Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We Interrupt This Broadcast...

I've been really busy....end of the month...Art Bead Scene project due and of course every color of accessory beads I own is the WRONG one! And my project for our first Fire Divas challenge is due...

So I have to interrupt this broadcast about insane bloggers libeling good and decent artists to tell you... there's a new old set in the Etsy.

You guys know I love silvered ivory but, I finally got really god pics of a cased set! Check it out!

That one is now on Etsy. And check out this one:

Yeah! It's purple! This one will be on HollysFolly in a day or two...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enchanting Elements

Another post on some really fabulous artists that could use some love, hearts and sales!

Meet Laurie Whitney of Mermaid Glass. Laurie is a versatile glass artist making lovely and elegant focals as well as more whimsical pieces. Isn't this focal pretty???

As for whimsy, my days on Carol Duvall make me nostalgic for this Sock Monkey:
Laurie also makes jewelry, garden glass art and even teaches. Mermaid Glass on Etsy. Laurie's blog is The Mermaid Tale and her main website is Mermaid Glass.

Our second artist today is Stephanie Vinson of Stephanie K Naturals. Stephanie sells all natural fragrance and body products - no harsh chemicals to give you a headache. She creates her own blends such as Bergamont Lime and Cypress Sage.

Check out Green Sun Perfume Oil:

Or her pure Peppermint Lavender massage oil:

Stephanie's Etsy is HERE. And her main website is HERE.

Next, is Darleen Michael Baker. Darleen is a politically impassioned friend from Fire Divas. And she makes lovely set of lampwork. I admire her precision with sizing! Here's a set in my favorite colors:
Wouldn't this set make a gorgeous bracelet for Halloween???

Darleen's Etsy is HERE.

Please know that these are fantastic and reputable artists. ALL have excellent feedback and reputations. Let's all support the true artists among us!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crafty Creations

Still more artists that need some love. Please visit their venues, heart their shops and, if you can, buy a little something. It's much appreciated in this difficult time.

First up tonight is Sandra Cowan a/k/a slcuniques on Etsy. Sandra is a gifted glass and wire artist. I'm lusting over this electroformed amphora:

And just check out this wire wasp! Sandra actually recreates insects in wire for a museum!

You can find the items above in Sandra's Etsy shop. She also has an amazing website with several blogs addressing glass, wire sculpture and needle felting.

The next artist is Charity Sloan of Sophiecls on Etsy a/k/a SubEarthen Cottage on ArtFire

She makes exquisite soaps - check out this Pick Five Sampler. There are many wonderful "flavors" to choose from: Lemongrass, Chocolate Cake, Milk & Honey, Grass Stain, Pine Tar and Vanilla Lavender all caught my eye.

Charity is a Stay at Home Mom who describes her art as incorporating "scavenged" or cast-off items in her work as a fun way to recycle. And she's got lots of fun things in her shops, from jewelry to cup cozies. I just adore that you can send her two of your favorite t-shirts and she will upcycle them into a bag!

So check her out. Her Etsy store is HERE. Artfire is HERE. And her terrific blog is HERE. She showcases lots of artists! ;-)

And finally, meet Kristin Purcell, a very talent silver artist. Her Etsy shop is Peaches4me. Check out this stunning birdcage:

And I adore the simplicity of these mesmerizing Mod Circles.

Please check her out on Etsy.

This is a very difficult time with more artists being singled out every day so let's rally and show these talented folks some love!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beautiful Baubles

More artists and a fabulous way to help in this post. Give them love, heart their shops and, if you can, buy a little something...

First up tonight is Tracidawn78, another gifted lampwork artist. Check out this copper cored beauty:

And look at this tie-dyed bead called Hippie:

Both of the these and more beautiful beads are available in Tracidawn78's Etsy shop.

Our next artist is a very well known lampworker I've long admired and would just die to take a class from her. She is Anne Ricketts. Anne is a versatile artist and even writes tutorials for some of her most famous beads such as this one featured below.

One thing I didn't know about Anne was that she knits and adds her pretty buttons to the piece! Check out this beauty:

You can find even MORE of Anne's glorious beads on Ebay and I strongly urge you to take a look around her website. The pictures in her gallery are breathtaking! And... you glass workers out appears she is having a tutorial special on her website!!!! Check it out!

And finally, someone I know personally. Heidi Bond is in my ISGB group, the California Flame Surfers. She is a talented boro artist a little sidetracked. She noticed that her customers were always looking for a quick and easy way to wear a bead. So she started sewing and hand dyeing silk ribbons. But let's look at her first love:

And finally, let's take a look at Heidi's latest creation in ribbon: Bella. Heidi has ribbons galore in every color combination imaginable. But Bella was created to help artists... Heidi is donating all the profits from Bella to the Artisan and Glassworkers Legal Fund.

Heidi's work is found on Etsy and on her own website Jamnglass.

Please, won't you take a moment to check out these wonderful artists???

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Devine Design

More artists that could use a little love with all that is going on in this big old nasty world. Please show them some love, heart their shops and visit often, and, if you can, buy something.

Isn't this bottle stopper from Lakeside Lampwork just luscious? Wouldn't it make the loveliest holiday gift for someone you need to impress.

And this boro set is so vibrant and pretty!
Check out Lakeside Lampwork on Etsy for more wonderful glass beads!

Next up, we have LenorasDesigns. Lenora is a master where I'm a disaster! Just look at her dots!!!! This red bead is mesmerizing!!!

But, you know me... I gotta drool over the purple! Excuse me while I pick up my chin!

Check out more of Lenora's work (and find your favorite color in dots!) in her Etsy shop!

Our final artist for today is Betsymn. I've spoken about my passion for silvered ivory before...but look at what Betsy does with it! I adore this Aurae and silvered ivory combo:

Or check out this version with a ruby base.... stunning!

Betsymn has lots more wonderful beads in her Etsy shop.

Please check out these wonderful shops and stunning artisan made beads!

All photos copyrighted by the respective artists and used with permission.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Amazing Artists

I wanted to share a few artists that could use a little love:

Goat Mountain Arts makes the most wonderful goat's milk soap.

and hand dyes Alpaca. Have you ever worn Alpaca??? It's so soft!
You can find her on Etsy as well!

And, I also want to mention a bead maker I so admire! Her work is stunning! Lydia Muell is also known as Ashton Jewels. Check out this baby! Available HERE.

I have known Lydia through a bulletin board we both belong to for years. She is helpful and sweet and makes the most awesome beads! So check her out! Lydia has a wonderful blog as well.

All photos in this post are copyrighted by the artists.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Custom Work - A Modern Sweet 16

I was asked by sorority sister of mine that I reconnected with on Facebook to make her niece's Sweet 16 present of a bracelet and matching earrings. We originally discussed animal prints, black & white, or pink and I made a flurry of samples. We then shifted direction to the teenager's favorite colors: purple, blue and green.

I must say, I struggled a bit with this palette. I had issues finding the right value of these colors to work well together. (Value for those of you that haven't studied painting is the difference between light and dark in a color. All good artwork takes value into consideration... you simply must have a good balance of light and dark!) I tossed more beads than I kept.

In the end, it was trial and error - more error than trial - that helped me find the right palette. These are all Bullseye glass, used for several reasons - more range in the purple and green colors and... because I decided that a 16 year old simply would not love the big clunky beads I favor, I needed to work small. So the extra stiffness of the 90 COE was appreciated.

About the Beads: I made lots of twisties in my color and value tests. Making a twisty - whether you use it in the beads or not is a good way to get a feel for how colors are going to play together in the finished piece. Once I have found the right values in the transparent range, I chose opaques in the same colors. My twitsy work showed up in only two beads in final piece.

Working small was also a challenge... I would need more beads if they were small! And I get bored easily so I really enjoyed seeing if there were new designs I could make and keep them small! My dot work got amazingly better because of the smaller surface! And I had just learned a few tricks about daisy beads and that shape ended up being prominent in the final design.

I can also say, I am finally on the road to mastering stripes! But I plan a whole blog post on that. I also attempted the smallest cupcake I've ever made! Along the way I tossed in a few of the usual suspects: sugar beads, swirls, disks and a funny little wrapped bead that I'm dying to explore further. It's the third lampwork bead left of the clasp in the photo below:

About the bracelet: It is seven inches and the clasp connects to a sterling heart chain to give an inch of growing room. The dangle at the end features Swarovski purple bicone and green daisy with a blue lampworked daisy. The beads are arranged with smaller ones in the back, building toward the bigger beads and focal. There are dangles made of Swarovski crystals and that little cupcake.

About the earrings: Measuring 2 3/8" long and are made of lightweight beads for comfort. The heart chain and daisy theme is reflected in the earrings with tiny beads dangling from the chain and connected to a daisy crystal. Figaro chain was also used to add interest. Rubber earring backs prevent the earrings from slipping.
Hopefully, this is a piece my friend's niece will treasure always.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interview with Lynne Bowland of Fireball Beeds

Adding another interview to this site has long been on my to-do list and I thought it would be fun for you to get to know some of my fellow Fire Divas. You can look for more interviews from them in the future.

First up is one of the first friends I made in the Divas: D. Lynne Bowland, known on Etsy as Islandgirl. Lynne is one the nicest people I've ever "met" online and she makes fantastic beads and jewelry too.
Gumball Machine Pendant

What attracted you to glass?

Back in the early 80's, my nieghbour signed up for a stained glass class with a friend. The friend backed out so I took her spot. Two years later I signed up for a Tiffany lamp class got 2 of 6 panels done cut out all the identical white pieces and put them unlabeled on the drier where they lived for 3 or 4 years. My son found them when he was two and put them all in a pail... 2 years later I sorted them and built the lamp, which lived in the dining room in Saskatoon (SK) for 12 years.

I ran a commercial glass studio from 1988 until 2000. Now I have a seasonal gallery which I've run for 10 summers, five years in SK and 5 years here.

Fused Glass Plates:
Plate designed for World Jr. Volleyball Tournament

A kitty plate

Many glass artists have training in other art mediums. Do you? If yes, please explain.

I guess I started in fibre. I learned to knit when I was 12, took a weaving class while I was at University and then taught myself how to spin. Actually I've tried most things over the years. I volunteered as a blacksmith in Saskatoon on Boomtown street for a number of years; I dabble in silver smithing; I tired pottery; Clay doesn't like me; I went into a Fashion design program straight out of high school so have done a lot of fibre related things. I ended up graduating with a degree in Geology - not sure where I took that turn!

Felted wool hat

Describe the first bead you made that you were really proud of? Are you still proud of it now?

I started making beads in '94... I really don't know what my favorite bead was or if I still have it. I really like a lot of the Jellyfish beads I'm doing now but I'm sure there are other beads that I've made in the past that I was equally as impressed with at the time! I'm always pleased when I get a gumball machine to work.... as the base and the glob are one piece!

What inspires you?

I love gardening and oceans... hence the flower beads and jelly fish seascapes!

Jellyfish bead

Do you have a plan when you sit down to torch? Do you sketch beads or have photos around for reference?

I have photos if I'm trying to make something specific. Sometimes I'll sketch a shape - but I usually wing it. I often go out to make a specific bead and when I quit a few hours later the beads still hasn't been done!

Photography seems to be a key element for any glass artist. What type of camera / lightbox set up do you use?

Photo set up

Photo cube full of cat hair, (It doesn't have a top - just 3 sides and a floor.) natural light and a tiny samsung NV3 camera. [The camera] has a great macro lense but scenery really sucks.

If the issue of finances (i.e. will it sell?) were of no consequence, what would you spend your time making?

Not sure I like making the big focals but I also like doing beads that I can make into jewellery as I really enjoy making jewellery! (I sold my Kandinsky necklace.. a pair of matching earrings and a matching bracelet today! [Note:
Lynne, like myself, enjoys the Art Bead Scene challenges. She frequently cheers me on every month when I feel like I'm out of ideas! Kandinsky was the challenge for June.]

Kandinsky Necklace

What kind of jewelry do you wear? Everyday vs. out on the town?

Very little difference. I usually have a couple of my chain maillle bracelets and and lampwork bracelet on my right arm and one or two bracelets on my left... I always wear earrings and some sort of necklace. Most of the jewellery is mine although i do wear jewellery that I've bought from other bead artists and jewellers!

What is the one skill you wish came easier to you?

Intricate scroll-work (stringer) ; I work left handed and always seem to melt things that I don't want melted!

What do you love about marketing your business? What’s the hardest part of marketing it?

I like the look on peoples faces when they say, "You made these?
" Although a number of people walk into the gallery and look around ( I sell work from about 40 Canadian Women) and say did you make everything in here... I think the hardest part is knowing what to charge for loose beads, I have no problem getting my price for finished jewellery but loose beads are a much harder sell!
Aztec Love Bird

Please include any links you would like my readers to know about.
Lynne's website Fireball Beeds
Beads and wool hat available here: Lynne's Etsy store
More info on the Gallery Lynne runs

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Lampworker and the Law: Fire Codes

There has been a ton of negativity in this industry lately and I simply refuse to buy into all of's easy enough to find without my providing links. I thought instead I should concentrate on the positive. This will be the first in a series of posts meant to inform members of this community and to promote business owner's that have been libeled by the negativity and outright lies floating around.

Let's begin with fire codes. I don't know of a single lampworker who goes into this hobby / profession lightly. There are many safety considerations: storage of tanks, tie-down of oxy tanks, leaky lines, ventilation, work-surface protection, and the all important fire extinguisher. Let's face it: NO ONE wants to blow their house up or even injure themselves! Most of the lampworkers I know took several classes before ever bringing a torch into their home. And all gave that list above great consideration.

But is that in compliance with the law??? I don't know about your town but I found out a lot about what my county requires by placing a call to my local Fire Prevention office. I got transferred about three times before I got a compliance officer. So I will speak of L.A. County here but would like each of you to contact your own Fire Prevention office as rules can vary.

L.A. county subscribes to the rules set forth by the Intenational Code Council, an association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention. Cities can take this code as is or improve upon it to meet the specific needs of their community. Here are some of the highlights for my county:

Some cities may require a hot work permit. This permit often requires an inspection which reviews all of the above and can address how and where you store your tanks and how many you can have. Type of tools, amount of gas and specific city determines whether or not this is required.

Storage of tanks: Oxy tanks must be chained and placed twenty feet from any gas or other combustible. Alternately, a fire wall between the tanks is acceptable.

Amounts of propane needed for lampwork really is a non issue...we are allowed up to 125 gallons (The most I ever have is 15 - and that's counting my barbeque!). The tanks must be stored five feet from my home and my neighbor's property. There is no recommendation for distance between tanks for such a small amount. Over 250 gallons, tanks must be three feet from each other.

Additionally, tanks not in service must be disconnected and closed. (Can I get a "Duh!" here???)

Here in LA LA land, there are very few basements...thanks to the earthquakes we have. Yet I live in a mountainous area with a bedrock base; Many in this part of town have basements. I was shocked to learn that propane is not allowed in basements here because it is heavier than air and, if allowed to accumulate below the house, could easily blow up. Good thing I don't have a basement!

It is completely illegal to do any hot work in an apartment. Often the gas tanks are an outright violation of a tenant agreement. It is also not permitted on a much for my living-on-a-boat fantasy!

Other Recommendations:
Keep floors clean.
Check tank connections with soapy water.
Know the life span of your equipment and replace worn hoses.

All of the above is good basic safety info and is required IF and only IF your Fire Prevention Office requires a permit. Or if you don't want to blow yourself up.

Mine DOES NOT require a permit because: 1) I am using small amounts of a gas frequently used around a home and 2) I am using a "self-contained torch apparatus" designed for the specific purpose of mixing oxygen and propane safely.

That being said, do I adhere to all the ICC recommendations above? ... well, I COULD keep my floors cleaner but Hell yes, I do!

So, if you stick to the rules above you probably aren't breaking any law. And, should the Fire Inspector mysteriously show up on your doorstep... they just want to keep you safe. Be nice, work with them and you'll be safer for it!

Artwork above from T-shirt available on Zazzle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Color of the Year

is....Yellow??? Ick! I am SO not a yellow fan...maybe because it makes my ruddy Irish skin look like warm death. My mother, with her American Indian / Black Irish coloring - skin that tans beautifully in a heartbeat, jet black hair and dark, mysterious eyes - looks stunning in yellow. So I guess it is somebody's color.

The Color Association of the United States declared Yellow the color of the year and cites influences such as "Slumdog Millionaire" and the fact that hope is associated with the color. And, this country certainly needs a little hope!

I am happy that the shade of yellow selected by Pantone is a bit more goldenrod than a true pale yellow.
Let's take another look at the colors for the coming Fall / Winter Season...Beadmakers, are your stores stocked??
Here's a few yellow selections from my 1000 Markets and Etsy shops:

Crochet Neclace with detachable focal:

Pinky - really, a yellow off mandrel heart (She was shouting her name when I opened the kiln!)

Sunny Day at the Beach:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Goodness Gracious!

Where does the time go???? It's been a FREAKIN' month since I updated my own website! OY!
I have been torching a lot for a custom order and I was quite busy with the re-organization of my beady group, the Fire Divas. But other than that --- the job search just sucks the life out of every day!

But I have been listing new stuff direct to Etsy. Here's a peek:

Pinky - a gigantic off mandrel of the first beads I ever made and the largest off mandrel ever...
A focal with that Chalcedony glass I love so much!

And... I always make a ton of beads for a custom order... this was a leftover that I love! A little Zebra big hole pendant.