Friday, January 18, 2008


I can't believe that it has been a full year since:

- I first jumped w/ surprise lighting a HotHead torch w/ a striker...

- the first time I stuck a cold black rod of glass in front of that flame & had glass fly (not the last time, either! LOL!)...

- the first time I actually made a little black bead...

- the first time a bead broke in half while I was making it & I tried picking up the fallen half w/ my fingers (DEFINITELY the LAST time for that one!)...

- which would make that the first (of MANY) burns. :o)

What an exciting year this has been!

I hope there are many MANY more firsts (& more anniversaries!) to come!! :o)

Thursday, January 3, 2008


that's what what you're asking yourself, isn't it?? LOL! Afterall... my current kiln (a Jen Ken AF3P 11/4.5 with 2" Flip Door) is only 8 months old or so... brand spanking new, for all practical purposes & it's plenty big for normal beadmaking use. Usually...when you make beads, after a bead has been in the kiln for a little bit, you can move it over to make room for more, even pile them on top of eachother & they'll be perfectly fine. I've done this many times when I'm running out of room...but I have a fun little story to tell you... (LOL!)

As you already know, I'm having an affair w/ Opal Yellow & Rubino glass & now that my pieces are getting larger, running out of room happens often. The first time I made a dozen or so handles for my serving pieces & things were getting tight in the kiln, I took the beads I had made earlier...the ones that had been in the kiln for hours...& moved them over into a pile to make room for more (I was on a roll). After going through the normal annealing cycle & the beads were at room temperature & ready to come out to be fondled by me, :o) I opened up my kiln & picked up the first mandrel & along came about 8 more mandrels w/ a really big clump of beads attached. UGH!!!! I was able to get the majority of them unstuck, but they had missing glass or extra glass from the neighbor's missing glass, LOL! OMG, it made me sick. All that work... all that EXPENSIVE glass!!! UGH. I didn't understand it, I've stacked beads many times before no problem, what was different w/ these??? So, I headed out to Lampworks Etc to see if I could find some answers. I posted a "what the heck?" thread, mentioned what glass I used & the answer was immediate... RUBINO. It was the Rubino, which stays sticky, no matter how long it's been in the kiln. So there you go. I didn't toss the beads, I did a search on LE about fixing beads & found that it was possible to put them in a cold kiln & slowly bring it up to 1040 degrees, let it soak for at least 30 more minutes at that temp & then bring them out, one at a time, of course, & slowly introduce them back into the flame, reheating the whole bead & fixing the places that needed fixin'. This can be done w/ cracked beads, too. Many people said that they didn't ever bother trying this because they lose more than they save, but I was able to save every single bead. Yes!!

So...I guess I can say that whole experience was a VERY useful one, I learned some valuable information... but I also learned that my kiln is too small for what I'm doing. Even though I don't stack them anymore if they have Rubino (which MOST do, of course, LOL!), sometimes when I'm putting a bead into the kiln, I accidently touch it to its neighbor because there is only so much space & they stick together, ugh! So, although I can fix them later, it's frustrating & time consuming.

So...(I like that word!) I ordered a Glass Hive Annealer & I can't wait to get it! Its interior is 18" wide x 4 1/2" high x 6" deep... my Jen Ken is an 11" wide interior hexagon x 4 1/2" tall, but the door is only 2" tall! This new one has TWO 10" wide by 4" high doors!!!! This is going to be fantastic! There have been times where 2" is barely big enough to get the bead in w/out scraping the sides! LOL. I'm going to come up w/ some sort of back wall (a piece of steel w/ a grid of holes) so I can easily stack beads as I go... who knows how quickly 18" width will fill up?? :o) friend Mallory is buying my Jen Ken...she had been bugging me to upgrade so she could buy it from me, LOL, so she got her way. :o)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


RIGHT?? Please say yes. :o)

A few weeks ago I spent a bunch of money on a new [larger] kiln & today I "invested" in some incredible tools that should help cut my bead making time WAY DOWN as well as possibly make me a better glass artist (can I get any better?? LOL!). I purchased an Electric Mandrel Spinner from Scott Bouwens of Bearfoot Art, as well as his Double Barrel Rolling Marvers & a set of his Ultimate Hand Stabilizers. This is a serious chunk of change for someone just starting out in this business, but I've seen these in action in person (via Scott @ the Gathering) & if you go to his website & check out his video clips, you'll see what I mean. I'm watching these clips just about to crap, realizing how helpful these tools would be for all of the large handled pieces I've been making. It takes me probably 15+ minutes, depending on the piece, just to get my base bead made before I can even start embellishing it... it's a ton of glass & it take lots of time to get the glass centered & shaped & all that jazz & you just watch how effortless it is for Scott to marver a big wad of glass into shape, etc. I looked at these videos & thought "how could I NOT get these tools?" It would be foolish. I think they'll pay for themselves in probably less than a month, if not less.

Anyway...I'm not trying to convince you, LOL, even my husband, who is already nervous about the amount of money this "little" venture has consumed ("I thought you said it was going to be a few tools & a litte bit of glass..."), said to me tonight as we were checking out Scott's site & videos, "looks like you need to give this guy a whole bunch of money". It was pretty obvious. I was even getting a little bit choked up w/ the conflict of "do I dare? vs. how can't I?"

It's gonna be worth it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Happy 2008, all!!

2008??? Holy crap...weren't we just stressing out over Y2K??? :o) Where does time go?

Do you make New Year's resolutions??? I used to. I think about it... but I'm so good at not following my own advice, or even advice of others, LOL, so I pretty much just continue to "think" about it. :o)

But really...what do I want to accomplish, or at least DO BETTER in 2008? (2008??? Holy crap!) Well...other than continuing to grow as a glass artist, I REALLY need to figure out how to balance that w/ my life. I know, I've mentioned that already, haven't I?? I really DO need to figure it out. I'm definitely an ALL or NOTHING kind of person. I get those blinders on tight & don't dare veer off course. I'm really good at focusing on what I'm passionate about, but everything else seems to fall by the wayside.

#1 on my list of needing to re-balance is nutrition & activity. SERIOUSLY. I lost a serious amount of weight in 2003-2004 & up until 2007 I had managed to maintain that loss, give or take 10 lbs or so. I still had about 35 lbs to go. That was then. Close to a year hyper-focused on lampworking knocked me off balance... no time (in my head!) for the gym, no desire to work out @ home & a lower priority to balance nutrition didn't do anything positive for my weight. Good nutritional habits helped for a bit, but even those fall by the wayside when your attention is elsewhere. So I've taken some steps backwards that I now need to correct before it gets too far out of hand. I've GOT TO start re-focusing on this NOW. I can't continue to let this go. I've done enough damage.

So here's my January committment: MINIMUM of 10 MINUTES of exercise per day...MINIMUM. I think it's a time issue, LOL, but I KNOW that I CAN do at least 10 minutes each day. There's no excuse. TEN MINUTES.

Now back to talking about glass, LOL. (yeah, right!)
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