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Begging for Champagne

Feb 08 2018

        When I saw how many champagne flutes were stored in my glass supply cupboard, I knew I had to do something with them.  My thought to use them as vessels to make soy candles prompted my purchase of candle making supplies, but I deemed the champagne flutes too unstable to carry a flame. The candle making adventure will be the topic of a future blog. 

     I married my burning desire to use the wet saw with my need to use the champagne flutes for something other than drinking champagne. I sawed the stems off near the base of the flute and cut into the rim of one of the flutes.  The stems will be part of a future project.

  I made loops of stainless steel wire, pulling them together to form a circle.  I tested each loop to ensure that it would fit snugly around each flute.  A wine bottle base that I had cut from a 1.5-liter bottle and pre-fired to flatten serves as the base.  I must confess that I assembled the sculpture on my work bench, balancing the flutes in their wire cage on top of the wine bottle base.  When I moved it, ever so carefully, to the kiln shelf, the balance had been so disturbed that I had to take it apart and reassemble it in the kiln.  Should have done that the first time, hindsight being 20:20, and all.     

  Concerned that the fragile-appearing flutes would melt into a big blob, I was very conservative with the fusing program, setting the maximum heat at 1300oF.  Eighteen hours later, I was surprised that the flutes had not fused to each other or the base.  I had underestimated the stiffness of even these champagne flutes compared with the softer art glass to which I am more accustomed. Now it was damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead to a max temperature of 1400oF.  Perfect!

        After I removed the champagne flute sculpture from the kiln, the stainless-steel loops had not fused into the flutes, so I carefully snipped them off, leaving only the three curly-cue stems in the center.  Interestingly, the bottle lip did not fuse to the flutes, but is supported by two of the flutes and the three stems.   

The flutes seem to be begging to be filled with champagne, hence the title, “Begging for Champagne”.  This summer they will be fill with flowers, creating a much more interesting bouquet than a standard vase.

Enjoy!

Q



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For the Birds

Jan 09 2018

My glass blog came to an abrupt halt last August when a series of events starting with a glitch in the website wouldn’t allow me to post a blog and continuing with trouble with all my electronic devices. 
Overall, for the five-month stretch from August through December, the good outweighed the bad.

   Angel Bird

I continued to create fused glass art, working with glass fragments from wine bottles.  When I pulled this piece out of the kiln and happened to turn it around, it looked like some primitive bird species. It wasn’t intentional, but it inspired me to create a few more. 

  Green Bird      

The 1.5 liter white wine bottles are either cut with a wet saw or smashed with a hammer. Large pieces are flattened in the kiln.  From this array of irregular pieces, I choose the body, beak, and other body parts. 

  Speckle Bird

Unlike the Thanksgiving turkey, these birds go into the oven (kiln) several times.  In the first round, the pieces are fused flat together.  Once the bird is created, I apply enamels that require one or two firings.  During that firing, I place bits of fiber blanket under specific areas of the glass so the birds are not flat, but have a flip of a tailfeather or beak.    

I still need to add two support tubes to each bird so I can hang them on the wall.  When I cut more bottles, I will make the rest of the flock. 

 Enjoy!



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My Hot Mess

Aug 23 2017

   When I pulled it from the kiln my first thought was “It looks like a hot mess, but it’s my hot mess.”  It stands as a reminder for experimenting and learning.

A couple of weeks ago when I made the flower, I thought I might be able to use pieces of a kiln blanket and fiberboard to provide enough structure to slump a piece upright.  It worked for the experimental flower and the bouquet.  I still wanted to try fusing a small jar in a large jar while both were upright.  Conventional wisdom and most common practice would be to drape the combo over a mold that is narrow enough for the opening of the smaller jar. 

                

Here’s what I did: I made slices in the top of the larger jar (the bottom half of a 1.5-liter wine bottle) with my ring saw and painted the outside of the both jars with glass enamels.  I added black lines to the base of the larger jar with a dimensional enamel. When the enamels were dry, I placed the smaller jar in the larger one and added pieces of glass from a wine bottle between the two and in the bottom of the small jar.  I added a few bits of dichroic glass; the next time I will add glue to place them where they can be seen.  I jammed the inside of this combo with pieces of fiber board and placed it in the kiln. After about 20 hours in the kiln, it was cool enough to removed. 

I like the textured gold enamel painting on the top when viewed from the outside of the vase.  The next time I would also paint the inside like I had done with the flowers.  I like the black textured lines at the base, but I would be more careful about placement the next time I use this.  It is very difficult to get an even, consistent line with the textured enamel. [Did I mention that I was in a hurry?]  I would glue the pieces of dichroic, iridescent, or other decorative glass so it stays where I want it to stay. 

 

The wine bottle glass tends to devitrify, which was a plus in this case. The discoloration that is usually not desirable when working with art glass, gave a bluish tinge to the piece that looks almost iridescent. 

 The piece does hold water and will be a funky vase for real flowers!

 Enjoy!

Q



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A Bouquet from My Kiln

Aug 15 2017

The glass bottle flower inspired me to create flowers from bottles and segments of bottles. (See previous blog entry: “Look What Bloomed in my Kiln”). 

    

   My second step in this adventure was a small bouquet of three flowers. I had cut wine bottles and other glass bottles with my wet saw last March. I am waiting for a break in the weather on a day that I have time to set up the wet saw outside and cut up bottles that I cleaned and have been hoarding for just this purpose. 

I selected three wine bottle shoulders with stems and cut slices in the “bowl” of each flower with my ring saw to create the petals as I did with the first flower. When the glass was cut and washed, I painted the inside of the bowl and the outside of the bowl with glass enamels.  The bottle necks and three bottle bottoms that would serve as the base were painted with dark and light green enamels and touched with gold sparkle enamel. 

         In the kiln, I positioned two of the bottle bottoms next to each other and bridged them with the third.  Two of the bottle shoulders/necks were placed next to each other with the bottle necks resting on the glass base. I placed pieces of fiber board in the bowls of the flowers and supported the sides to prevent any movement.

After the bouquet spent about 20 hours in the kiln, it emerged as a surprisingly lovely piece of art.  The stainless-steel pistils add both a touch of reality and fantasy at the same time.  I like it because it is quirky and can be displayed sitting on a table or shelf or hung on the wall. 

      

My next attempt (once I fire up the wet saw to create starting shapes) is to use other bottles like the soy sauce bottle and jelly jars to add a variety of blossoms to the bouquet. 

Enjoy!

Q



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Something Blooming in My Kiln

Aug 10 2017

After sawing apart bottles with my wet saw last February, I have been playing with the various pieces, holding them in different combinations right side up and right side down, until an idea struck. I wanted to fuse a piece that looked like a big goblet without a base into a low jar. 

I was so focused on constructing it that I didn’t consider how it would fare during draping or slumping. The “goblet” part, an upside-down bottle shoulder with only a short piece of the neck, would not have stood straight during fusing to create the vase I had imagined.  I know if I think this through and support the goblet, I can make it happen.  What actually happened in my kiln was magic.  This is one of those happy accidents.

        I sliced the edge of the goblet with my ring saw, painted the inside of the goblet with a copper-color glass enamel, and placed it upright in a short wine bottle base filled with wine bottle glass and art glass in shades of blue.

       I put hunks of fiber board in the goblet and added swirls of stainless steel wire around the base of the goblet.

When I opened the kiln, as I suspected, the goblet was not upright, but had slumped forward.  

      It looked like a big flower, like one that might have been created by a blown glass method. The firing program was hot enough to fuse everything together and make the edges of the flower spread and turn like petals. 

While it wasn’t the project I had been thinking about for the past couple of months, it put me on a new path to explore floral forms that are part real and part fantasy.  As I write this I am waiting for the kiln to cool down below 100OF so I can open it and see the second iteration of the glass blossoms.

Enjoy!

Q

 



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Just a (Ball) Bit . . . .

Jun 15 2017

Before I return to doing pot melts over wire, I need to do some research. Sometimes I am in such a hurry to make the physical version of what is pictured in my brain, that I might not think out the entire process.  When you invest hours of preparatory work followed by 20+ hours in the kiln, it pays to slow down and work out as many potential stumbling blocks as possible. To satisfy that need to be moving forward, I turn to techniques that I need to practice but have a shorter time to completion.

 

I’ve been engraving for about a year now.  I practice on scrap glass (jars and bottles that I plan to use in a fusing project, but are a renewable resource. I donated most of my mismatched wine glasses and replaced them with dollar store wine glasses that I engraved with random patterns. If I get tired of them, I can donate them and replace them with a new pattern. 

          Last month I engraved glass beer mugs with the word for “beer” in several different languages.  I will be keeping a few in inventory.  They make nice gifts for the beer aficionados.

 

Yesterday I engraved a coffee/tea mug that will be part of a prize donated from our freestyle club at a canine freestyle event that we attend next weekend.

    

On one side is the word “Dance!” in Broadway font, and the other side features four dog paws and two human feet, mid step, with a heart between them. 

I’ve never engraved using the Broadway font, but I think I’m in love.  I changed my go-to burr bit to a smaller version of the ball tip and outlined the letters.  After completing the word, I returned to fill in the square areas of the letter.  I used that same bit to outline and fill in the dog paws and human feet, and to outline the heart.  I switched to a slightly larger ball tip burr to fill in the heart.  I will include some tea bags in the glass mug, and it will be one of several gifts, including some for the dog, in a basket that some lucky freestyle dancer and her dog will receive. 

Enjoy!

Q



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The Ring Thing

Jun 14 2017

I learn from my mistakes, but sometimes it takes a couple of repetitions for the lesson to really sink in.  A couple of weeks ago I did a pot melt in which the melted glass stuck a bit to the kiln furniture that formed the barrier.  The shelf paper that formed a thin shield between the molten glass and the kiln furniture (clay bars) had disintegrated.  When I have done kiln forming, also at high temperatures, the shelf paper placed on the shelf, showed some disintegration, but still did the job of keeping the glass from sticking to the shelf. 

  Last week I did another pot melt and carefully covered the edges of the metal frame with shelf paper.  I’ve used this frame and a similar square one to melt frit and never had a problem, although the temperature for melting frit is somewhat lower and the soaking time is shorter.  I cut three lengths of stainless steel wire, curled one end and placed them in the metal frame where the molten glass would flow over them. 

I loaded the pot to about one-third full with clear art glass and a few pieces of light blue. Residual glass from the previous melt would provide some darker blue tones.

The schedule for a pot melt starts by ramping the kiln up at a rate of 500oF/hour to 1600oF and stays at that temperature for an hour. The shelf paper protecting the sides of the metal frame had all but disintegrated by the time the molten glass started flowing from the holes in the pot.

  Glass will adhere to metal –that was the whole purpose of the wire inclusions.  However, it also adhered to the metal frame meant only to contain the glass.  Now it is a permanent part of that glass disk.

Issue No. 1 – What to do with this piece? 

Paint the metal frame and the stainless-steel wires with metal paints in cobalt blue and turquoise to accent the colors in the glass.  The bits of shelf paper that were captured on the surface around the edge were painted with purple glass paint. It has an "ocean" vibe. I will be hanging this in my office as soon as I receive the rigid plastic tubing that will serve as the hanger.

Issue No. 2 – What to use as a barrier for the molten glass the next time I do a pot melt? Fiberboard or fiber blanket should work without disintegrating. When poking around the kiln furniture, I found a square mold that I had carved from fiberboard that would be perfect and is being tested in a pot melt as I write.

In total, I lost a mold, but gained an unusual piece of art!

Enjoy!

Q



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Chime In

Jun 07 2017

Chime In

I was surprised to see that I had never written a blog about the fused glass windchimes even though I created them prior to starting my Q-Blog. 

  The windchime was created around 2007-2008, and I installed them in a tree at my dad’s house in Pennsylvania.  When the weather was nice, he would sit under that tree and enjoy a beer.  He could also see the colorful blue and yellow windchime from his sun porch.  After his death in 2009, I removed the windchime and it has been stored for all this time. This past weekend I completed my renovation of the circle garden in the backyard, an endeavor that took six year and small steps and finally a big push this spring.  The glass windchime was a perfect finishing touch.

Glass windchime?  The secret to the success of this windchime is that the “chimes” are triple layers of glass fused together.  It’s not unbreakable, but has withstood very high winds.  The other half of the secret is to hang the windchimes from a branch or other support that is not metal.  I have shepherd’s crooks for hanging birdfeeders, art, and other stuff.  Two of them are wrapped with solar lights.  Last year I created a fused glass lattice from shards of wine bottles and hung it on a short metal shepherd’s crook in the side garden. To my chagrin windy conditions knocked the glass against the metal rod and shattered the glass into many pieces.  The glass lattice had overlapping pieces of glass, but no area had more than a double thickness of glass. I should have anticipated the fragility of the piece exposed to the elements.

  The blue and yellow windchime makes a delightful tinkling sound when the breezes move it around (see video at Q by Dezine on FB)  When the wind is not sufficient to move the glass pieces together, it twirls the piece around, adding motion to the view.  I plan to set up a chair nearby on a nice afternoon and enjoy a beer. 

 Enjoy!

Q        

 



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Something Fishy

Jun 01 2017

The rainy weekend was the perfect opportunity to clean up my studio.  Not just wiping surfaces and vacuuming, but the life-changing experience of emptying the storage cabinet and going through the fused glass creations that hadn’t met their original goal, but might be used in another creation. Art glass is not cheap, and this is a way to recycle some pretty and cheeky already-fused glass. For example, the many pendants with the bail removed, can be combined as a patchwork design for a plate, tray, or border of a mirror. On that topic, I found mirrors in my stash that I had forgotten, so a mirror with a fused glass border may appear in the near future. 

Usually when I work on clutter, it’s a brain drain. Handling my glass rejects, however, is energizing and inspirational, and only slightly depressing that I hadn’t been working to transform them.

  So, there it was.  The lionfish.  An image of a lionfish was the picture that burst into my brain when I put this black/grey/white/clear oddly shaped piece of glass on the tray.  I think it had been the result of a slump gone bad,so I probably fired it again to flatten it out.  The bottom was flat, but the top is “lumpy”.  Anyway, I could see the mouth, fins, and slightly amorphous body shape of a lionfish. The color and pattern in the glass was like the mottled, striped pattern of the lionfish, similar to one I had seen on a dive in Bonaire a few years ago (To learn about lionfish:  http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lionfish-facts.html)

All my glass piece needed were tentacles. Stainless-steel wire held in place by frit would be the perfect solution. 

 Here is the piece just before it went into the kiln.  The wire was held in place at the base by glue and covered with coarse and fine frit and supported with pieces of kiln shelving (the white shapes). I added purple frit for the eye.

I fired the piece in a tack fuse program at 1350oF.

  After 18+ hours in the kiln, the lionfish emerged just as I had imagined him.

   I need to add a hanger so Mr. Lionfish can have a proper place on a wall.  

Enjoy!

Q

 

 



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May Is Over Already?

May 31 2017

Just when I thought a month couldn’t get any crazier than April, along came May.  I took advantage of good weather days to paint the deck and start the transformation of our backyard.  And there were two deaths in the family that required my total attention.

I took the opportunity in between work and events to create artwork with glass from wine and champagne bottles. I had previously cut up the bottles with my wet saw, so I had a couple of large clear pieces and a bunch of smaller shards from a bottle hammering session (kids, don’t try this at home!).

I moved the pieces around until my brain said “rain” and I thought about raindrops on a window with a backdrop of mottled grey sky.  I pulled out my enamels and brushed large swaths of grey and lavender on the glass pieces and added coarse clear frit like so many raindrops.  A few were coarse grey.  To enhance the reflectivity, I sprinkled the pieces liberally with silver sparkle enamel, and I placed them in the kiln for a heavy-handed tack fuse. 

Finished piece photographed on the grey carpet to enhance the contrast.

After washing the pieces, I measured, marked, and drilled holes to attach the pieces together.  I glued a hanger to the back of the top piece and allowed it to set for 24 hours.  Then it was “Wire Time”! A confession here: I am often more inspired browsing in hardware and building supply stores than in craft stores.  On one outing I found a roll of stainless steel wire in 18 gauge and immediately thought of a dozen uses for it.  The wire was perfect for connecting the two rectangles and subsequently the three dangling pieces.    

 

      Middle and dangling pieces enlarged to see detail. 

 

  Finally, hanging on a wall in the dining room where the background is a pale blue-grey. 

Enjoy!

Q



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Pot Melts Revisited

May 17 2017

 

I had chosen pot melts as my April challenge, but the month of April itself was a challenge that I hadn’t anticipated.  I was away for what amounted to half of the month with work, work-cation, and major dog events.  My computer was unusable for almost ten days, leaving me disoriented and unnerved, especially when I thought I might lose everything on the hard drive.  While I did only one pot melt, I created other fused glass pieces, engraved a couple of mugs, and utilized my creativity in other mediums, like baking.

  "Here, King" cake for Mardi Growl canine freestyle dance event

The glass in the pot melt was too heavily weighted to the darker hues, but there were lovely swirls and light areas that gave the illusion of depth. 

        Some of the shelf paper had folded over, allowing the glass to touch the kiln furniture barriers.  The good news: I had previously primed them with shelf primer so the glass could be pulled away; the bad news: the sticking caused tension on the glass that made the glass break into several pieces. 

  The pattern, if you can call it that, in the largest piece reminded me of an underwater scene.  After sanding the face and firing it two more times, I decided to paint coral along the edges, allowing the white triangle that reminded me of an underwater cave to take center stage.  After firing the piece, the coral was too faint.  I painted it again, and this time added Florida Orange enamel to the mix.  The color after firing was not very pleasing, so I will be painting it again with Purple Sage and putting it back into the kiln.  In cleaning up my studio, I found other previous pot melts that had the same ocean “look”, so they are on the agenda to be painted with enamels, too. 

     The pieces will comprise ocean wall art that can be hung as individual pieces or as a grouping.  Stay tuned for further developments.   

Enjoy!

Q

 

 



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Pot Melts - My April Challenge

Apr 04 2017

I was not surprised to find in the kiln log that I hadn’t done a pot melt in a couple of years. I was surprised that the kiln was still programed for pot melts on #9. I know through first-hand experience that if you aren’t careful about color choices, the mixing of different colors can create an ugly mess.  I stick with colors in the same family with maybe one accent color. My choice for this first melt was a variety of blues with a touch of lavender and a helping of white.  I added clear glass to dilute the colors and increase the volume. 

       I have a “bridge” that holds a ceramic pot with five holes spaced an inch or so apart (bubbles in the photo). This allows each stream of liquid glass to flow onto the shelf before mixing.  There are pots with different configurations of the holes and the simplest version is a clay flowerpot with a single hole.

   Below the pot and bridge, the kiln furniture, protected by kiln shelf paper, forms a square to capture the molten glass.

  Glass ready to be washed.

Since this was my first pot melt in a while, I wanted to keep it simple. I have a whole month to get crazy with the melts, and I know I will.  After selecting the art glass pieces, I washed them and allowed them to dry.

  I loaded them into the bowl randomly spacing the white pieces on the colors and placing the clear glass as intermediate and top layers.

The firing program takes the temperature up to 1600oF and soaks at that temperature for an hour.  The temperature cranks back down to a toasty 1545oF for a short while before decreasing full bore to the annealing temperature and eventually back down to 100oF.  The glass will spend at least 18 hours in the kiln before I can open the lid without fear of a cool air current causing harm to the glass.  It’s a good lesson in patience.

I’ll be posting a photo of the results on Wednesday.

Enjoy,

Q



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A Tasty Source of Glass

Mar 24 2017

One of the fun parts of using wine bottles as a source of glass is emptying them.  I have collected so many wine and other glass bottles in the past couple of years that my crawl space looks like a wine cellar. 

Once the bottles are empty and cleaned (especially the taco sauce bottles), they are soaked in Oxyclean and hot water to remove the labels and then stored in boxes according to category.  Bottles manufactured for food or other uses may not be compatible with each other, so it is imperative to keep them separate until they’ve been tested for compatibility.  Much to my delight I discovered early on that my COE90 frit and the enamels are compatible with the wine and champagne bottle glass.  Some bottles are destined to be recycled as jars or other art that doesn’t require being fired in the kiln. 

The wine bottles are thinner than the champagne bottles and therefore easier to cut lengthwise and produce two (curved) rectangles after cutting off the neck and the bottom. I fired all four pieces to flatten them and then arranged the rectangle pairs in a one-off fashion.  

           For the first bowl, I put a dusting of copper mica and light blue fine frit between the layers and applied coarse frit pieces in cobalt blue and clear to the perimeter.  The second pair received copper mica and lime green frit between the layers and a dose of the coarse frit in cobalt blue and clear on the perimeter.  I fired them at a very high temperature since bottle glass is “harder” than art glass.  I was a bit disappointed that the coarse frit didn’t maintain as much texture as I would have liked.  The next time I may apply coarse frit in a separate tack fuse firing. 

The copper/blue piece was draped over a wide bottom stainless steel floral former and the copper/lime green piece was draped over a shorter floral former that was made taller with kiln furniture. The latter arrangement caused the piece to drape off kilter, so it was returned to the kiln on a tall floral former, and subsequently has a very quirky shape. 

      The copper/blue bowl quickly took up residence as the dogs’ treat bowl that lives on the microwave. 

    The copper/lime bowl will make an excellent votive candle holder since the sides lean a bit inward to further reflect the candle light. All in all, I was pleased with both pieces. When the weather warms up, I will set up the wet saw outdoors to cut up my (still growing) inventory.

 

 

Enjoy,

Q



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Faux Glass The March 2017 Challenge

Mar 17 2017

When March arrived, I still hadn't settled on my challenge for March. This month has been filled with non-art challenges like a car breakdown, power outage, painting the living room, and a myriad of annoying things that happen in life.  “Painting” really means spackling, caulking, sanding, replacing a few hunks of wallboard, priming, and finally, actually painting.  It's not that I haven't been productive both in and out of the studio this month.

I finished cutting a wine bottles and jelly jars with the wet saw before I cleaned it up and put it away. And now I am working on jewelry.

I love to repurpose things. On the mere suggestion by a dear friend for me to search the internet to see how CDs might be recycled into useful or decorative stuff, I found my March challenge.

  Pieces of plastic cut from CDs and subsequently painted and baked look like art and dichroic glass.  I had accumulated a bunch of this archaic listening format since our music for freestyle competitions is required to be supplied on a CD (and it’s smart to have a back-up CD). 

    

CD being peeled.            CD film to be used in tiles

I quickly pulled out about ten CDs from old routines. I bought a cheap toaster oven that I can use in my studio.  I scraped the coating off two CDs, cut them, painted on side with acrylic paints, and placed another piece over it like a sandwich.  I baked them for 3 minutes, and then another 2 minutes or so.  Much like glass, the layers became quite fluid and the “organic” shapes were a little too organic.  I cut more pieces, painted them, added gold mica powder for sparkle, added the top layer, and in some cases, added smaller shapes cut from the CD plastic.  I baked them for 3 minutes and took them out to let them cool.  It is better to underestimate the baking time and return them to the oven, if needed.

       

I was pleased with the results, and know exactly what I will do with the next batch (measure precisely!)

This challenge forced me to poke around in my jewelry supplies for the first time in a long time.  I am so taken with how these pieces can look like glass, When you touch them, you would not mistake them for glass, but you would not know that they started their life as a CD. As expected, the jewelry is quite lightweight, making them easy to wear.

 Now I just need to convince my freestyle classmates to give me their unwanted CDs  : )

 

 

 

 

Enjoy,

Q



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February 2017 Challenge

Mar 08 2017

My challenge for February was to make wall art from champagne bottles (Veuve Clicquot) whose contents had been used to celebrate the Christmas/New Year’s holidays.  Preparing the bottles honed my skills with the wet saw. After the pieces were flattened in the kiln, I surveyed them and got inspired. I arranged the larger pieces in a sort of pinwheel, overlapping them to achieve a single piece.  I filled the bottle lips with gold mica for sparkle and clear frit. I had already planned to add copper inclusions, and cut pieces of copper mesh to place under the bottle lips. I scrunched the mesh up and around, giving the impression of a flower.  I assembled the piece in the kiln and fired the piece at a very hot 14800Fas recommended in “Best Bottle Book Ever” by Boyce Lundstrom, an excellent resource for technical stuff and inspiration.

         The piece fused well, but I was a bit disappointed that the frit details fused too flat, undoubtedly due to the high temperature. Nevertheless, I was soooo delighted with the result. The copper mesh turned so black that the “flowers” looked dead; this wasn’t my first rodeo firing a piece containing copper. With metal cleaner and some elbow grease, the mesh cleaned up nicely.

 

Now here is the sad but fortuitous event:  After very carefully handling this piece through a series of cleanings, I slid it off a surface without putting my hand underneath to support it.  A crack grew along a curvy line from one corner to the opposite corner.  It was held together by a wisp or two of the mesh that extended across the crack.  My first inclination was to add more glass along the crack and fire it again.

 

  However, when I cut the two pieces of mesh and moved the two halves of the piece apart, I immediately thought of creating pieces to hang in the space between the two halves.  I hustled down to my studio, pulled out the container of leftover glass, and started designing. 

As I pulled out a long curved piece, it looked like a bird’s head and neck, and so with dichroic and frit accents, the fantasy birds were created. These three were fired at 14500 F to preserve details yet fuse solidly together.

 The pieces will be mounted more or less as they are in the photo.  I need to purchase mounting hardware. It is worth taking a bit more time to make sure that the materials and technique for mounting the piece is adequate for the weight of the pieces, especially the two halves. 

I have the perfect spot—the wall in the foyer that faces the front door.  At certain times of the day the light entering the foyer will play off the glass in a myriad of directions, creating infinitely changing art.

Enjoy,

Q



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A Very Wet Saw

Feb 22 2017

A couple of years ago I bought a wet saw with a diamond blade to cut layered blocks of glass that I created to experiment with patterns. I have only used it a few times, but my husband has used it for household tile projects. 

  Since my February challenge is to create wall art from champagne bottles, I took the opportunity to set up the saw in my workspace and cut the bottles instead of smashing them.

I practiced on a couple of wine bottles. I rotated the first bottle, holding it just nestled against the blade. After about six turns or so, the neck and shoulder fell away from the body of the bottle.  Cool! My mind was already spinning with ideas.  After doing similar surgery on two more bottles, I also cut off the bases, leaving a cylinder shape, which I sliced in half.  Wow! I was ready to tackle the champagne bottles and to change my clothes.  . . .

A few words of caution here: FIRST, wear a full-face mask and leather gloves that provide protection but also allow for dexterity.  Keep your hands away from the blade; turn off the saw when you aren’t cutting, and pay attention to what you are doing.  SECOND, the saw throws a tremendous amount of water and mist, so it is best to do this outside. Unless you enjoy being wet, wear a rubber apron or raincoat and cover your hair.

   Back to the champagne bottles -  I cut off the lip and then the base (which is an inverted bottom), and then the shoulder, leaving a cylinder.  I tried to cut the cylinder lengthwise, but was successful on only one.  The others, however, graciously cracked in ways to provide me with large pieces.  I "encouraged" a few pieces into smaller shapes with a hammer.

  I washed the pieces and fired them at 14000 F to flatten them.

  There were so many pieces that it took 3 separate firings to flatten them all.  All of the pieces were washed again before I embarked on the design stage.  More fun to come with my February challenge.

Enjoy!

Q



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Twelve Months of Challenges in 2017

Feb 02 2017

I love to experiment with new techniques in glasswork.  Many times I was excited to try something, bought the necessary equipment, but didn’t get around to trying it until months later. Two mold making products still sit unopened more than two years after purchase.  Shortly after we rung in 2017, I decided to create six dinner plates, and gave myself a deadline to complete them by the end of the month.  It was my January 2017 Challenge.

 

While creating the plates I thought about the long list of projects and techniques for glass that I want to explore. The reality is before I can start most of these projects (actually, any of them), I need to do a bit of research, design, and planning or at least refresh my knowledge on techniques I’ve tried in the past. A “month” seemed like the perfect unit of time for each topic of exploration.  The January Challenge inspired me to set a glass challenge for each month that will give me the opportunity to practice new techniques, create new kinds of glass art, and enhance current skills. 

So what is on my list?  Here is a baker’s dozen from the longer list:

*Wall art from shards of champagne bottles

*Photo transfer pieces painted with glass enamels

*Mold making

*Glass fused to metal

*Large bowl from baptismal font mold

*Techniques & methods (etching, engraving, bubbles, plant material inclusions, etc)

*Kiln forming and colour de verre

*Dropout molds

*Framing glass art & lighting

*Coldworking

*Pot melts

*Glass art from bottles  

*Take a class or workshop

Before the 1st of each month I will chose a topic to explore that month. I may also work on other projects, but the monthly challenge will provide a laser focus on learning something new or going deeper in a technique I already use.

  For my February Challenge I will create wall art from shards of champagne bottles.  The wet saw is already set up. I’m excited!

Enjoy!

Q



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The January 2017 Glass Challenge- Part II

Jan 31 2017

To keep me on track for the challenge, I set a deadline to complete the six dinner plates by the end of January.  Nine-inch glass squares are the largest pieces that I can fire in the kiln as a pair, and likewise for the molds. So with one 22 hour firing followed by a 22 hour slumping, I produced two plates in three days.

  The molds were two bisque plates that I purchased from an online ceramic store that supplies these and other items for potters to paint or glaze.  I (carefully) drilled small holes in the base to allow air movement before giving them several coats of kiln wash to keep the glass from sticking to the mold. 

In my previous blog entry, I posted photos of the two pairs of dinner plates that I created earlier in the month and two that I created in October 2016 that are part of my final eight.  I had to order more clear glass, so there was a short break, but I finished the last two plates on January 27th

        We are already using these plates and putting them in the dishwasher.  Last fall I microwaved some oily meat on a different style plate (flatter and thinner), and it caused the plate to crack. I am careful about what I microwave on these plates, but I will continue to experiment to test their limits.

 Enjoy,

Q  

 



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The January 2017 Glass Challenge- Part I

Jan 25 2017

The year 2017 will be a year of many challenges that propel me to explore and expand my horizons in glass, my house, and my life. In early January I challenged myself to create six 9-inch dinner plates.  I was bored with the eight wine-colored plates that I bought about 25 years ago because they seemed to have an Asian style that intrigued me.  They will be donated along with other clutter that I’ve been culling from cupboards and closets.

 plate #1 and #2

 As I entered my studio, I had no specific design in mind.  Last fall I had created two white plates with copper enamel embellishments, but didn’t feel compelled to create six more of the same or even matching pairs. The designs unfolded organically as I pawed through my supply of glass. I gravitated toward a “sort of mosaic”, arranging pieces of glass and glass frit on a 9”x9” square of clear glass. 

 plate #3, Iridescent blue and clear

The unifying principle across all eight plates (including #7 and #8 that are still in progress) are the dots along part of or the entire border.  In addition, there are unifying colors and shapes within each pair.

The first pair are white and fairly simple with gold and grey enamel embellishments. 

 plate #4, white iridescent and clear glass

Blue and white iridescent glass are featured in #3 and #4, respectively, along with diamond shapes. 

    Plates #5 and #6 take a bold stance with large pieces of lime green, yellow and black glass around blue and white frit.  As of this writing, #7 and #8 were placed in the kiln ready for the full fuse program.  I’ll post photos of them and the mold used for all eight plates in the next post.

 The January Challenge inspired me to set a glass challenge for each month. Look for a future post on the topics I will tackle each month. 

Enjoy,

Q  




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A Lovely Pill to Swallow

Jan 17 2017

   I’ve been taking a pill (thyroxine) in the morning for about 30 years, so the habit is quite established, and I don’t remember having any issues establishing this habit. Recently, a cholesterol-lowering drug was added, but with the instructions to take it before bedtime. Somehow, it has not been as easy to remember to reach for the bottle while preparing for bed.  I considered a few options- a post-it note on the mirror, paper cup on the vanity, etc.- but most would increase clutter and just weren’t aesthetically pleasing.  The latter point about being “aesthetically pleasing” is more important than we think.  Do you have a favorite coffee cup, tea cup, or water bottle?  Doesn’t your favorite make drinking your favorite beverage more fun or more glamorous?

  My system for remembering my pill also needed to be one where I wouldn’t ignore it or toss it by mistake.  From stage right, enter the shot glass.  Last year I had bought a case of shot glasses that are also designated for “dessert shots”, meaning that thye hold a mere hint of a taste of the dessert d’jour.  The “dessert” is smaller than a free sample, but it’s a trendy idea  for tasting parties.

  I broke open a 3-pack of shot glasses and grabbed my engraving tool and the spray bottle of water.  Any engraving, grinding, or cutting activities need a steady stream of water to keep the glass cool, prevent cracking, and float away the glass dust.  My engraving designs favor wavy, curvy lines, like branching coral, that are often dotted to look like distant, fantasy blossoms on the branches.  I engraved all three shot glasses, and chose one for my pill glass.  Even if I don’t put a pill in the shot glass at some point in the evening, the engraved artsy glass catches my attention and artfully keeps my habit on track.

 Enjoy!

Q

  



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Creating Longwood Gardens . . . in my House

Jan 13 2017

            Yup.  That's the goal. Creating Longwood Gardens in my house. It sounds like a daunting task, but I am guided by two quotes.  The first quote is “If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small”. (I also have this written in my dog training book.) My second guiding quote is “Big goals are achieved by thinking small.”  In other words, eat the whole pie a piece at a time. 

   I already have a variety of orchids, bromeliads, cacti, palms, and other greenery. 

On a recent trip to Longwood Gardens I purchased a few small plants to create a container garden, but I wasn’t thrilled with the usual assortment of containers, so I headed to the studio to create something.  After taking a measurement, I put together the glass with frit embellishments put it in the kiln to fuse. 

         To shape it, I created a mold from a clay saucer perched on a short clay shelf support for additional height.  I placed the fused glass face down so it would drape over the mold and the outer edges would rest on the kiln shelf and fired up the kiln again. 

       The curvy-sided bowl with blue frit embellishment on the corners gives the container garden movement.  Although one side is a bit lower than I would have liked, as the Creeping Peperomia grow, they cascade over this area and their roots will hold in the soil. I purchased the Peperomia, Aloe “White Beauty”, and Rattlesnake Calathea at the Longwood Gardens Gift Shop. 

      I also picked up another Tillandsia (Air Plant) with purple tipped leaves to keep my only, lonely air plant company. They are thriving together. I still have a long way to go, but now I am one small step closer to my greenery vision.

 Enjoy,

Q



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My Fantasy Studio

Jan 11 2017

I am grateful to have a dedicated space for my glass studio that has shelving for glass, cabinets to protect the molds, and desk and table workspaces.  All of the furnishings were obtained free from various sources, including repurposing two large cabinets from our kitchen remodel. It is fairly spacious and includes the entry to the crawlspace, affording me even more storage space.

   While I am grateful for this space, I fantasize about the studio I would have if I won the lottery.  I wouldn’t need a space too much larger that I currently have, but there are two items that would not be negotiable in my Fantasy Studio.  Item Number One:  it would be above ground with a great view, preferably ocean or lake, but field and mountains are acceptable.  Did I mention that my current studio is in the basement? I have a great view of the concrete stairwell outside of the basement door. Item Number Two:  I want a sink, and since it is my fantasy, I’ll take one of those taps that turn on with the slightest nudge of my hand. Ah, the luxury of it all!   Glass work requires a lot of water for cleaning, grinding, and a myriad of tasks.  I should be glad that the location of the sink (upstairs in the laundry room) affords me a built-in exercise program while I am doing actual work. Any other designs that I might include in my fantasy studio, I could probably incorporate in my current studio, and of course, always include space for the studio dogs.

               

                      Unmatched Pair of 7 inch plates                                     Lil' Beauty (7"x3"_

The lack of a view doesn’t mean a lack of inspiration.  While re-organizing my kitchen, I decided to replace some of my dinnerware with custom made fused glass.  Here are two that feature a mixture of iridescent, grey, and clear glass with embellishments and a 7"x3" snack plate with dichroic accents. The food seems so much more delightful when the plate is funky.

Enjoy!

Q   



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The Failure That I Love

Sep 28 2016

No one likes to fail on any scale, small or epic. We learn a lot of difficult lessons in failures, especially when we hadn’t anticipated that we would fail.  It could be a failure of preparation, practice, or a failure to anticipate small, important details. 

  In my glass fusing adventures, I can look at the failures and usually know what went wrong.  Sometimes the “failure” is a “happy accident”—otherwise known as an “unintended quirky piece”, and this is one of them.

 A couple of years ago I volunteered to create a Baptismal bowl for my church. “Volunteered” is a polite way of saying that the words of promise escaped my lips before my brain could check the fact of what might be required to create such a large piece. I will tell the story of the Baptismal bowl in a future blog.  The Baptismal bowl would test the 22 inch diameter limit of my kiln.  Before I could begin to create the bowl, I had to consider the engineering challenges of such a large piece, how to make the mold, and how long to hold each step in the firing program. 

       

 

The critical question that would determine how I made the mold was: Drape or Slump?  I could see the benefits of both and some issues.  After teetering back and forth, I decided that slumping would be the best option to create the waves.  I full-fused two 10x10” pieces of transparent turquoise and clear, and made a mold for this “dress rehearsal” from wire and fire blanket that had been soaked in a hardener. The mold sat like a bowl, face up in the kiln, and I placed the flat, fused piece over the “mouth” of the mold and started a slow slump program.  Twenty-four hours later when I opened the kiln lid, I was disappointed and horrified.  The glass had slumped unevenly, folding over itself on one side and with no lip on the other side.  The trial piece was a failure as a model and unsuitable as a bowl. I could not show it to anyone as a model for the Baptismal Bowl.  Besides not having a model to show, I also had to rethink the slump vs drape arguments and determine how to make the mold.

Maybe it was the turquoise glass or the funky, quirky shape of this failure that made me keep it on a table where I could see it.  It reminds me more of design possibilities than technical failures. It set me off on a journey that ended in successfully crafting beautiful Baptismal bowl and learning a lot about creating molds.   A few months ago I filled the quirky piece with blue sea glass, and it is the perfect home for my air plant on the kitchen island where I can admire it daily. 

Enjoy!

Q



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Part II: Bottle Glass- Compatibility Matters

Aug 23 2016

In my studio I recycle art glass whenever possible because it is expensive. I thought it would be fun to tap into source of “free” glass, so last year I started collecting empty glass wine bottles and now have an admirable collection that is organized and labelled as “wine: clear” and “wine: tinted”.  

  You may think “glass is glass”, but it simply is not when you are heating, molding or shaping it in any manner.  Just like in marriage, compatibility is important. Different types of glass have different rates of expansion.  When you try to fuse two pieces of glass that expand at different rates, you get a sorry mess. I know this from firsthand experience, even though I knew it intellectually from Day 1. The piece that expands faster will pull the other piece unwillingly along. It isn’t pretty, and the piece usually can’t be salvaged.   

In researching fusing “float glass” (refers to how it is made), you can expect that bottles from the same brand/type of wine are compatible.  In the fusings I’ve done to date, there have not been any problems.  When I start smashing the taco sauce bottles, the glass won’t be allowed to comingle with the wine bottle glass until they have been tested for compatibility.

  After having a smashing good time with a few clear glass wine bottles, I washed the pieces and arranged them in overlapping layers and added yellow, blue, and clear glass frit in various grain sizes. I fired the piece on a slow fusing program at 1480ºF to fuse it securely but still maintain texture.  I was tickled with the outcome. 

     I drilled three holes across the top, strung through two pieces of fishing line, and hung it in a new little garden on the outside edge of the dog run.  It gets enough sun to sparkle throughout the day! 

Enjoy!

Q

 



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Part I: Bottle Glass-A Smashing Good Time

Aug 19 2016

I would need a warehouse to keep all of the glass, metal, wood, and other artifacts that I would like to repurpose and/or include in my art.  I would also need several more lifetimes to do it all. I have always been attracted to wine bottles, taco sauce bottles, and other condiment containers and confess to having flattened a few in the kiln. Most container glass is float glass, referring to how it is made.  Not all bottles are compatible with each other, but I will talk about that in Part II.   

I started with a couple of wine bottles, removing the labels by soaking in hot water and Oxyclean and then cleaning/rinsing them well.  The best method to break them apart is to put screw driver tips (from a Snap-On tool) inside the bottle and shake it well.  This randomly scores the inside.  Wearing a face shield and gloves, I held the bottle in a plastic container and lightly tapped the outside with a ball peen hammer.  Pieces fell off readily into the container. 

    I scored larger, curved pieces, and using my running pliers, broke them into a flat, workable size.  

The research recommended to spray the the glass with Solution A to avoid devitrification and fire them in the kiln to flatten pieces.  I may skip this step in future harvestings because it adds time, effort and expense, and it didn’t appear to add or avoid anything.

   It was worth taking time to see if the 90COE frit was compatible with the bottle glass, so I layered pieces of the wine bottle glass and put frit (granulated glass) in a variety of colors and grain sizes on the piece.  After firing at a high temperature, I was delighted that the frit was compatible. 

  Here's a sneak peak at the piece that was my test for compatibility, drilling, and engraving. 

Enjoy!

Q

 



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The Dog Days of Summer

Aug 16 2016

The Dog Days of Summer refers to the hot, humid, sticky NJ summer, usually at their peak in August.

                         

 My dogs would argue that every day is a Dog Day, but that designation has nothing to do with the weather.  My two dogs think that every day is a celebration of their wonderfulness and they get lots of toys, treats, attention, and love to prove their belief.

              Their humans deserve toys, treats, attention, and love, too. If you are a dog person, you probably have at least one tee shirt, jacket, photo frame, tote bag, decal, coffee mug, or other accessory that has a dog picture, graphic, or theme.

                  

I enjoy working with dog themes in glass and also in fabric.  Here are some ideas for gifts for yourself or your favorite dog mom or dad that flaunt your love of your canine buddy.

      All of these items and more dog theme pieces are for sale in the Gallery.

Enjoy!

Q




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A New Groove

Aug 11 2016

A fascination with glass includes all manners of working with this substance that can be hard yet ethereal.  I don’t remember exactly what sparked me to explore engraving. It may have arisen when I was drilling holes in artsy pieces created by fusing glass from wine bottles (more on those in a future blog). I had been engraving my signature “Q” on fused glass pieces that I created for several years, but had not considered engraving clear glass. Since I already have a flexible shaft, I bought a variety of bits for carving, sanding, and polishing glass.  I set up a tray and spray bottle to keep the piece wet while engraving.  This is not the most efficient method, but it is okay for exploring.   

I tested each different bit on a broken piece of float glass and tried my hand at letters.  The key is to start with a small round burr and relax your hand and brain while you are engraving. Breathe and get into the groove. 

 

It wasn’t long before I taped a template for a dog paw print on the inside of a clear glass votive holder.  The 4mm round burr outlined and scraped out the excess glass.  This votive holder is currently holding a tiny flowerpot on the windowsill above my kitchen sink.  It makes me smile. 

 

One of my guilty pleasures is drinking coffee first thing in the morning, and in the summer my choice is iced coffee, black, no sugar.  I needed a change from my ceramic mug, and the sunburst on glass was the perfect summer replacement.  After engraving the sun, I polished the center with rubber bullet polishing bits.  I engraved three stars on the opposite side because I am often up when the first rays of sun pierce the darkness.

 

While checking out a thrift store, I found a set of 8 glass plates for $2.  They are iridescent, and the finish on the four large ones had  been marred.  However, they are perfect for practicing.  I wrote “I Love my Dog” in magic marker on the face of the plate, and promptly turned the plate over to engrave the underside.   I engrave the  letters and words  backwards (thank goodness for the template!).  I went over the letters a few times with a 4 mm ball burr and smoothed edges with a tapered cylinder.   Engraving is meant to be viewed from the opposite side, and I was totally pleased with the outcome.   

Enjoy!

Q



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My Favorite Tool, Part 2

Aug 08 2016

When I start playing with the ring saw, it is difficult to stop.  I love cutting freeform edges.  The “blade” on the ring saw is a wire loop that is coated with diamonds so I can push or pull the glass forward, backward, to either side, or at any angle to make cuts.  I also can’t resist iridescent glass, especially the various blues.   I pulled a 10”x10” piece from my supply and started cutting into the edge in a random pattern.  I added an 8”x8” clear glass square to the center to give the base a bit more heft while leaving the top as a single layer.  I decorated with coarse frit in clear and white and purple stringers. 

  Pre-Fire, ready for the kiln

The piece was fired in a full fuse program but at a temperature that allows the frit to maintain its raised circular shape.  You can see the difference between the pre-fired piece and the post-fire version. 

 Post-fire detail

After the first firing, the piece was placed on a stainless steel floral former and then fired using a low temp program that allows the glass to drape around the floral former.  When draped on a flower former, glass typically folds into an undulating edge.  In this case, the edge also has random spaces where the glass has been cut out, resulting in a funky beautiful bowl. 

Funkly Blue Iridescent Bowl - Fired and Draped

                      

 

Enjoy!

 

Q

 

 



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My Favorite Tool . . . .

Aug 04 2016

My favorite tool in my studio is whichever one I am using at the moment. While doing an overhaul of my studio that included a spur of the moment  decision to prime and paint the desk that I use as a work surface, I gazed lovingly at my ring saw and hatched a plan to study the effects of carving the edge of a vase. 

In my stash of glass I found two pieces, a cobalt blue and a turquoise,  that were about 10” long and 4 1/5” wide.  I made random cuts, about 3-4” deep and ½-1.0 inches apart, at each end of both pieces. 

The remaining glass reminded me of a coral formation.  After cleaning the glass, overlapping them in an “X” shape, and adding a bit of gold mica covered with clear frit in both fine and coarse grain. After full fusing, I placed it in the kiln over a  stainless steel flower former.  The vase draped creating a square shape in the upper portion, leaving spaces where there would be folds in a solid piece. Each of the four sides, hust above the double layer, curves inward gently.  None of the “fingers” nor the corners fused together in the drape. It has a traditional, yet very funky look.

Enjoy!

Q



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I Was Bored . . . .

May 10 2016

 . . and they were boring me.  The salad plates had earned their keep a million times over, and a couple had small chips on the underside of the edge. It was time to thank them and send them to a new home.  I am also trying to pare down the number of plates that I have, so the replacements had to be a size that accomodated several functions.  They had to be big enough to hold a serving of fruit and waffles or a sandwich or fajita or a salad; they could also function as a tray for appetizers or other “multiple” foods.  The foods don’t look lost and don’t  hang over the edge.  An eight-inch square is perfect. I’m not a big fan of “matchy matchy” stuff, so you won’t find a matching set, or even identical pairs, of these dishes in my cupboard.

The first pair have a Deco Grey base with a clear overlay with pieces broken out.  Those spaces allow the addition of frit (glass granules) of various colors and sizes.  The Deco Grey is a beautiful color, although it didn’t translate  well in the photo. 

   

 

It is the perfect foil for the blues, turquoise, and purple.  Of course, it is shiny, and there are very tiny bubbles caught between the layers from the full fusing program.  The mold has a very shallow slope, so the plates slump only slightly and  are nearly flat  They are as dishwasher safe as any other glass or ceramic plate.  And yes, I put them in the dishwasher, being careful that nothing will hit them during the cycle. And the best part, I’m not bored with my dishes . . .more to come on this story!

Enjoy,

Q     



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Take a Shot (Glass)

Oct 15 2015

I am not a miniaturist, so I tend to ignore small glasses and other small surfaces amenable to painting.  However, a customer asked me to custom paint shot glasses.  And the secret is to find the perfectly shaped, totally smooth shot glasses.  It's a good thing for the trend of sampling desserts in shot glasses (I agree with portion control, but a shot glass worth of dessert is not enough to taste!).  I found the most perfectly shaped shot glasses with no ridges, sides, etc. to limit the design.

           And so I painted the ridge view of the Rhodesian Ridgeback on one side and a gold paw on the opposite side.  Painting these shot glasses became addictive.  I did a couple with black and copper paws. 

         While blinging out some goblets for a special order, I knew I had to bling out some shot glasses, too.

       The Glam Paw was painted fuschia  with a fuschia dot heart on the opposite side.  The Glam Paw was accented with rhinestones, and the base was wrapped with four rows of rhinestones.  i didn't know whether to use it or wear it!  

For anyone who collects shot glasses, this is an opportunity to have the dog paw of your dreams.  For you bling babies, the Glam Paw could be used as a shot glass for beverage or dessert, or to hold your rings, Q-tips, or other small stuff. The Glam Paw can be done in other colors, too.

Enjoy,

Q



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Tribute to Spyder

Oct 08 2015

Despite the fact that she had reached her 18th birthday, we still called her Baby Spyder and many variations that included the word "Baby". She was 10 weeks old when she joined our family, with her pudgy puppy tummy and razor sharp puppy teeth.  

  She was a blue  100% Australian cattledog who was part of a litter that was turned in to a shelter and subsequently rescued.  A few months previously we had adopted Targa, a blue merle cattledog, so Spyder completed the family.   She had a Canine Good Citizen title and successfully completed the Herding Instinct Test (longest 5 minutes I ever spent with sheep!).

 We never competed in any dog sports, but she knew a variety of commands and a bunch of crazy tricks, including "Bang, you're dead"  and "dead bug",  could walk off leash, and loved people.  Her picture is included in the definition of "Diva" in the dictionary.  She was a mast cell cancer survivor, and became my truly velco buddy after Targa left for the Rainbow Bridge.  

 Earlier this year she watched me give a peanut butter jar to Carrera and gave me the "Where's mine?" look.  So I gave her one and she cleaned it out.  Even when it was difficult for her to walk, she tried to be wherever I was.  And so I frequently carried her and gently placed her on her favorite bed wherever it was that I was working.

  In the last month or so, I slept on the floor in the family room with her because it was too complicated to have her upstairs.  She turned 18 years old on September 23rd, and left us quietly and naturally in her sleep in the family room on Sunday afternoon, September 27th. My velcro Baby Girl, RIP.

Spyder, CGC, 9/23/1997-9/27/2015 



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Pyrenean Shepherds

Oct 05 2015

  The Pyrenean Shepherd club ordered custom wine goblets as awards for supported entries in their class at the Morris & Essex show.  This all breed show is held once every five years.  Everyone dresses in vintage clothing, or at least a vintage hat or fascinator, to get in the spririt of the event.  

 I was thrilled to wear a vintage cocktail hat that belonged to my mother.  The Pyrenean Shepherds and their people, dressed for the occasion, stopped by after their competition to say hello.

I have added a Pyrenean Shepherd goblet to the Gallery.  Since this breed has a range of colors, it can be customized for your dog's particular color.  Also note that other breeds are being added to the Gallery.  If you don't see your favorite breed, contact me and I will make you a custom glass or textile art. 

Enjoy,

Q



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Flower Power

Jul 30 2015

I mentioned in a previous post that earlier this year I experimented with painting filmy white fabric in a watercolor style. I painted the larger piece of fabric with blues, greens, purples, and touches of gold.  The smaller piece was brushed with reds, pink, fuschia, and white.  After setting the paint with an iron, I cut the fabric into strips that I sewed by hand into fabric roses. 

I had a design in mind that would have used most of the blue/green/purple roses, but those little creations tugged at my creative juices to use them up NOW!. So I did! A couple of weeks ago I made a flower clutch (see previous post), and just in time for the Keystone Cluster (Aug. 7-9), I made a purple clutch and two small totes.

          

The totes are smaller, but still in the market basket style with a flat bottom, interfacing, lining, and two pockets. They are perfect for downsizing to the essentials or for carrying your dog's prettiest collars, leashes, and other necessities. The clutch is also lined, has interfacing for extra support, two pockets, and a zip closure.  It's a great travel bag that you can empty and use as a purse.  All three items are one of a kind original designs entirely hand painted and crafted by Q by Dezine (me!)

Enjoy!

Q



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Pretty in Pink Paws

Jul 22 2015

So sparkly and scrumptious! There is something subtle yet glitzy about the pink fabric with flecks of gold. I was inspired to paint flowers around the pearl pink dog paw. While experimenting with the textile paints earlier this year, I painted a filmy white fabric in a watercolor style with pink, red, and white paints, and then cut the fabric into strips to create roses. The pink rose is the perfect embellishment for this clutch. The handstrap allows you to go hands-free. The clutch is lined and has an inner pocket and a defined bottom.
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Ridgebacks by the Bay II

Jul 08 2015
This is the first time that I have painted a scene on fabric, and it is fitting that it is a tranquil RR gazing at the bay. I love painting in the watercolor style, and sky, sea, and land lend themselves to broad brush strokes and highlights. The painting was done on white cotton fabric and is the outer pocket on this market tote. Check the Gallery for a similar scene on a turquoise market tote.
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Rhinestone Ridgies

Jun 11 2015

Can you ever have too much fun?  These Ridgeback champagne flutes are perfect for the Black and White Ball at the RRCUSA National Specialty in September.  The ridges are done in crystal rhinestones! 

  The flutes are dotted with crystal and black rhinestones and monogrammed with "RR" in a flowing script.  Champagne definitely tastes better in these flutes!!!

Enjoy!

Q



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Homage to Their Origins

May 14 2015

I have mentioned before that I will be a vendor at the Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty in Warwick, RI in September.  I have been creating glass and fabric art inspired by the coastal location and themes of two events—which is why there is RR art involving peacocks and a blingy black & white theme. In the past, and definitely continuing on, I create art that pays homage to the origins of the RR in Africa.  In the Gallery you will find Wild-tini glasses with the RR image and a leopard-print base.  So sexy!.

          Being also a fabric addict . . .er, …collector, I browse the aisles for inspiration.  I fell in love with the multicolored-swirl pattern the minute I laid eyes on it. Really, what’s not to love?  The patterns of purple, blue, red, and orange were interspersed with black and highlighted with metallic gold. The pattern was both abstract and regular, and exuded energy. It was the perfect background for Rhodesian ridgeback totes and bags. 

The outside has a panel and a generous pocket, both with a hand painted RR on gold speckled cotton. That same fabric was used as the lining, and a generous interior pocket was created from the multicolor swirl fabric. 

The market tote has a flat bottom, making it roomier than a simple tote, and the interfacing makes it sturdy enough to stand up on its own, but still soft enough to fold when not in use. 

 

  So, of course, the yellow fabric also caught my eye.  The colors reminded me of a brilliant sunrise, burning yellow and orange, with hints of shadows represented by the black.  And there are delicate gold lines outlining the symbols.  Again, the market tote features a hand painted image of an RR on the panel and pocket.

  That same fabric was used as the lining, and a generous interior pocket was created from the yellow sunrise fabric.  The interfacing makes it sturdy enough to stand up on its own, but still soft enough to fold when not in use.  The handles (for both totes) were sewn from black canvas.   

The market tote is the perfect accessory to keep you organized and fashionable! Find these and other market totes, clutches, and pouches in Fabric Art in the Gallery at www.qbydezine.

 Enjoy!

Q



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Bejeweled

May 06 2015

This comes under the heading of “play”.  I have beaded fabric items before, the most notably, a gold bead Porsche image on an apron.  The painting, especially the flowing branches, inspired me to add further embellishment.  So, I created two clutches with a large silver paw in the middle of Asian-inspired branches.  I painted and beaded on the front and back of the black suede-like fabric. 

In the process of beading, I learned what I should, and how to save a project if I raced ahead without doing what I should do. It was nothing too drastic.  For the next round, I will iron on the fusible interfacing before I do the beading.  It will help on several levels, including keeping the fabric taut without having to use hoops.  I also won’t have to worry about breaking beads when I apply pressure to stick the interfacing.  The solution for that was to put the beaded piece face down onto a towel on the ironing board and steam the heck out of the fusible interfacing to ensure adhesion.  Not a single bead was cracked or broken. 

 Nice to know in case my brain mis-fires the next time I have a beading project, although it is not likely.

The clutch with the branches painted with the gold/purple halo metallic paint is completed and ready for action.  The seed bead blossoms are a mix of pale and dark gold, and the button closure features an elastic loop.  It is the perfect accessory for a fancy occasion or to add a spark to jeans and a white tee.  What a glamorous way to say "I'm a dog mom and proud of it!"

And yes, there are breed-specific beaded purses in the near future . . . .

Enjoy!

Q



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Celebrate!

Apr 29 2015

Celebrate a win, a title, major or minor progress, or just the love of your best furkid buddy with champagne, a martini, or just plain lemonade in a gorgeous glass.

             



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Black & White & RR All Over

Apr 23 2015

Sometimes I can pinpoint my inspiration for designs, and other times they are the culmination of bits and pieces from here and there. One of the events at the RRCUSA Specialty in September where I will be a vendor is the Black and White Ball.  I’ll drink to that . . . with a champagne toast!  They (just who are “they”?) say that one should be able to see the bubbles in champagne.  Wouldn’t you rather be looking at a Ridgeback? Of course!

                        The Rhodesian Ridgeback was painted with a blending of gold and copper metallic paints with a copper metallic ridge.   Using the white and black theme, the glass was painted and the base was decorated with pawprints and the RR monogram.  The black dots on the cup are bejeweled with rhinestones.   A glamorous way to toast your favorite, four-pawed furkid.

See these and other RR and bejeweled glassware and fabric art at the Bucks County Show (May 2), the Keystone Cluster (Aug. 7-9). And the RRCUSA Specialty (September in Warwick, RI).

Enjoy!

Q


 



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Gold Paw

Apr 21 2015

   It was inevitable that I would find a beautiful purple fabric that would inspire me.  This 100% cotton has tiny gold swirls that add elegance and movement to the background while still allowing me to paint a design.  For many years I have been inspired by the flowing, sweeping, curving strokes of Asian art--especially Japanese art.  I have visited Japan many times on business, but took every moment to soak in the artistry in even the simplest item.   The branches around the pawprints were inspired by cherry blossoms.   This zippered clutch has a large design on the front, and a smaller version on the pocket on the opposite side. 

The fabric for the pocket was also a "find".  It is a creamy white with the tiniest gold speckles.  The paint doesn't run as it has in some of the white fabrics I have tested.  I returned and bought the remaining 3 yards on the bolt.

 Turquoise and purple are another favorite combination, and the turquoise lining brightens up the interior of the bag.  There is a spacious inner pocket to help you organize your necessities and keep them within easy reach.  Although it is a clutch, I added a short hand strap for convenience for the times when you need to be "hands-free". 

Enjoy,

Q



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Bling It On!

Apr 14 2015

I had already painted four wine goblets as prizes for Mardi Growl, the canine freestyle dance competition that the club where we train is sponsoring.  In searching for glass painting techniques, I stumbled upon rhinestone-studded glasses.  Some of them were way over the top in bling and also size of the glass.  A glass the size of a rose-bud vase was said to be for shots of pure alcohol.  Good-bye liver! 

I hadn’t really considered bling as a decorative element on drinking glasses, but with good waterproof glue and a good sense of where to place the rhinestones, anything is possible. And it makes you feel like a superstar just holding it.  I started with a black tie theme, using tulip goblets for their curvaceous shape.  The design was meant to be a strapless gown, but my husband commented that it looked like a corset. 

                  

Either way, it made the tulip goblets look even sexier.  I had searched out and purchased flat-back rhinestones and a few Swarovski crystals online.   

The glasses were painted and fired before applying the rhinestones. The upper edge of the dress, front and back, is lined with crystal rhinestones with an aurora borealis finish for extra sparkle.  Black or crystal rhinestones were applied to the paws, especially the ones on the dress, and base of the glass was also decorated. 

 The designs can be done with or without the dog paws and in custom colors. They can be personalized with a name or other word(s).  They are real conversation starters, and make great trophies and gifts.  

Enjoy!

Q



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Mardi Growl Prizes

Apr 07 2015

            Mardi Growl is a canine freestyle competition that will be held at the club where Carrera and I train in freestyle dancing. I love it for the bonding experience with my dog, the training challenges (for both of us) and the costumes that I get to wear.  We are not allowed to dress our doggy partners in any costumes or get up that makes them look ridiculous, but we humans are free to wear whatever we want. 

  Our Mardi Growl event has a Mardi Gras theme, and the logo includes a mask and paw prints.  In an earlier blog, I posted photos of bags that I had handpainted with the logo and then sewed for my classmates and an additional as a prize for the person who finds the dog statuette in the "Here, King" cake.  The Mardi Growl colors of purple, green, and gold are perfect for painting anything, so I applied this design to 20 oz. wine goblets that will be gifts for the judges and prizes for competitors.   

Not that those goblets are too tame, but I needed to create something in the spirit of the gold and glitter of the celebration.  Back to the studio to paint and bling out tulip goblets to the sexiest design yet .  .   .   .

                                    

Yes, those are rhinestones.  Sometimes a simple clear glass fits the bill, and other times, bling is the best thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enjoy!

Q



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Who Couldn't Use at Least One?

Mar 26 2015

I hate pawing in my purse or tote for my keys, a pen, mints, a nail file--feel free to fill in the blank if you feel the same way.  I must be part herding dog because I like my things contained and corralled so I can retrieve them quickly. 

                 

Packing for a freestyle dance competition is a veritable organizing frenzy. There are permanent pouches--the sewing kit, a repair kit, etc.  I put each costume on a single hanger and all of the accessories for the routine (shoes, hat, etc) in a bag in one of the pockets of my "costume travel bag".

I find that small pouches come in handy for carrying:  jewelry, phone/computer chargers, medications, makeup, pen/notepad, tissues, mints/candies/gum, extra business cards, extra collars, clickers, or socks (for dog events), colored pencils/markers for traveling art, flash drives, nail care kit, first aid (bandaids, etc.), sewing kit, travel flashlights, and the list goes on. 

          

Carrera, my agility/freestyle/nosework dog, even has her own pouch for medications that we might need when we travel.  Some pouches are permanently packed, while others do double duty.

Everyone needs at least one, and darn, they might as well be beautiful, too.  These artsy dog paw designs are hand painted with metallic fabric paints, and the zippered bags are created from the painted fabric.  The sizes, designs, and fabric varies, and each is special.

 Enjoy,

Q



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Ridgebacks by the Bay

Mar 16 2015

   I had ignored the mason jars sitting on the shelf near the glass coffee mugs because they wouldn’t be my choice for holding my beverages.  I love stemware—it makes seltzer seem glamorous, and my fingers don’t get as cold as they do holding a standard stem-less, handle-less glass.  But I was intrigued and bought a few to paint.  (See the BMD mason jars in the Gallery.)

    My most recent creations are the Ridgebacks by the Bay, in honor of the location of the 2015 RRCUSA Nationals.  It will be held in Warwick, R.I., which is on Greenwich Bay.  What could be lovely than a Ridgeback sitting on the shore watching a sailboat pass by? 

 In fact, if you hold the mason jar in your right hand; it looks as though the RR is looking at the sailboat!

For fun, I matched the color of the sailboat to the RR’s scarf.  This detail can be customized in your favorite colors to match or not.

RRs on the Bay will have you dreaming of a summer’s day in the marina.

Enjoy!

Q



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Mardi Growl Glamor

Mar 03 2015

  The club where we train in canine freestyle dance (Y2K9's in Willow Grove, PA) is sponsoring a freestyle competition, Mardi Growl, that obviously has a Mardi Gras theme. 

Everything will be purple, green, and gold.  I am making a "Here, King" cake that will contain a small statue of a dog.  The person who gets the piece of cake with the dog will get a fabulous prize. 

   To celebrate the occasion, I am making Mardi Growl bags for our freestyle class.  The outer shell is a faux leather in textured gold and the lining is, of course, purple cotton fabric.  The pouch is zippered and has a flat bottom.  The Mardi Growl logo is on the front, and "Dance"  with dog paws graces the back.

  Painting on faux leather was relatively easy, although the texture of this fabric was troublesome for smaller details.  The paint didn't look as solid as it does on cotton or canvas fabric, but applied more like painting on glass.   The zipper was relatively easy to sew in, and I added a small gold ribbon as a pull for the zipper. 

The new zippered pouch will come in handy.  Between the props, makeup, costumes for me and Carrera, and other critical items for competing in canine freestyle, my need for bags of every size more than doubled. : )

Enjoy!

Q



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Zip It

Feb 23 2015

I’ve had a long time love affair with painting.  I’ve painted just about everything that doesn’t move.  So it was no surprise when I felt a strong desire to paint on fabric.  I had done it before.  Part of the inspiration came from being the sorcerer’s apprentice to a master quilter.  In just sifting through the fabrics for the quilts, I could feel my fabric addiction returning.  I knew immediately that there were very few ready-made items that would be the basis for my painting.  There is no joy for me in painting on a pre-made and unlined canvas bag.  The joy comes from combining the fabrics and the painting. 

I will be a vendor at the Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty in September in Rhode Island.  Between the typical RR themes of animal prints and red-coral sunsets, this specialty features coastal watercolors, a peacock theme event and a black and white formal event.  My brain is exploding with inspiration for both fabric and glass creations. 

     My latest inspiration is a zippered pouch (7”x10”).  The RR was painted in metallic bronze with a metallic russet ridge, and is featured on both sides of the bag. The halo paint used for the dots is a metallic combination of two colors, in this case purple and gold, over which you have no real control of their disposition on the canvas.  There is fear and fun in that.  The bag fabric is one of my favorites—a random pattern of gold and cream with touches of blue and purple.  The lining is purple with flowers outlined in white. 

I haven’t sewn a zipper in years, but all that experience came back from somewhere in my mind and it was easy.  This 7”x10” bag is perfect as a clutch, for makeup, or to keep your things or your furkid’s things organized.

Enjoy!

Q

  



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I Have It All Sewed Up

Feb 06 2015

In mid-January I started painting on fabric (again). I am something of a “bag lady” in that I use tote bags and other types of bags to organize and contain stuff that I need for various events and activities. If I am going to make the time and effort to paint something special, the bag should also be special. Don’t waste your time painting a masterpiece on a $2 ready-made, unlined tote bag.  And so, I am not only painting on fabric, but sewing the designs into tote bags.  In the near future, I expect to paint on other fabrics and create other styles, too.   

              

In September I will be a vendor at the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of USA National Specialty in Rhode Island.  The Specialty has a coastal theme and one of the Sweeps has a peacock theme.  In anticipation of the Specialty, they are holding an online auction starting on Feb. 14th.  

                 

 I created the “I Dreamed of Peacocks”, a market-style tote bag, to donate to the auction.     

The tote features a hand painted Rhodesian Ridgeback, and a fantasy peacock graces the opposite side. The lining fabric is 100% cotton in a feathery pattern that made me think of peacock feathers. The tote features a pocket on the outside (peacock side) that is perfect or your cell phone or sun glasses, and an inner pocket, made from a contrasting color, that will hold your keys and other essentials.

 

After painting, I set the paint with a hot iron.  I recommend that the bag be turned inside out to wash it.  Wash it on the gentle cycle/cold water.  It can go in the dryer on a low heat setting.   (Yes, I have tested this.)

 

I find the peacock colors very inspiring.  There will be more . . . . . .

Enjoy!

Q



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It's in the Bag

Jan 27 2015

Several years ago I painted on fabric and created quirky Porsche designs on tee shirts and bags and created custom fabrics for decorating my home. While visiting a dear friend who is a master quilter, I was entranced with the colors and patterns of the fabrics she uses.  As a recovering fabric-oholic, that was dangerous territory, but also provides a new and different surface for painting and new creations for my customers.

I researched fabric paints and ordered Lumiere paints in opaque, metallic, and pearl colors and waited impatiently for them to arrive.  They were my choice because they can be used for a wide range of fabrics and they don’t make the fabric stiff—unless you slather on the paint.  And of course, there was a trip to the fabric store.   The paints were perfect for poly cotton and also for canvas.  Painting on canvas takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a joy.  The bags are a market basket style with a 4-inch wide bottom and a lining that I sew.  They are one of a kind!

                           “Hello Mr. Butterfly” bag is canvas (14”x12”) with a purple flower lining.  The Bernese Mountain Dog pup and the flowers are painted with pearl colors, giving it a real sparkle.

                The Blue Sparkle Bag is cotton (13”x12”) and lined with the same fabric as on the outside.  I fell in love with this fabric at the store and could not leave without it.  Did you ever have a fabric speak to you???? This bag is meant for carrying lighter stuff—wallet, glasses, makeup, a paperback, etc.

There are more designs on the way . . .

 Enjoy!

 

Q

 



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Having a Ball

Jan 22 2015

                                                                         

  On Valentine’s Weekend I will be in Frederick, MD, at the Potomac Valley Bernese Mountain Dog Independent Regional Specialty.  I thought it would be fun to create designs with BMD puppies.  I have rocks glasses and mason mugs with puppy faces.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a BMD puppy in person, I can tell you that they are like a little haystack with hair sticking out all over.  Totally adorable!  I make sure I have a full car so I am not tempted to bring one home.

   Since puppies are always having fun, I created “Having a Ball” and “Hello Mr. Butterfly!” so their people could have fun drinking their favorite beverage.  The designs are colorful and fun, and can be painted on beer or coffee mugs, Pilsner glasses, or wine goblets. 

 

Enjoy!

Q



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Black and White with a Touch of Blenheim

Jan 08 2015

What are the odds that my holiday custom orders were black dogs, white dogs, and black & white dogs?  The small exception was the King Charles spaniel, Blenheim variety. 

    It was a good test of my ability to shade.  Without shading, that is, using shades of white or gray—the white dogs would have looked like snowballs, and the black dogs would have looked like lumps of coal—without definition or features. 

          

 It was exciting to produce a totally black Staffordshire bull terrier and a black miniature Schnauzer and then crack open the white paint for the West Highland terriers.  A little of both went to the Harlequin Great Danes, whose unusual pattern I studied before placing random splotches of black paint. 

  Indeed, I read the breed standard for every breed that I paint to understand and match the color, patterns, if any, and general characteristics. 

               The Great Dane goblets presented an extra challenge to paint pawprints on the base.  Purple was the requested color—and also my favorite.  They certainly are fun accessories to help celebrate a special occasion or just the fact that it is Wednesday. 

Enjoy!

Q



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Let There Be Light

Nov 11 2014

Hallway, dark rooms, and dog toys scattered on the floor.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  The solution?  A nightlight. 

                      Not just any nightlight, but a fused glass portrait of your breed like a small beacon lighting your way.  Here are examples of a beagle and  papillons. 

                  Check the Gallery for Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  I can create a custom nightlight with your special breed or a fused image of your dog.  Also, nightlights are available in ocean and abstract designs.  Never underestimate the power of light!



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Celebrating Copper's Title

Nov 06 2014

I love to create custom pieces, so I was delighted when a client asked me to create a goblet to celebrate a Nosework title that her friend and her friend's dog had recently achieved. 

  “Copper” is the name of the dog that sniffed out the “hides”, as they are called.  At Level 3, the dog must seek and identify the location of hides that are birch, anise, or clove scents—individually or in any combination.  The trial was an Element Trial for containers.   At Levels 2 and 3, it is also possible that there are distractors—yummy food or toys—in one or more of the containers that the dog must ignore.

             One side of the goblet celebrates Copper, painted in copper metallic, and the reverse side states his title, of course with stars!  What a thoughtful and lovely gift to celebrate a special event.



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Stars with Four Paws

Nov 04 2014

My four-legged fur child, Carrera, and I are freestyle dancers.  (Yes, I am a crazy lady!).  We have been training for 1 ½ years and started competing this year. 

   It’s a huge amount of fun to train a dog and then have them change the choreography to something they think is better.  This past weekend we competed at Bark-A-Ritaville (yes that is the name of this particular venue) with two new solo routines and debuting a pairs routine.  I get to wear a costume which gives me the false hope that no one can recognize me when Carrera decides to improvise. 

While we do it for the fun, we can also receive titles and awards.  In our first competition, we received the “Oops” award for a routine gone wrong (in our case, really, really, reeaally wrong!).  In the second competition, in addition to qualifying legs and titles in Beginners Freestyle and Heelwork to Music, Carrera was awarded a star-shaped picture frame  for “Up and Coming Freestyle Star”.  It was a no-brainer when the awards chair for Bark-A-Ritaville asked for donations for trophies.  I had just the ticket:  two fused glass star bowls that I had created with dog sports in mind.

           

I was tickled to see them awarded to two deserving dance teams for "Up and Coming Stars" as we cheered for fellow dancers. One those teams were Stacy and her rescue BC Diesel, who also train with our trainer and is a crazy freestyler, too (although she has never had the dubious distinction of winning an “Oops” award : ) ).



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The Noyes Arts Garage in A.C.

Oct 30 2014

                     

I am lucky enough to have artwork in three holiday shows this year.  One of them is the Holiday Art Expo and Buyers’ Market at the Noyes Arts Garage Stockton College (2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ). I delivered fused glass pieces to the Art Expo that represent featured my fantasy starfish and iridescent glass reminiscent of moonlight flickering on ocean waves.

The Noyes Arts Garage is a large sunny space that is part of the Wave Garage, a lovely parking facility located just as you enter A.C. from the A.C. Expressway.  The Holiday Expo opened October 3rd and runs through December 28th. 

                     

The Arts Garage features for sale glass, ceramics, fiber art, paper art, photography, paintings, metal, mixed media, jewelry, and other works outside of my realm of knowledge.  If you live or are visiting anywhere in the region, this is definitely worth the trip.

    If you are in the South Jersey-Philly area, you can find fused glass creations by Q by Dezine at:

The Noyes Arts Garage Stockton College (2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ)- Oct. 3- Dec. 28

The Noyes Museum Shop (5 S. 2nd Street, Hammonton, NJ) – Nov.8 – Dec. 30

 Hilltop House Holiday Gift & Craft Show ( 570 Beaumont Rd., Deven, PA)  Nov.21 –Dec.7

 



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Everyone Knows a Dog Dad

Oct 28 2014

Everyone knows a Dog Dad.  He’s the guy with heart and soul whose dogs are his four-legged furkids.  And sometimes, gals, we are the ones who work with the dogs, but our best guy loves them and takes care of them. What better way to celebrate their paws walking all over his heart than with a Dog Dad a coffee or beer mug or a wine goblet? 

       

Fill the mug with dog treats so both he and his favorite canine can enjoy the gift.  Or, fill it with snacks to match is favorite beverage—pretzels in the beer mug or small cookies in the coffee mug.  How about chocolates in the wine goblet to complement his favorite red? 

                 

Personally, all of my glasses are multi-functional. There is something elegant about drinking juice or iced tea from the large wine goblet.   And beer mugs are perfect for soda, milk, or whatever brew you choose.   In addition to these models, the Dog Dad design can be created on pilsner or rocks glasses and customized for your favorite color or include the name of his CBF (Canine Best Friend).  So treat your favorite Dog Dad to something that will remind him how special he is to you and is CBF.   

Enjoy!

Q

 



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Poodles and Flowers

Oct 27 2014

I've never owned a poodle, but I did have a poodle skirt. We train or have trained in agility and freestyle dance with poodles big and tiny. They are a smart funny, lovely breed. I love them best in their natural, curly/wooly state or in the old classic cut. The small poodle bowl mixes the kitschy 50's poodle with flowers. "Another bowl?" you say. Not just another bowl, but a lovely design that puts poodles in your garden. When I really love a piece, I figure out a dozen ways to use it so it isn't stuck in a cupboard for most of the year. The poodle bowl is perfect for snacks, candy, or dog biscuits, as a candleholder (hint: put a little water in the bowl and candle wax clean-up is a breeze), flowers, bath soaps, to hold face cloths in your guest bathroom, planter, pen/pencil holder, for spare change, or for rooting plants in water. I'm sure you already thought of 3 more uses. And if this is a gift, why not fill it with candy, biscuits, or bath soaps? A thoughtful gift for someone special.

Enjoy!

Q


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Sexy Poodles

Sep 03 2014

The joy of ordering something that is a custom design is that it is designed to your tastes.  My clients have the best taste in custom design. Check out the poodles with the leopard pattern base.

     

I’ve probably mentioned before that when I hand-paint the fabulous pre-fab glasses, the primary design is usually a dog or other image, and a secondary design, like the dot heart and dot stars are added to the opposite side.  While I would create a glass with only the primary design if that’s what the client wanted, it seems naked and unfinished to me.  The base of the glass is another area that can be painted in your favorite color.  A good idea is to paint them with different designs or colors so your guests can identify their glass by pattern or color. 

I loved the idea of the leopard pattern with the mid-century poodle.  It’s so Hollywood!

Enjoy!

Q



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Tricks for Treats

Jul 11 2014

I am opportunistic when it comes to training my dogs.  Yes, we have actual training time and classes, but I take advantage of opportunities to reinforce good behaviors or reward new offerings.  A few years ago I graduated from having little baggies of treats in every room to storing the treats in a container that fits in with the décor of the room.  The containers have ranged from metal to glass to plastic; some were already painted or otherwise embellished.  All had covers that seal in the treats and seal out any bugs.  As for display aesthetics, dog biscuits are not on the same level as bath soaps or sea shells in a jar.  Aha, my glass paints to the rescue.

Using two of my favorite combinations- purple and turquoise and copper and turquoise- the jars have a pleasing aesthetic for the bedroom and master bath, and the cookies are cleverly disguised. 

And I like the obvious “Treats” jar for my mudroom.

These three treat jar designs can be customized to your favorite colors and include your dog’s name.

 

Enjoy!

Q

 



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Howling Good

Jul 09 2014

The first poem I remember writing was about my grandfather's beagle, Jake. Jake was a lovely dog, a good hunter, but had one small flaw--he was afraid of the rain.  My grandfather took Jake hunting one time, and it started to rain heavily.  Jake ran off, and my grandfather couldn't find him, so he headed home.  A couple of days later, a taxi pulled up to the house, and out jumped Jake.  The family whose porch he hid under to escape the rain, sent him home, and my grandfather gladly paid the bill. 

 Growing up, we had beagles and beagle mixes, too.  They are natural comedians, keeping us entertained 24/7.

  I am always tickled to see beagles running in agility. And if they howl--it's a bonus : )  It was such fun to create and hand paint the Howling Good mugs.  This design can be customized to your favorite colors and/or include the name of your favorite beagle. This design can also be painted on the 20 ounce goblets.

Enjoy!

Q



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Oodles of Poodles

Jun 25 2014

  Retro images of poodles are just plain irresistible.  Remember poodle skirts and the popularity of poodle images from the 1950's? 

  When I created the black poodle wine goblets, I had to make a set in white, and continue the poodle madness with sets of coffee mugs and martini glasses. 

The fabulous poodle pre-fab glassware in the Q Gallery are black or white, but they can be custom painted for apricot, silver, parti-color, or fantasy colors (turquoise, anyone?).  The flowers, hearts, and stars are also interchangeable and can be created in any color on your choice of goblet, mug, tumbler, or martini glass.

Enjoy,

Q



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Drink on the Wild Side

Jun 25 2014

I am fascinated with the shape of a martini glass.  The very nature of it requires that any image painted on the outside should be designed to be viewed from the inside. 

   Think about it . . . you hold a martini glass slightly higher than your waistline, and you look into the glass. Made for glamour, the Wild-tini allows you to enjoy the Ridgeback "ridge view"  and show off your wild side with a touch of leopard print.

Oh, and don't try to circulate around the room too fast, or your beverage will come sloshing out.  Been there, done that : )

Enjoy,

Q



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Pink Flamingos

Jun 17 2014

I have a friend who shares my passion for wine and flamingos, although not necessarily always as a pair.  I plan to surprise her with the perfect pairing of those passions in the Pink Flamingo Goblet. 

   The goblet holds 20 ounces. It adds fun to any beverage--wine, iced tea, lemonade, or whatever is your personal favorite. 

I created a "Wild Flamingo"  version that is in the Gallery.

  The Wild or Mild Flamingo design can be embellished with colors of your choosing or personalized with a name in place of one of the flamingos.  Shouldn't summer be fun????

Enjoy,

Q



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Make Mine Ridgeback

May 29 2014

If you are a beermaker, here's a freebie”make a beer in that wheaten color of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and call it "Make Mine Ridgeback". And then, recommend that it be served in the Make Mine Ridgeback Mug, bound to make any beer taste more delicious! With summer approaching, try a shandy. I had my first during Memorial Day Weekend, and I found it delightfully refreshing. Apparently, it's a popular summer drink in Europe. You may be able to find it wherever you buy beer, or you could make it yourself using a multi-step epicurean recipe or just mix lemonade and pale ale. The Make Mine Ridgeback mugs are also perfect for non-alcoholic drinks. The mugs can be customized with your Ridgeback's name, your name, or your kennel name. They make great gifts. If the Ridgeback isn't your breed, let me know which breed you would like on your mugs. Enjoy, Q
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Ridgeback in My Garden

May 16 2014

No, not trampling around, but sitting quietly, framed by the flowers. What a delight to enjoy your best friend on a glass mug, surrounded by flowers that are beautiful regardless of the weather. The design was inspired by my friend Pat who is an awesome gardener (I am not worthy . . . ) and enjoys her garden with her hubby and their four (yes, 4) Rhodesian Ridgebacks: Gibson, Henley, Rooi, and puppy Kaz. 
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Conjure Up a Design

May 09 2014

My client is a magician, and surely must be a mind reader when she ordered glasses with a painting of one of her dogs on the glass.  Although I had done this many times with image photo transfer on fused glass, this was the first time for the pre-fab glass.  The technique is the same, the paint is different. 

The handsome subject was Conjure (and yes, her dogs all have magical names).

  I asked if she would like me to add a dot star or heart on the back, and she asked if I could include her kennel name.  I suggested that we go with black because the gold and silver paints don't have enough impact.  I have since found a gold with enough body to stand up to lettering.  But when I looked her kennel name on the website, I fell totally in love with the font, white lettering, and, of course, the stars. The kennel name is painted on the glasses in that same font in shiny white with a swath of stars above it.  They look fabulous and will make drinking any beverage a very magical experience.   



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Like a Vintage Photo

May 08 2014

Last December I was so busy that my brain was too frazzled to write anything coherent.  In looking at photos from my now defunct phone, I found a photo of a custom photo transfer plaque that I created for a client friend to give to her friend, the spaniel's owner. 

  When given a choice of photos to use, I always opt for the one with the most detail and that shows off the dog to its best advantage. This Sussex spaniel has glorious ears and a very shiny coat. In the basic photo transfer process, the image has a sepia tone because the iron in the ink creates the details and fuses into the glass.  The color in the actual piece was closer to the original than the photo of the plaque (taken on top of a dog crate in the training center--not ideal conditions) portrays. 

   The level of detail is awesome!  The details of the hairs on the spaniel's ears, and his face, in general, are amazing.  And of course the recipient was overjoyed.  Who doesn't love artwork created from their own dog's image?

Enjoy,

Q



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A Berner Kind of Week

Apr 12 2014

    Who can't help but to smile at a Berner? 

As they pass my booth they look in with a wide-eyed, "Hi there, person"  look on their face.

There were a few moments of tears during the parade of veterans.  My cattledog, Spyder, was 16 1/2 yrs in February, and I am grateful for every day that we have together.

Thank you to everyone at the BMD Nationals who visited Q by Dezine, shared your dog and your stories.  Good luck to all of you who are in the ring today!

Enjoy,

Q



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Pre-Fab Fabulosity

Apr 09 2014

Here I am--Day 2 of the Bernese Mountain Dog National Specialty in Hampton, VA.  No, I don't have a BMD, but it will be a miracle if I leave here without one. I have a perfect view of the conformation ring from my booth.  And in my booth, I have a couple dozen BMD faces watching me.  Those are the faces that I painted on wine and water goblets, beer and coffee mugs, and other pre-made glass. Glasses can not be made by the fusing methods that I use for other fused glass art, so usually they are excluded from a fuser's repertoire  However I can paint and fire glasses, mugs, and goblets --at a verrrrry low temperature, to heat set special glass paint. 

 This has opened up yet another new world of art.  The BMD's are drafting dogs with a sweet temperament and a sense of humor, all of which are inspirational for designing.   

  

The beer mugs were fun because these are draft dogs--yes, pun intended. 

 "Here's Looking at You"  was painted on the outside but designed to be viewed from the inside, while sipping a martini.  And there are champagne glasses, wine decanter, treat jars, and small containers that can be used for candles, candy, guest soaps, or whatever you can imagine.

The Berners have been a wonderful start for this new endeavor.  Which breed will be next?????????????



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Winter Dog

Mar 30 2014

I like to change up the examples of photo transfer art so potential clients can see the range of personalized art that they can order with their own photos.  In January I chose two photos from a bunch that the vendor chair for the BMD Regional show had sent me.  They were all so charming that it was difficult to decide. 

     I liked the strong stance on this fellow and envisioned him standing proud and alert with snowy mountains in the background.  I did the photo transfer and painted the background with lo fire enamels for the first firing. I had added frit to outline the mountains, give the snow a sparkle, and added "rocks" as a relief from the white background.  I debated painting a night sky with stars, but the blue sky and sun were equally dramatic and lend a bit of cheer.  After the first firing, I painted the BMD with low fire glass enamels and added highlights to the background before firing a second time. After I pulled it from the kiln, I added a keyhole hanger so it could grace an empty spot on the wall.

    Winter Dog was created.  I did not know when I was painting and firing Winter Dog that this was a tribute piece for a BMD who left for the Rainbow Bridge long before his time. 



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Tray Bien

Oct 10 2013

  I'm in  bit of a quandry on what to call these pieces.  Are they trays?  Are they shallow rectangular bowls?  They measure 12"x8"x approx. 2" with a wavy rim.  They are gorgeous simply for display, but they are also food safe and functional. 

  Aventurine Green Dreams would look spectacular filled with lemons and clementines. Natural air fresheners. Or you could fill it with an inch of water and float 3 or 5 red peppermint candles. What a fun centerpiece!(Please be careful with lit candles.) Or fill it with cookies??? Yummy and beautiful.

  Aventurine Blue Dreams features three aventurine blue stripes. (They may look black in the photo, but they are a sparkling deep blue).  The aventurine gemstones were named after this type of glass because of the sparkling inclusions.    I'd like to see this tray filled with chocolates.  Brown is opposite from blue on the color wheel, so the aventurine blue will make the chocolates "pop". It is also the perfect background for cupcakes with rainbow of frosting colors.  Of course, you could choose to put vegetables and fruits on the tray.  In my fantasies, they are always filled with chocolates .. . . . 

If you are looking for a special gift for yourself or a friend, Aventurine Green Dreams and Aventurine Blue Dreams are original art that is affordable and functional.

Enjoy,

Q



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Iridescent Haze

Oct 02 2013

Okay . . so I'm hooked on iridescent glass. I could be hooked on worse things, although I can't think of many right now. Iridescent glass has an elegant sparkle. It is never flashy, but is always noticed. Nor is it glittery (for the record-there is nothing wrong with glitter). In Twilight Haze, a sheet of transparent blue iridescent glass was fused onto a larger sheet of clear glass. I add clear frit to the one inch rim to enhance the sparkle of the clear glass and dark blue frit and copper mica for contrast. The piece was returned to the kiln to be draped over a stainless steel cylinder to create the folds in the finished piece. The glass is food safe, so it would be a beautiful container for oranges, lemons, limes, or other similar colored fruit for a striking contrast. If you use it for flowers, add a frog or other device to stabilize the flowers so they are well supported. Use it for potpourri or to display gold pinecones in the winter. As a stand-alone bowl, it is a beautiful accent anywhere.
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Glory

Sep 18 2013

Big dogs have beauty--perhaps unexpected by most people.  When I am exhibiting at a dog show, I am always amazed and delighted by the larger breeds. The Bernese Mountain Dogs were no exception.  A client asked me to create a tribute piece for her dear friend whose BMD, Glory, had recently gone to the Rainbow Bridge. 

 She had captured a lovely image of Glory. Luckily, all of the unnecessary parts could easily be cut away, including the leash that was just a hair away from the edge of her ear. The BMD's are represented well in the photo transfer process.  I painted the background with low fire enamels, providing soft color to highlight the BMD image.   And Glory looks like she is smiling down on her people. 

  

 



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I'm Melting . . . . .

Sep 05 2013

Doing a pot melt has been on my long list for a while.  A few months ago I bought a pot with five holes in the bottom and a bridge to support the pot.  For the first run, I filled the pot with green, yellow, and transparent glass and cranked up the kiln to 1600 degrees F.

 The glass becomes molten and streams through the holes onto the kiln shelf.  Baffles under the bridge keep the molten glass from streaming into areas that would damage the kiln.  The first batch that I melted produced a square that was too thick and dark.  The green and yellow produced shades of brown.  However, the swirling designs were very intriguing. For the next batches, I added quantities of blues-light and dark- and white. 

                                  

Deep Currents (Spoon Rest)                     Ocean Tides (Spoon Rest)

 Also, if I added less than recommended, the streaming glass didn't touch the baffles and created random organic shapes.  Every time I look at them, the images created from the streaming and combining glass strike me in a different way. In this process, each pattern is unique.

Enjoy,

Q

 

 



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Put a Ring (Saw) on It

Aug 21 2013

I recently invested in more diamonds-- for the studio, that is.  I have a new toy,  er,...tool--a ring saw. 

      

The blade is a hoop that is coated with diamonds so it cuts in any direction. That means that I can push the glass forward, sidewards, or pull it toward me through the blade and follow the pattern lines.  The diamond blade will cut glass but not fingers. Intellectually, I know this is true, but I'm still careful about where my hands are in relation to the blade. (A good practice for when I work with the wet saw that will easily slice off a finger.)

So I practiced cutting random shapes just to get the feel of the ring saw.  Then I drew a pattern of a dogbone on dichroic glass and cut a sweet fuschia dog bone that was the inspiration for Fancy Dog night light.

  Early one morning I woke up with the idea to create wall art of a tree.  I drew up the design and cut the trunk with my ring saw.  It needed roots, and the ring saw allowed me to push and turn into the base. 

 (Before firing)

I cut the leaves from light green art glass, and sharpened the cleavage in the kiln formed hearts.  With a bit of low fire enamels and a stint in the kiln, the quirky "If Hearts Grew on Trees . . . "  was created. 

  "If Hearts Grew on Trees . . . "  after firing

Thanks to the ring saw, the cutting was about 10-fold easier than if I were using my hand-held glass cutter. Oh the joy of a new toy!!!!

Enjoy,

Q

 

 

 



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Dog Show Days of August

Aug 11 2013

Just returned last night from the Keystone Cluster in Harrisburg, PA.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Q by Dezine booth.  I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. My friend Pat, mom to Henley, Gibson, and Rooi, lovely ridgebacks who have been featured in my photo transfer glass art, was showing Pepper, a Henley daughter.  They stopped by the booth to rest between forays into the ring.

I was delighted to run into Carol, a classmate from nosework class, who was working as a steward, and even more delighted to discover that she is a stained glass artist.

         

I returned inspired to create new pieces and looking forward to my next show.

Enjoy

Q

 

 



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Celebrating the Studio Dogs

Aug 06 2013

  As a "solopreneur", the only company I have in my studio are the radio and the studio dogs.  I thought it was time to celebrate them both for their unfailing service of keeping me entertained and notifying me to stop when their dinner hour approaches. 

                                       

Spyder, the Australian Cattle Dog, will celebrate her 16th birthday in September.  She is the light of our lives.  Using a recent photo of her resting in the yard,  I fused her image on translucent white glass, added frit and glass enamels, and created a nightlight. The Spyder nightlight brightens a dark corner and, like her, brightens our day.

                          

Carrera, an All American mix, achieved her NoseWork 1 title in May after successfully finding birch "hides"  in exterior, interior, vehicle, and box searches.   We love the challenge of nosework and the teamwork.  I fused a photo of her wearing her NW1 ribbon and her name and date and location of the trial on a diamond set on a 7 inch square of the deep and sparkly aventurine blue.  The corners are accented with dichroic glass and the gold dots highlight the diamond.  After fusing, the piece was slumped on a 7inch square plate mold.  A perfect piece to commemorate and celebrate her achievement.

Enjoy,

Q



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Charmed Night

Jul 18 2013

Iridescent glass charms me night and day! This dichroic and iridescent glass dish just came out of the kiln today, and another dish using iridescent glass in a different design is headed into the kiln tonight. I find the iridescent glass with its many variations often more fascinating than dichroic. In my fantasy I am eating chocolate covered strawberries from this dish, but it would be equally delightful holding guest soaps, jewelry, or cheese and crackers. Enjoy!
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Bring Your Own Ants . . . .

Jul 12 2013
The summertime trio: picnic basket, food, ants. If you are bringing the basket and the food, why not bring your own ants? These charmers were created on the clear top layer of glass using liquid stringer and frit. The tablecloth is sandwiched (no pun intended!) between the yellow glass and clear overlay. It was also created with liquid stringer and purposely created small bubbles in the squares. It would definitely be a conversation piece at your picnic or on your table.
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Cat Nap

Jun 14 2013
What could be better than a catnap in the garden on a lazy summer day? Cat Nap Garden/Wall art. IT will catch the sunlight and put a smile on your face. The art and iridescent glass are fused and embellished with glass enamels for a one-of-a-kind art that will brighten up your garden or give live to a lonely spot indoors. You don't have to have a cat to enjoy cat art!
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I love my dog--even in the garden!

Jun 11 2013

Well, as long as she doesn't trample any of the tender seedlings. This garden art can be hung outdoors or indoors, and is guaranteed to make you smile every time you see it. The individual pieces are designed to provide color or sparkle by catching every ray of light. The garden/Wall art can be custom made for your color and size preference. This one, featuring blues is very calming. Be forewarned--there is a yellow and orange one in the Works.
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Fifty Shades of Sparkle

Jun 04 2013

When I saw the sparkle enamels on the website of one of my suppliers, I had to have the whole set: Gold, Silver, Copper, and White. Doesn't everyone want some sparkle in their life every day? I cautioned myself against "sparkle abuse", the glittering of every available surface. After using the gold for the first time, I quickly realized that the sparkle enamels will not produce a "glitter fest". Apparently, in referring to these glass enamels, the term "sparkle" is synonymous with "metallic" but not "glitter". Oddly enough, I never thought about it when I used the Copper Sparkle, because it gave the appearance of copper metal that I expected and not anything glittery. The initial disappointment, however, was when I created Gilt Trip (discussed in a previous blog), a piece that was supposed to really sparkle with gold and silver. The gold was sparkly enough, and could be enhanced with gold mica. I painted over the silver because it looked more like aluminum. I love the look of the silver, especially on a black background. The silver reminds me of the chrome my motorcycle. To celebrate that black and chrome combo, the shallow dish, All Stars was created.
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Foam

May 16 2013

I've been dreaming about the ocean ever since I got an email announcing reduced prices for scuba vacation packages in Bonaire. If I can't be there in person, I am surely there in spirit with my Fantasy Starfish in the Oceana Collection. There is something very calming in mixing and blending the various shades blue and turquoise enamels. To evoke the feeling of waves, I formed a scalloped edge using the smaller head of the grinder. The starfish are scratched into the ocean background, and the clear frit is homage to the foam of the waves. The translucent white glass allows the light to emphasize the colors and forms.  Foam and two variations of this fused night light, Deep Sea and Gold Starfish, can be found in Oceana in the Gallery. The base and a bulb are included with the night light so it is ready to use when it arrives.

It's ocean art, whether lit or not. . . . . and in my mind I am there on the beach. Enjoy, Q
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Jewelers Studio Guild

Apr 30 2013

 Feed your soul and your need for gifts and accessories at the Jewelers Studio Guild show on Saturday, May 4, 10am-5pm, at the St. James Episcopal Church in Upper Montclair.  This is a wonderful group of jewelers, each with their own special style, creating jewelry in metals, glass, and other funky materials.  You won't find anything like this at the mall.  The show includes fabric and pottery artists, photography, and other specialties.  A portion of the sales are donated to the Morristown food pantry.  I was a member of this group until I moved too far away.  Miss them terribly, but we are connected electronically. 

http://www.jewelersstudioguild.com/event



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Happy Snack

Apr 25 2013

This plate would make celery and carrot stick snacks fun! The leaf green background is the perfect foil for the white and pink pieces scattered in orderly disorder. I had great fun making this plate.At 4 1/2" by 5 1/4", it will hold one large luscious slice of cherry pie . . . or a big stack of yummy carrot sticks.
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One Emerald Green & Two Not

Apr 23 2013

The Pantone color of the year for 2013 is emerald green.  I love this brilliant color--it combines well with purple. 

  Emerald green plays brilliantly in the pendant Green Dreams. The open center design for this pendant came to me in a dream very early one morning.  The sparkly transparent radium glass (so named for the raised spheres on the surface) adds to the sparkle factor.  Green Dreams is sure to capture attention!  

If emerald is not your shade of green, there are plenty more to explore. Green is the most prevalent color in nature.  You can find every shade from dark evergreen to olive to neon lime green to pale yellow green. If you never thought about the color green before, just take a walk around your yard and observe the grass, trees, flowers, and even the weeds.    

   If your taste in green runs more toward the olive shades, Copper Inside features a green among the olives.  This pendant takes advantage of the contrast of red and green, which are exactly opposite on the color wheel.  However, unlike Christmas red and green, this combo features an olive-y green and the subtle red of the kiln-baked copper foil triangles. The gold dichroic accent helps the colors pop while maintaining a air of quiet elegance.

On the farther end of the spectrum is pale, pastel green.  When I found the harmony jasper beads, I immediately thought of Monet's impressionistic interpretation of the gardens at Giverny.

   Luxurious creams, pinks, and greens entwine together and apart in natural patterns that give a dreamy, romantic feel.  The surrounding light green amazonite and very pale yellow green serpentine, highlight the gently swirling patterns in the harmony jasper. 

If the Pantone Institute of Color didn't chose your favorite shade of green for its color of 2013, don't be green with envy.  You can incorporate you favorite shade of green into your life this year. Visit "All Things Green"  in the Gallery to see these pieces and other green jewelry for you and your home. 

Q

 



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A New Leash on Life

Apr 19 2013
Spring cleaning--time to clean out the old stuff and organize all the things you need and love. The FourBone leash rack will keep those collars and leashes organized. FourBone is the perfect organizer for your hats and light jackets, and just the right size for a camper. Even if you don't have a dog, FourBone is the whimsical touch that will keep you smiling and organized. Dog bones not your thing? This rack can be customized with a photo transfer of your favorite photo-baby, children, cat, wedding, vacation, house, etc. and painted in your favorite color. A custom rack can be your personal decorating statement . . and still keep you organized.
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Frit-tering Away the Afternoon

Apr 12 2013

I just bought two molds to kiln cast hearts.  Kiln casting involves a mold of some kind (but not the same ones I use for slumping) and glass granules (called "frit") that have been ground to sizes ranging from a powder to a bit larger than sea salt. 

    The mold filled with glass frit is slow fired to temps over 1450 degrees F to create a molten glass that will take the form of the mold as it cools down.

Since I was testing both heart molds, I pulled out my other casting molds and filled up the big kiln.  I was delighted with the heart pod.  It created a perfect heart, approx. 3"x3" and about 1" in depth.  It is the perfect size for a paper weight or an ornament.  I added a photo transfer of a favorite puppy photo of Spyder, our 15 1/2 yr. old Australian cattledog, and add paint swirls with lof- fire emamels.  This time, the heart went into the small kiln without the mold for a low fire program.  And my sweet girl who has my heart, really has my heart!

 



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Golden(s) Rule

Apr 11 2013

     It’s no wonder that golden retrievers are the most popular breed for pet owners.  They are beautiful, goofy, and have a talent for making you scratch their ears until you lose track of time. Sawyer, on the left, is in our agility class, who, along with his older “brother”, make handsome models for the photo transfer technique.   My kudos to the photographer.  I can barely get one dog to stand still, no less two posing perfectly! 

After I photoshopped the photo and printed it on the PT paper, I cut away the background and applied the image of the two goldens  to a 5”x5” white art glass. 

     Using lo fire enamels, I painted a green background leaving obvious brushstrokes and added the cabochons.  The piece was fired at around 1350 degrees F. 

     The piece is ready to become a plaque if I add a copper loop or function as a spoon rest if I add bumpers to the underside or do both so it can multi-task.   Goldens  Rule!!!

 



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Functional Art for Your Countertop

Apr 09 2013

Spoonrests are functional but usually an eyesore on your countertop. I love it when my stuff multi-tasks--functional and beautiful! Looking Back will hold hold your spoon, spatula, or wisk, and keep that sticky food residue off your countertop. When you aren't cooking, Looking Back is beautiful art on your countertop. It has bumper feet so the glass never touches your countertop.
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Bringing the Ocean Home

Apr 05 2013

It was a no brainer to sign up as a vendor at the Jersey Shore’s Ultimate Wedding Show at the Ocean City Music Pier in Ocean City, NJ.  While I can be happy almost anywhere, I am happiest when I am near the ocean regardless of the season.  I have a shell collection that encompasses every beach I’ve visited, even for a few minutes.  With the ocean theme in mind, I created table décor with ocean-inspired fused glass dishes to spark your imagination.  You can find details about the dishes in the Gallery. 

                   

Caribbean Starfish                              Sparkling Wave

 Flat blossoms work best in the flat dishes, but tiny roses and other similar bloom can work in a bowl if you include marbles, pebbles, shells, or something to help prop them up.  Be sure to add water when you are floating blooms to keep them fresh.

                    

Cobalt Waters                                     Celebratory!



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Funky Drape

Mar 28 2013

"Making the draped vases is addictive", I thought as I painted the white art glass with gold glass enamel and sprinkled on gold mica before placing the clear glass over it.  The entire piece was fired in the kiln at 1450 degrees F to fuse the pieces and the glass enamel.
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          The piece was removed and washed and then returned to the kiln and centered over the classic 8" high stainless steel floral former that I had just primed.

   After a long, slow firing, the glass draped over the floral former, which, when turned right side up as the photo at the top, is a one-of-a-kind funky vase, the perfect foil for beautiful flowers bold and sweet.

 



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Cherry Blossom Time

Mar 26 2013

My small stainless floral former never failed me, and neither did my new tall floral former. I bought a classic slender one and a second, fatter that gives a piece a bit more flare. I primed the fatter one while the cherry streaky glass and clear layer were full fusing in the Fusion 10. After I removed the fused layers from the kiln and washed them thoroughly, I centered the fused layers on the floral former in the kiln and set the program to heat up slowly so the glass would soften and drape around the floral former. Hours later,when the kiln cooled to 100 degrees, I opened the top to see the beautiful folds. And it was evem more fabulous right side up! Cherry Blossoms-- it's a sure sign of spring.
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The Multi-Tasking Votive Holder

Mar 19 2013

I like decorative pieces that multitask. The uses for any item might only be limited by one's imagination. I hate to label Summer Day as a votive holder, even though it does that job perfectly. It seemingly limits its use. It also can hold candy or other little snacks, and will keep portions under control. Put it on your desk to hold little things like paperclips or jump drives. In the bedroom it will hold your rings or earrings or loose change. It's the perfect container for guest soaps, cotton balls, Q-tips, or little paper cups in the bathroom. Use it to hold an arrangement of small yellow silk flowers for a spark of color anywhere, or fill it with water and float a single flower or candle.

   That's a dozen uses for one very versatile, colorful, hand crafted multitasking votive holder. Share how you would use this votive holder here.
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Dragonfly Art

Mar 07 2013
How often do you look at that plain vanilla white or cream switchplate cover and smile? Why not replace it with original art? Lovely 22k gold dragonflies soar across a blue sky on this fusedd glass switchplate cover. This artsy switchplate is kiln cast and then painted with glass enamels, embellished with 22k gold dragonflies, and fired again. A simple touch of loveliness for an otherwise boring spot on your wall. Original art to enjoy everyday at a great price.
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The Tallest Thing I Ever Made---Part 2

Mar 04 2013

The Tallest Thing I Ever Made --Part 2

After the fused glass was cleaned up, I assembled the necessary items to fire it: 

    1. the clay floral former, which is a graduated clay glass with one open end that faces down when in use, 2. shelf paper, and 3. the fused glass.  I’ve used 3”-4” floral formers in my small kiln, but this was the first outing with an 8” floral former.  This technique for creating a vase is called draping.  The flat fused glass is placed on top of the floral former, and as the temps rise in the kiln, the softening glass starts to drape around the cylindrical shape of the mold. You can adjust the length (height) of the vase or tightness of the drape by adjusting the temps and timing.  For this first experiment, I used a firing program that I had used previously for a shorter mold.  One thing that struck me as odd was the instruction that came with the mold—Even though you prime the mold, use shelf paper between the mold and glass to prevent sticking.  I had never seen an instruction to use shelf paper with a floral former before.  I contemplated using fiber blanket, but was afraid it might prevent the bottom of the vase from achieving the necessary flatness. 

   So I cut a large piece of shelf paper, placed it between the floral former and the glass, closed the lid of the kiln, and fired it up. When I peeked into the kiln just before it reached peak temp, the glass hadn’t draped fully.  I decided not to tweak the program, and I was right .  When I opened the kiln, the vase had fully and beautifully draped.  When I placed it right side up, it was lovely.  But . . . Houston, we have a problem. 

   The glass had fired onto the floral former.  Totally, irreparably stuck together.  The only form of release is by breaking one or the other or, more likely, both. Malcolm Forbes said “Failure is success if we learn from it.”  There were several good things about the firing; I promptly ordered 2 tall floral formers in stainless steel (when primed, not likely to stick to the glass), and I am wondering if there is a market for glass vases with a clay center . . . . . . 

 



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The Tallest Thing I Ever Made . . Yet (Part I)

Feb 27 2013

As a Valentine's Day gift to myself, I bought an 8" tall floral former.   I finally had a chance to prime it and think about a design for my first "tall"  piece in the Fusion 10 kiln. 

    I pulled a 10" x 11"  irregular shaped piece of grey deco art glass from my stash and decided on a neutral grey-black-white scheme.

   I added white and black medium grain frit in random patterns around the pieces of black and white glass and filled in with clear frit so the grey would show through.  Just couldn't resist adding a touch of gold mica --gotta have that bling factor.  So it went into the kiln about 4pm yesterday and should be safe to remove by about 9am today. It shouldn't be removed until the temp. is below 100 degrees F.  It's better to overestimate the time required for annealing and cooling to avoid the potential for cracking or breaking at a later stage. I popped the lid at about 118 degrees to take a photo. 

  So far, so good.  After it is cleaned up, I will set it up for Step 2 and will have a finished product to show you tomorrow.  



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Tropical Honeymoon Souvenir

Feb 22 2013

While sorting through a lifetime of photos, I found a photo from our honeymoon in Cozumel that I have always liked. 

      It was a one in a million shot, taken with a disposable camera that was waterproof to 15 feet below water.  I held it out in front of us, and by some miracle, we were framed perfectly between the sky and sea.   When I pulled it up from the stack of photos, I knew it was the perfect subject for a fused glass plate.

There were two different fusing routes I could have taken, depending on whether I used the high-temp or the low-temp enamels. Since I had done only one project to date with the low-temp enamels, I opted to use them in this project to further explore their properties.  This required three firings since I had to fuse the two 5” x 5” pieces of glass at 1450 degrees F before I could do the enameling or photo transfer. For plates, platters, and dishware I prefer to use at least two layers of glass so the finished piece is not too fragile to use. The plaques and other artwork to be hung are often a single layer because they are lighter and easier to mount.

    Once the glass was fired, I slid the trimmed photo transfer off its backing and onto the center of the square.  I added clear glass frit in the white area just under our faces and painted the Caribbean surrounding us with turquoise and deep blue, allowing a bit of it to seep up under the frit.  The sky was mostly a light blue, but touches of red were blended in for purple highlights.  When the sea and sky were dry, I took liberties with the land mass behind us, painting a tan background and stacking on medium frit in cinnabar and large frit in black.  The piece was now fired at 1350 degrees F.  Eight hours later, I prepped the piece for one more firing to slump it into the plate shape.  It is currently working as part of my booth display at shows.  Eventually it will reside in my sunroom that is my tropical honeymoon in southern Jersey. 



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The Kiss

Feb 19 2013

    Romance is in the air--especially in my studio. I looked through my wedding photos, but they were too old to be trendy but too new to be vintage (thank goodness!).  

I asked our nephew's wife, budding photographer herself, to chose a few favorite photos of their wedding.  The photos she chose were all special in their own way, but the one I chose to use first has such charm and romance that additional embellishments might detract from its unique charm.  The photo tells a wonderful story-both were Air Force when they were married--but the heart of it is the kiss. 

    I cropped out all but the bride and groom, added a touch of gold mica covered with clear glass frit as a sort of halo around the couple, and included their wedding date.  Choosing the blue background was a no-brainer--it represents their Air Force backgrounds. The photo transfer fired perfectly, giving photographic-like detail to the glass art. With only the gold mica and texture from the clear frit for embellishment, the white and blue glass were cut irregularly to provide more artistic interest.  The entire piece captures a single moment of their enduring love.     



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Tenth Anniversary Celebration

Feb 14 2013

Tenth Anniversary Celebration

What is more romantic that an anniversary necklace created from items that hold special meaning? A few years ago a client who I met in a hair salon literally bought the necklace off my neck.  She lived nearby, we stayed in touch, and she became my muse for gemstone jewelry and glass designs and all things “non-sparkly”.  One day she came to my studio with a box of shells.  “I collected these on my honeymoon, and want a necklace to celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary.”  It had to be special.  It had to be different.  It had to incorporate as many of the shells as possible without looking like a barnacle colony.  I felt honored to be entrusted with expressing these treasured and significant honeymoon shells in a signature piece for a Tenth Anniversary celebration.

      I created the body of the pendant from precious metal clay (PMC), texturing it and pressing the shells into the clay to make depressions and embedding four loops for attachments.  The PMC was fired and the fine silver revealed and polished.  The shells were glued into the depressions. The large cylindrical shell was too large to include on the pendant, so I crocheted a net from sterling silver wire, wrapped the shell, and hung it from the bottom.  The bail was a custom creation from heavy gauge sterling wire. My client loved it and received so many compliments every time she wore it.  Being jewelry and art, she often draped it over the edge of her bedroom mirror so she could enjoy it all the time. 

How many of us have items that have special meaning to us that are hidden in a drawer or a box?  Shells, a button from mom’s wedding dress, a vintage pin, a coin, a few beads from a favorite necklace that broke, or other significant items. Any of these can be incorporated into a piece of jewelry to be worn and enjoyed every day. 

What favorite items are in your stash that you would like to bring to life in a signature piece of jewelry?



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Light the Way

Feb 12 2013

 

How many times have you gotten out of bed at night and stumbled in the hallway, stubbed your toe, or tripped over your dog’s tennis ball?  Throw a little light on the situation with a nightlight.  For the dog aficionados, the Golddigger Bone night light is the perfect solution.  The iridescent glass is hand painted with glass enamels, embellished with fancy dichroic glass, and fired in the kiln at 1450 degrees F.  Very hot!.  The nightlight comes complete with the bulb and arrives ready to plug in and shed some light on your dark hallway. 

 

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Good Luck Red

Feb 01 2013

Charming and functional, this pair of 3"x3" fused glass dishes is perfect for enjoying sushi or a small snack. Here's a tip--downsize your plates and you will automatically reduce portion size. It's an effortless way to maintain a healthy weight. And wouldn't one lovely luscious square of chocolate be elegant and tastier served on this petite plate? It is food safe, so you can enjoy your favorite petite snack. Not a fan of sushi or chocolate? If you are a tea drinker, Good Luck Red will hold your teabag. Don't overlook the potential to hold your ring at the sink, guest soaps in your guest bathroom, or a votive candle. In certain cultures, red is thought to bring good luck. Not a fan of red? Visit the Gallery to see Yin and Yang and Blue Zen. 
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A Romantic at Heart

Jan 31 2013

Call me a romantic! All shades of pink make me think of Victorian velvet and lace.  The Swarovski crystals pink sparkle with innocence and contrast with the luminosity of the crystal pearls. Sweet Dreams is a dream design. It's a modern take on Victorian elegance, and perfect for your wedding, special occasion, or to glam up your jeans.
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Sea Sprite

Jan 29 2013
I love everything "ocean", so when I saw the stick coral I knew I had to buy it. Ditto for the freshwater pearls. The luscious coppery green pearls are top drilled, so they give a zigzag pattern when strung, adding texture and rhythm to the necklace. The dark gold stick coral enhances the natural and primitive feel of the necklace that is perfect for the Ocean Goddess in all of us. The perfect accessory for that island getaway whether it is Aruba or Manhattan.
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Turn Up The Heat

Jan 24 2013

When the temperatures outside drop into Arctic zone weather, I heat up my tabletop with red hot citrus color tablewares like Tangerine.

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Silver and Glass, Perfect Together

Jan 21 2013

If you love modern contemporary design, you will love these funky silver and glass pendants. Architectural and elegant, the pendants feature fine silver wire against a background of dark opaque art glass. The hammered silver ribbons and aventurine green nuggets of Dark Grove suggest trees against a twilight sky. Dark Grove is you perfect fashion accessory worn on a leather cord or fime metal chain.

 

 

From the same design line, Chaos (in the Gallery) with its hammered silver sine waves appears to be in motion even though it's not. Clear art glass is fused atop the silver, giving depth and energy to these pieces.

Also available in the Gallery, One Over gets its texture from the fine silver ribbons fused to the outer surface of the pendant. The silver bails are fused into the pendants, leaving the underside smooth and glassy. The Silver and Glass pendants add a fresh modern touch to your casual or business attire and perfect for date night with that special someone.
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Gertrude SteinWas Right!

Jan 16 2013

 

The writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) once quipped, “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.” How true! There’s a common thread among most of the shops that give me happiness: they supply raw materials. Ooh, glass enamels in enough colors to paint a rainbow; sparkly iridescent glass and light-bending dichroics.  On the homefront there are paint (happiness in a can!) and plants, especially perennials so I only have to plant them once! In their natural state, none of these make good gifts, so I turn to craft fairs and the internet for unique gifts that are not jewelry or glass art.

My experiences shopping on the internet are probably similar to yours.  Sometimes it is frustrating and difficult, and other times ,life is good. Taking from the best customer service experiences I have enjoyed,  I try to make Q by Dezine a welcoming online shop where you can find a gift –in inventory or custom made--for everyone on your list. The purchasing experience should be efficient and painless, and the item purchased arrives  gift-wrapped in a timely manner. If you have made a purchase or ordered a custom piece from Q by Dezine and have a suggestion to make the process better and more enjoyable, please let me know  If you haven't purchased anything because of something on the Q by Dezine website, please let me know what that is.  You can email your feedback to  me (welderlady@msn.com).

The internet world can be cold, confusing, and as exhausting as walking around a shopping mall. If there is even one small change that I can make to make the shopping experience at http://www.qbydezine.com/ more enjoyable and relaxing, I’d like to hear it. Thanks!

Q



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Lights On!

Jan 14 2013

  I get the biggest thrill from creating functional glass art, being inspired by the Art Deco period when hand crafted one-of-a-kind items came back into vogue after a long romance with industrialism.  Common household items could be utilitarian AND beautiful.  In our previous house, I painted the switch plate cover in the garage in the classic green camouflage pattern to the delight of my husband.  A few months ago I found a mold to create a kiln cast glass switch plate cover.  Kiln casting is an art in itself.  The tricky part is determining the volume of glass frit to melt and fuse to produce the final object correctly so it would fit properly over the light switch.  After an initial try and a couple of adjustments, I have a switch plate cover for my newly painted mud room. 

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Horsing Around

Jan 10 2013

When you are a “horse person” without a horse, having a friend with more horses than she can exercise is better than winning the lottery. While they were waiting to cross a busy road and hit the trails, a lady popped out of her house, took this great photo, and gave it to the riders.

     I had the joy of translating the photo into glass art.  Using glass enamels, I painted a fantasy background of a blue sky, a gravel trail replaced the macadam, and green grass replaced the crispy looking leaves. The background was designed to make the horse and rider images really “pop” in the art.  After the enamels were fired, the images of the riders and horses transferred onto the glass, green frit was added for texture, and the piece was fired again. 

   The horse and rider image had more details than any other images that I had transferred previously.  On close inspection, one can see details in the faces of the riders, the muzzles of the horses, and in their harnesses, reins, and stirrups.   While this wasn’t the first time I created art from a photo of a person, it was the first (and hopefully, not the last) for horses.  Happy Trails!!!  



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Happy Holidays

Dec 25 2012

    This ornament created from a vintage photo of my grandmother's boxer, Margo, and me has joined the eclectic collection of ornaments on our Christmas tree. 

I found this photo of my brother John and me that will be my next ornament when I fire up the kiln again.  Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays.  Have a joyful day!



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Magnifier Light of My Life

Dec 18 2012

When I was researching what kind of lighting I should have in my studio, I found an article that stated that the older you are, the more lumens of light you need. Newsflash? NOT!!! I have craved more powerful task lighting for whatever task I was doing for several years.  In addition, I seemed to be doing more work that required tiny details.  I often wear a jeweler's visor for magnification, but it gives me a headache and smashes my hair. (A Jersey Girl needs her volume : ) ).

 A special challenge in working with glass is that it reflects light, causing a glare that is torture on the eyes.  When I set up my studio, I had several ceiling lights installed that provide excellent area light.  I have struggled, however, to find the best task lighting.  Last week while wandering through Staples with a gift card, I stumbled upon the magnifier lights.  Yes, I have seen them before, but they didn't impress me. I tried a few there in the store, looking at my hand with and without magnification and turning the lights on and off, and realized that the right lamp could solve the light and magnification issues and maybe the headache issue, too. 

   I chose the Tensor VisionMax that features a 5inch diameter 3x diopeter lens, natural daylight lighting for truest color, and a dust cover.  The lamp clamps on to my workbench and has an adjustable arm so I can swing it over the work or out of the way.  I used it for the first time today on a new enameling project that has features that are more tiny than I had anticipated. 

   The magnifier lamp is working beautifully, giving great magnification and light and no glare.  Now I just need to find some very very tiny brushes. 

 Enjoy,



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Gilt Trip

Dec 12 2012

I must have a latent gene for all things gold and sparkly. In my adult life I have always loved the gleam of copper and silver ranks up there, too.  Recently gold has taken center stage, and I find any excuse (not that I need one) to use gold in my glass creations.  Imagine how delighted I was to create a celebration piece incorporating gold and silver, especially after being advised that the more sparkly, the better.  Ooh, license to sparkle! 

  Four different gold treatments were used in this piece.  The cabochons adorning the corners were kiln cast using gold mica flakes and clear frit.  They sparkle more then the camera can catch.  The banners were painted with enamels and fused, and then given a cold treatment to further embellish.  The dots were a cold treatment with a special pen.  The silver enamel didn't appear sparkly enough, so it was limited to accents.  I had the privilege to meet this team earlier this year.  Mack is even more handsome in person ..(or should that be "in dog"?) and Karen is eternally youthful   That's what joy does to you! I was so inspired, I found another canvas to paint gold . . .   

 



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Will the Real Eastman Please Stand Up?

Dec 10 2012

My husband is from Rochester, the home base of Kodak, so he was tickled all shades of kodachrome when I told him that I was doing a project for a dog named Eastman. Eastie's mom, Cathy, names her English Springer Spaniels after inventors, so this definitely was a Kodak moment.

  She wanted two renditions of the same photo--a sepia tone photo transfer and a more interpretative enameled version. The photo transfer was a perfect replica of the photo, framed on aventurine green glass with gold dichroic accents at the corners. 

   The transfer was accomplished on the second piece, and I began the enameling process. Eastman has soft, mesmerizing eyes that seem to hypnotize you into giving him anything he wants. In the first firing, the nose was perfect, but the eyes weren't soft enough, and I wasn't pleased with his ears.  Painting with enamels on glass is not like painting with anything on paper, canvas, or other materials. Before it is fired, the painted piece looks like areas of powder, some of which are barely distinguishable by the color.  You cannot see the actual color and pattern until after the piece is fired, so it is almost like painting blind. Some details need to be painted on top of previously fired painting so the accents don't blend into the base color.

  The enameled Eastman was fired several times to achieve an interpretative rendering on glass  The copper sparkle corners perfectly complement his milk chocolate tones.  Both pieces capture his soft eyes and amazing energy. 

Enjoy!

Q



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The Eighth Deadly Sin - Overcompensation

Dec 03 2012

Overcompensation . . . . not a good thing when you are fusing glass because: 1. it can cause an unhappy accident, in which  time , materials, and maybe other equipment are lost,  2. it leads to under-compensation(a.k.a. severe cautiousness), also causing loss of time and sometimes materials, too. This was the first time that I used a square drop ring this large (7"x7"); the distance the glass would  drop or slump was only about two inches, not any deeper than work I had done previously. Recently, however, the slumping temperatures I had used successfully in the past for my favorite molds had not been giving a full slump.  That is, the bottom of the vessel may be rounded instead of flat and stable.  So, I cranked up the maximum temperature in the program to slump the ring mold.

    The flat glass dropped through the ring mold and created a very artsy base--that was too large to remove from the mold without breaking the mold.  Not a problem.  So much of the glass had flowed into the base that the sides were as thin as tissue paper.  A few gentle taps with my finger along the sides, and the top was free from the bottom. 

 The ring mold lives to see another drop. The glass will be re-purposed somehow, either in a pot melt or cut into pieces with the wet saw.  And yes, I undercompensated the next time I fired a drop ring project, even though I had data from firings of similar pieces in  2010 that indicate the perfect temperature. I am working toward a happy medium . . .

Enjoy,

Q



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Mosaic Dogs

Nov 27 2012

I've never seen a dog that isn't photogenic, and a good photographer can bring out the personality in a dog. Buddy, the red beagle, seemed to be tenaciously begging for a treat, while the lovely Clover was showing off her stylish necklace.

            

Who wouldn't love those faces??! Because both dogs belong to the same family, I designed a mosaic style frame that was similar enough for both pieces to be displayed together, yet different enough for each to be distinctive. 

                             

 Buddy's mosaic was composed of darker blues and dichroic, while Clover' surround featured purple, lilac, dichroic, and was linked to Buddy's via the turquoise.  The images were fired on, painted with enamels, and fired again.  Both pieces were fired a third time to tack fuse the mosaics.  The artwork was a custom order from a very generous and loving aunt to her nephew and his wife to celebrate their lovely furkids.

Enjoy!

Q



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Home From the National Dog Show

Nov 19 2012

It took me longer to pack up my booth than to drive home from Oaks, PA.  I was tempted to stay and watch the Best In Show competition that was just starting, but I will wait until Thanksgiving when it is our tradition to watch the National Dog Show after the parade and be surprised.

    A big Hello and Thank You to everyone who stopped by my booth.  Please remember to get orders for your photo image fused glass art to me as soon as possible to insure that you will have your special gift in time for the holidays.  If you have any questions about the design, cost, or how to send me a photo, please email me at welderlady@msn.com

I hope you enjoyed the show.  With all those dogs, what's not to enjoy?

Q



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Dog Ornaments for Rescue

Nov 15 2012

Since its launch in November 2004, Q by Dezine has frequently donated items for raffles for a variety of good causes, both human and pet related.  This year Q by Dezine created a variety of dog-themed ornaments that you can find in the new category "Dog Ornaments" in the Gallery.  Q by Dezine is donating 5% of the sales to S&L Animal Rescue (http://endingthesadness.org) and also is matching that contribution.  S&L rescued Carrera (our youngest), who was a tiny sick puppy, from a kill shelter.

    I was inspired to design “Every Dog Needs a Home” as a tribute to rescuers, rescue dogs, and those who are really rescued (us folks who adopt the rescued animals). This ornament can be personalized with your dog's name written in the gold bone.  S&L was the obvious choice-being in NJ and the source of our smart, funny,crazy girl.  As it turns out, S&L was without power, heat, internet, etc., for about two weeks while caring for about twenty rescues. There were so many in need before Sandy, and so many more since that terrible storm.  The road to recovery starts with the first step.

Hug all of your loved ones.



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National Dog Show - Day 1

Nov 15 2012

Technically this is the first day of the four day cluster.  The Penn Treaty Kennel Club, who look great in their purple jackets, organize/sponsor Day 1.  To everyone who stopped by the Q by Dezine booth Thank You!  It was good to see old friends and meet new friends. A special hello to Heather Mackenzie, Mackenzie Belts (http://mackenziebelts.com)--   who designs and makes gorgeous, luxurious patterns for collars, leashes, and belts. 

   Once again, Q runs with the big dogs.  I think this was the smallest breed showing in Ring 10 just outside my booth.  I'd need a larger kiln to make a food bowl for these breeds : ).  If you are in the area and looking for something to do, come over to the show at the  Expo Center in Oaks.  Over the weekend there will be agility, dock diving, and other fun events in addition to the show.

Enjoy!

Q



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Happy Anniversary to . . . . . Me

Nov 08 2012

Q by Dezine was officially launched 8 years ago (November 2004).  In the past, I’ve never really marked the anniversaries, probably because from September to December I barely have a chance to breathe. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning or even at some point along the way have witnessed a gradual evolution in my offerings.   From childhood I have always had busy hands-painting, sewing, etc. In adulthood, I moved on to metalwork, clay, watercolors, cake decorating—anything that kept my right brain engaged and learning new skills.   Q by Dezine started with jewelry that I created entirely by hand, including clasps and other findings. I still like to work with “found items” that give history and character to a piece.  In one brief experiment with a tiny kiln, I fell in love with fused glass.  A great thing about glass is that it mixes well with a variety of other mediums like metals, beads, and even watercolor techniques.  Even ribbons and boas can be mixed with glass, although not in a kiln : ) .  My business road has not always been easy, and constantly requires as much creativity as my art. As a “solopreneur”, I do the fun stuff, the boring stuff, and the dirty work. Among the fun parts are my customers.  Thank you all.  Some of you have been muses for my work; some of you have inspired and challenged me to move beyond my comfort zone and find that it isn’t so scary or difficult beyond our self-set borders.  Thank you all!  Happy Anniversary!

Enjoy!

Q  



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Plan the Work, Work the Plan

Nov 06 2012

This is so true for so many things that we do, and especially true for glass fusing projects.  There is some planning that goes into the design step, but the end result is an annotated sketch.  Once I have the annotated sketch, I outline the steps for creating the specific piece, the firing programs, and what I need to do to the glass before firing again. 

The Jag & Safari Project is a great example. This tribute piece was a custom order as a gift for Jag’s people who lost Jag suddenly one morning shortly after their family vacation at Cape Cod. 

  The photo of them on the beach was perfect; they looked like they were having fun.  Jag, the younger ridgeback, is the one on the right, and his buddy, Safari, is sitting in front.   The piece was planned as a 5”x5” square and the photo was edited to the correct size/parameters for the piece and photo transfer process.  I printed the image, rough cut it, and traced it on the glass, and also left a space for their names.  The area outside of the traced outline was painted with glass enamels and a few areas were sprinkled with glass frit for intensity and color variation.  A toothpick worked fine to scratch off blue enamel to create white caps in the water.  The piece was fired up to 1450 degrees to fire the enamel.

  Once the enamels were fired, the next step was to apply the photo transfer of the dog images and their names.  More frit was added in aventurine blue in the waves and both clear for sparkle and cinnabar for touches of reddish brown in the sand.  The firing temp for the photo transfer is about the same for tack fusing, so the frit will not melt into the glass but will provide texture. 

   As always with this glass art, the images transferred are the stars of the piece, and the background just enhances them.  As an artist I am always grateful and humbled to be able to translate a beautiful memory in lasting visual art. 

  



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Ride the Wave

Oct 26 2012

Shortly after I ordered the Big Kiln, one of my favorite suppliers had a sale on molds.  With the bigger kiln, I can use bigger molds and make larger pieces.  There was one mold that I couldn’t resist—the wave tray. 

  The wavy sides were intriguing . . .  enticing, and I could already envision a slumped tray in tranquil blue.   Yes, I’m an ocean girl even though my zodiac sign is an air sign.  My first wave tray had to be blue. The bottom layer is clear glass painted with a few sketchy streaks of white enamels, and this was topped with translucent iridescent blue glass and fired to full fuse. The fused piece was returned to the kiln balanced on the wave tray mold and fired to slump.  Sparkling Wave was born.   

     While experimenting with dichroic glass, the idea struck me that that this would look very elegant slumped as a wave tray.  Using a black glass base, I cut and fit dichroic glass with a reptile pattern, solid green/gold, and solid burgundy and surrounded them with black frit.  The piece was full fused and then slumped in the wave tray.  It looked Celebratory!  And so this jewel for the table got its name.

 

Enjoy!

Q

 



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Bag Lady . . . er . . Dog

Oct 26 2012

I love custom work! It gives me the opportunity to reinvent the clients’ photos to create a lasting memory in glass.  This Pap in a Shopping Bag was a gift commissioned by the recipient’s sister.  She sent me three photos of this cutie, but his butterfly ears were displayed best in the shopping bag photo. 

  Since the shopping bag appeared to swallow him up, I painted a smaller bag in a stylish Tiffany blue.  The glass has an iridescent finish, providing more sparkle. 

  The piece was fired 4 times, first for the photo/text transfer, twice at high temps for the enamel work, and finally slumped at a lower temp to shape it.  Then Niki the Papillion Bag Dog was gift wrapped and shipped to his mom who is blessed to have him and a loving sister.

Enjoy

Q

 



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Eleven Uses for Dotz Bowl

Oct 23 2012
A bowl is a bowl is a bowl. Have you ever looked at a hand-crafted bowl or dish at a fine arts fair and said, "It's beautiful, but what would I do with it?". The 4" x 4" Dotz bowl with quirky sides has at least eleven uses that I can think of off the top of my head: 1. ice cream bowl 2. votive candle holder 3. dinner bowl for toy dog breed 4. fill with water and float a flat-backed blossom 5. decorative/display 6. holds your keys 7. candy dish for your desk at work 8. perfect size for a fruit salad 9. fill with bath soaps for master or guest bathroom 10. holds your rings and earrings beautifully 11. gift for quirky friend Do you have a suggestion? I'll bet there are five or ten more uses that I haven't thought of. Tell me how you would use it.
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Mosaic Frame Seeking Image to Fuse (or MFSITF)

Oct 11 2012
If you had a favorite photo that you wanted to display, you would buy a frame to fit the photo. Well, this Mosaic Frame is a frame that has been designed and fused and is waiting to fuse your special photo as a permanent memory. In the design and creation process, fusing the mosaic on the base glass is accomplished at a higher temperature than is required for fusing an image on the glass. So, the piece is now ready for fusing your favorite photo. The photo should be a clear image of the subject with as little distracting background as possible. The background will be cut away, so you don't want anything extraneous covering part of the desired image. You favorite photo could be one of your children, pets, family, or friends. (No photos are harmed in this process, so it is also great for vintage photos.) These make great gifts for family and friends. I've done several custom pieces of dogs that were ordered as gifts and a recent wall art of two friends riding their horses. The larger the image, the larger the piece needs to be to capture the detail. So, this Mosaic Frame is ready for fusing your favorite photo. This design can be made in other colors and styles.
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Autumn Leaves on your Table

Oct 09 2012
About half of our property is wooded. In the summer the green foliage is a lush privacy screen, and in the fall our woods are a fireworks of color. I picked a few samples of maple leaves during a quiet walk and brought them to my studio. The layering of leave son the ground were an inspiration. They were perfect models for an exploration of orange, red, and yellow fire colors painted in multi layers to create the Autumn Leaf Orange plate. The plate is food-safe, and can be used to hold nuts, snacks, candies, or other foods. Bring the sparkle and warmth of autumn to your table with this hand crafted art glass.
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Beware . . . .

Oct 05 2012

Some of my favorite designs appeared in my imagination after my brain had taken note of some things and the neurons worked overtime while I was doing other things.  The "Beware" piece popped into my head one day.  I could trace the inspiration back to a couple of things I had seen that somehow connected somewhere in my brain.  I had created one of my very first pieces from the photo of Gibson and son Henley and thought it was the anti-thesis of the warning " Beware".  In fact, the only thing to beware of with these two is that they will try to steal training treats and any available food.

  This 10" x 5"  piece was fired three times, first for the text, then to fire the enamels, and finally to fuse the photo. It was personalized with overhanging leaves since they are standing at a gate to the yard. The level of detail in the photo transfer is amazing. 

 The fun thing is that this design could be used for any breed. Contact me at welderlady@msn.com to place your custom order.



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A Beer or Two , , , ,

Oct 02 2012

When I finished Boomer'lot, I knew I needed to give beer equal time.  No wimpy, fruit-favored ales would do.  It had to be a rough and tumble Cattledog Brew.  My cattledogs have always been good natured, but their wary eye, meant for staring down cattle, can be scary to people not accustomed to this breed. 

             They made good models for wall art that fits right into a man cave, mud room, or any room that could use a touch of art and humor.  When I create projects with larger areas to paint, I use clove oil as the flow agent for the enamels to keep the paint in the proper state for application for a longer period of time. It also gives an interesting variation in color. I have to remove all sources of water so I don't dip the brush out of habit and create a mess.  Oil and water do not mix!!!  The smaller areas are painted with the enamels using the standard aqueous flow agent.  After painting with oil, I leave the finished piece in a warm dry area at least overnight to allow the oil to dry.  The aroma of the clove oil can be overpowering, so I try to keep this work in my studio.  These pieces were painted and fired at 1450F and then the photo transfer was fired at a lower temperature.  A copper loop was added, and they are ready to add warmth and humor to any wall.

Enjoy,

Q



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Bruiser 5K

Sep 17 2012

Spyder, our Australian Cattledog who will turn 15 next Sunday is a cancer survivor.  She lost a digit on her hind leg to cancer and has lost her hearing from the chemo that followed the surgery.  She was lucky, we were luckier.  There are many devastating cancers that affect our special four-footed companions.  The Bruiser 5K is an organization that raises money through the efforts of volunteers for research to eliminate cancer in dogs.  The battle cry is "kick cancer's ass", a battlecry against all cancers. The It's For the Dogs team is raffling off items t raise money, in addition to donations for running the 5K.  Q b Dezine is proud to donate three orignal hand crafted works.

 Sparkle in a necklace and earrings featuring Swarovski crystals in amethyst and clear and Swarovski crystal pearls in gold satin.  The clasp and earwires are 12k GF.

 Funky glass earrings and pendant featuring lovely 22k gold dragonflies. The ear wires are sterling silver.

  Turquoise stones and chips are highlighted by rainbow fluorite and freshwater pearls dyed a luscious midnight blue.

If you are interested in participating, contact Team It's For the Dogs:

Deb Roseman: http://thebruiser5k .org/debra- roseman-p- 448.html
Frank Heffelfinger: http://thebruiser5k .org/frank- heffelfinger- p-451.html
Terry Travis: http://thebruiser5k .org/theresa- travis-p- 450.html
Susan Palius: http://thebruiser5k .org/susan- palius-p- 461.html
Deb Lazaro http://thebruiser5k .org/debbie- lazaro-p- 449.html



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Coasters

Aug 29 2012

Who doesn't need coasters?  They protect precious surfaces from watermarks and can make a style statement at the same time. 

    This vintage Porsche design is an elegant addition to any man cave, library, or family room.  Or showcase your own vintage car, show car, or motorcycle in a custom set of coasters. Not interested in cars?  The coasters can feature your favorite pet, a flower from your garden, a favorite view from your vacation, your favorite inspirational saying.  The coasters are unique art, personal and special, with your precious photo memory. Each coaster has rubber bumpers on the underside to protect furniture surfaces. ($40/for four 4"x4"coasters). 



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A Banner Year

Aug 27 2012

At the Keystone Cluster two weeks ago in Harrisburg, I unfurled my two new banners. 

"Celebrate Life's Special Moments with Glass Art and Jewelry".  This six-footer features four of my favorite pieces to date.  It was a bit of a challenge to hang, but with my trusty friends, Mr. Heavy Twine, Ducky Tape, and Ms. Tape Measure, I was able to hang it without help and with a minimum of moving the step ladder back and forth to the ends.  It looked smashing against the back wall of my white canopy.  The background of the banner is purple, so it matches nicely with my purple table covers and corner curtains.   

I splurged on a second, smaller banner for the front of one of the tables. 

   It replaces a Q by Dezine banner that  I hand painted on fabric.  At a previous show the rain caused the letters to run a bit.  The new banners are weatherproof.  If I do another outdoor show, I won't have to worry about ruining them.

I designed both banners using a template at Staples online print & copy.  It was relatively easy to determine how large everything would be in the banner. When designing any sign, it is critical that the text and images are large enough to see from the intended distance. The only downside for me was that I prefer to have a hard copy to proofread, but am getting more comfortable proofing on the screen.  It helps to read each word backwards.  : )

Enjoy!

Q

  



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Going Hollywood!

Aug 20 2012

She could be a movie star! After all, her name is Ch. Kimani's Motion Picture II, but she is better known as Rooi. The level of detail in the image transfer process is amazing. Even for multi-color breeds that I subsequently paint with glass enamel, the detail is the same as a photo. 

This is a new mold, 7x7 inches with a definite slope.  This mold and the 10x10 inch soft slope (See Gibson in an earlier blog or at  www.facebook.com/QbyDezine) are perfect for trophies.  They can be personalized with the winner’s dog and include the event, club logo, or date.  The designs for these two pieces played up the African theme for Gibson and a more old-glamour Hollywood style for Rooi.  The background and design can be your personal favorite or something pertinent to the breed.  BTW, the designs are not limited to dogs; I just happen to have a lot of available models  : )

Enjoy!

Q    



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Boomer'lot

Aug 10 2012

   I don't know if Boomer ever thought about having his own wine label, but he certainly would be a charming spokesdog.

  



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Her Place in the World

Aug 03 2012

Both of my dog’s think they own the world, so when it came time to create a Fantasy Dog piece for Carrera, this vision must have been lurking in the back of my brain.  Getting the photograph was a bit tricky.  She is afraid of my camera, even though I turned the sounds off.  She is accustomed to me carrying my smartphone, so one day I just called her and snapped the photo. 

     

 

 This wall plaque had three firings.  The first was  the Image transfer at a max of 1300F, the second to set the glass enamels and frit at a high temp (1450F), and the third at about 1250F for the mid-temp fire star images (barely visible in the photo).  I was tickled at how the frit applied in the ocean areas fired to  give the appearance of tiny dots and the land masses have dimension.  Best of all, my beautiful girl looks great and would be the first to let you know she rules the world!

Enjoy^

Q



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The Biggest Thing I Ever Made . . . .so far!

Jul 27 2012

My little workhorse kiln still fires beautifully, but flat pieces are limited to 6 inches square.  After testing the Big Boy kiln with a couple of smaller pieces, I jumped from the 6 inch plate to a big 10 inch size.  My model was a handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gibson ( Ch. Kimani’s Life in the Fast Lane), dad to our agility buddy, Henley.  The photo was cropped from a full body shot on his stud poster : ) . The high temp full fuse was the first step to fuse the two layers and the background pattern that was painted with glass enamels.  The following day when I was able to remove it from the kiln, I applied the image transfers of Gibson , his call name and registered name, and placed the plate on a lovely clay mold.  Since the image fusing and slumping fire at the same max temperature, I accomplished both in the same firing.  The clay mold is 10 inches square and has a very slight slope, making for an elegant piece.  The detail in the image transfer is exquisite. 

   The background is a little bit African plains and a little bit rock and roll.  The 10 inch plate would be an excellent trophy for any dog sport and can be custom designed to be elegant, sporty, or rock and roll. 

Enjoy,

Q



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Big Boy

Jul 17 2012

My BigBoy is installed and had a test run!  Isn't he beautiful?!

 It is large enough and deep enough for me to be able to create platters, vases, and other larger works of art without needing an assistant to help load and unload the kiln.

  Of course, the list of projects to be fired in this kiln already will keep me busy into the winter and new projects are added daily.  One of the realities of creative work is that some pieces require experimentation and the process you thought should be right might need adjustments. This takes time, uses up materials, and tests my problem-solving skills. I try to find other uses for pieces that don't meet creativity and quality standards or are otherwise rejected.  I expect I will have a lot of garden art : ) .  For smaller items, I still rely on my little workhorse that has been a faithful friend for several years and has no retirement date in sight.

 

 

 



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Intergalactic Agility

Jun 26 2012

My friend Pat sent me photos of  her and her handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback, Henley (Ch Kimaní's Take It to the Limit) doing some agility training.  My first impression of the photo of Henley taking the broad jump was that he looks like he is flying. 

  This image stuck with me while I worked on other projects until a design began to take shape in my mind.  I made a rough sketch and refined it as I planned the actual piece,  Intergalactic Agility

   This panel was created in two layers, the blue base and a clear overlay. One of the things that I love about working with clear glass is the ability to play with optical interest. The optical interest is what hooked me when the very first little test piece that I made just to see what glass fusing was (several years ago) came out of the tiny beehive kiln. Anyway, in Intergalactic Agility, the moon apears to be in the background because it was painted on the blue base, whereas Henley's image is on the clear glass overlay.  The red planets in the upper left and right are copper foil inclusions to provide a different shine and texture from the enamels. The photo of the glass panel doesn't do it justice. I have a few other Fantasy Dog designs on my to do list that will feature other dogs.  The inspirations come from a photo of the dog that shows off his/her best qualities or personality or incorporating the dog into something personal to the owners, like a hobby or favorite vacation place.  Watch this space for more Fantasy Dogs as I work my way through D.O.F.s (Dogs of Friends :) )  

Enjoy,
Q    


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Believe in the Power of Belief

Jun 15 2012

In the past few months I've been experimenting with the image transfer technique using photos of DOFs (Dogs of Friends).  Among them are show dogs, purebreds, and All American Dogs, enough variety so I can study color, coat patterns, noses and ears, and other important details.  Last month my friend Pat sent me photos of Henley, her handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback, training on agility equipment, including a great photo of him jumping through the tire.

  This, BTW, is a wonderful photo for the image transfer process.  The focus is the subject without too much background interference, and the photo is sharp.  I did the necessary tweaking to ensure that the size, pixels, etc. were perfect for the image transfer.  I printed the image on the photo transfer paper and then cut away everything except Henley, the tire, and the frame for the tire, and fused those images onto clear art glass, along with the text "Believe in the Power of Belief".  After fusing the image, I colorized it with glass enamels, liquid stringer (glass powder mixed with a colloid), and glass frit, adding grass, trees, and a surreal textured sky, and the piece was fired again. 

  And with a combination of good karma, great training, and patience, Henley has his first AKC agility title and is working his way up to MACH.  Way to go Pat & Henley! 

 



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Tributes

May 29 2012

What could be more exciting than being a vendor at a dog show? Truthfully, going home to my dogs who (finally) greet me like I've been gone for years! A big Hello to everyone who visited my Q by Dezine booth at the Atlantic Shore Memorial Classic this weekend. Thank you for sharing your dogs and your stories. A special thank you to Pat and my favorite RR, Henley, for posting my info on the NJ Agility list to help people find me. Several of you verbalized somthing that I had done without putting words to my actions. When I created Go Fetch (see earlier post) and Snow Dog I didn't think of it as creating a tribute to my dogs who are waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge. Each of these pieces seemed to erase those very sad last moments and replace them with smiles and memories of fun in the snow with Dingo and endless games of fetch with Targa. With love, Q
Post created from this item



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Retro Poodles

May 14 2012

A friend of mine buys up household linens at garage and estate sales in hopes of finding fabric treasures.  One of her finds was a vintage apron that was damaged and dirty beyond repair except for the two pockets. She thought that  I could do something with them.  The faded pink cotton squares feature very charming machine embroidered poodles with tiny, sparkly rhinestone collars. 

   Apron Pocket

   I was planning to frame the pockets, but in a moment of inspiration, I scanned them and printed them on photo transfer paper.  I fused one of the images on pink glass. The fired image had a lovely sepia tone, but in keeping with the 1950's style, the poodle had to be black against the pink glass.  I painted the poodle with glass enamels and gave it texture with glass frit.  And of course, the collar and leash are a sparkly gold enamel! I put the piece in the kiln to fire it again. Hours later when I opened the kiln I was tickled pink with the little touch of retro '50’s glamour translated onto glass. 

  painted image transfer on pink glass



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Lexi's Leash Rack

May 14 2012

I was privileged to design and create a custom gift to celebrate a show dog’s first litter.  My friend Pat requested that I create a leash rack for her to send to her friend whose bitch, Lexi, was about to give birth.  My plan was to create six white panels incorporating the best photos to tell Lexi’s story mounted on a wood panel. 

   Shortly before the birth, I received several photos, including one of Lexi and her PuppyDaddy, Argos, in wedding attire.  I fired a photo of Lexi running with mountains in the background, but the background interfered with the contrast.  Two steps forward, one step back. While I was working on the panels, I was thrilled to receive updates and photos of the newly arrived puppies. Now I had the difficult task of choosing the puppy photos.  In addition to honing image transfer skills, I had a crash course in routing the edge of the wood plaque and countersinking the screws for the pegs. Guess I’ll have to expand my studio to include a woodworking area . . . The cobalt blue makes the white panels really pop, and the photos tell a lovely story.   

Enjoy!

Q   



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Go Fetch!!!!

May 07 2012

 

    In the past two months I’ve been experimenting with fusing images on glass.  I’ve done a few custom orders and gifts for friends, and I have no shortage of photos for inspiration.  I have a favorite photo of my Australian Cattle dog, Targa, resting in front of the garage door with his favorite tennis ball.

   I fused a black & white copy of the image onto clear glass. BTW, no photos are harmed in this process. To truly capture his fun-loving spirit, I colorized the image with glass enamels and frit.  Instead of a white garage door and garage apron, he luxuriates in a green meadow with blue skies, and of course, a bucket worth of yellow tennis balls. I fired the piece again to set the enamels.  Go Fetch captures a personal memory of good times with a best friend.   

 



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Puppy Photo Pendant

Apr 17 2012

When my youngest fur-kid, Carrera, was a puppy, I took a one-in-a-million shot of her sittng on the kitchen floor wearing her Rave Girl sweater. Her face was tilted at just the right angle to capture her most endearing expression. She rarely ever stood this still!

   To create my pendant, I cropped all but her face and fused it to a rectangle of white glass. The bail is fine silver fused under the turquoise frit. It's the perfect accessory and good luck charm when we are running agility courses.



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Life's a Grind, and I Love It!

Mar 22 2012

When I first started working with glass, I tried to manage with just the essentials: a scoring tool, a  kiln and kiln furniture (to furnish the interior of the kiln), glass  pliers, forceps, and  an unedited collecton of raw glass in all colors and textures.  I often use the phrase to cut the glass as shorthand for  the more technical terms of score and break, although sometimes the score isn't a winning score, and the break is simply a bad break, leaving a jagged or uneven edge.  Initially I bought diamond pads--not as glamorous or sparkly as they sound, but still expensive--to smooth the rough edges. They are marvelous for small jobs, but if the edge of  the glass has a funky break( like the white glass in the photo below) hand-smoothing, even with the lowest, roughest grit pad could take over my afternoon. 

  In addition, the glass  has to be kept wet, mostly to keep the dangerous silica dust from flying into the air.  I finally smartened up a couple of years ago and bought a grinder, which has become one of my favorite tools of all time.

     The table of the grinder is tilted so I can see what I am doing without breaking my back.  The two interchangeable heads are encrusted with diamond grit.  While you may think of diamonds as decorative, they are among the hardest workers in the world of glass.  A funky break doesn't stand a chance against that diamond grit, as you can see in the photo below of the funky edge now ground smooth. This piece was transformed into one of the Sunset sushi dishes, a recent addition to the Q Gallery.

   

 



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