Spring Cleaning - Remember me?

Someday, I'd like to own a Roomba, but this will have to make due until then.

Donated to North Star Rescue

Check out the current auction listing HERE.

Five Fish

 A super quick post of beads from the weekend.  The set feature an array of colorful fish.  Mixing up color combinations is a great way to observe reactions in the glass.  The spacers were made from EDP with a sprinkle of raku frit.  A fun addition to a silly design.  Enjoy!


A wise person once said, "Always be yourself, unless you can be a Narwhal.  Then always be a Narwhal."  Truly words to live by. #SeaUnicorn 

Revamp of Calico Kitty

Feeling stuck in a routine with the same old, same old?  Flip back into your design portfolio, choose a random design, and give it an update!  Change a few lines, add a few new colors and voilà!  Something fresh with a twist of "you".  Hope you have a wonderful weekend finding pleasure in your art.   

Good Morning Sunshine!

Hopefully you awoke to a new issue of Soda Lime Times or maybe you waited up for it's midnight release.  Either way, this issue is a generous 77 pages of all things non-beady.  The super talented Amanda Muddimer is the featured artist, so you know it is going to be a fun issue with great eye candy for all!  I personally hope you enjoy the "Dive into Glass" paperweight.  Happy melting!

Fall 2016 Classes

Helping you become the Superhero in your personal Glass Adventure! The class syllabus for Fall 2016 is complete. We will be covering a variety of techniques and projects including: Coldworking, New Tips for Double Helix, Fine Tuning Dots and Stringer, New Halloween Designs, Fixing Mistakes: Saving Beads from Death by Quench Bowl... *sizzle*, and much more. Join me in fine tuning your superpower of taming molten glass!  

Note: Heat vision not required... we have torches for that.

Big Rumps

Breaking News:  A 3rd party candidate just entered the race!  As the runt of a large litter, Bernard Rumps didn't let his small size hold him back.  Fondly nicknamed "Big" by his family, he ate his veggies and grew into a healthy, rotund guinea pig with the golden locks of a magical Pegasus with a come-over. 

"Big" Rumps recently decided to throw his tiny hat into the political ring.  He is running on a campaign platform of making America great again by returning to old school values like big hair styles, overuse of Aquanet hairspray, and bringing back classic music such as "I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie" by Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Finally a candidate you can get behind...  ehh?  Get it??  Rumps... behind?

The above post is purely satire.  And should not be viewed as an endorsement for either candidate.  I hope viewers will enjoy a well deserved chuckle to carry them into the upcoming election season. 

A look back through filters

When life gets busy and the torch sits idle, I like to take a moment to look back at past work.  It helps me reassess goals, reflect on passion, and redirect focus for the future.  Many times, I clear off the studio design board and venture down a different path. 

You asked for it...

Here is a sneak preview of the 2017 Limited Edition Wall Calendar, Mouse Guinea Pig Pad, 2017 Desk Calendar, and "Start the Morning off right" Mug.  Which is your favorite?

The Whimsy of Jackie Gundelfinger

Beautiful murrini by Jackie Gundelfinger. A fantastic treat in a gift packet for students enrolled in the upcoming workshop I'm teaching at Mesa Arts Center. Truly miniature works of art. 

Hot Stuff

Requests keep coming to create a guinea pig calendar, I realized one thing... the project would need major "smolder". What better way to turn up the heat than with a hunky firefighter!? Did someone call 911?

Lessons Learned from an Antique Key - Class Notes

Years back, I attempted to create a trapped bead on a key.  Being self taught, the initial project was full of valuable lessons.  Here are a few gems of knowledge for flameworkers attempting to create a trapped bead on an antique key.
Key Jargon for Reference:
 "Bow" - the part of the key a person turns or handles.
"Bit" - the part of the key which operates the lock.
"Shank" - the part of the key connecting the bit and bow.
What to look for when buying a key: 

  1. Shank:  The shank design is very important.  A hollow-barrel shank can receive a heavily dipped mandrel.  Try to avoid trapping bubbles in the bead release.  During heating, the trapped air expands and will "blow" the dried release directly out the end of the key barrel.  The sound and blast of hot air is very startling.  I suggest gently warming the barrel and wet bead release during the drying process to let the air expand and bubble out the end of the shank, near the mandrel.   
  2. Patina:  The patina helps to indicate the key's make up.  A dark patina usually indicates the key is made from cast iron.  Newer keys made of nickle/zinc alloys are not recommended for flameworking, and can shatter under the intense heat of a torch.
  3. Bow:  The bow gives a clue to the age of the key.  Circa 1800-1900, the bow of keys were commonly curved and smooth.  Bows can feature designs such as trifoils, bishop's miters and crosses. 
  4. Size:  Smaller keys are easier to balance on a mandrel.  The weight of larger keys can quickly wear upon a flameworker's fingers and wrist.  Keys between 1-2 inches are recommended.
  5. Quality:  The craftsmanship of the key will be reflected in the final project.  I tend to look for keys with unique bits and bows.  Some keys have tapered shanks and added fluting.
Upon locating the right key for the project, choose a mandrel that loosely fits the key's hollow barrel shank.  A good rule of thumb is to pick a mandrel 1/16 inch smaller than the barrel opening.  Dip the mandrel in bead release and insert into the key shank.  Be sure not to trap air in the barrel (refer to tip #1 above).  Place the flame dried dipped mandrel upright in a cup of sand until the key has cooled.  It is important for the key to be on the same axis as the mandrel's axis line. 
Once the bead release is dry and the key is cool, use a paint brush to coat the key's shank with bead release.  The final step of preparation will allow the glass to adhere to the shank during flameworking. 
Note:  A heavy coating will allow the bead to later spin freely on the key.  A light coating will keep the bead trapped in place on the key without movement.  I suggest using a gray Sludge Plus, Dip & Go. 
Upon drying, the key is ready for the bead of your choice!  After creating a bead on the key, place the "key" mandrel in a 950'F kiln to anneal.
Once the cooled key emerges from a long soak in the kiln, clean the bead release with a mild soap and water solution.  A soft bristle brush comes in handy when cleaning the bit.
I hope you have enjoyed these notes from a recent class.  Feel free to email me with any questions.  Always remember, you are in charge of your own safety!

Happy Beading,

Studio Manager

Keeping up with inventory is a hard job, but someone has to do it. Good thing I have Gizmo to keep track of restocking and organizing supplies.

Leonardo da Veggie

Biography of Leonardo da Veggie
-Artist, Mathematician, Inventor, Writer, Lover of fine Salads
As a leading artist and intellectual of the Italian Renaissance, his enduring works "The Last Supper... until Snacktime" and "Mona Lettuce" have influenced countless artists. 
(Pictured above is a close up of Leonardo's famous painting, "Mona Lettuce" currently held in the special D'art de Rongeur Collection at the Louvre in Paris.)

He studied the laws of science and nature, which greatly informed his work as a painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, military engineer and draftsman. His inventions include useful items like the catapult for launching tossed salad over high walls and the hamster wheel for keeping a trim physique. 

My World Defined

Glass Geek (noun) \ˈgläs gēk\
: a person who is extremely interested in glass.
: a glass enthusiast who finds the medium exciting when others may view the art as boring.
The latest reaction of CiM's test color gives me butterflies. The initial color is a transparent Emerald, but a reaction occurs when paired with a dark ivory that awakens the nutty glass nerd inside. Kind of like the joker's guttural laugh rising from my soul, but I digress.... back to the cool reaction which creates a new band of color between the emerald and ivory glass. This is not a moody metallic line of demarcation one might expect, but a rich avocado halo of awesomeness. Just another reason for flameworkers who love green to be counting the days until CiM's new color release date.

Team Beads of Courage

 Glow in the dark pokeball "Carry a Bead" set for Beads of Courage.  I love the fact that many hospitals are Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms, so kids are able to play while battling much more serious real life illnesses.
 #TeamBeads #BeadsofCourage #CarryaBead #PokemonGo #Pokémon #Pokeball #BeadStrong
Glow in the dark view.

Soda Lime Times - August 2016

Soda Lime Times this month focuses on lampwork jewelry.  The featured artist is the talented Irina Sergeeva. This issue is full of great photos and informative tutorials about jewelry.  Included is a Carry a Bead tutorial by yours truly.  Enjoy!
Here is a link to subscribe:   Soda Lime Times 

It's a bird, It's a plane, It's Superguinea?

Faster than a speeding snail,
More powerful than a robo hamster
Able to leap large veggie trays in a single bound...
An amazing cavy from the planet Krypton!
The Piggy of Steel, ...
Coming not so soon to a theatre near you!

Ogre's Toe No. 3

Forget the cliché lucky rabbit's foot, this toe is the perfect gift to tell that special someone, "Hey girl, time to schedule a pedicure."  Delightfully gross, if there is such a thing...

Need a Handyman?

Clogged drain from the kid flushing another hot wheels monster truck down the toilet??? 
Put down the pipe wrench, step away from the "Do it Yourself" YouTube video, and fret no more!
Just call Piggy Plumbing Repair. 
"The super handy guinea pig with the skills to get you out of a pickle, or your pickle out of a pipe" ®
***Licensed, Bonded, and Insured to get a laugh***
#ButtCrackCavy #FurryMr.Fix-it #RodentRepair

The Batty Bunch

Here's a story, of a lovely lady
who was bringing up three very lovely bats
all of them had fangs of white, like their mother.
the youngest one in braces.
Here's a story, of a man named Batty
Who was busy with three bats of his own.
They were four vampires living all together
yet they were all alone
Till the one day when the lady met this fellow.
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That this group must somehow form a family,
That's the way we all became the Batty bunch.
The Batty bunch, the Batty bunch.
That's the way they became the Batty bunch.

County Fair

Howdy folks!  The leaves are fixin to turn, ya'll know what that means?  Yep, the county fair is just around the corner.  Time to rejoice in the bounty of Fall Harvest and fried food!  Yippee ki yay and giddy up!  Ya'll excited?  I'm a talkin fried pickles, fried Twinkies, fried fritters, fried ice cream...  if it fits in the deep fat fryer, then game on donky-kong!  Be sure to stop on by Hoppy's veggie stand and take a gander at their heavenly produce.  Lawsie mercy it's fresh!!!

Tea with Hatter

In such a rush to take this photo that I didn't adjust the light properly to accurately pick up Hatter's little red bow tie... Honestly, I was lucky to get this shot before rabbit hopped away chattering something about being late?! It was like working with diva models on a photoshoot... not enough carrots and alfalfa in craft services table... blah blah blah.

Cerura vinula No. 2 - Display Complete

"Hey lady, if you let me out of here I promise to not disseminate airborne formic acid on you and stop eating the lovely shrubery in the garden.... pretty please???"

Beach Babe

Sun, surf, and sand! 
Enjoying a much needed vacation, Roxie is soaking up rays while sporting stylish sunglasses.  One has to admit, a guinea pig's life is pretty tough...  being pampered daily, fresh veggie treats, and constant human adoration.  Sometimes a piggy just needs a break from the daily grind.  Good thing Ricardo Flamingo is there to help apply sunscreen and freshen up her lemonade.

Roxie's theme song is Carrot "Cake by the Ocean" by DNCE

Guinea Pigs Playing Poker

Homage to the famous oil painter C. M. Coolidge.  Miniature details recreate the scene, from the color of the poker chips down to the Ace of Clubs being passed under the table.  It just goes to show that you can teach an old guinea pig new tricks.
Some friends showed up to the party who are known for having the worst poker faces ever...