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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Put a Ring On It | Fused Glass Rings {one-of-a-kind fused glass art | Knoxville TN}

A couple of years ago I purchased a sterling silver adjustable ring from Delphi Glass and set about creating a fused glass cabochon in black with pink on top to attach to the ring. I learned a lot from this ring. I learned that you need to roughen up the surface of the ring pad before gluing the cab to it so it won't come off and also that I needed to use E6000 adhesive instead of Aileen's Bead and Jewelry glue. The first time the cab came off the ring pad I was in a port-a-pottie. Thank goodness it fell onto the floor. This should have been a sign that I should not create anymore rings, but alas, it was not.

Fast-forward to July 2010 when I make another attempt at creating fused glass rings with surprising success. This time around I am using some adjustable silver-toned metal rings with a pad that I scuff with sandpaper before gluing the cabochon with E6000. It's always amazing how much you learn by just doing and analyzing the results! These rings are pretty fabulous - different sizes, shapes and in all colors of the rainbow. The photographs below show a selection from the first batch of rings. More are ready to be finished and will be available in the Etsy shop soon. All rings are $20. Don't see the perfect color combination or size for you? Let Sassy Glass Studio custom create a fused glass ring just for you!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creativity Runs in the Family :: Beginner Fused Glass Class

This past weekend I had the pleasure of teaching the Beginner Fused Glass Class to Bernadette and her parents, Lori and Keith. Bernadette has purchased several pieces of fused glass art from Sassy Glass Studio over the past year and was really interested in how the pieces were created so it made complete sense for her to want to take a class. I was thrilled to meet her parents and delighted they took to this new craft with so much excitement. Although I want students to leave class with a firm understanding of what fused glass is, how to cut glass, design and create a piece and the proper methods of firing it in the kiln; more than anything I want them to have a lot of fun and create works of art they will be happy to display in their homes or give as gifts.

Here are some images from the first day of class during which I lecture for half the class followed by everyone learning how to properly and successfully cut glass and then hands-on creation of their set of four coasters. Never in any class have I had a student create four identical coasters and this class didn't disappoint.

Father and daughter work side-by-side

Day two of class is very exciting! Students arrive at class eager to finish the coasters they created the previous day by cleaning and adhering the rubber bumpers. The lecture on the second day covers more about the firing process and the stages and termperatures the glass goes through. Although this isn't the most exciting material to cover I want to be sure students understand it isn't just a matter of putting pieces of glass together, firing the glass in the kiln and ending up with a fabulous work of art. There is some trial and error and learning along the way. As soon as I get done with the lecture the students are free to begin their second day projects which can be a night light, sun catcher or tile or 4 pendants. Here are some of the images from class on day two.
Bernadette's pendants from day two class. She chose some fabulous color combinations and designs. All these need is the bail attached and they will be ready to wear.

Father and daughter were good working neighbors

Keith's piece about 3/4 of the way complete

Bernadette's pendants and her sketches

Lori's rainbow tile. Excellent use of color!

These are Bernadette's coasters

Lori's coasters

Keith's colorful coasters

Look how fabulous Lori's art tile/sun catcher turned out. Love it!

Keith's colorful art panel includes a waterfall, trees and a babbling brook. Awesome composition!
As you can see the students had a fabulous time creating their masterpieces and will have their own one-of-a-kind fused glass art to show off to their family and friends. If you are interested in taking Beginner Fused Glass Class click on the tab at the top of the page on the blog for more information, contact Sassy Glass Studio via e-mail or call 865-406-3870. I look forward to seeing you in class!

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chief Bottle Washer...or How I Spent Saturday {one-of-a-kind fused glass art | Knoxville, TN}

After many months of procrastinating (and upsetting one customer who is awaiting a replacement of the final outcome of my procrastination) I finally broke down and spent Saturday afternoon doing what I consider to be the most unpleasant task at Sassy Glass Studio: Washing Bottles. Why was I washing bottles? One of the most popular items I sell is both the least creative and the most time-consuming to produce. Bottle cheese trays are created from empty wine, water, liquor or any other kind of bottles and don't require any real creativity on my part aside from how I actually obtain some of the more colorful or interesting shape bottles. The real challenge with the bottle cheese trays comes in the preparation and firing of the bottles. I thought I would share the bottle's journey with you so (A) you could find out how the cheese trays are created and (B) I could vent my frustration in a somewhat useful manner.

The bottles come from all over the place- friends, family, trash cans, bars and I suppose I could even hang out at the recycling center to collect some. Many in my immediate family enjoy wine, so bottles are usually readily available. Any glass bottle can be upcycled into a cheese tray. Obtaining the bottles is not difficult and I have at least 100 bottles in my studio awaiting washing. That is an overwhelming number of bottles and would take a long time to wash (and fire!) so I decided I would wash about 20 bottles. I won't bore you with the play-by-play of the whole afternoon but the bottles have to soak for about 30 minutes in soapy water before there is any prayer of the label coming off and then the bottle has to be scrubbed of residue and rinsed inside and out. I left them in the sun to dry. To be perfectly honest, it is the label removal that I despise. Some labels are gummy and some leave a residue that is almost impossible to remove. The bottles with difficult labels are destined for the recycling center. I certainly have plenty of other bottles ready to take their place.

 This is what the bottles look like after they have been fired in the kiln up to 1475 degrees and slumped (flattened) to resemble a tray. They can be used as cheese trays, trivets or just for decoration.

Bottles ready to be washed

Bottles soaking in a relaxing soapy bath

Bottles drying in the hot sun
On the bright side, the bottle cheese trays are a great gift for housewarmings, weddings or birthdays. I sell them in the Etsy shop, typically with a cheese spreader tied on with some raffia, for $20; however, right now there are a couple of spreaderless cheese trays in the shop for $15. I can paint clear bottles with glass paint or decoupage a photograph to the back/bottom of the bottle for a personalized gift. And, if anyone is interested, I offer wholesale pricing on orders of 20 or more cheese trays. Please contact me for pricing.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

My 'Aha Moment' :: Teaching Fused Glass Classes

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Megan who works for the company that is producing Mutual of Omaha’s “proud sponsor of life’s aha moments” campaign. She asked me to share my 'aha moment' in a short videotaped segment that will eventually be posted on their website. I didn't realize participating could potentially lead to being chosen to appear in a commercial, I just thought it would be fun and a good excuse to go downtown to Market Square and enjoy a Mochachino from Rita's Italian Ice.

Deciding on my 'aha moment' was not difficult. I knew I wanted to talk about how much I love teaching people to create their own fused glass art. Teaching has become a really important part of my life and it was a true 'aha moment'. My appointment for taping coincided with the arrival of writer Nicholas Hunt and photographer Michael Patrick of the Knoxville News Sentinel so I was fortunate to be part of the article that appeared the next day in the newspaper and on-line. Here is the photograph from the article. See the link below to read the entire article.

Read more about my 'aha moment' and others in this Knoxville News Sentinel article.

Here are some of the photographs of the 'aha moment'-mobile and the film "clapper" I received as a momento of my experience.

It was really flattering to be asked to participate and I will be sure to share the videotape of my 'aha moment' when it is available. And you can bet that is my 'moment' makes it to the finals I will counting on your vote!

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