Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Challenge Day 7

So, I guess I'm hitting about 50% so far on these challenges. I am trying to also get my regular inventory up, including at least 60 pair of earrings (and I'm only half way on that, too!) and with all my "regular" duties it's been difficult to set aside the actual time to do the challenge.

I also have to admit I was a little intimidated by the challenge for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday which were all do 5 drawings spending no more than 5 minutes on each one. I still may try this somewhere along in the challenge.

Today's challenge was to use/create a tool that isn't a tool made for glass. Now this intrigues me. My challenge all along has been that I can't draw, so creating pictures is difficult for me. I love playing around with Celtic knots however, and mulled over what could I use that would help me draw knots? Someone had posted a video on the challenge Facebook page of some Tibetan monks making a sand drawing. It didn't show the tool they were using very clearly, but I wondered what kind of control I would get if I could roll up a piece of card stock and have the frit come out of a small hole in the bottom? While this may not technically be sgraffito style, I think it's what I need and it is still in the spirit of the challenge.

I am REALLY pleased with the results, because I think this is something I can use in the type of "drawings" that I like to do, more geometric shapes, etc. I really liked the control it gave me (just tapping on the side with my finger), and I used a toothpick to clean the spaces up a bit. I have a color shaper that I think will work maybe a little better for clean up, but I left this one like it was so the rules were followed. In looking at other posts on the wall I saw that someone carved/sharpened an eraser and used it. I may try something similar for tomorrow's challenge; I'm thinking something smaller and maybe skinnier than my color shaper to get into small spaces with. I've used a piece of card stock just folded in half before to get detail, but I think I like this MUCH better!

The lesson for me today was to go ahead and try to use this challenge along with MY style as much as I can, make it work for MY glass pieces. It is kind of fun! Three of my challenge pieces are firing away in the kiln right now so that I can make adjustments to thickness if needed. If they turn out I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sgraffito Challenge Day 3/4

Have I mentioned how much I hate the fact that I cannot draw?? Day three challenge was to create a landscape using just your fingers and a card. This was probably my 3rd or 4th attempt. I may fire this one just to see what happens. Of course, I also managed to mess up my tree from Friday so I ended up redoing that as well. So, I think I'm going to sit out today's challenge, which was to do 5 pieces in 5 minutes each, again, fingers and card the only tool used.

The lady hosting the challenge was kind enough to post a video of her method. It's making me very frustrated that I can't see this video. I keep getting content not available. The link is going to a FB page, and in discussing it a bit with other members of the challenge I cannot figure out why I can't see it. I feel a bit like I'm flying in the dark here. (This is not a complaint against this hostess, I know she's very busy. I just really want to see it!!!) I am, however, learning lots about technique reading the comments and questions on the FB site she has set up for the members of this challenge. Hopefully, I'll get a bit better each day as I learn from the others. I'm trying to remind myself this is not a contest, this is not a contest, this is not a contest...

Friday, January 2, 2015

Challenge Day 2

Day two in the sgraffito challenge was to draw a tree in powdered frit using only your fingers and a business card. I like trees, and since I don't do well under pressure it was nice being told what to draw.

Again, my drawing skills are non existent and I'm really feeling the pressure looking at the beautiful drawings people are coming up with. I'm trying to remind myself that this is to stretch MY skills and to draw inspiration instead of intimidation from others. Since I was hoping to be able to keep this, I went small (this piece is about 1.5 x 2.5") and I sketched my tree onto the glass ahead of time. The traces of black marker you can see should fire away during fusing. I used a root beer brown frit that should fire darker.

I would never have thought to use a business card to move frit around. I pushed the frit around to where I needed it and thought, well since I kind of like it, I'll cheat a bit and use a tiny brush to clean up the frit in the open areas. Would you believe the card actually did a better job of cleaning up than the tiniest brush I have? See, THIS is why you do these things. You learn little tiny things to use in your everyday skills.

I will probably fire this, but it won't be until I have other things to fill the kiln with. I'll post a picture when I do. So far, so fun! To follow along on the blog where everyone is participating go to Modern Ancient Glass.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Challenge

This last year has been a major challenge for me. An exact year ago today, I was laying unconscious in a hospital bed in ICU with my family wondering if I was going to survive the severe flu/pneumonia I had become ill with the week before Christmas. Obviously, things worked out for the best. There have been some obstacles to overcome but I have worked very hard to continue to build the glass art business that I love.

This blog has suffered terribly, but hopefully, at least during the month of January, I'll be a bit better at updating it. I joined a "challenge" group. This particular challenge is to make a fused glass powder sgraffito drawing every day for 30 days. There will be limitations/suggestions/challenges on each day's drawing.

Now, first of all, I'm not sure I can even pronounce "sgraffito" properly, let alone use this technique. I also can NOT draw. I have never done this before. But I want 2015 to be about stretching my wings and doing things I've never done before, so, great way to start out the new year!

Today's challenge was to make a drawing in the glass power using only my fingers. Heh. Harder than it might sound. How do you get the edges even and straight using just your fingers? You're not going to be able to draw tiny details using fingers either. This picture is about my third or fourth attempt. I decided to try and depict an exploding firework to celebrate this new direction for this new year. Thankfully, I don't need to fire each of these drawings. Since I haven't done this before, I think I need to do some research before I actually fire one, to see how much powder should be used. Since frit (crushed glass) carries a lot of air in it, it can shrink quite a bit when it gets fired, so it may not look like you want it to after it comes out of the kiln. Also, the official challenge calls for you to use black glass powder. I don't happen to have any at the moment, so red it is!

Tomorrow's challenge is to draw a tree. We can only use fingers and a business card to aid our drawing. We'll see if I can come up with something recognizable!

If you want to follow along and see what the other artists do, the "official" blog is here:
Modern Ancient Glass

Design by Duane Miles, beaded by Kerry