Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here's What Did It For Me. . .

This is what got me out of that non-torching funk that I was talking about yesterday. . . one incredibly cool and thoughtful care package from Mona and The Gaffer Girls. You know, the volume of all three of Julia Cameron's Artist's Way books lies unread on my desk, even though I had delusions of reading one chapter each week starting with the first week of June. And not even the good feeling of having my hubby ask why I don't have my torch out was enough to make me clear off the workspace again. It was Mona's care package that finally kicked me in the rear.
How can I not clean off the worktable and hook up the torch??
When this box arrived last week, I was home with the kiddos plus two of their cousins. With four kids waiting on me, I decided to put off opening the package until we'd gone to town to meet up with the other cousins. You should have seen the excitement when we got back and I started unpacking Gaffer goodies! Every different color of powder was greeted with yet another chorus of "ooooooooo, pretttttttty!"
And did I tell you why Mona sent me basic colors plus that colorful assortment of powders? Mona knew I like to work big with my sculptures and so don't feel justified buying lots of different colors (stocking up on plain dark ivory in bulk was my ordering modus operandi). Smart and thoughtful woman that she is, Mona realized that using powders/enamels could be the most efficient solution to letting me add color when I feel like it. IS SHE GREAT, OR WHAT??

Yep, this is such a boost to my muse! I have been happily putting together an extra storage shelf, clearing off the workspace, and stacking the kiln (doesn't quite work when dismantled into the separate layers of firebrick). Next step is mounting the torch and hooking up hoses, but I had to show you some pictures first.
Oh, and by the way, today is Mona Larson's birthday! If you get a chance, be sure to drop her a "Happy Happy" comment on her personal blog or Facebook or you get the idea :)
With big changes in COE come big changes in the way you organize your glass. Glass peeps know what I'm talking about-- different COE glasses cannot be mixed because they cool at different rates and mixing them will cause a piece to break. That means you have to make a decision when you switch from one COE to another. Do you want to keep everything separate and labeled, or do you want to completely clear your workspace and keep only one COE of glass in sight? Me, I'm a bit too unorganized to keep different glasses within reach at the same time. Heaven only knows, I would eventually (probably sooner than later) pick up two different glasses and mix them in one sculpture. So, the solution for me is to put away all my 104 COE glass, vacuum and wipe the table surface clean, and then start arranging that luscious Gaffer goodness! As an added precaution, I took some advice I saw on Lampwork Etc. yesterday, and I used colored Sharpie and/or nail polish to mark the ends of my Gaffer rods of glass.

Ah, yes, that's the Chalcedony that Deb, Mallory, and Laurie have been rocking! Tips and tricks abound on their blogs, as well as on this page from Gaffer. I hope I can do it justice.

Just a reminder to use a respirator whenever you play with powdery substances. The salt shakers have something to do with the enamels, too, in case you non-glass peeps are wondering. I scoured The Dollar Tree for smaller, clear glass bottles with lids. I contemplated buying a few packages of tiny cheapo lip glosses that came in glass bottles with plastic lids, but they were almost too small. I really wanted small, clear glass salt shakers with metal screw-on lids, but honestly, these were cheeeeeeeap and available today. I'm going to experiment with covering part of the holes in the lids. I figure after I've played for a bit with the enamels, I'll have a better feel for how many holes to close and how many to leave open. Good grief, I am such an utter newbie when it comes to practically anything except sculpting, LOL. Those of you who've already "been there, done that" should be rolling your eyes about now :) Still, you never know when a beginner's enthusiasm might make a tiny difference in someone else's day.
Finally, I have to tell you The Dollar Tree is too much fun! Everything is one dollar. Now, this can be a baaaaaaaaaaaad thing for me. I try not to go there anymore because my "dollar this" and "dollar that" can so quickly become a basket of thirty or forty "it's only a dollar" items. I had a feeling they would have something to use for powder keeper/shakers, though, so I let myself walk in their door today. In the end, what with ten sets of shakers, Katie's two new headbands, James' two play sets, and my citrus lemongrass scented lotion and body butter, the final tally was still under $20. SCORE!
And that, my friends, is day two of my return to glass. I dipped a few mandrels this morning, and now I'm going to go hook up the torch. After that, we'll see. . .and hopefully there'll be kiln goodies to show tomorrow.


Deb said...

Ang - I so know the feeling of Mona's generosity! You & I now have matching T Shirts ...I almost feel as if I have a sister! :o)

I had a care package arrive on Monday. I have to say that the timing was perfect & it was saved the day in many more ways than Mona could have realised when she sent it!

I cant wait to see what you produce!!

And yeah - 1961 was an outstanding year & made for some sweet vintages both produced within hours of each other in late June.lol!

angelinabeadalina said...

LOL, I didn't realize when I left birthday messages that you were both born in the same year! Hope your day was a terrific one!

You are so right about the package being so much more than some glass.

All I've produced is one funky strange bead so far. Had issues with adjusting the flame at first, and that kinda freaked me out a little bit since it's never been a problem before now. After all that, I only had about 20 minutes to work. The ticking clock sitting on my shoulder kinda screwed with my creativity, but at least I got started :) I also plan to reread some of your posts before I use any more of the Chalcedony frit.

rosebud101 said...

Ang, it's great to see that you are on your way back to glass! I can hardly wait to see what comes out of the kiln when you are hooked up and ready to go!

BEADNIK (petra.janssen) said...

CHEERS, Mona ... ! I'm glad she sent you all the goodies to make you torch again. Ooooooh, "citrus lemongrass". Would be great to have a scented bead release ... :)

Go for Julia Cameron ...!!! I'm sure she'll rock the creative genius in you ... YES!


girlie never saw this or would a cried .. love you girl ...


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