Saturday, March 8, 2014

Antique Spun Glass

Antiques are always special. They speak about the past in ways that books cannot. One truly special antique item is spun glass. These items made of glass from decades past are something to be treasured. There are many types of antique spun glass out there, although finding it isn't always easy. You can find it with our help. A lovely bit of antique spun glass will be yours with a little bit of time and effort.

There are many different types of antique spun glass. One of the pieces most widely available today is spun glass figurines. These are also often quite affordable. If you can get your hands on one of these lovely spun glass pieces of art, then you are lucky indeed. Often, these figurines tell us more about the past than anything can. The designs, colors, and details of these antique items will speak volumes about the decade and people it belonged to.

Other types of antique spun glass include more rare items such as large spun glass chandeliers and wall hangings. These items are not usually found, but they are out there. Wall hangings made of spun glass often look like stained glass windows and were popular in home décor in Victorian times. Large spun glass chandeliers have turned up on occasion as well. Just imagine how one of these pieces would look in your home!

Acquiring antique spun glass can be difficult. One of the best ways to get it is at professional auctions. These auctions often have quite a bit of authentic antiques and you just might get lucky with a beautiful piece at a great price. If you're more of a bargain hunter, you should keep an eye out at thrift shops. Although you can't always be sure of the origin of the items at second hand shops, you might be able to find some lovely antique spun glass for just a few dollars.

Spun glass is a wonderful art form and a great way to decorate your home. If you are looking for design tips, spun glass decoration, and information on art glass supplies and antique stained glass or spun glass decor and gifts we can help by providing information, FAQs and reviews. Spun glass figurines also make wonderful gifts. A new piece of spun glass art depicting a happy couple makes an excellent wedding gift. Or hand down tradition with a gift of antique spun glass for a college graduation, a monumental birthday, or some other special occasion.

Spun Glass Figurines

Spun glass figurines are wonderful pieces of art. They come in all colors and sizes and you can use them to decorate your home, give them away as gifts, or even make them yourself. You can express yourself with a figurine that shows off one of your favorite hobbies, or surprise a lucky bride with a beautiful wedding-related spun glass figurine. Speaking of weddings, spun glass figurines also make great wedding cake toppers. The world of spun glass figurines is a very versatile one.

The most popular size of spun glass figurines are small ones. These delicate pieces of art are usually quite affordable. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors. You can purchase one that looks like a motorcycle, a castle, or a favorite animal. You can find them with special sayings for Mother's Day, weddings, birthdays and other occasions. You can also special order them. Many companies will allow you to choose the design, color and saying for someone special or for yourself.

There are also larger spun glass figurines available. These tend to be more expensive because they are harder to make, but they make a wonderful home décor accent or an amazing gift. They are also available in many sizes and styles. Some of them will be one-of-a-kind creations. These are often sold at specialty stores and at art galleries. Owning one of these treasures is like owning a great piece of art.

There are also extravagant spun glass figurines being created today. It is fast becoming a luxurious art form. Many people are having spun glass chandeliers created in their homes. Other times, corporations such as restaurants, concert halls, and up-scale retail stores are having these pieces of glass art designed to impress patrons. If you are lucky enough to own one of these rare, lavish pieces of spun glass, you should indeed treasure it.

Spun glass figurines make great home accents. Smaller figurines can be placed in china cabinets or on fireplace mantels. Purchase a few in the same color scheme as a room in your home. Medium sized figurines can be displayed on stands, in hutches, or as centerpieces. Large spun glass figurines can be hung from the ceiling for a great effect or displayed in specially made glass cases.

Spun glass is a wonderful art form and a great way to decorate your home. If you are looking for design tips, spun glass decoration, and information on art glass supplies and antique stained glass or spun glass decor and gifts we can help by providing information, FAQs and reviews. Spun glass figurines also make wonderful gifts. A new piece of spun glass art depicting a happy couple makes an excellent wedding gift. Or hand down tradition with a gift of antique spun glass for a college graduation, a monumental birthday, or some other special occasion.

Jewelry is one of the best ways to express yourself. And beautiful beaded jewelry is just as unique as you are. Whether you choose to make spun glass beads and jewelry, or buy great, original pieces, this is the article for you. We'll show you the best way to get and wear spun glass beads or spun glass beaded jewelry.

If you choose to make spun glass beads and jewelry, then you know how rewarding this hobby can be. Perhaps you enjoy making and selling these pieces, or you make them just for you and to give as gifts. You might choose to make the glass beads or just the jewelry. Whatever you decide, quality supplies are a must. If you choose to make your own beads, you should always have plenty of supplies, coloring and safety equipment on hand. If you choose to make just the jewelry, then you'll need to find quality beads for your creations.

Finding glass beads for jewelry is not always easy. If you want work that is truly the best quality and one-of-a-kind, you should find a local supplier. Someone who makes spun glass objects for a living in your area can provide you with the very best glass beads. You can also look online. This is especially helpful if you are looking for a wide variety of beads at a discounted price. The supplies to make your own glass beads are also much easier to find online, many internet craft stores and glass making specialty shops are selling glass bead making supplies. You may have to put some time into it, but your spun glass beads and jewelry hobby is going to be completely worth it.

Wearing spun glass beads and jewelry is a fun way to express yourself. You might have several pieces or just one, but it's always a treat to wear lovely spun glass. Spun glass beaded jewelry looks great with almost anything. Pair a sweet and simple bracelet with jeans and a top for a casual night out. Or don a long, sexy necklace with a little black dress for your own special twist on this timeless outfit. However you choose to wear it, spun glass beaded jewelry will bring your own touch to anything you wear.

Spun glass is a wonderful art form and a great way to decorate your home. If you are looking for design tips, spun glass decoration, and information on art glass supplies and antique stained glass or spun glass decor and gifts we can help by providing information, FAQs and reviews. Spun glass figurines also make wonderful gifts. A new piece of spun glass art depicting a happy couple makes an excellent wedding gift. Or hand down tradition with a gift of antique spun glass for a college graduation, a monumental birthday, or some other special occasion. If you choose to make spun glass beads and jewelry, then you know how rewarding this hobby can be.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Here are some of my personal favorite rings by Pandora.  Sometimes we forget that Pandora does in fact have a nice selection of fun, collectable and affordable rings.  
So while you are planning your new spring charms to get that free bracelet, also consider the ring.

Bisque firing

                                                                                              by Kelli Pope

 About twice a year, when I'm not busy with shows, I spend a weekend with my dear sis, Sue, and we play with clay.   It is SO therapeutic. I crank out beads, beads, pendants and more beads hoping it will get me through a few months of jewelry making.  We laugh, drink wine, create, and laugh some more.  
I'm quite happy to say after opening the kiln there was only one small breakage.  The petal off of one flower pendant :o(
 We used black and buff stoneware clay.    
Prior to the weekend, I had cut some of my own stamps, which I had never attempted before. The outcome was GREAT!!!!  No sticking AT ALL!!!   
I forget the count on the pendants,but I know I made well over 300 beads. :o)   Hopefully, that will last a little while....

once I get them all glazed, that is...........  Sue and I have an appointment with my favorite Kentucky potter at the end of this month.  She normally offers pot throwing classes, and bisque glazing sessions.  She has graciously agreed to give us a couple hours, and teach us some new glazing techniques.  I am SO excited!!!!!!   
I have been SO intrigued with Marsha's posts this month. It has made me realize how much I DON'T know about this wonderful art form, and made me hungry to learn more. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club: The Enchantress of Florence and Difficult Loves

Andrew Thornton's Inspired By Reading Book Club  selection for January was The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie.  We  have doubled up for this month's blog hop and are also including the current selection for February Italo Calvino's Difficult Loves.  I found inspiration in both books but favored the charming slightly surreal stories of Italo Calvino in  Difficult Loves.  I had never read any of his stories, except the Fairy Tales, and was surprised and very pleased by their simplicity, charm and unusual imagery of bugs, sea creatures, and beautiful plants.

For today's blog hop I am sharing the necklace I made inspired by Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence.  I have found during this year of creating jewelry related to the books we have read, that what I choose to make often comes to me as an almost full blown vision when I come across a passage or idea in the story that "speaks to me."  I think these epiphanies are what make it so exciting to participate in this Book Club and undertake the reading of books I might never have chosen myself.  I was never sure it would happen in The Enchantress of Florence but persisted (due to my personal connections to Florence and Renaissance art), until I came across the following passage:

"According to legend the Medici family possessed a magic mirror whose purpose was to reveal to the reigning Duke the image of the most desirable woman  in the known world."
It seems that after some time the mirror no longer worked and "fell dark."  And then after the election of Pope Leo it began to work again. In order to find the beautiful woman revealed in the magic mirror, the famous painter Andrea Del Sarto was summoned by the reigning Duke to paint the likeness within the mirror, but it only reflected back  an image of the artist, as the mirror was not so easily tricked. 
The idea of Andrea Del Sarto's reflection in the mirror sparked the idea for me to make a  Florentine  Mirror with an image of one of Andrea Del Sarto's art works, since he is an actual painter from the Renaissance period.  When I looked him up, I was captivated by one of his chalk drawings of a young girl. I fitted a copy of the drawing into a shallow bezel cup that I had tinned to a piece of copper and made an ornate bail for, and then I poured resin into the bezel.
I used a simple Vintaj etched brass chain, added a couple of ornate copper beads from Fusion beads and a decorative oval toggle clasp that I made from copper clay to reflect the classic necklace style of the time and to focus attention on the marvelous image in the mirror.

                                                 The Mirror of Andrea Del Sarto Necklace        
                                                               The clasp

As I mentioned, Italo Calvino's short stories are charming and full of wonderful unexpected imagery and are often happy and pastoral in feeling.  I liked many of them but was captured by The Adventure of a Reader.  Funny and lighthearted, the story poses the question of what is more real and more desirable, the story or real life.  I have not yet finished my piece for this book but hope to at some point in the future.  

Thank you Andrew  for continuing the book club on into next year.  We have only 2 more selections for this year, March  is  An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor and April is The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.
Thank you for stopping by.  Since this is a blog hop I hope you will take a look at the wonderful creations of the other participants:

Wrapping up the Bead Show

by Staci Louise Smith

After endless bead making, and posting about bead making- the Berks Bead Bazzar is here and gone.  It was a fabulous time, as always!

I was happy with how my booth turned out, I ended up with a lot more beads then fit on the 6' table!  So I had to stack and be creative.  I used my folding book shelves on part of the table, and then used a shelf the hubs made me- but I altered it to be higher.  I added a crate on the other side as well.  I made the shelf higher and removed the slats from the back of the crate to allow me to see my customers better.  Everything is so high once you use table risers!

Since my beads are unusual, I like to have lots of jewelry samples so people can envision them in actual jewelry.  

Diana of Suburban Girl Studio was my neighbor.  Her booth looked sharp, I love her magazine display!!!  

Jenny Davis-Reazor was next to her - her booth is always full of magical fun.  I like that she labels organized!

Next to her were Patti Cahill and Joan Miller

So it was nice, we had a great section of Artisans all together- (but there were many many more!!)

Even my lovely daughter had a little table, thanks to Joan Miller for thinking of her!
I was certainly a proud mama!  I even walked away a couple times and found her explaining my beads to my customers for me!  What a great little helper! (and she is only 9)

I came home with some great goodies- as always.

(show and tell time)

i got a nice tray of art beads- including an order from Marsha Neal Studio that takes up most of the tray!  Top right corner is some great Suburban Girl studio beads, top middle is Joan Miller, Top right is Jenny Davis-Reazor (she made the fox!!!) 

I also couldn't resist Grep Graup's bin of odd cabs.  You know odd and unusual is where i live in my designs!

(the grey druzies in the bottom left corner were from Mamania)

I had another tray full for the boys, who don't get to come with me.  They LOVE the cool rocks I find them in Greg's stash!

I also found a GREAT deal on pearls at Mamania's.  As well as some other gemstone strands.

I think that about wraps it up.  I am totally inspired now and cannot wait to catch up on things so I can make jewelry with my new beads.  Now its time to start getting ready for jewelry show season.

If you are interested, I am will be posting trays of beads up for sale on my facebook page later today, and listing in etsy early next week.  I have lots left to offer to all of you who couldn't make it to the show.

Diana is also listing some beads today or tomorrow in her etsy shop, so check in for new art beads.

Thanks for letting me go on and on about the show!  It was certainly consuming all my time and brain power.  I am slowing switching gears- back to jewelry and other art!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ceramic Bead Quality through Chemistry

To continue on with the discussion about Ceramic Clay Beads, the one absolute thing that must happen for earth clay to become ceramic clay, is a firing of the materials to a high temperature where the materials - on a molecular level bond together. Click HERE for a great explanation of the firing process.
For the most part, ceramic artists bisque fire their wares to around 1750 degrees F so they can paint ceramic glazes on them.
Marsha Neal Studio Bisque Fired Ceramic Beads
Ceramic artists also may want to layer underglazes by brushing on and wiping off the colors in layers. This could not be achieved on greenware (unfired clay) without layers of clay being removed as well.
Jenny Davies-Reazor ceramic glaze fired pieces:
Technique: Color on, wiped off, layered more colors on, wiped off, clear coated, glaze fired.

The second firing - the glaze firing - is usually much higher, bringing the ceramic clay close to vitrification.

Sometimes ceramic artists are able to glaze their greenware pieces and do a "once firing", but it is not a frequently used technique due to high breakage of greenware while glazing.

A ceramic glaze that fits the clay body and is fired to these almost vitrification temperatures (upwards of 2200 degrees F) makes the ceramic clay quite durable. Here is a link to explain a bit about glaze and clay "fit" issues.

Glaze firing beads can be a bit tricky because the glaze will flow down the piece when it is fired in the kiln and if the glaze touches anything it will fuse to it.
Marsha Neal Studio Fused Glazed Bead Pendants that touched in the glaze firing.
Some people decide that firing their work with a non-glazed back is the way to go - this is either a decision made by artistic choice or because you are firing to a much higher temperature than the Nichrome rods can handle or maybe the community kiln you are firing work in doesn't want to spend the time to load each tiny bead by bead as it is a quite tedious thing to do.
Jenny Davies-Reazor Cone 10 Reduction Firing Pendants
Some ceramic bead makers like to suspend their work from a bead rod or nichrome wire that has been cleared of glaze (see my previous post). Nichrome rods can go up to Cone 6 firing, but will often sag under weight at those temperatures.
Marsha Neal Studio Kiln Firing - Suspended Beads and Pendants
GLAZE SAFETY: Always try to minimize the amount of ceramic clay or glaze dust you create by wet sanding or sponging your underglaze or glaze out of bead holes. Wear dust mask, goggles and gloves to protect yourself, and wet clean your area immediately after to avoid making excess dust.

What if you are working with ceramic beads and you want to use a non-fired painting (or cold glaze) technique to finish your ceramic work? Looking past the many cringing faces of traditional ceramicists - trust me - just about any serious ceramic potter or ceramic artist cringes just a bit when you talk about "painting" your ceramics and not "firing" them - that is just the way it is with the magic of fire and kilns and the interaction of the glaze material on the ceramic clay body during the firing...

If you are at point where you want to paint your ceramic clay in a non-fired finish, you want avoid it looking like a child did it without any thought or care, because that is just pretty offensive to the ceramics art community (sorry, I have to be blunt about that). You want it to be of the highest quality as possible, expressing your own personal artistic vision. Push yourself until you achieve what you are wanting to express and then stand behind your work and feel proud of your work.
In progress image of painting ceramic beads with water color paints.
Artists looking to paint their ceramic clay can use air dry, cold glaze, or heat set (think heat guns or oven temperatures) products. These include paints - oil, acrylic, water paints, pigments, dyes, colored pencils, pastels, wax, guilders paste, etc. Some of these materials work fine layered directly on bisque ceramic beads, and sometimes they need a thin layer of gauche - as they are little ceramic canvases if you think about it. Cold glaze refers to something that was air dried then sealed for protection.

Often, the time it takes to layer on, remove layers, paint more layers - letting layers dry in-between, makes a bead cost the same if not more expensive than a similarly glaze fired ceramic bead. Pricing of work like this is all about the artists time that goes into finishing that item, and to the quality of the work in question.
So no matter if you glaze fire your ceramic piece (kiln fired glaze finish) or you bisque then finish it with "non-fired" or "cold glaze" techniques, it is always important to make your best work, understand your material, make sure the surface of your ceramic work is sealed for longevity (if required) and communicate clearly what material you are using and the suggested intended use. Think about safety when intended use comes to mind, as ceramic clay edges can be sharp if they are broken, and often are not really great around young children as they tend to drop, bang, hit, throw, and eat anything they get their hands onto.

Here are a few other recent blog posts about ceramic beads if you are interested in educating yourself more about this versatile material:
Mary Harding for Art Bead Scene: Inside the Studio
Caroline Dewison for Art Jewelry Elements: The Life of a Bead
Natalie Pappas: What Makes "Ceramic Clay" Ceramic?
Lisa Peters Art: Celebrating Ceramic
Jenny Davies-Reazor: Ready. Glaze. Fire! (Cone 10 reduction firing and ceramic pendants)

And remember, we'll be updating our Love My Art Jewelry Ceramic Clay Pinterest Board with links to artist pieces, ceramic clay educational posts, tutorials, and such.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Asymmetric vs. Symmetric

                                                                                                                              by Kelli Pope

Asymmetry.   HUH?     Definition, please. 

symmetry:  a balanced, pleasing, or suitable arrangement of parts.
(synonyms - balance, coherence, consonance, proportion, unity)

asymmetrical  : having two sides or halves that are not the same: not symmetrical  (synonyms - discordance, disproportion, disunity, imbalance, incoherence, confusion)                                                                                                      
When I started creating jewelry, I wanted to make it artsy and interesting.  Never once did I think to myself, "is this asymmetrical or symmetrical?  I think I want it to be discordant, disproportionate, incoherent and confused."   I would think....  Does it flow? Is it interesting?  Is it balanced?    Is it pleasing to the eye?   If the answer was yes, I was happy.    More often than not, my friend Julie would say, "it's not even".  While making a piece once, my brother in law told me, "it doesn't match".  
Asymmetrical earrings leave my sister saying, "that would make me crazy".     What I discovered, and what makes our own Mary Ann cringe, and get white-knuckled, is that some people need things to be even. Orderly.  Symmetrical.  Straight.  Aligned. (Julie of course, has a little OCD, but don't tell her I said so ;o).   My brother in law is an engineer, need I say more?)   We're all just wired a little differently.  And what is pleasing to some is NOT pleasing to others.  So, does that mean all asymmetric designs are "imbalanced", "confused", "incoherent", "kooky" (maybe) or not pleasing?  No. Does it mean that a uniform strand of beads is always pleasing?  No.  Just depends on who's looking at them. 
No right or wrong, just different points of view.
A special order I once received was for a strand of  large, handmade, orange ceramic beads. Nothing else. All the same shape, size and color. When it was finished, I wasn't happy. To me, it was crying out for something. Anything!  But I toughed it out, (white-knuckled it, Mary Ann, yes I did) and I left it alone.  She loved it! 

Beauty truly IS in the eye of the Beholder!

This is the beauty of art. This is why artists get to do what they do. Don't copy others, create your own art, your own vision. Create your own beauty, symmetric or asymmetric.  There is a beholder out there who is going to LOVE IT!!   

 Do you prefer symmetry or asymmetry?