Saturday, October 10, 2009

Show Me!

Our lives have been turned upside down by our construction project, and I'm getting very little done in the glass world. I find I miss it terribly. Hopefully by The Yule, I will be able to start a few new projects.
In the meantime, our local historical society is putting together a small show of local artists. I was suprised and humbled when they asked me if I would like to participate. Many of the my best panels have gone to auctions, or gifts to friends and family. But I brought together six to show.

One of them is already displayed in the building. It went to a fundraising auction and the woman who bought it generously donated it back to the museum, The River Life Center.

The Portrait of Francoise is an interpretation of a Picasso drawing. I painted the eye detail on white glass, and used copper wire to define the lips.

Raven Steals the Sun is one of my favorites. I love the Northwest Native Peoples ' ledgund. It has aspects of the universal theme of the Virgin birth, and son/sun bringing light into the world.

Last year I took a photo of Mt Ste Helens from the highway that runs the Columbia River. It's very difficult to make trees look real, but then stained glass is an impressionist media for the most part. I love looking at the broad river, the rock face rising off the beach, and the towering trees above.

Mary, Clothed In The Sun is a little different, and won't appeal to everyone, but I wanted to try to capture the flowing robe. I also wanted to try painting on the glass, which was a limited success, but each panel is a learning experience. Besides the background glass is delicious! She has a crystal crown and Sacred Heart.

And finally, Schooner Moon, which is such a romantic image.
Until I started working with stained glass, I never thought of myself as a creative person. Now I readily try different creative processes, and I am not afraid to fail. What a liberating feeling!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Taj Magarage Glass

As many of you know, Ed and I are in the process of building a new home. We're in Phase I, which is the apartment above the garage, to be followed by Phase II, The House. I don't even want to think about Phase III. Who knows what's next. At the moment, we're working on the Taj Magarage.

What this means to my glasswork is that the cozy little room in our current living quarters will soon be no more. My choices were...1: in the barn; no heat, no air, no insulation, a long walk in the winter weather, or 2: downstairs in the garage; insulated, possibly heat, large doors for air, and a very short commute. After carting all my glass down to the barn, I decided to go with curtain #2.

Last week, I carted my worktable, most of my tools, accumulated Important Stuff, along with way too much Needless Junk into the garage. See that way cool sign up on the wall? That was a birthday present from my friend, Kim. It's perfect!

It's all very neat and tidy for the moment. Give me a week...I can mess it up bigtime.

The stove? Oh that, my friends is a butter yellow Magic Chef 1000, made in the 1920s. It has 6 burners, two ovens, a broiler and a warming drawer. It cooks like Denny's on steroids, and is going into the new Big House. That is a story you can watch at .

While all this moving and packing and building and painting was going on, I got a call from the folks at a local historical society asking if I could donate a piece of glass for this year's auction. It is so hard to say no. Actually, I did say no, then I felt so guilty I called them back.

It's a design I have done before, but one that I knew would look nice and that I could do quickly.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray!

It's been a year since I had my hip roto-rootered, and I'm due for my final post-op appointment in a few weeks. The orthopedic surgeon that did the surgery is a kick. She specializes in women's sports injuries and hips, so I thought....hmmm..well it's a little goofy but why not? OHSU is a teaching hospital and she always comes in with an intern or two, so it's always a circus. Hopefully none of the cut lines will look like fractures.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home At Last

Ne Obliviscaris is complete and on the road to it's new home. I have been planning this project for several years, and it is hard to describe how I feel about it.

Every day police officers and firefighters go to work knowing that it could be their last. But that isn't what is on the forefront of their minds. They think about the regular, bills, friends. Did they remember to feed the dog before they left for work? But the constant hum in the background is the other side... staying safe, getting sued, active shooters, hazmat spills...terrorists.

Emergency services dispatching, which is what I did, is exacting work, with no margin for error. It can eat you alive. It also gives you the opportunity, every day, to change the outcome of a potentially horrible situation. Shots fired, officer down, helicopter crash, childbirth, pursuits, lost kids, found kids. It was a great job and I loved it.

After 20+ years, Ed retires from law enforcement this week. After being shot at, run over, attacked by lunatics and generally having a great time, I will be thankful to finally get him home in one piece. It is only job that I can think of (besides active military and firefighting) that you have to put on body armor every day to go to work. It was a great job and he loved it.

We have been so blessed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's Hard To Resist

The sandblasting was a success! It was a totally new thing and I was really afraid I would mess up the whole project, but I am really happy with how it turned out.

So here is how it went: I printed out the script on the computer. For the Lady Liberty motto, I chose a font that I felt was appropriate for the statue. For the badge, I just used a photo of the badge and enlarged it to the proper size. Then I taped the pieces with the words to the back of the glass. This is probably not the best way to do it because the thickness of the glass distorts the print, but I was careful to look directly down through the glass when cutting out the resist.

Resist is a clear plastic made specifically for sandblasting which can be cut with a craft knife. It adheres to the glass and won't get blown away in the blasting process. After burnishing it onto the glass, I used an electric stencil cutter (like a tiny hot needle) and cut out the letters. After peeling off the parts that I didn't want, I cleaned up any rough edges with an exacto knife, and carefully burnished off any burrs. This part was tricky because you don't want to displace any little pieces that are supposed to remain, or the whole thing is ruined and you have to start over.

Then I put resist on the back of the pieces so that any flying blasting medium wouldn't cloud the glass.

I borrowed a small siphon sandblaster from Ruth Doumit, a very talented glass and ceramics artist who advised me on this part of the project. I made a temporary sandblasting cabinet from a large plastic storage bin. I put the glass down at the bottom inside of the bin, covered the edges of the bin with pieces of wood and just reached in and blasted away.

Definitely low tech, and I'm sure there is a lot of snickering and eye-rolling going on someplace, but that's ok. I'll be the first to stand up and say I have no clue what I'm doing. There is some stunning sandblast art going on out there, and this isn't it. This is just fundamental script. When I win the lottery I might get some real sandblasting equipment, but I just needed something simple for this project.

I wish I had a picture of me in my sandblasting outfit cause it was quite the fashion statement. I had a bandanna tied over my hair "Lucy" style. I had safety glasses, dust mask, longsleeved shirt buttoned at the neck and sleeves, and gloves. It wasn't enough. Next time I'll get a sandblasting hood.

The banner is on the Lady Liberty.

The badge number here has been replaced with a tribute to September 11, 2001.

So here it is in rough form. I still have to put zinc u-came around each one. Ed is building a cedar frame for the finished piece. I'll probably spend hours cleaning and polishing the glass before it is mounted.

We'll probably get it all together next weekend. Ed will drive down for his last week at work and take it with him. I've had this project on my mind for several years and it feels good to actually put it together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It'll Be A Blast!

The largest part of the Lady Liberty for Ne Obliviscaris is soldered and ready for the sandblasted banner on the bottom.

After staring back and forth between pieces of glass, I decided to make the banner piece out of clear glass instead of the blue glass. With the motto etched on I think it will look better against the blue glass in the second panel.

The second panel is cut out and foiled, but since some of the pieces in the body of the panel are to be sandblasted also, I have to wait until they are done before soldering it. The lettering here shows through from the pattern cartoon, but it gives a good version of how it looks, pre-foil. All of that black background... will be gone. I used Spectrum artique for the border and blue gluechip for the badge field.

I took the cut pieces of blue glass, taped copies of the script to the back and then put the resist on the top of the glass. I used an electric stencil cutter (like a hot craft knife) and cut out the letters. Then after removing the unwanted pieces, I used a craft knife to clean up the edges. I had lots of solid advise from other glassers about how to cut these out. Of course, I didn't follow any of that advise, but this seemed to work best for me. We'll see what happens when they get blasted.

I met with a very talented glass artist nearby, Ruth Doumit, who will be very generously helping me with the sandblasting. Hopefully she will have time to help me with that this week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Never Forget

Ne Obliviscaris is the motto for the Campbell Clan, and is also the title for this piece. A two panel piece, this will be constructed similarly to a plated piece. The two panels will not be leaded together, but rather framed together.

For the front panel, I have modified a Glass Crafters pattern by removing their background, leaving Lady Liberty. Here, the background is clear glass. The statue is white wispy and white wispy/opal, with amber pieces for the flame and lights in the crown. At this point the piece is cut and foiled, awaiting the motto banner at the bottom.

The motto will be sandblasted onto blue glass. I've laid the blue across the unfinished piece to get a feel for the finished look of the first panel.
I still have to cut the script into the resist. I've not done this before, but I think I will put the resist on the glass, then a layer of carbon paper, then a copy of the script. I'll trace the script, remove the carbon paper, and cut out the letters into the resist.

Caduceus In Burl

I'm still in the process of packing up the house, entertaining my granddaughter, weeding the garden, dismantling the deck around the house for the construction project, and various sundry chores and projects.

In the meantime I needed to do a "Glass Challenge" project for a glass gift exchange. It needed to be about 8", 15 pieces, and mailed to the recipient by mid-August. I had limited information about the recipient other than their occupation was in nursing, and they just painted their house green.
So I decided to make a caduceus and mount it on a piece of alder. I used some ripped out electrical wire from the construction project,twisted it with the screwgun, then mounted a glass glob in the top loop. I then drilled a hole in the burl and it's done!
Same problem seems like I've stalled out on the soldering skills. Had I been able to set the piece in hobby came around the edge, I would have been much happier. But I have only tried to do that once time before and didn't seem to get the knack of it.
I'm also working on a two panel project that I will start posting soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sounds Fishy To Me

While splitting wood for the winter, I kept seeing pieces of alder with beautiful grain around knots. Every time I put one in the stack of wood, I'd think, "Gosh, it's a shame to burn something so pretty." Next thing I knew I was throwing some of them into a pile. I knew I wanted to do something with them, but what? So I posted a picture of some of them on the glass forum I frequent, Artisans of Glass . In response, one of the folks there posted a picture of a beautiful pine knot they had used as a stand for a stained glass fish. What a great idea! I wish my brain worked like that!

Is there such a thing as coincidence? That same week, I received an e-mail from a friend asking if I would make a stained glass fish for his boss for a birthday gift..not too big. Yeah, I can do that! So I started hunting for a fish pattern. Spectrum Glass has many free patterns that they post for use, and they had the perfect fish...but waaaaiiiiit a minute..that fish looked familiar. Darned if it wasn't the same fish! Damn! That feels really close to copying. So after see sawing back and forth, I decided that since I was pressed for time, I'd just use the Spectrum pattern and had Ed route out a piece of the alder that I had. I glued felt on the bottom so it wouldn't be scratchy, and in the mail it went. I hereby issue a public bow to my forum-mates for their good taste and superior work, and thank them for their inspiration.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Schooner Moon

Schooner Moon

A schooner moon has lit the night,
It's wonderous glow a glorious sight.
The smell of salt, the kiss of breeze
The rock of tide on gentle seas.
Take me, O love, this starry night
In arms of sail on windfilled flight.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

All Hands On Deck II

A thousand things on the to-do list, and I spent the day cutting glass. But I cut like a demon all day, to get it done. There are a few pieces of cloud that I may change out, then I'll foil tomorrow evening, and hopefully solder on Saturday. There are plenty of pleasure boaters coming into town this time of year, and I'd like to get it into the store asap.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

All Hands On Deck

Ed made a great frame for the Mt St Helens piece. It is rough cedar and fits the outdoor scene perfectly. I'll be taking this piece down to the store this afternoon.

Anne, glass artist in Canada and a very generous lady, sent me her spare controller for my soldering iron, among other things. I will be going up to Inspirations Glass in Chinook later this week to buy a new Hakko soldering iron. Between the new iron and the new controller, I'm hoping to see further improvement in my soldering. The soldering in this piece is much improved over prior projects, but I still need to work on that particular skill.

The next piece will be Schooner Moon. I drew this one out after seeing a beautiful sailboat down on the river. I should inventory my glass before I drive over to Chinook....
Glassing will have to take a back seat shortly. Summer means all hands on deck for construction. My granddaughter is coming for the summer. I wonder if she's old enough to run a nailing gun. Actually, I'd like to take my glass scraps, run them through a rock tumbler (have to get one) and we can make mosaics together. We'll see..

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mt St Helens From The Columbia River

I finished soldering the Mt St Helens piece and my soldering is getting a little better. I'm thinking that my Weller 80 just isn't what I need, and may splurge for a Hakko 456 soldering iron. Also my temperature regulator is inadequate, but Anne, a glasser in Canada, had one she wasn't using and has very kindly sent it to me. Thank you, Anne!
I want to put this one in a frame and take it down to the gallery. Ed is swamped with things to do, and I hate asking him to stop and make me another frame! I tried to learn how to make them myself, but it was pathetic.
I also just finished a new pattern of a schooner backlit by a big moon, but I don't know when I'll be able to start it. Things are really starting to move with the house construction ( and I don't know how much glassing time I'll be able to get in the next few months. First things first, and we need to get the studio over the garage done before next fall.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What I Did On My Solder Vacation

I had my soldering class, and I enjoyed it very much. Let me start by saying that I waited two months for this class, only to have round two of the flu for the soldering class. The day before, I had to get my weekly trip to town out of the way, to come home to a very cheerful message on my machine saying to bring an un-foiled project, cut and ground, about 10" . Well that lets out Mt St Helens. So quickly, a relative term, I threw together a 10" project, which took about three hours to draw out, find glass, and cut out. Not the thing I wanted to do after shopping with the flu, but I really wanted to be at this class. Then I decided to play to the message again before taking a large dose of Nyquil and going to bed. UH-OH. I wasn't listening...she actually said..a 10 PIECE project. Mine had about 20 pieces. Now I'm thinking I'll wind up being the student from Hell who can't follow directions.

Some of the class was to clean the glass prior to foiling, how put foil on so that it actually sticks, using a fid, etc. Review of the basics is always good. Then she got to the tricky stuff..the stuff that's hard to your iron too hot, too cold, too dirty..Are you using enough flux, too little, paste, liquid, gell? I have recently been dipping my solder in the flux, kind of wiping off the excess on the lip of the flux bottle. She uses a 1 1/2" square of standard kitchen sponge that she keeps in an (empty) yogurt container. She puts it on the lid, squirts flux on the sponge, uses that instead of a flux brush. I found I had better control with this than a brush. Then she leaves it out and used the sponge piece to wipe flux onto the solder as she goes. It worked very well. Then when she's done for the day she just pops the sponge into the plastic container and puts the lid on. The sponge stays good for a few months before it starts to dissolve from the acids.

I was putting my iron tip on the foil right at the seam, where the two pieces of glass meet, and wound up with flat seams, and I was too stingy with solder. She had me try putting the tip right where the glass and foil meet, on one side of the seam, at a 45' angle, and leaned toward the foil, slow down, and apply the solder. Holy Cow! A bead! It's a miracle! Well..sort of..every new thing I learn takes practice.

I used a geode in the center of my piece, and the edge is ..rocklike.. so she showed me a decorative solder technique where you apply a bead at the seam, then go back with a damp but not dripping wet sponge on the non dominant hand, and iron in the dominant hand. Heat the bead and while it's hot, dab it with the wet sponge. It makes a very rough spatter bead. At first I wasn't fond of it, but for certain applications, it looks good.

Mostly I need to get a better handle on my particular iron, be more generous with the solder and SLOW DOWN. All in all it was a good class, and I'm glad I went. I was hoping for a miracle pill for my soldering technique, and just like my diet, there isn't one. It made a significant improvement in my soldering, but I need practice practice practice.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sky Pilot

I'm taking a soldering class this Saturday. Soldering is my weakest point, so hopefully I will improve. We needed to have a project foiled and ready to go for the class, so I decided to make a pattern using took a photo I had recently taken of Mt St Helens. This photo is from the Columbia River, about 15 miles west of Longview. On a very very clear day, you can see Mt Hood behind it as well.

I used my Rapid Resizer program to print out a picture about 20x12 then drew out a pattern, but two things just didn't sit right. #1 is the pattern of the water. Too many pieces, so I squiggled (is that a word?) some of them out. #2 is the sky...there just isn't a good way to do sky that looks natural. Sky has no dividing lines. I finally went with adding some clouds, although I'm not much happier with that than I am the original plan.

Tonight and tomorrow I'll get it foiled, then take it to the soldering class on Saturday.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tranquility Falls for Healing Animals

The foiling and soldering are all done for "Tranquility Falls" for the Nan Pipestem Wildlife Rehabilitation Center's annual dinner auction. Ed will work on the cedar frame this week and I'll get it in the mail for the auction on the 21st of this month. Dare I say it.... so far....I've had no problems in mailing glass.

Thank you again to Focal Point Glassworks for a great design.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Creature Comforts

Since high school, my daughter, Ellen has volunteered at the Nan Pipestem Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Tres Pinos, California. Each year they have a fundraising auction and dinner as their primary fund event, which will be this month. You can view more information at . This rehabilition center is a third generation effort, with no governmental funding, and to say it runs on a shoestring is a serious overstatement. If love and commitment could be burned as fuel, these folks have a power plant.

I will be making a stained glass panel for the auction. I have two more weeks to finish cutting the glass, foil, solder, frame in cedar, and mail to California. Piece of cake. The design, used with very kind permission of Focal Point Glassworks is a lovely waterfall landscape.

You will note that I'm saving cutting out the glass for the green part of the tree almost until last. That's because it's the glass from Hell. It's Uroboros granite ripple, emerald green, and it is absolutely beautiful glass. Probably because of my inexperience, but handling that stuff is like putting my fingers in a food processor...on purpose.

Hopefully I'll get it all cut out today, and start foiling tomorrow. It's supposed to rain all this week, which is great glass weather. I can work on it all day and not feel guilty about staying inside.

Ok well, flash forward a few hours...the glass is all cut. I managed to not flay the meat off my fingers. Actually..the glass isn't too bad if you're careful. The last time I handled any was about a year ago, so maybe I'm just more at ease.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mary, Clothed in the Sun

I decided to replace the background pieces that I wasn't happy with. On Monday, Debbie from Inspirations Glass was driving this way and brought me a piece. That was wonderful, because it saved me a two hour round trip to pick it up. Thank you Debbie!

Today I soldered the whole thing together. I'm nursing a miserable cold. The good news is I can't smell the burning flux. The bad news is..I can't smell the burning flux, so I probably inhaled way too much. In the winter, all I use is the ceiling fan to blow stuff around. I should probably re-think that part.

You'll recall from last posting that I had a tough time painting the face. I finally went with the third try, which was painted on the front and back. I also re-arranged her hair a little bit. Once it was all soldered together and in the sun, I realized that the coloration on the face was all wrong..the two coats made it too different than the hands and neck. So I took some steel wool to the baked paint on the back of the face and took it off, leaving the detail on the front of the face only. The painting technique is primative, but I still like it.

I'm also pretty happy with how the crown of stars and Sacred Heart came out. It's very pretty in the sun. I decided not to put bevels at the corners and border.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Three Marys

I have all the pieces foiled, and am happy with the piece overall. The solder lines will add definition to the drape lines in the clothing. The background glass swirls so much that some of it looks off-grain, and I'm hoping that in the light that effect will be deminished. The background glass was so expensive that I can't bring myself to replace it.

I was having a tough time with the detail pieces. face, hands and foot. The first time, I used a champagne GNA piece and just painted line detail. Of course I got the expression on the face just like I wanted it, but when it was held up to the light it was all wrong because it was transparent. I tried painting the back of the glass, but it just wasn't right. I re-cut the face piece and painted the front with a neutral base, then tried to shade and line paint the detail. The face was all wrong, and the glass didn't fit as well as I wanted. So I cut piece #3, painted the front and back with the neutral color, added some shading to the front, and line painted the detail. It's not perfect, but I'm no artist. Because I used a brush for the base, it's streaky up close, but I think it will be ok in the light. This afternoon, after everything was painted and baked, I bought a cheapie air brush, but I don't have all the stuff I need to learn to paint with it, so this will have to do for this project.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peace Be With You

Across Silicon Valley, freeways, expressways and roadways criss-cross like a giant piece of chicken wire. With a thousand things pressing on their minds, people drive to work in an angry harried haze. Go ahead, take the Great America Parkway ramp off Hy 101, just north of Hy 880. And there, on a road that leads to an amusement park, overlooking those freeways, stands a beacon of serene compassion.

At 32', the Our Lady of Peace statue can easily be seen from the freeway. Whether or not you are a believer that Mary is the mother of God, surely you can believe that a mother's love for her child holds a mighty power in of itself.

I decided to try to draw a pattern of this statue for glass. In order to get the detail that I want, I've had to make it a sizable panel, 30.5"x20.5". It's not huge, but it's a decorative panel, not a church window. My biggest concern is her face and hands. I think I will paint detail on those, but I've not done that before. Do I use oven-cured paint or kiln-fired? Can I make it look like I envision? Can I find a kiln to use, since I don't own one?

The pattern I drew shows cut lines for glass pieces for her face. I will probably ignore those, cut the glass for the face as one piece and paint it. The detail will make or break (a little glass joke) the integrity of the panel.
I've never done this before, so I'm a little nervous.

I went to a glass store last week, Inspirations Glass, to see what was available. She carries a beautiful selection of glass, primarily Uroboros. After reading various descriptions of Marian visions, one hit the mark for me. It described Mary as standing on the moon, clothed in the sun. So, the colors I chose for this piece will not be the traditional blue and white.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Sisterhood

There were two incidents that inspired this piece. One was being present as my daughter gave birth to my granddaughter. The attending doctor and nurses were all women. There was a time-stood-still moment as the baby emerged where I was very much aware of the fabric of time, of all the women in my family before me, and all those to come.

The other was when my dad was terminally ill. Four generations of women were there to make sure he was as comfortable as we could make him.

The women in my family are all different, but each a thread in the fabric. I love them all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rantin' and Raven

The raven is all done. I'm pretty happy with it, although as I stand back, I can see that it might benefit from some glass framing. Maybe next time.

I tried dipping my solder into flux as I went this time. It made the soldering go much faster, and smoother too.

Soldering is still a skill-in-progress and practice makes perfect, so I guess I'd better choose the next project.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Raven Has Hatched

The train to Arkansas took off yesterday in the mail. My brother should get it just in time for his birthday.
Since the snow is still everywhere, the kids are gone, and Ed won't be home until tonight, I started the Raven Steals The Sun. The pattern was already set on the board and traced on the fasson paper, so I started cutting glass yesterday. Six hours yesterday and five hours eyes are a little buggy, and my hip is barking at me, but I'm really happy with the results so far. The center of the sun and the inside of the raven's beak is a deep garnet red..almost a black. I'm going to use a hematite bead for his eye. Most of the colors don't show true when the piece is flat..those that look kind of orange will be much brighter red with the sun through them.
This of course, is prior to foiling. I should get that done by Monday, and soldered on Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to putting it in the light. The raven will be more transparent, and the seeded streaky Weissmach should be spectacular. I'm hoping the garnet will make his beak look like it's glowing with the heat of the sun.
This piece will probably be my first consignment piece to go in the local craft store, Made In Wahkiakum, I'll probably take in the MacKintosh Roses, and an abstract piece with a geode in the center.