It's true. Summer is just arriving and I am busy filling out applications and paying fees for Christmas craft shows. I've been filling in applications and I'm starting to think about building up my inventory. This year I will be at the Glass Bead Show taking place at the RA Centre in October. In November I'll be showing at the All Saints Craft Fair in Kanata and in December I'll be back at the Fisher Park Pop-Up Christmas Market. I can't wait! Stay tuned for details in the very near future.
As I get closer and closer to retirement I'm dreaming of all the extra time I will have to torch and take advantage of lots of opportunities to sell my jewelry on a more frequent basis.
In the meantime, I've been working away in my little studio in the basement and creating some new pieces and experimenting with some off-mandrel work.
I've also been working very hard on my Instagram page, slowly building a following and diligently posting a new picture every day.
With the beautiful weather here my garden calls me and it will be hard to be indoors but I will make use of every rainy day that comes along.
I honestly need to be better at keeping up my blog. I decided this past month to revamp my website and couldn't believe that the last time I did an entry was September 2017 - tsk, tsk. So much has happened in the past 7 months! In my September entry I was disappointed that the Fisher Park Craft Sale wouldn't be happening but as luck would have it, two wonderful ladies stepped in and saved the day so the pop-up Christmas market was a go after all and a resounding success for me. I love the experience of meeting people, hearing their comments about my work and seeing repeat customers!
I also participated in the Ottawa Glass Bead Show at the RA Centre in October and debuted my latest creation - The Journey Bead. After taking a class with Janika Filipkova on using double helix glass, I spend lots of time experimenting with this beautiful iridescent glass that does magical things when introduced to other glasses and varying degrees of flame. The idea was to mark my journey from diagnosis of kidney cancer to recovery. The light and dark glass represented the journey and I encased a small cubic zirconia into each bead representing all the blessings that I received throughout my journey. In an effort to give back, a portion of each sale goes back to the Canadian Cancer Society and so far, they have been a wonderful success.
In the new year I was met with disappointing news. The Studio - GSS Flameworks was closing in March. My teacher, friend and mentor Grace Edwards felt it was time to retire, to spend time with her family, bond with her grandchildren and take time to do all the things she didn't have time for while running a business which meant closing the studio and relocating to London Ontario. I can't express how much of an impact this incredible woman has had in my life. She helped me find my creative voice and provided a place for like-minded artists to meet, torch together, share ideas and inspire each other. She brought in renowned glass artists from all over the world to share their techniques and help us explore this wonderful discipline. The glass community in Ottawa and I will miss her very much.
All this meant finding a new space to torch and after much consideration I decided to set up a studio in my home. I love this art so much. I'm not willing to leave it behind and with Bob and I being empty-nesters, we have lots of room in the house so we set about clearing out Bob's office in the basement and converting to a studio.
We headed off on a 3 week trip to Portugal in February/March and while we were away the ventilation system was installed, the studio was painted and furniture moved in. When we returned home we moved in the final pieces, picked up my new kiln and concentrator and hired a wonderful man - Ed Joy - to come in and install the propane and set up the torch.
It's been a very busy couple of months, between our trip and the arrival of our new grandson, I've only had two opportunities to torch but both times, it was pure bliss. How great is it to be able to walk downstairs in the morning, open the kiln and see my beads. This room is my little slice of heaven. We are still waiting patiently for spring to arrive. The weather is predicted to be awful tomorrow - freezing rain, snow, yuk - but how great is it to be able to head down for a couple of hours and lose myself at the torch. I am one very lucky girl - sigh!
Here it is, mid September and the sun is shining, the weather is warm and I am finishing off the final few weeks of 3 months sick leave. Things have been a little upside down this past year. Bob underwent a full hip replacement and I received a cancer diagnosis of the kidney. We are both in great shape these days after a few months of recovery and the future looks bright!
One positive about being off is that once I got back on my feet I have been able to spend lots of time at the studio. It's my happy place and I'm certain it's part of the reason I am back on my feet so quickly. The arts sooth the soul.
I am busy preparing for the 10th Annual Ottawa Glass Bead Show on October 15-16/17 at the RA Centre. I missed last year because of our trip to China and this year I'm looking forward to participating again.
I was disappointed to hear the the Fisher Park Craft Sale won't be taking place this year and so I will have to find another venue for my Christmas time. This will be my mission for the next couple of days and I hope that I haven't missed the boat.
Well, the last couple of months have been very exciting. The Glass Shoppe Studio relocated to 911 Richmond Road and is now called GSS Flameworking Studio. It's a beautiful location and much more conducive to walk-in traffic. It's much closer for me - just a hop, skip and jump down the road from the house - how convenient is that! One of the wonderful additions to the studio is a gallery space and I am so please to be showing my work there along with a group of wonderfully talented artists. I can't wait to see what the future holds!
(below are some shots from my gallery display)
Recently my sister-in-law asked me to make her a necklace. The request was for a deep purple and bright green colour combination. These arena't colours that I usually work with but I found that creating this piece helped me flex my creative muscles and work outside of my colour comfort zone. I posted a little piece on my lampworking FaceBook page showing the process that I go through when I make a piece of jewelry.
I had a lot of fun creating this piece and now I must say good-bye as it makes its way to Hamilton..
2016 has arrived and brought with it new creative opportunities and big changes in our family. We are looking forward to becoming grandparents in February and a wedding is in our future in the Fall of 2016 so it will definitely be a busy time.
The New Year also set me on some new creative paths. I took two workshops in blowing glass beads. This gives the opportunity to work with some beautiful large beads that are hollow and so make the finished pieces much lighter. It's definitely an art and I am finding that practice doesn't always make perfect but I'm getting there, very slowly. The pipe we use is called a Carla Dona pipe and it's named after its creator. Grace brought them in for us all the way from Murano. They are a beautiful tool and I just hope that I can do it justice.
I am the first one on the right, closest to the camera. We are working on our seed bubbles which is the foundation of the hollow bead.
Some of my first pieces:
I'm looking forward to all the New Year has to offer and looking forward to stretching my creative muscles. Stay tuned!
Well, the Ottawa Glass Bead Show and the Fisher Park Craft Sale are now both over and it has been a whirlwind of activity. Both shows were a huge success and give me the encouragement that I am on the right path. Now I busy focussing on getting ready for Christmas and the arrival of our first grandchild in February - very exciting times!
I continue to work on perfecting my florals. I promised some examples and here they are:
They seem to be very popular at the sales and I'm going to continue perfecting them in the New Year.
Last week I also started down a new path in my lampworking journey - I took an introduction to blowing and although it was very challenging, the hollow beads, blown on a small pipe are beautiful and will add a whole new facet to my work. I'm taking part two of the class this coming week and then it will be weeks of practice to try and get the technique under my belt. I'm excited and look forward to creating some more significant pieces which blowing allows because the beads are hollow and therefore much lighter. In the meantime, I am off to do some Christmas shopping, baking and wrapping. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Has it really been January since I last wrote? My deepest apologies. Things have been very busy. I've been creating beads in the studio and hard at work at home creating jewelry. I must admit that the website hasn't had my full attention and I need to get back to it. Now that the Fall weather has arrived, the summer weather won't be distracting me from my work.
This summer I was excited to receive a commission from a bride. She asked that I design the jewelry for her bridesmaids. We worked together to get the design and colours right. I even personalized each piece with a small initial bead. Pictures will be on the website soon.
In the studio I've been working very hard at perfecting my florals and I'm quite pleased with the results lately. I hope to have some on display at two shows that I will be doing in the coming weeks. Here's a sneak peek!
Last year I was privileged to be asked to show at the Ottawa Glass Bead Show as an emerging artist and this year I have been invited to return as an exhibitor! I am very excited and have been busy getting ready for the show. It's next week, so hopefully you have some time to drop by and check it out.
I am also showing at the Fisher Park Craft Sale again this year. It was my first experience as an exhibitor and I must say that I am hooked. I enjoy the experience and love meeting all the people. This show is the first week of December so be sure to check it out, it's a great place to get some Christmas shopping done!
So, a couple of weeks ago Bob surprised me with a workshop for my birthday. On Sunday January 11th I headed to the Glass Shoppe to spend the day with Alberto Greselin. He taught us the art of doing floral implosions. Essentially, these are 3 dimensional flowers captured in glass. They are so beautiful.
It was a challenging class and the first time that I have ever worked off-mandrel. Lots of challenging moments and some successes as well. I learned a lot in this work shop. At the end of the day Alberto did a final demonstration - a floral pendant - and it was beautiful. I especially liked the effect of adding bubbles to the piece by impaling the molten glass onto a metal floral frog! He very generously offered to put everyone's name in a hat and draw for the pendant and I won!! Such a great day topped off with a lovely birthday gift.
Here it is:
Now that the Christmas season is over it's time to reflect and thank everyone who supported me over the Christmas season both at the Fisher Park Craft Sale and at an impromptu sale that took place at my office. It took just two days to wipe out over a year of building my inventory. This certainly is a nice problem to have and now I find myself anxious to get back into the studio to start creating new pieces. I have lots of ideas racing around my brain. I can't wait to show you my new pieces.
I loved participating in the Fisher Park Craft Sale. It was a wonderful opportunity to see some old friends and meet some new ones. I can't wait for the opportunity to participate in another sale. I'll be keeping my eye out for something, possibly in the Spring.
In the meantime, I took some time over the past few days to redesign my website and I'm very pleased with the results. I hope that you enjoy it as well. Many thanks to my husband Bob - patient photographer, videographer and my greatest source of encouragement. Also, big thanks to my son-in-law Chris who edited and posted the finished video. It will be a wonderful tool for people to be able to see and understand what I do.
Now, off to the studio!
Some pics from the Fisher Park Craft Sale
The Fisher Park Craft Sale is very quickly approaching and I am so excited to be showing my work for the first time in a very public setting. Bob and I have been working hard on the concept for the table, the displays, the lighting and of course I've been busy creating lots of new pieces.