Studio Today

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dear Visitor,
Hello to anyone looking in. It has been a very long time and a few significant life events in the family have altered my focus. So, to sum up, I have advanced into torch tasks (soldering, annealing) with sterling silver and copper. It is the very newness that I love which is frightening and exciting all rolled into one amazing jittery feeling.

sterling cobalt ear

I recycled this sterling silver from a ring that I thought would have a better life as a pair of sterling silver earrings featuring lovely cobalt blue glass orbs.


Interested? They will be found on Etsy.





Studio Today

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dear Visitor,
April, my favorite month! Yesterday I completed the cutting and fitting on my current glass project.


un-named project

Un-named piece – See the progress on


Had a little time to work on my new craft (I love it because it involves using a hammer – yay!) silver-smithing. I followed directions from experts online and distilled what I remembered into my own first attempt. When I feel comfortable with the craft and actually come up with a nice piece (other than the 7 earrings I’m wearing now), I’ll post a picture. I love April! Creative energy is in the air here on the coast . . .one just needs to breathe it in!

Today In The Studio

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dear Visitor,

It’s still raining off and on, mostly on with a few “sucker holes” (that’s what we call them on the OC; maybe it’s what they call those little teaser sun breaks where you are). I dug a big ol’ nasty “Salmonberry” (Rubus spectabilis – a type of raspberry common to the Oregon Coast, sadly not as nice to eat as red and black raspberries) root out of the soil beneath my garden fence, Felt good and I got the start of a handle on a plan for my garden. There is this packet of snap peas speaking in my ear from its perch on the kitchen counter. It’s been a few years since I last planted any kind of peas, so, this year it will be February 1 (according to my plan with the start of a handle). I love digging in the soil; I love it better when the sun is out. I feel very blessed that I have a luxury of time this Spring for getting the garden in good shape.

I am nearly done with a Luna Moth sun catcher; just a bit of copper to trim, another close look and adjustment to the solder lines, a few rings to attach, patina to apply, and a final wax and polish. Wow, that does sound like a lot when it’s all written out, but, we’re really talking about an hour to hour and a half for such a small piece. I’ve done this moth before, but each one is unique. I’ve given him a “moonlit” background. I’m very happy with how he’s turning out. I’ll post a photo when completed.


On the fringe

My little lamp is complete except for the bead fringe and I feel a little stymied.  Shall I fringe on the edge which is irregular but not random or shall I find a level somewhere up inside the lamp to hang the beads from?

First thoughts:  to sew the strings of beads to a cloth bias tape and glue it to the inside of the lamp.  After some more thought, that method felt a little unstable at best and very cheesy at worst.

Looking around at bead fringe on all kinds of lamps, the one thing that struck me as a consistent artistic error is really long length of fringe in relation to whatever size lamp it happened to be hanging from.  Many lamps would have been much prettier if the fringe length was proportional to the lamp, no matter what method was employed to attach it.  Too bad I didn’t also discover a consistently used method (tried and true or at least feeling right) of attaching the beads.  My beads will be “strung” on brass head pins needing to be hung from metal ring-like structures. 

Little lamp gets short fringe, but, do I want the fringe to follow the irregular edge?  Short fringe will emphasize the irregularity (bringing nothing cool to the party) unless each string of beads is a different length to (ideally) meet on a single plane.  Who ever said art was supposed to be easy?

The other option, longer strings of beads all the same length coming from somewhere up inside the lamp meeting on the same plane.  Sounds simple, however, more beads needed and some sort of line casting a shadow from behind the glass (hmmm), sounding more like trying to hide a mess to me.

Showing rather than hiding details feels cleaner.    To me, the details are, in and of themselves, beautiful.  I’m a fan of steampunk – give me the inner workings.  So, follow the irregular lamp edge it is!

Now, shall I solder jump rings to the edge wire, twist the edge wire into a series of “rings,” or solder raw brass chain to the edge, replacing the wire, and use the chain links as the rings from which each string of beads will hang? 

Wasn’t that long ago when I thought to myself, “Wow, I am so not the impatient girl I had been in my twenties.” — thanks in very large part to the rigorous snail’s pace of stained glass construction and being a fool (in the Tarot sense of “fool,” of course) among fools for a long life.  Patience is not something you need to strive toward, it is inevitable.  Creativity is, simply, problem solving (with a fancy name) and the clever management of patience.  I’m feeling a little strain.  I take a deep breath . . .

Yet, here it is — a test of my patience?  Okaaay.   It’s actually a bit of a thrill (but, sort of annoying like being touched on the shoulder to dance when you’ve got comfortable on the wall) to feel tested.  I could just ignore it.  Do I really need a deeper level of patience?  The universe thinks I do or it wouldn’t be asking me to dance.  Right? 

Whatever method I use, I must be willing to stop and, patiently, go back — soooo, I will try the easiest to undo first.  Raw brass chain on the irregular edge; each (of 84) string of beads a custom length using small, clear glass beads for length adjustment at the top of each string with all (did I already say,”84?”) strings meeting on a level plane.  I will come back with a photo of success and a deeper level of patience, plans for a new tack and a deeper level of patience, or just a deeper level of patience.

Solstice Lamp

Winter Solstice 2010 – the sun, the light,  is taking tiny steps back toward the northern hemisphere.  Emily Dickinson’s “Certain slant of light” pressed against the pine trees outside my studio window today making me say to myself (each time I looked out), “go for a walk . . .now!”  I kept turning back to my tiny lamp.  It’s the one that I plan  to “fringe” with 84 strings of garnets, freshwater pearls, and glass beads.  I’ve never done fringe on a lamp before, so it’s kind of exciting to play with – bottom line – the fringe comes after the lamp is cut, foiled, soldered, and capped.  This lamp has 162 pieces of glass (not counting the fringe) and I have 27 left to cut and foil.  Tomorrow will be the day as long as I keep working.  However, when the last piece is cut, foiled and pinned into the mold – I will go out the door to greet, welcome, celebrate our prodigal sun.  Winter will turn to Spring – be strong, the dark is going away.

Dalle De Verre Church Window Completed

The Dalle deVerre church window restoration is finally finished and re-installed.  The color of the matrix is somewhat different, but still in the background and not even noticeable in the sanctuary lighting.


I mixed 4 epoxy resin pour sections in the whole window; the first pour section was light on hardener, so needed to be removed and re-poured.  There is not the “cold joint” problem one might encounter with concrete, thank goodness, so, everything stuck where it was supposed to stick for the “replacement” pour – just a slight ridge in the surface of the matrix at the interface of pour sections.


I got a lot of great advice and encouragement from friends who had used epoxy resin in some form which I remembered when things went a little different than I expected.  Thanks to Dave and Karl, I was prepared for whatever might happen during the pour.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the lack of functionality of my scale. 


I planned to tare the milk carton and pour in the epoxy resin, take the weight of the epoxy and calculate how much hardener was needed exactly.  I had a 100:1 ratio, simple math.  The plan was to tare the carton with the epoxy and take the scale up to the exact weight of the hardener only.  Well, the scale would not tare so much weight and it flustered me at first.  The first pour eventually needed to be replaced (as mentioned) because I “guesstimated” wrong on the hardener needed.  After that, everything went fine.  I just got a tare on the carton, added epoxy, and wrote down the weight of the total epoxy for my calculation of the hardener required.   Put the carton back on the scale with epoxy inside, wrote down the total weight, added the weight of the hardener to that total and then poured in the hardener until the scale read the sum.  No problems after that on calculating the mix.


I first tried pouring from the corner of the milk carton.  The texture of the epoxy resin with hardener is a little like peanut butter thinned with really sticky honey, but the way it “moves” is something I had not encountered, sort of reminded me of liquid-y silly putty.  The stuff got all over the dalles, so I moved into the more open sections of the panel since I thought the pour would be going off in about 20 minutes which would leave me little time to clean the epoxy off the dalles before it hardened.  A little nerve wracking, but it was not a good time for freaking out.  I got as much as possible poured from the carton and did a little mental reassessment of the plan.


What I ended up using for the actual “spreading” of the epoxy resin for the balance of three pours was gallon size plastic storage bags which I filled from the milk carton I used to mix.  Just cut a small hole in the corner of the bag to accommodate the narrow “channels” between the dalles and instead of squeezing (like you might do while decorating a cake), I just let the epoxy resin “fall” out of the hole as I moved it around the glass.  Piece of cake . . .


I waited 15 minutes after each pour and sprinkled clean sand over the surface.  There was one place where I didn’t wait long enough before sprinkling the sand and it sunk into the epoxy resin a bit; doesn’t look perfect, but not too bad.


The matrix began to harden very quickly (except for the bad first pour), and I left it on the work bench until the following Monday (2 days).  The following Friday, I removed the matrix that didn’t harden and poured it again.  The following Monday, February 1, I called the church to make arrangements for the time to reinstall the panel.  Saturday, February 6, Kirby and I prepared the panel for transport to the church and he installed the panel.


The only really nervous moment for me was when he had to adjust the panel during the dry fit with a skill saw using a masonry blade.  I had to go inside the sanctuary and calm my mind with meditation while he was taking a power saw to my work.  But, it all went pretty well.  See photos.


I learned a lot doing this project and plan to do more Dalle de Verre.  I need to acquire more skill in shaping and faceting the glass.  I have no fear of mixing epoxy resin now.  I need to find a more effective way to smooth the aggregate around the dalles to get a nice flat matrix surface on the bottom as well as the top.  I’m sure that will all come with practice like with any skill set. 


Learning anything requires the willingness to say yes when an opportunity arises.  So, my dear reader, go forward without fear and learn.  If you are interested in learning Dalle de Verre, there is a valuable booklet from The Stained Glass Association of America which is Chapter 10 of the Reference and Technical Manual, Second Edition.  It is available from SGAA, Raytown, MO, 1-800-438-9581.  

Inside the sanctuary, the panel on the left is the restoration.

Inside the sanctuary, the panel on the left is the restoration.

Kirby, my husband, is adjusting the panel for the dry fit.

Kirby, my husband, is adjusting the panel for the dry fit.

Waiting for the masonry blade . . .yikes!

Waiting for the masonry blade . . .yikes!

Dalle De Verre Church Window

Pieces stuck down to pattern with glue dots, clean sand (aggregate layer) between dalles, needs fine tuning before epoxy resin pour.

Pieces stuck down to pattern with glue dots, clean sand (aggregate layer) between dalles, needs fine tuning before epoxy resin pour.

It’s the big day.  I’m going in this morning to finish up prep and do the epoxy resin pour.  I know I’ve been over-thinking this (thus creating a huge nervous knot in my stomach over it) so, I’m switching gears.  The process is down cold in my head, all my reference materials are close by.  The only prep I have left is to dam up the deep facets with clay so they won’t flood during the pour and to make sure the sand base is as close to even throughout at 1/4 inch.  The actual pour should take less than 20 minutes to 1/2 hour, then the final sanding (top layer of aggregate).  Wish me luck.

Update on Paper Mache Aided Lamp Repair

Just word on paper mache mold – while it could be useful in some cases, I ended up abandoning the idea in favor of simply cutting, adjusting the shape (with grinder), foiling, and tack soldering the replacement pieces in place.  Seventeen of the upper grid of the lamp were broken.  Now, I am searching for a good replacement for the mangled vase cap, one that will do justice to the gorgeous patina of the original (still intact) finial.  I don’t want to use one of those flimsy lace-cut brass caps on this lamp.