Have you made something with my beads??

If you're a crafter or artist and have created something unique with my beads or glass tiles, and would like to be featured in my website as a guest artist, please email me at cec235@hotmail.com.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glass & Light in the Hebrew News

My studio has generated an unusal amount of media interest in the past month, for which I'm grateful even if I don't have any idea what triggered it. I'm starting a new page with links to my Hebrew media and I'll update it if/when further articles appear.  In the meantime, here we are...

Israel Haiyom (Israel Today) is Israel's most-read newspaper (perhaps because it's free!). I was interviewed for an article about art and tourism in our area. The journalists spent almost an hour with me, and even photographed me lampworking (none of the photos made it into the article). They wrote lovely things about me and my work, and suggested that people visit my studio. Read it in Hebrew here.  Nov 2011.

Motsash (Saturday Night) interviewed me by phone for their Made in Israel feature and included photos of my work. Sigi Breuer, a charming neighbor, friend, and talented ceramics artist, shares the full page article with me (you can see her in the top photo, working on a flower). It's a very nice article and makes me sound much more dedicated than I feel on cold, raining mornings like today.  Read it in Hebrew here.  Nov 2011.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spice Door Madness

My friends, Orli and Ron, were doing some kitchen renovations.  Ron made a wonderful wooden spice cabinet and they decided that what it needed was some stained glass!

The panel is about 43 cms square (17 inches on all sides) and afixed to the door with brass corner doodads (that's the professional term, of course). If you look carefully, you'll see eggplants on the left, tomatoes up top, and red-hot chili peppers growing on the right.  The project was a blast to do - I love the challenge of working inside someone else's imagination, which always prods me into new designs that I would never have thought of myself.  The panel's front is finished with a warm copper patina to match the wood of the cabinet and the overall feeling of their kitchen. I've left the back seams untreated, just oiled to protect them from the corrosion that is natural in their coastal home.

Because the colors don't show well in this photo (my biggest concern wasn't getting the light right, it was putting the door in a place where I wouldn't accidentally knock it over before delivering it to them!) I'm adding a photo of the panel before installation, leaning in a window.  It doesn't have direct light shining in from the back, but it is much brighter. 
Thank you, Orli and Ron!

And here it is installed, photo sent to me by Orli:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review – Mosaic Art and Style

As a crafter and artist, I love looking at books with collections of other people’s work – and this book is outstanding. There isn’t even a hint of how to do mosaics here, so don’t expect to find project instructions, but if you’re like me, you’ll love the massive outpouring of creativity. The photos are (mostly) high quality and they’re grouped well, so thumbing through the books has a smooth feel. 

There were absolutely too many favorites for me to add all the photos to my blogpost, but I’ve selected a few (provided courtesy of Quarry Books, who published this book). Mosaic Art and Style is packed with some absolutely stunning ideas for your home, some really crazy ideas that must have taken years to complete, and a few whimsical ideas that made me smile and that I would never undertake myself (like a mosaicked bicycle). Some artists have been profiled, and their profiles are like gems, little peeks into what makes them tick. Personally, I love that kind of stuff. (I read all the artist profiles on Etsy, too… maybe it’s just me.)

This book is truly inspirational: My overall gut response to this book is, “why aren’t I doing this??? A mosaicked (fill in the blank) would look great in my house/yard/studio, too!” As I noted, this isn’t a project book, but once you know the basics of mosaic technique, you’ll be able to suck in inspiration and motivation in equal parts.

The full name of this book is mosaic art and style DESIGNS FOR LIVING ENVIRONMENTS by JoAnn Locktov. If you go to Amazon.com and copy-paste in the entire name as I’ve typed it here, Amazon’s search will take you right to it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Guitar Man

My son Nadav (aka son #3) came for a short visit and suggested that we do some stained glass together.  This is only his second stained glass project, so it's a good example of what a dedicated beginner can do (with some help). 

Step 1: Nadav found a photo snapped of him playing guitar in a concert from several years ago and I created a simple stained glass pattern from it.  I photocopied the pattern so that we'd have a master to work with after we cut up the original. Here you see the original photo and the new pattern.

Steps 2 and 3:
(Step 2 -Left) Nadav selected the glass. To save time, I cut out the pieces.  Nadav ground the edges, washed, and foiled everything.
(Step 3 - Right)  Once we had all the pieces ready, we point-soldered the pieces together to hold them in place before full-soldering front and back.

Step 4: One of the challenges was making guitar man stand up.  Nadav designed some big amps.  We originally thought to add one to each side at an angle.  As we worked, we moved the pieces and created one double-sided amp, which we soldered very firmly at several points to his leg.  The hearts are solid brass pieces that we coated with a layer of solder.

Step 5: After all the pieces were soldered together, Nadav used acid to blacken the guitar and strap, plus his hairline.  All other seams were left silver.  After the acid patina was applied, the Nadav scrubbed everything down yet again with dishwashing liquid and and old toothbrush. 

The finished piece next to the original photograph:

And the finished piece held by the original guy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Introducing Daniel Castillo - Glass Artist

What's this all about??  One of the most painful parts of writing a book, I discovered, is having to cut other artists from my manuscript. I've decided to feature some of them in my blog, even though - or perhaps especially because - I couldn't keep them in the Glass Artist's Studio Handbook, even when I loved their work.   It's my pleasure and honor to introduce you to Daniel Castillo, an award-winning glass artist who lives in Canada.  Daniel's website is listed at the end, and I do recommend you visit him if you're in Ontario!

Daniel Castillo - Canada
Daniel Castillo has been creating stained glass and fused glass art for more than 20 years. His first studios were in South America – Colombia and Venezuela. Working with stained glass, Daniel says, taught him to work with light and space. He moved to Canada in 2007 and set up shop, creating large pieces like skylights and glass walls for both the public and private sector. His greatest challenges now, Daniel says, are becoming fluent in English and understanding the culture of his new home.

Daniel’s advice to new artists is to know exactly what techniques they will be working with and to invest themselves 150% into being an artist.

 “Seeing yourself as a full time artist, rather than a hobbyist or a part-timer, is an important factor. Success will follow the love and passion that you feel about your work.”

Visit Daniel's website: www.glasswaystudio.com

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Free Mosaic Pattern - Come and Get It!

Spinning Sun - an original micro-mosaic project!
This is a spin-off from the Glass Artist's Studio Handbook, and Quarry has generously given me their permission for me to offer on my website. Just to be clear - there are NO mosaics in my book. So why do I need their permission? (I can hear you asking yourselves...) Because it was originally submitted for the Handbook, and I'm using the photographs that were taken for the book. It's kind of a gray area, but the editors and I have a good relationship so we're doing this together. You definitely get the benefit :-)

Download the pdf instructions on the right (see the free patterns and projects list) by clicking on the name Spinning Sun Mosaic. I've rewritten it as a tutorial - the book has a much better layout, etc, but this is still lots of fun.

I would have loved to have included this project in the book - we had a whole chapter on mosaics with beautiful projects (if I must immodestly say so myself), and an entire section on setting up a glass art business. There simply wasn't enough room for it all... we did the best we could to cram it all in, then started cutting. That's part of editing, and my editors and I left in the best. This project is a darling, and I'm so happy I can share it with you!  We've got some more up our sleeves, so keep watching this blog for more projects.

Advanced Copy - What a wonderful surprise!
Quarry surprised me with an advanced copy of my book. There is something exhilerating - and unbelievable - about holding the book (an actual printed BOOK!) in my hands. Unexpectedly (to me, because I was so inexperienced), it took longer to give birth to this book than it did to give birth to any of my kids. Being pregnant was also easier, except for five months of throwing up in my third pregnancy. Let it be noted - writing a book is hard work!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's a Bullseye Life... and other important stuff...

I've been converting my lampworking studio from Bullseye (my original choice) over to a combination of Spectrum, recycled bottle glass, and Boro.  It's been a year since I did any work with Bullseye, but I have a lot of leftover Bullseye glass laying around and decided I'd pull up my chair, light the torch, and make some Bullseye beads.  Here is my BEFORE photo.  It looks full of hope.

Left and Center:  BE fusing glass and rods.  Right:  Frit, glass powder, millifiore.
Far right : assorted tools that I'm thinking I'll use.
Bottom:  My Nortel Minor torch with a marver on top.

And here is my AFTER shot (several hours after, of course!)

Working with BE was fun - I suddenly remembered how sweet the glass feels as it melts. But I also refreshed my memory  of why I'm getting rid of it - it burns too easily and it strikes when it isn't supposed to.  OK, I agree that all that is MY fault, no one else's, but it doesn't happen to me with any other glass. I'd rather put my effort into making a beautiful bead instead of focusing on keeping the glass at exactly the right place in the flame. I firmly believe that bead-making should be fun. Really - - I even managed to burn and strike the clear. Although these beads look fine in the photo, several are "throw-aways" that I save for visiting children to string into mobiles. And some of them (including one, unfortunately, that came out really well) are still stuck on those mandrels. I've got blisters on my hands from trying to twist them off. Again - this doesn't happen to me with other glass. So it's bye-bye, Bullseye!

What does a book editor do?
Several of my friends have asked me, so I thought I'd write a bit about it. I'm going to start with an apology to Rochelle, my tireless and ever-patient editor from Quarry, because I probably made her crazy the whole time I was writing The Glass Artist's Studio Handbook. 

She wasn't my only editor and I'm quite certain that I don't know everything that all of them do. Rochelle was my aquisitions editor; she worked with me to develop the Table of Contents, she reviewed all my submissions, she made sure I understood what I needed to do and very gently steered me back in the right direction when I strayed. She taught me that there should only one space after a period (I'm still struggling with that). She caught my mistakes and acted as my liason with every other editor I worked with.  Art, graphics, photographs, copy, layout, marketing.... the number of people who work on a book like this is endless. Some friends have asked me if I couldn't have done this book alone (after all, I do professional translations and editing on the side); before I started this project with Quarry I would have said yes, of course, it's just much more convenient to have a book publisher behind you. Now that the book is almost on the shelves, I can honestly say that I NEVER could have succeeded at this alone. I learned so much - I hope I learned from every step! - so maybe I could do a future book independently, but I'd have to accept that it would never be as good or as professional as a book done with the support of a book publishing staff. Not because I can't edit my own work (I was constantly editing the Handbook and even self-published my novel, Rahel) but because I know now that it takes a team to put together a book of this scope.

Speaking of Which...
I know you are all intending to read my novel, Rahel. So I'm just reminding you that you need to buy it... it should be on your summer reading list. It's a good book, I promise. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Book Review

Mosaics, the art of reuse (Galit Glazer)
Quarry Books, 2009

I’ll start by saying that I do mosaics myself, and I love this book; this is great material for beginners, with projects to stimulate experienced mosaic crafters. Ms. Glazer has included a good section on materials and tools, excellent instructions for planning a design and gluing, and – best of all! – lots of beautiful, creative projects. One or two of the projects are rather odd (“My Favorite Duck” comes to mind) but in general I find them inspiring. They make my fingers itch to start my next mosaic, always a good sign. My favorite project is the Date Palm Tree Frame, a lovely mosaic mirror with a real Mediterranean feel to it.

Mirror with Date Palm Tree Frame

Bird of a Feather
The one disappointment is that there isn’t much about cutting glass or grouting. You can learn to cut glass from my book, The Glass Artist’s Studio Handbook, which has detailed glass cutting instructions and exercises. But if you’re teaching yourself to make mosaics with this mosaic book, you’ll need to buy grout that has grouting instructions printed on the bag/box or ask a fellow mosaic crafter for tips before you finish your first project. (In my mosaic patterns I usually provide detailed instructions on preparing and applying grout.)

I’m also madly in love with Bird of a Feather (right) and Totem with Fish (below). Totem recycles broken pots; I love that so many of the book's projects include recycled items and I’m absolutely determined to make a totem for my garden.

Totem with Fish

Buy these books on Amazon:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Disk-y Kind of Day!

Passover is done and I'm revving my energy back up to chaotic levels with several projects running in parallel...

My Books
The Glass Artist's Studio Handbook is almost here... it's so exciting!  It's available in pre-order on Amazon (see my link on the right) and I am simply IN LOVE with the front cover.  I'm very, very proud of the inside, too... while I'm going to immodestly claim the lion's share of the work, I couldn't have ever done it without the supportive team of Quarry editors, my photographer, and the contributing artists who generously opened their studios.

I look back on the past year of work and think that it has truly been an amazing, wonderful journey. And sometimes frightening... those deadlines were scary! Although the final manuscript is "only" 176 pages long, we submitted ("we" being me and the photographer) about 250 pages of manuscript and more than 900 photographs. I only wish there had been room for all of the material!

Now we're looking at marketing... and the Quarry folks have some wonderful ideas. I'll be sharing them here with you as the days skip towards July 1st - the day that GASH shows up on bookstore shelves!

My lampwork
It's been a disk-ish kind of week, actually. I've tried to spend a bit of time every day on the torch, and for a few days I was just doing disks. With one hole, it's a bead. With two, it's a button!

All for sale on http://www.stringythingy.etsy.com/

Lampwork Knits
You can find me now on Ravelry with some of my original knitwear designs. (OK, I confess - right now there's only one but it's a start!) I'm working on a new dress/tunic pattern - almost done - that will knock your socks sandals off! Maid Marion is knitted up in a delightful antique rose cotton, and includes colorwork, stitchwork, and beading. Perfect for cool summer evenings or a frolic at the beach. And with Israel's mild winters, I'll be able to wear it over a thin top and skirt for a layered look. Watch this spot for photos!

and last but not least...
Thank you to all my buyers - - you keep my business going!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Introducing Anna Keene - Jewelry Artist

Wire and bead pendant with dangles
I met Anna Keene some time ago through Etsy, and I have loved her work from the moment I found her store. I purchased earrings from Anna and I swear they are among the most beautiful I’ve ever worn but, more importantly, the friendship that we’ve forged has been a gift. Imagine my delight when she decided to make some jewelry using my beads (including the pieces shown here). I’m honored to feature her in my blog.

“I have always loved creating beautiful things and there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting with an idea and making it come to life.”

As a child, Anna loved drawing and could sit for hours cutting out pretty little things from paper. Her mother taught her to crochet and sew at a very early age - she even designed and made her own wedding dress.  Today, as the mother of seven beautiful red-headed, freckle-faced, wonderful children (thus her shop name Freckle Patch Design) she had to get creative when it came to finances; she started making handcrafted jewelry as a way to make a little extra money from home, plus she adored handcrafted jewelry but couldn't afford to buy it for herself. She decided to learn how to do simple wire wrapping, and simply fell in love with wire. Wire is her passion.

Wire spirals and glass pendant

Anna uses a variety of metals - her favorite wire is Argentium Sterling Silver. Argentium is a newer alloy that is very tarnish resistant and requires far less polishing and cleaning than traditional sterling. She uses it almost exclusively in her lovely designs.

“I am self-taught and I know I have a lot more to learn. I am the kind of person who really wants to know how to do everything…. I love the idea of starting with a blank slate, a few tools, and some simple supplies, and creating something wonderful!”

All of Anna’s pieces are completely handmade (not hand-assembled); she even makes her own ear wires and jump rings. The only things she purchases are wire and beads. Her designs are unique and many of her pieces are OOAK (that’s one-of-a-kind).

A custom bracelet collaboration - my beads and Anna's wire work - for my mother

Please visit Anna’s Shop – http://www.frecklepatchdesign.etsy.com/

Anna at her worktable

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Books

The Glass Artist's Studio Handbook, published by Quarry Books. Teach yourself stained glass, fusing, and lampworking with my clear instructions and original teaching projects.

Rahel, like Rachel from the Bible is a novel, perfect for tween and teen girls. Click here to purchase or buy it from Amazon.com.

Rachel Stern is sixteen years old and already an accomplished painter; art school awaits and she's doing everything she can to improve her portfolio before the academy's application deadline. When an old family friend unexpectedly invites her to spend her summer on a kibbutz in Israel, Rachel can't imagine a better opportunity for creative adventure. Spending the summer with the Bason family on Kibbutz Givat HaShoftim, near the Mediterranean coast, proves to be very different from what she expected. Before returning to America, Rachel comes to love Israel and kibbutz life, and through her special friendship with Yoel Bason, discovers romance and finds a new direction for her artistic talent.

Did you know I recycle?

I reuse shipping and packing materials whenever possible. If relevant, your package will include a note to let you know how I conserved resources when packing up your purchase.

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