELCOME to MamaDivine Designs
- June HOT SHOP: Designs By Judith
- Share Creative Hands With A Friend
SHOP SPOTLIGHT: DESIGNS WITH ATTITUDE
Designs With Attitude was the result of hearing "do it with an attitude" or, in my own words: Put something special in everything you do. My business was born when I decided to take my stained glass and fusing hobby and turn it into a business. I have always been interested in designing just about everything I wore, lived in or ate, in fact I have always said if I could figure out how to make my own shoes I probably would. My passion is working with color. Color is a big influence in our lives and combining, manipulating and recreating color in unique ways is what has been my greatest joy. One of my favorite past times was faux painting. But no matter what medium I worked in I always came back to glass. My obsession with glass started in my childhood with mosaics. Texture, color and the artistic need to create started at an early age. If not for losing my mother at 14 and having to take over the household, I probably would have gone on to a formal education in art. I became a decorator, cook and artist out of necessity, and found creative ways to bring the 50's house into the 70's and beyond. Since money was tight, I used color and resourcefulness to achieve my goals. This proved to be a valuable asset in my life.
When I started fusing there was a basic beginner's course that lasted about 5 to 8 hours and then you were on your own. There weren't any studios and books were vague at best. Most of the classes were out of state and very costly. Additionally you had to purchase a kiln if you wanted to learn and learn on your own is what you did. I found that when working with glass I could manipulate the glass and with multiple effects such as carving (sandblasting), shaping and layering I could achieve dramatic results. What was even more exciting is that I could put it back into the kiln and fuse it multiple times until I achieved a result that I was happy with.
In 2002 when my 30 year corporate career came to an end, I started the business with a small severance package for seed money. Commissioned stained and leaded glass pieces were my original plan but I soon found that fusing gave me more artistic freedom and allowed me to get into fine detail and color layering. The fusing portion started with custom tiles and artwork. The tiles have evolved to basic 2" x 2" shapes to 18" x 5" triangles with layering and magnificent bold colors and shapes primarily on black bases that are used in backsplashes in kitchens and wet bars, or hung as artwork.
The fusing process begins with the selection of glass. Dichroic glass is made in a vacuum chamber and simply put it is suspended with clips while oxides are thinly layered on the glass. It has a transmitted and reflective quality which means you usually do not get the color that you see, but depending on the light source and reflection, the glass is transformed into color about two ranges up the color spectrum. Reds are the most difficult to achieve and earth tones are also difficult colors to get in fused glass.
Glass textures can also play a defining part in what the glass looks like. A heavily rippled glass can play some interesting tricks. If the base glass is black and the oxides don't get into the nooks and crannies, you will have heavy black ripples in the fused glass. Placing a layer of clear glass over the dichroic glass can also change the color dramatically. I have been experimenting with layering textures and colors and have developed my own unique style. I will often use up to 25 or more tiny pieces of glass in one pendant. They are uniquely layered and fused for the first time. The fusing process can take 5 hours from start to cool down. I cut, grind, shape and add additional layers and fuse for another cycle. After another 5 hours I do the final shaping and return it to the kiln for a fire polish which is a full fuse to make the glass shiny and smooth. Sometimes I am still not completely pleased with the results and will make other adjustments and fuse again. A heart pendant could be 24 hours in the making. A piece of artwork could take 2 or more days in the kiln. In some of my art pieces such as "Swimming Upstream", the annual salmon run, I have over 18 hours of design and cutting work and 84 hours of kiln time, taking 4 or more days. When layering glass you must allow escape routes for air to keep large cosmetically unattractive air bubbles from forming. In some work I will purposely make air pockets that produce tiny dimensional bubbles and have
I am a slave to the glass and the Kiln Gods. Quite often all the planning and caution end in disaster and the process starts all over again. There is one uncontrollable factor of fusing and that is once you put the glass in the kiln all of your planning and care is out of your hands. There are several factors that effect the melting of the glass and how it fuses to together. Clear glass melts different than opaque glass, and different colors melt at a different rate. Due to these variations, even the best planning does not guarantee success. I also leave the Dichroic glass uncovered to create a satin effect that gives real depth and dimension. I often have glass custom made and look for colors, shapes and textures that are outside the norm, as well as one time manufacturing processes.
Every day when I wake I look forward to creating and manipulating. It gives great pleasure to see the look on someone's face when they receive one of my pieces and are totally entranced by the effects. People constantly want to know more and often want to know how it's done and want to learn how to fuse themselves.
I have taught fusing for the past 2.5 years but have scaled back considerably to devote more time to creativity and jewelry making. Sine opening my store on Ruby Lane I have met the most interesting and wonderful people and have had such fun designing and talking with them. I have even gone international and have found great opportunities to expand my business.
I am taking my jewelry making to the next level with hundreds of lamp work Italian glass beads that are waiting for transformation into jewelry. My bracelets have given me joy and fun and being able to make glass beads to my specification is fantastic. I surely look forward to including more of the lamp work pieces in my Ruby Lane shop. The lamp work fulfills the artistic need to be in control of my work and take my creative development one step further. What greater joy than playing with my two favorite things: fire and glass! I take great pride in using the finest of elements in my work and I am constantly looking for the newest toy or development to play with. One thing you can be assured of is that there will be a constant evolution in my work. And, the challenges of special requests are joy with each new endeavor.
We invite you to visit Cynthia's shop: Designs With Attitude
WELCOME TO MAMADIVINE DESIGNS
Ever since I could remember, my mother was involved in some craft or another. As a stay at home, she was able to explore many creative endeavors from latch hook rug making, to refinishing and re-upholstering furniture to crochet, to rock tumbling and jewelry making. During her rock tumbling days, she would take us to the local rock shop and I would marvel at all the beautiful stones. In many ways, when my mom was involved in a craft, it was as if she were obsessed. I think by creating she was able to find a sense of peace. At the age of 10, I remember a family trip in which we spent a week in California gold rush country and at least half the time was spent on rock hunting excursions, something my siblings and I did not appreciate at the time. However, it gave me the background to really appreciate the beauty and wonder of our environment and the amazing world of gems.
I guess it was inevitable that I too would become involved in some creative endeavor. During college, I enjoyed cross stitch and needlepoint and dabbled in various crafts during my adult years, but it wasn't until my mom passed away unexpectedly that I really got involved in jewelry making. As a new stay at home mom, I was having a hard time dealing with all the emotions associated with her loss. I realized I needed a creative outlet to help me deal with some of my grief. Initially, I began selling Italian charm jewelry on ebay but realized that I needed something more, something that I could do which would allow me to find some sense of peace. It wasn't until I was going through my mom's belongings several months following her death that it hit me. My mother loved sterling silver jewelry and amongst her sterling silver pendants and necklaces, I came across a beaded necklace I had made for her in my early twenties. I remember the joy it gave her and I decided to try my hand at jewelry making. There is something so cathartic about taking an idea and producing a finished piece. It took a while but I finally sold my first piece of jewelry on ebay almost three years ago. Since then, I have discovered the wonderful world of lampwork glass and just last year, began making my own lampwork glass beads. However, with two preschool aged boys, I realize that the amazing world of forming beads from molten glass will have to wait until I have more time to devote to it. I do
still enjoy working in my glass studio when time allows but for now, I am happy creating beautiful jewelry with lampwork glass beads created by other very talented artists.
The joy I get from creating jewelry has helped me through the most difficult moments following my mother's passing. It's unfortunate that my mother was not able to see where this wonderful endeavor has taken me. I know she would have been my most loyal fan.
Often when creating, I am inspired by the beads themselves or by other people's work. My most creative times are in the late evenings once I've put my kids to bed and the house is quiet. Sometimes when I have an idea in my head, I can't wait to get my kids off to bed so that I can create. Other times, when the ideas are less than forthcoming, I pull out my beads and just play with the beads until something comes to mind. On occasion, nothing comes to me and I feel like I've, "lost my mojo". That is when I try to get inspiration from the work of other artists. The wonderful world of the Internet has allowed me to connect with other artists, develop my skills as a jewelry designer and has also been an excellent source for finding wonderful beads and findings. Most of my beading supplies I purchase via the web or through local bead shows.
For the past two years, I have been a member of the Bead Hive, a forum of very talented jewelry and bead makers. I get so much inspiration from this very talented group of individuals. I decided to open a shop here on Ruby Lane in late February and so far, I am very happy with the experience. With limited time to devote to developing a web site of my own, Ruby Lane has proven to be an excellent choice for my expanding business.
MamaDivine Designs has become my passion and aside from graduating college and becoming a mother has proven to be one of the most gratifiying experiences of my life. I get so much satisfaction from the positive feedback I receive from my customers. I feel I am very blessed to be able to do something that I truly enjoy.
In the future, I hope to develop my wire working skills. I am fascinated by those who can take basic wire and create a unique and extraordinary piece of jewelry. Its amazing , whether with glass or with wire, how a raw material can be manipulated in such a way to create something both breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
We invite you to visit Sherry's shop: MamaDivine Designs
JUNE HOT SHOP: DESIGNS BY JUDITH
The path that each craftsperson takes is most surely different from the next, but that is where the difference ends as each one of us are fueled by our passion to create with our hands what our mind gives rise to. My story is no different, but the path I took to end up as the creative hands that fashion the jewelry for Designs By Judith is one of many left turns.
My love of creating with my hands started as a very young girl, my mother was stricken with MS and in a wheel chair. Knitting, crocheting, sewing and embroidery were things my mother taught me from her wheelchair. My hands became quite honed in whatever project I was doing as my mother's hands became less nimble and her drive for perfection was expected of me.
I grew up through the Camp Fire organization and fell in love with the creativity of sewing the beads I had earned first onto my vest and then onto my gown. I guess you can say that is when I became hooked on beading.
Fast forward to 2003 as I am unpacking one of those boxes your parents give you with all those bits and pieces of your childhood that were left behind in your old bedroom. All of my old beads were in a cigar box waiting to be designed into something beautiful. I started making bracelets, necklaces and earrings by the boxful. I was giving away the jewelry to friends as gifts as fast as I could make it until a friend of mine offered to share a Holiday Craft booth - and what a success it was. Hence the birth of Designs by Judith.
Now I always have a design pad in my purse (I never know when I will see something that inspires a new piece of jewelry) and a tote full of beading supplies.
We invite you to visit Judith's shop: Designs By Judith
SHARE CREATIVE HANDS WITH A FRIEND
Did you enjoy this issue of Creative Hands? Do you know others who would enjoy receiving it? We invite you to forward this issue to those you know who also appreciate and enjoy arts & crafts.