Custom Search

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday, so have some cake ;)

CDs are last minute friendly

So over at Humblebeads there is a Mix Tape Challenge to pick songs that you listened to in highschool. Unfortunately I didn't find out about it until today- the last day to enter!- but by the time I was in high school we were making mixed CDs, so I figured it was appropriate to do this last minute anyway :) I know, I know, making your own CD is so not as cool as mixed tapes but all my experience with tapes was pre-high school. Actually when I was around 10-years-old I remember recording the same Celine Dion song one a tape over and over and over.

So anyway, I found this mix CD that my old high school boyfriend made for me, and here is five songs from that!

Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sugar in Your Gas Tank, Less Than Jake

Warning, Incubus

Island in the Sun, Weezer

Bleed America, Jimmy Eat World

Check out Humblebeads post, there's a lot of great entries, and enter yourself if you have a few moments :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Glass and inspiration

So... the past couple days I've been talking to the director over at the Centre for Creative Arts here in town, and it looks like I'll be teaching a weekend class towards the end of May. I am super excited! Soon I get to share the love of glassy-goodness! You can find the details here.

While I was at the Centre, I was also asked to participate in the Third Annual Art Board Show & Auction. The auction supports their Healing Arts Program Initiative (H.A.P.I.) which provide accessible art opportunities to all members of the community. Check out the link to learn more.

Basically the artist takes an unfinished skateboard deck and starts the creative process from there. I definitely want to incorporate some glass work into mine, but I was also inspired by some "paintings" I saw on vacation at the Haleiwa Art Gallery. They were rich, complex landscapes and portraits. Really beautiful. After we looked at them a bit longer we realized that they were actually done by hand embroidery and not painting. The gallery bought them from a company called XQ Vietnam. Embroidery has been a tradition in Vietnam for hundreds of years. Historically women were expected to know how to embroider and sew. Through those traditions came this beautiful artwork. XQ's mission is carry on the traditional embroidery artwork of the women of Vietnam and to bring it to the rest of the work at a fair price.

These embroidered paintings are truly breath taking. They use thread from different materials that reflect light differently to add depth. It is apparent looking at them all the time and care that went into making the final product. One painting we looked at took the artist 2 years to complete at 40 hours a week!

I do not have the skill (or the time!) to do the same thing, but I would love to give their beautiful work a nod in my auction piece.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ninja Part II

So... I was able to make something today. a little sloppy for my taste, but still something. I will trying again, but first I need a break!


So I was trying to make those star beads like in this tutorial, but kept breaking the bead release so the bead would start sliding around on me and I would have to give up half way through and didn't get the dots melted in well enough blah blah blah. So anyway, my fiance took a look at my mistake star beads and said "what- are you making me throwing stars?" So that gave me the great idea of making throwing stars and got to work. Those however, have been kicking my ass even harder, sliding around, popping glass, and then I ran out of gas. I bought more gas this afternoon and did attempt no. 1, but I managed to crack the glass when I just about mastered one. I am determined to make one successfully today and post it.

In other news, I was able to ninja my way around making sushi (first attempt). Mmm, sushi.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Friday!

For your viewing pleasure...

... a dragonfly bead.

Also Frantz Art Glass has a new blog. Check out their first couple of posts!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I know its not Christmas, but there is snow outside and I got a package!

Isn't it beautiful? I just love getting glass. Looking at all the colors is really inspiring to me.

I ordered these from Frantz Art Glass. They have an amazing selection and were super easy and friendly to deal with. Drawback is I live in Canada so shipping was over $30 US, and then I had to pay $10 to customs. Boo. I might have to look else where if I'm going to keep buying small quantities. Lauscha Canada has a good web site and plenty of colors, but that seems to be it for soft glass here in Canada. What I would really like is a actual, physical store within walking distance of my house where I could go and look at the glass in person. No such luck. Oh well, maybe some day I'll own my very own glass shop and I'll get to order glass from Italy, Germany, and Japan :-).

Update: Louise of Fireseed just sent me a link to another glass supplier in Canada. Looks great!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good thing I work inside

It is April 22nd, and it is snowing. I wish my camera was working because my phone just can't take a good enough picture of this atrocity. I mean... I can actually see snow collected on the grass and my neighbor's roofs and around my truck tires. Totally disgusting.

I'm in a boot-camp style fitness class early in the morning and thank god that it wasn't snowing. I would be too busy balling to work my bum. No- I got to work inside all day on my new, make-shift studio!

I know the quality isn't great (picture is from my phone) but my unfinished basement actually looks really awesome.

I don't have a suitable table to work at, so we clamped a piece of plywood to some woodworking thing I don't know what to call and voilà a sturdy work surface that I can accidentally burn when I set a hot rod of glass on it. By accident.
We also didn't know how we could set up propane and oxygen and not be screwed if I accidentally blow everything up. So while the research is going on I'm playing around with my old hot head torch to scratch my lampworking itch. Mostly I'm just trying to get back into the groove and make sure I didn't forget anything because I might get to teach some classes at the Centre for Creative Arts (!) and we have to use the MAPP gas setup (like I have set up here) until they move to their new location, so its good for me to revisit its limitations. My Nortel major bench burner is looking pretty lonely though and I can't let such a big beautiful torch feel neglected so on to improve my home-set up!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Brief Introduction

Hello and Welcome.

My name is Valerie and I live in Alberta with my fiancé and my dingo-dog Taz. I've been a long-time blog reader of many blogs and decided that it was time to step out from behind the scenes and into this wonderful community.

What the heck is lampworking?

Lampworking is a typing of glass work using a torch to melt and mold clear and brightly colored glass into beads, figurines, marbles, button, vessels, or whatever! It’s presumably called lampworking because the technique was historically done using oil-fueled lamps.
I was first introduced to lampworking in 2003. I did a workshop at Bemidji State University and instantly fell in love. I eventually got my own small torch and glass and began experimenting at home. In 2007 I took a class with Will Stokes in Bellingham, WA (if someone knows of a link for him let me know!) who taught me some awesome new techniques. I moved to Alberta about a year ago and haven't made a single bead. But now I am getting back into the swing of things, have bought some awesome new equipment and I'm ready to go!

What else do I do?

Well, some people may consider me a professional student, and currently I am going to school to be a registered nurse but I've also studies art, music, and medical terminology. I consider myself a crafter and I also like to cook, travel, garden, run, and occasionally bitch about all the paperwork involved in immigrating from the U.S. to Canada.

Feel free to email me or leave a comment. Ciao!