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, December 22, 2013

Peacocks Revealed

Friends have been asking for step-by-step process photos of my peacock windows.  Fortunately for you, that's not possible... the peacock windows were made over a year, weathering various home, employment, and family events and upheavals. I'm posting a few photos here for the curious, and also because it's kind of nice to leave a record. 

The process started with a rather lengthy dialog as my clients decided first if they wanted me to do the project for them, and then working with me on the design concept.  Once we settled on that, it took me some time to draw out the patterns to my satisfaction.  At one point I visited a zoo to refresh my understanding of how peacocks pose, walk, and drag their tails.

The entire pattern is quite a bit larger than I am, and I had the paper spread out over the living room floor, with the furniture shoved to the sides. I did them first in pencil; when I was satisfied with the pattern, I went over each line with felt pen to mark the cutting lines.

I worked with about a hundred different colors of glass. Every sheet of glass is marked with a code that indicates manufacturer, surface texture, color, and saturation (there are only a very few that I know by heart, just for the record).  That code had to be transferred onto each of the thousands of pattern sections. By laying the glass out next to the pattern, I could immediately find the color I wanted. After the codes had been marked on the pattern, I put the glass away so we wouldn't be stepping on it every day for a year.

Then it was time to start cutting glass. 
The thousands of pieces in the windows multiplied by as many cuts as I needed to prepare each piece, because no piece can be cut with only one motion. I worked each window separately, and worked each window in multiple sections.  Here is my work station as I prepare the corner of window, most likely the bottom right piece of one of the lower windows, which are almost all peacock tail.
After pieces were cut, ground, washed, and belted with copper foil, I soldered them. This photo shows me soldering one of the upper windows. Soldering the larger windows was backbreaking work. Not that I'm complaining - I'm sure there are much harder ways to make a living!
As each section was prepared, I situated it in its final place, taking care that the window dimensions were exact. You can still see the gaps between the sections here... I soldered those last of all. There were a few gaps that were even wide enough to fill with more glass, giving the window a feeling of flowing feathers, rather than lots of lead.
Once each window was completely soldered up on both sides, it was time to apply patina, a mild acid that stains the metals.  Patina doesn't harm glass - it's not strong enough to etch it. Since it's a skin irritant, I always wear gloves when applying it.  You can see where the seams are black (where the acid has been wiped on) and where they are still silver (not for long!), the natural color of the soldered seams.
After the windows were completed, I transported them (with David's generous help, because there was no way to load those things into my car by myself!) to the clients' home.  They scheduled a team of glaziers to install them.  Although the photos here are appearing one after another (it looks like it took no time at all!), we actually installed them in three visits.  In the first visit, we installed the upper and lower left windows.  The lower window was installed so quickly I didn't even get a photo of it, just dropped into place, really. Here they are installing the upper window in its frame. The glazier on the left is so extraordinarily tall that I couldn't get his feet and head in the same photo.

We met a second time to install the upper right window.
And we met a last time to install the lower right window. All in all the installation was an amazing experience!
Just to give you a sense of size, If I were to stand alongside the window, my head would probably be resting below the gray back feathers of the peacock (and I'm not particularly short).  These are HUGE windows.  And I'm very proud of them.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Glass & Metal

I've been offline a LOT this year...  I could blame my internet connection, which has been rather "iffy"... yes, we all have days like that (but 6 months? bleh...).  I've had a spot of problems with my studio, etc.  But the absolute real reason I haven't been posting is that I'm incredibly busy after increasing my responsibilities at my challenging day job and putting most of my free-time focus on both finishing up previous art commitments and learning new techniques.  Mostly metal techniques.  Eventually they all somehow enter my glass art designs, so I can excuse the time spent as worthwhile, besides being loads of fun.  I don't see myself becoming a jewelry designer, but "never say never" is my mantra when it comes to my creative crafts.
THIS... is a winged coat pin.  Fire agate, fine silver, German silver, sterling silver.  You'll have to tip your head sideways to see it, as blogger seems to prefer sharing it with us sideways only.  The little knobby thing (at the left) goes at the bottom, keeping the pin point from snagging on fabrics and generally keeping humanity safe, because that pin is sharp!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Running my business through the internet has blessed me with opportunities to get to know people who I would never have otherwise met. The catalysts for our friendships, collaborations, and conversations have been creativity, tragedy, mutual interests, family celebrations and (sometimes) just good will and curiosity all around.

I'm thinking particularly of Anna and her wonderfully loving children who have embraced me as an honorary aunt, Candy and her daughters, Shelly and her husband Michael, and Julie who collects stamps and sends them to school children in Cuba so that they can learn about the world. Laura, who has helped me so much, Robert who makes beads from bottles and glittery pufferfish from papier mache, and Magali from Australia who I'll soon meet when she visits her sister. Beatriz who hopes to come to Israel one day, Simone in Brazil who teaches teens to work with glass as a key to getting them off the streets and away from crime, and Laura the librarian who loves cats and glass art.

There are so many others I should mention, and they are everywhere! Every single one of you - those I've mentioned and those I haven't, are all my kindred spirits in this crazy world. Even if we never meet in person, I’m blessed to have you in my life. You are inspiring!

For Adam…..

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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