Category Archives: Art & Artists

Bottle Buildings!

I was recently asked if I had ever seen the Bottle Houses of Prince Edward Island.

“Never did,” I responded. “I’ll Google it.”

When I searched for “bottle houses,” I found more than those on Prince Edward Island. There are a lot of them – and they are amazing.

Here are shots of the Bottle Houses of PEI.

This house is in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” and in “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” The house, built in 1980 by Edouard Arsenault, is made of 30,000 bottles. The gardens are beautiful and the bottle village contains a gift shop, a tavern, a chapel, and a six-gabled house.

THE CHAPEL

THE BAR  

THE SIX-GABLE HOUSE

OTHER BOTTLE HOUSES

In addition to the Bottle Houses of PEI, there are others. This one, located in Argentina, is made from plastic bottles.

 

This one is in Uitgawe.

 

This bottle house is in Nepal.

Now, THAT’S what you call upcycling!

Current Artists

I have a habit of folding over pages in magazines that I want to go back and look at again.

When I read the March/April 2019 Glass Art Magazine recently, it seemed I was folding over every other page. One article after another featured amazing artists.

The first artist that “caught my eye and pulled it back” was Los Angeles artist Kazuki Takizawa.

 

Just Google his name and enjoy!

 

My next folded page corner was Wisconsin artist Stephanie Trenchard. The article is “Telling Women’s Stories in Glass.” Fun, fun, fun.

 

Next was Lois Manno, who is known for her Modeling Glass. We have been selling her product at our store and our customers are doing some very creative things with it.

Her most popular items seem to be her feathers. But she also has other amazing items.

 

And not to be missed is the sculptural jewelry of Linda MacNeil.

 

I love how modern, crisp and colorful these pieces are.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Marc Chagall!

Marc Chagall, one of the great artists of our time, would have been 132 on July 7 this year. He was born in the Russian Empire and worked with paint and stained glass.

But he was a bit of a late bloomer in the stained glass medium — he did not start working with stained glass until he was in his 70s!

This blue window is in The Collegiate Church of St. Stephan in Mainz, Germany. Chagall completed it just before he died.

The red window shown is in Chichester Cathedral, Chichester, England.

One of Chagall’s most beloved works is America Windows at the Art Institute in Chicago.

America Windows, Art Institute of Chicago

It is believed that Chagall put lots of emotion into his work.

There are many famous Chagall quotes, which I think explain a lot about him:

 

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

Marc Chagall

 

Art seems to me to be, above all, a state of soul.

Marc Chagall

 

For me, a stained glass window is a transparent partition between my heart and the heart of the world.

Marc Chagall

 

Gallery of Excellence 2019

The largest glass and bead expo in America, Glass Craft & Bead Expo, is held every year at the fabulous South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is not on the strip, but you can take a shuttle to the strip, if you wish. If you just want to focus on the show, you do not have to leave the hotel — the facility has everything there you need.

There are product exhibits, classes, demos — and my favorite —The Gallery of Excellence.

I am showing my favorites below. If you want to see all of the winners for 2019, click here: https://glasscraftexpo.com/gallery-of-excellence.php

Lewis Wilson: Envoyer Les Clowns (Send in the Clowns)

Anna Souder: Curiosity

Christine Curtis Wilson: Plains Zebras

Laura Dawson: Dragonfly Garden

Harish Dewani: Angelina

Stephanie Rose: The Brothers

If you want info on the 2020 Glass Craft & Bead Expo, click here: https://www.glasscraftexpo.com/

That’s Pretty Shifty!

Shifty and CFL are two terms to describe the same thing — a pallet of glass that changes color based on the light that it is under. CFL stands for “compact fluorescent light.” The glass changes its apparent color in fluorescent lighting.

The first CFL/shifty glass was done by Glass Alchemy in 2014, with the color Serum. Next, came Terps.

Serum by Glass Alchemy

Terps by Glass Alchemy

 

These are a bit tough to get, but other CFLs are available:

Potion by Glass Alchemy

 

Gemini by Northstar

 

Hydra by Northstar

 

Siriusly by Northstar

Check our hot glass section for availability.

 

Oxygen Concentrators

When we set up our flame room in our new location, we put a lot of thought into how we would get gas and oxygen to the burners. We ended up with piped-in gas and oxygen concentrators and think it is a great system.

We started with hot head torches and MAPP gas.

Hot Head Torch

MAPP Gas Canister Holder and Clamp

This was a great beginner setup and we had a great time with it.

We then took a big step and became Bethlehem dealers! Below are the Alpha and Bravo glassworking torch models.

Bethlehem Burner Alpha Glassworking Torch

Bethlehem Burner Bravo Glassworking Torch

With this system, we used 3-gallon propane tanks and some used medical oxygen generators. An issue we encountered with this system was having to make frequent runs to get more propane — and, of course, the propane would run out at the worst times. Another issue we encountered was that the used medical generators did not last. People tend to give up on these generators when they have a lot of hours on them.

When we moved, we looked at oxygen tanks. That solution sounded like a nightmare to me — the tanks must be allowed to bleed, so you are losing oxygen all the time. It is a time-consuming process to get the tanks refilled, and just having oxygen under pressure seemed to be a scary concept.

We went the concentrator route and have not regretted it. These rebuilt machines are like new and have enough power to run the Bravos — and that is a lot!

We sell oxygen generators but only for store pickup as they are difficult to ship.

A concentrator works by taking air from the room and compresses it. It then delivers air to where you direct it — in our case, to a bench burner. In a five-step process, the concentrator:

  1. takes air from the room
  2. compresses the oxygen
  3. takes out the nitrogen
  4. adjusts the way the air is delivered and
  5. delivers it.

The concentrator takes oxygen out of the room, so you must allow air to get back in by means of some sort of ventilation. We have our vented out through the ceiling and also have a door on each end as well as a vent toward the floor into the next room so there are plenty of ways to get air in.

I posed the question on the Facebook group Lampwork Tips, Techniques, & Questions. One person said the removal of the oxygen from the room is about as problematic as all the people in the room using up oxygen by breathing!

 

 

Wissmach Luminescent Glass

Luminescent glass is different than iridescent glass. It is low-fire—not high-fire like iridescent—and is intended for reverse fusing.

What is reverse fusing?

Reverse fusing means placing your piece facedown on the kiln shelf and building backwards, fire-coated side down.

If you are firing on a textured mold, place a piece of ThinFire between your boron-treated mold and the glass. If you fire your piece with the coated side up or cover it with another piece of glass, you will lose the coating.

If you are slumping and do not go over 1,200 degrees, you can place the luminescent side up and not lose the coating.

Luminescent glass is food-safe and has been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, please note that once the piece has been fired in your kiln, it is no longer a Wissmach product; it is your product. If you have been firing glass that could leave lead or cadmium traces in your kiln, that could get on the product, which would render it unsafe for serving food or beverages.

 

 

 

 

LEFT: Luminescent glass fired with ThinFire in between, with the coating facedown.

RIGHT:  Luminescent glass fired facedown, directly on the mold.

 

Firing Schedules: Courtesy of Petra Kaiser and Wissmach Glass

Standard Fusing Schedule – 2 Layers Thick

Segment 1: 600°F/hr up to 1,000°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 2: Full/9,999 up to 1,410°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: Full/9,999 down to 950°F, hold for 60 minutes

Segment 4: 100°F down to 700°F, hold for 1 minute

Tack Fuse, Polishing and/or Slumping into a Mold

Segment 1: 300°F/hr up to 1,000°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 2: Full/9,999 up to 1,300°F or 1,350°F
(depending on your desired results), hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: Full/9,999 down to 950°F, hold for 60 minutes

Segment 4: 100°F down to 700°F, hold for 1 minute

Draping over a Mold and/or Polishing

Segment 1: 300°F/hr up to 1,000°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 2: Full/9,999 up to 1,200°F or 1,220°F (depending on your desired results),
hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: Full/9,999 down to 950°F, hold for 60 minutes

Segment 4: 100°F down to 700°F, hold for 1 minute

NOTE: Not all kilns are alike. Your kiln size, controller type and individual project may require some alteration to the schedule for best results.

Bottle Club

FUSING GLASS BOTTLES OR “HIDING THE EVIDENCE”

Don’t you just hate to throw out those wine and liquor bottles?  They are quite nice with the graceful shapes and the beautiful colors.   Make them into fused art!

First (and most important) step is to clean them.  The labels and any glue must be completely removed to be sure that no residue is fused onto the glass.  Use very hot water with ½ cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.  Submerge them in the water and let them soak for 10 minutes then add 2 cups of white wine vinegar.  Roll your bottles around so the vinegar mixes in.  Let them soak until you can get the labels off.

Once the bottles are clean you have some options.  You can just lay it in the kiln and full fuse it.  This one just has a little decorative wiring and some etching.  You could add a decorative knife and have a nice little gift.

Another option is to use a bottle mold.  There are all types available.  See the full collection here.

There are textured molds.  The one above has a lovely Tree of Life motif.

Drop molds, such as the one above, make an interesting shape.

You also can use a textured flat mold, such as the one below, and then slump it into a bottle mold.

You may get devitrification with some bottles.  To prevent it, spay with a divit spray like Spray A.

 

 

No Bad Luck Here!

BROKEN MIRROR!!?

 

 

Don’t think of it as seven years bad luck, think of it as an opportunity to be creative.  If you are worried about the seven years of bad luck you can bury a piece in the garden and that will stop it. (so I have heard). Here are some ideas for broken mirrors, most of which I got from Fusing 101:  Any and Everything You Wanted to know but Were Afraid to Ask.

This from Jane Wimbury.  How sweet is that!

Another idea is to get Styrofoam balls and make garden balls.  Or use an old bowling ball:

Frame the irregular shapes for eclectic mirrors:

Just put it back together roughly for a high interest look.  Many of these ideas from dyi.

I can see this done with wine corks, as well!

Try  your own designs – Good Luck!

JUST FOR FUN MEANS “JUST FOR FUN”

A rewrite of the 2017 blog “AM I GOOD ENOUGH”

Right after the holiday season we start encouraging all of you to get your entry ready for the Just For Fun Contest.  We often hear, “I am just not good enough.”  I just want to say, “YES, YOU ARE!”

The variety of work and the different skill levels are what make the contest wonderful.  Each piece draws out comments of appreciation for something.  It might be choice of color, or choice or glass.  Some little quirky things someone might have done.  Some little creative touch.  It might be that someone just likes it.

NEVER, NEVER, have we heard— “that doesn’t belong—it is not good enough.”

 

The name “Just for Fun” may sound trite but we put a lot of thought into it.  We did not want the contest to have rules that we have to monitor, and we do not want to limit it in any way.  (we do limit size because we don’t want the ceiling to fall).  We just want it to be Fun.  You can enter to win or you can enter just for fun.

This contest is in celebration of National Stained-Glass Month.  In addition to seeing just an awesome collection of entries, you will get to come to Invite Night celebration.  You get to vote.  You get to enjoy refreshments.  You get a swag bag.  You get to shop the very best sale we have all year on different items that you see in the store all the time.  Thinks we found on sale, things we find on close outs, things suppliers offer us at special pricing.  We usually throw in some introductory products are introductory prices.  All in all it is just a great time.

Get your contest piece ready and help us celebrate National Stained Glass Month!