Sunday, August 20, 2017

Recent Run-In with Stamps

I can't say it's not a great time to use Navajo hand stamps - it most certainly is.  In keeping with my current fascination with reflector glass and the stamps I have created a necklace/brooch.  In the reverse I have used both a pin catch and the requisite necklace bail.  I wanted something I could wear both ways. 

There is so much more of this "line" of jewelry to come.  Some is on my bench in various states of being fitted with settings and so much more is in the sketchbook waiting to be fleshed out.  I really need to concentrate on what is already out there and then move forward - although I will admit it is always hard for me to do.  When the ideas are flying it is hard to focus.  But, it needs to be done.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


The Gathering was fabulous.  Old friends, acquaintances, new friends - - - so much to do.  I was pleased to room with Kathy Johnson.  What a ball of energy she is and delight to be with.  She's an old school ISGB member and so knowledgeable on who is who.  Not gossipy stuff - she does NOT do that....but when I would see someone I didn't know she generally did and I could then attach a name to an actual face of someone I had met on Facebook or who's work I had admired for years.

If you didn't go to this years Gathering you definitely missed out.  It reminded me of Gatherings from many years ago where we had all the vendors at our fingertips and plenty of classes to chose from. The ISGB had teamed up with Glass Craft Expo and the rest is history.  Glass Heaven.

I had a great class with Davide Penso and he was an Italian joy.   Masterful in what he did and who couldn't listen to the voice all day (wink wink).  I'm old, not dead.  I haven't used a blow pipe in years but eventually I was able to get a fairly decent bead out of it.  Practice, practice, practice.  Now that I'm home I will get back to it and see what I can do.  Baby steps - baby steps.

Here are a few photos from the show - More tomorrow.

Davide Penso blowing a bead

Me and Julie Couch (one of the presenters and instructors)

The Bead Show and part of the Expo (and the fantastic Barbara Becker Simon waving)
Rashon Jones working on on a glass goblet.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

7 More Days Until I take that ride to VEGAS

This is me getting ready for the Gathering:

Yup, this is me - hands over my head wondering about the changes I'm about to make to the necklace below.  I knew it was the wrong chain for the bottom but then decided I'd be better off making a solid drop for it.  More consistent to the vision of the work.
Please excuse the dental floss - it's what we put under stones that don't have a hole in the back - otherwise you can't lift them back out.

Finally, a more finished piece! I like the solid drapes better than the chain.  In the end I am sandblasting a bead that will be capped and hang at the bottom.  It's actually a sweet little necklace.  I'm giving it to the ISGB for the conference.  Silent Auction.  I hope it raises some money for whatever their future plana are.  They're a great group.

These are other pieces I've been working on, not set yet!  I'm finding the reflectors simply delicious to work with.  They're antique and reflect the light in such a beautfiul way.   And, of course, I'm going to a glass conference so it's doubly cool that they are glass and a glass that I love since they are bike reflectors and the very same kind that my grandfather tightened onto my bike.

Okay, onward and upward.  Only 7 days until I hope aboard that airplane!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mechanisms and other goodies....

I had a great class with Richard Salley recently.  I seem to be really racking up the class hours.  It's always been great to work in metal but better when you can put your own clasps and things on a necklace or broach.  I will have to get a photo together of all of the items we made in Salley's class but in the meantime I thought I'd post a picture of a ring I just created.

I learned the technique from a friend Lynn while in Joanna Gollberg's class.  That's another perk of taking classes at this level.  People are very sharing and kind. 

This ring is a domed copper with a silver lining.  I love it!  I hope you do too.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Arrowmont - Closing act 2016 - last class session of this season.

Whew, my oh my!

I saved all year long for this one.  And to say the least my class with Joanna Gollberg did not disappoint in the least.  Before I get to the class let me show you a few pictures from Arrowmont.  If you haven't been there, start saving!  I've simply never seen a better equipped studio to work in. Private benches, foredoms, and the tools.  Holy crap - - - - the tools.  Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Our classroom, as taken from my bench!

Half of the tool room in between our studio and the one that Mary Hettsenberger was teaching in.

And this hall was just outside of our studio.  Inspiration was everywhere!

This is such a limited view of the expansiveness of the buildings on the campus.  There were buildings for woodworking and their studios.  Ceramic studios, printmaking/painting, and textile studios.  There are galleries all over the building.  Galleries in the halls, by the store, in the wood working building just before the studio.  Auditoriums - yup several of them.  Resident studios too.

I was excited by my class and in awe of the surroundings, can you tell?  

We were encouraged to visit other classrooms.  Not to be there when lectures or demos were going on but to visit in between and see what was going on.  The creativity was staggering.  Indigo dying, felting on armatures, printing in patterns, mixed media, wood carving, metals.  

Every night there was a presentation of some sort.  Teachers, Teachers Aids (artists in their own right), Residents, the Quilt show opening complete with wine/beer and a snack table that was as good, if not better, than any I'd ever seen at an opening.  The residents even had shows in their studios complete with wine and beer.  

I'm still basking in the glow of  a week long stay.  And to remind me of the wonderful time I had...Joanna left me with a little handiwork.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lucky Me - I have won the Cathy Finegan Scholarship to attend the ISGB Gathering in Las Vegas 2017.

I've put off adding this to the blog.  And why would you ever do that Sharon????  Really!, huh - huh!
I've thought about that.  First, I wanted to wait until it was announced by the ISGB.  But, I still put it off.  I just wanted to jump up and down all on my own for a little bit.  I've done that for two weeks.  I felt like the Scholarship was the beginning of an incredible "lucky me" run and I wanted to save it for the last post in this Lucky Me series.  It could also be called a "very grateful me" series too!

Let me tell about when I first met Cathy Finnegan.  She wouldn't possibly remember it.  I've never seen a bigger ball of energy.  She was running around an ISGB Gathering and making sure everything was perfect.  I didn't much understand anyones role at that time but I was sure to ask who she was and I certainly admired her ability to multi-task.  Plus, she seemed to know everyone's name and have the same energetic smile for all of them.

Remember, my whole career (non-artist) was to observe the social interaction and behavior of nearly everyone around me.  Being the introvert I am I guess it never much turned off no matter where I was - but luckily using the observations only applied at work.

Years later after a Gathering I had the opportunity and pleasure to sit and visit at the after party where everyone was doing Karioke.  My roomie, Lillian Rogers was there, as were Cathy and her parents, Sara Sally LaGrand and many others.  She was as nice as I had suspected.  And, as the saying goes - the nut doesn't fall far from the tree.  Her parents were charming in every way.  So aside from being this fire brand she was sweet, her parents were the same way and I've felt like a silent supporter ever since.

We had to supply some photos for the scholarship entry.  One was of some of our beginning beads.  I don't know about everyone else but I have a string of them right by my bench.  I find they keep me humble and remind me that every time you learn something new you have to start at the beginning.

I was lucky and had an interesting batch of teachers on that round.  Toby Upton was the instructor. He was primarily a boro guy and hot glass worker but he was full of interesting info.  Filling in for Toby was Al Young.  Like wow, His work is in Habitat Gallery.  We used Spruce Pine batch from the kiln that had been pulled into rods for us.  I suspect the leftovers from whatever they were running.  But, what they wanted for for us to feel it was "non-precious" and could be manipulated and thrown away. We were there to learn techniques.  This is the set of beads from that class.

We learned to manipulate tweezers, pairing knives, scissors, and various tools.  It was great.  They've stood the test of time - physically and technique wise.  

Thank you first teachers.  And, thank you all of the teachers since then.  

What does the Cathy Finnegan scholarship mean to me?  I've been thinking about that for two weeks now.  It's not such a casual thing to me that it went without that thought.  To me, it's an acknowlegement of 20+ years of work in the field of glass, it's practice/ practice/ practice, it's being honored and encouraged by the ISGB throughout my career (I've never had them say, "no, I don't want to share how I did that!"), it's all of this and so much more.  In my quiet house I danced like a crazy person barking at the moon - in public, a smile and a wink - but I can tell you my insides are like jelly when I talk about it.  Thank you Cathy Finegan for being the person I knew you were when I first met you and your family.  There wasn't a scholarship back then.  I've seen many fine people since then apply and attend the Gathering since that time because of your contributions.

I am honored - I am molten glass container in steel - I am grateful beyond words, and I am humbled by being chosen.

Thank You * Thank You * Thank You

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lucky Me - Shopping the GL&W Show in Asheville

Have I dropped from heaven and having a good month, or what!!!

I love bead shows, art shows, bead shops, fossils, and on and on.  Back in Michigan there was the GL&W show and it was held near Detroit.  Over the years its dealers dwindled.  It was a shell of its former self and I wondered if the only way to get to see another great wholesale show was to attend the annual in Tuscon, AZ.  Something I'm sure I will never be able to afford.  By the time you paid for plane ticket and hotel - although I have a friend close by I could stay with - you could say a total goodbye to any funds to spend.  And then I'd still be paying off that plane ticket for awhile.

Anyway, I digress.  So we moved here to NC from Michigan.  I love the area - one set of children are fairly close by (although I miss the others) and low and behold...  There isn't only one wholesale show nearby - - - there are THREE.   And two sets a bi-yearly.  The ones in Franklin are by far the biggest but the ones in Spruce Pine are larger than the old one in Michigan.  The Asheville one is only the GL&W Show but considering the other two were early in the year, I'll take it.  

You're not supposed to take any photos in these shows so I snuck these.  I'm not quite sure what it is people were doing with the photos they took that made them ban them.  But, since I have no ulterior motives I hope no one will be too upset.

Attending these is entirely too much fun.  After we parked, in a parking garage instead of on the street somewhere, we found we were at the back of the Civic Center.  Around the center we went - - up the darn hill.  Really?  Does any place I need or want to be around here (Asheville) have to be a low incline?  Some how I figure it's heaven's way of forcing me to exercise.  Around we go and then - whammo, so not done yet - - - another block to the front of the Center and there are photocopied signs plastered in each and every door in the building.  OH TELL ME IT ISN'T SO!  Yup, the entrance is moved.  We must have had this really befuddled and pitiful look on our faces.  A sweet guard came to the door and said, "Oh my, I bet you walked around this building - Come on with me....I've an elevator and can take you right down to the show floor!"  Whew, and thank you southern hospitality.  

We still had to walk up a hill and back to the parking garage but the reprieve provided by that sweet lady certainly made my day. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Lucky Me - A byline in the Bead Release ...

For years I've thought there must be some way I could help with the ISGB.  I've always loved that group.   But to be honest, although I can be a firecracker on-line or in an email - I'm a total introvert so it's not like running for office is a good idea and I'll admit it.  I will never forget the first Gathering I attended.  I believe the first one I went to was the first one they had in Louisville, Kentucky.  So many many really really nice people.  I learned a lot and there wasn't anyone who wouldn't answer questions or help out with tips to move my lampworking forward.  I was in awe.  I think I still am.

When I saw Jeri and Shermo at Hot Times Jeri asked if I might consider helping out with the Bead Release.  Well sure, I'd be delighted.  Actually, I'd be rabbit hopping happy to do it....but gheeze Sharon, try and be a little cool - will ya!!!  She put me in touch with Kris Schaible and we exchanged some emails.  I worked up a few articles with Kris's encouragement.  I'm kind of a fill in writer - where the subject fits in and all the moons aligns(which means in Sharon language that I haven't written in Klingon or something).

And whoo hoo - the first one was accepted and published in the Release.  Kris said she heard good feedback on the article so that's wonderful.  It's encouraging.  I'll take it!

The article was about collaborating with another artist on a show piece.  I've seen so many great collaborations.  I've written a second article branching out from the first one.  Off and on for years I've teamed with teaching partner and taught at Beadfest when its been convenient for the two of us. Fingers crossed that it too will be well received.

Feeling very grateful!!

And hey, if you've never heard of the ISGB here you go.  Click HERE.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lucky Me - Hot Times

This is going to be a short series of posts called "Lucky Me".  It's been a busy couple of months which is why I haven't posted much....excuses, excuses!

I had been wanting to attend Hot Time in Mountains for quite a few years.  This year was especially sweet for me as it was a class that  Mary Lockwood was teaching.  I've admired her work for a very long time. Unfortunately by the time I inquired it was sold out.  Then there was an opening but I knew I wasn't the first to ask about a slot so I just let it pass.  Then, tah dah - Jeri called me from Hot Times and told me they had a seat if I'd like come and spend the second day there.

Well heck yeah I would.  It was great.  A Touch of Glass is such an interesting old building.  An old firehouse.  It is full to the brim with just the greatest batch of goodies.  I so love searching in every nook and cranny of wonderful places like that.  Oh gosh, and that was besides the fantastic class.

These are photos shots from this great mini-conference.  I know the Spring Hot Times is full but they are taking people for the wait list so just google Hot Times and get yourself signed up!!

Jeri Warhaftig doing a demo
The old fire pole in A Touch of Glass (Asheville)

Dragon by Mary Lockwood.

Fun stuff guys!!

Yeah, I know.  Some times it looks like I've given up lampworking for other art forms.  No so, but right now I am working on an awful lot of things to go with it.  

Have a great evening!

Monday, October 24, 2016


Wow, I've been so busy.   Everything around here has just been a hopping.  I'll fill you in the next couple of posts.  Here is a follow-up about the Navajo stamps.  They are so much fun and stamp so beautiful.

I've found that the best way to align them is to mark both the metal and the stamp.  On the metal I drew concentric circles with a cross hair.  On the stamps I marked the top center and bottom center. It's easy to get stamps rolled in the wrong direction so I find it a lot easier to do it this way.

Here's are some photographs of the progression -

This is the log I've set up to stamp on.  I was so lucky to gt this one.  I'd been looking for one but had wanted it to be only about a foot tall and really wide.  One day when we were cruising down by the River Arts District in Asheville we ran into a county tree service cutting down some trees in one of the lots.  They were simply huge - and just what I was looking for.   The guys were so very nice and not only helped me and hubby pick one out but one young hunky guy carried it to the car for us. SCORE!  I tried to get him to accept a tip so he and the guys could get a pop or something but he refused.  What a nice young man.  Nice people are just EVERYWHERE!

That's all for now.  I will try and be more consistent with posting....honest!  

Hugs to All,  Sharon