Copyright, All Rights Reserved.

Copyright, All Rights Reserved. All content on this site is copyrighted, Dana Worley, as of the date of posting. Reuse or redistribution of this content is strictly prohibited without express written permission of the author.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to "Char" -- winner of Jester's Baubles November Holiday giveaway. Char chose the following pendant as her favorite:


To create the pendant, two pieces of Spirit glass with mostly parallel lines were stacked with the lines set in a diagonal to each other and then fused. The piece was finished off with a quality silver-toned Aanraku bail. And I have to agree with Char -- it is one of my favorites, too.

Thank you to all who participated. (OK there were only three of you, but, hey, your chances for winning were very good!)

I've added new pendants and a sushi/soap dish or two to my etsy store. If you get a chance, "drop by" and take a look! (www.jestersbaubles.etsy.com)

Happy Holidays, Dana (aka, the Jester)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life's Lessons In Glass

I spent a fair amount of time this weekend working on a small sushi plate that I intended as a gift, using a glass weaving technique. Strips of glass are carefully cut to size, placed on a clear glass base, and then tack fused -- the pieces of glass are fused together but they retain their individual shapes. The process takes several hours in the kiln. The following day I slumped the woven glass into a flared mold. This process, too, takes time. The glass is slowly brought to 1000 degrees, the temperature is held to let the glass "soak", and then it's raised to slumping temperature. The glass has to be watched at this stage to ensure that it slumps adequately into the mold without over-slumping. Once slumped, the temperature is dropped quickly to 950-1000 degrees (by fanning the door!), held for an hour to anneal, and then slowly brought once again to room temperature.

It was a busy day yesterday. While slumping the glass I vacuumed the house, did some laundry, paid bills, worked on another idea for a design, went to the grocery, got dinner in the oven, and planted some daffodils (a last gardening effort before the snow flies). Just before dinner was ready I made a final check on the sushi dish. The temperature was down to about 200 degrees and I felt I could safely remove it from the kiln. I am always impatient to hold the final product in my hands. The glass and mold were still fairly hot (duh, 200 degrees!). I placed them on the table and started to walk away to finish dinner and let them cool. But I was impatient. I wanted to get the piece cleaned up and look at it -- really look at it. In the mold, the dish looked near perfect. The piece had slumped evenly and cleanly with no rough edges that I could see. I decided I would put it in my bucket and take it to the sink for cleaning. It was still warm, but I thought I would get the tap water as hot as I could and then fill the bucket, slowly bringing the glass to room temperature.

So I did. I knew I shouldn't have. I knew the moment I ran the water into the bucket that I had made a mistake. I heard the run of the crack in the glass -- a satisfying sound when you are breaking a score, but a sound that makes you feel slightly ill when you're looking at a finished piece.

I held the glass up to the light. On the outside, the glass was still intact. However, on the inside there were several hairline cracks. The piece I had worked so hard on -- for two days! -- was ruined.

I've always tried to look at my mistakes as learning experiences. With this experience, the glass reminded me of a couple of life's lessons that I should know by now (but apparently don't). The first lesson is patience. A lack of patience can ultimately lead to disappointment and failure. The other lesson is that even when things look cool on the outside, often they are still volatile on the inside and if stressed, will crack.

So I tried not to feel too sick about my failure and appreciate it for the lessons I'd learned. You can bet I'll be keeping that piece around for awhile as a reminder, in case I have the urge to let impatience take over again!


~A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains. ~ Dutch Proverb (or a half-bushel, in my case!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shiny Objects

Occasionally when I open the kiln, I come across a fused glass cabochon that I love. Well, let me rephrase that. Every time I open the kiln, I love all the beautiful sparkly objects that shine back at me. But every once in a while I come across a piece that I really, really love.

A few weeks ago I opened the kiln to find just such a piece. It was actually one of the pieces in a picture from a previous blog post. I've circled it below (lower left):



Going into the kiln, it didn't look like much - a triangle cut from a piece of muted mauve and pink opal swirl glass, topped with a piece of dichroic. But after fusing and annealing in the kiln, to my eyes it was transformed into a thing of beauty. I decided the moment I picked it off the kiln shelf that it was "mine".

This evening I had a chance to finish off the piece into a choker length necklace. I purchased some coordinating amethyst-colored glass beads at Beadles, our local bead shop, and added two clear Swarovski crystals for a touch of sparkle. I love the finished piece. The colors remind me of a late spring sunset, radiating with gentle hues of dusty mauve, pink, and purple.


While you're here, make sure to read my post below about my upcoming Holiday Giveaway for November. Leave me a comment and I'll add your name to the drawing for a pendant of your choice (but not this one! It's MINE!).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November Holiday Giveaway!

The holiday season is quickly approaching (when I think of it in terms of "how many paychecks til Christmas" it is scary). It's a time for reflection, a time for gathering with friends, and a time for letting those we care about know how special they are.

In celebration of this holiday season, Jester's Baubles is having a holiday giveaway. Visit my shop at www.jestersbaubles.etsy.com and look around at my fused glass creations. Then leave a comment* below and let me know which one of the items strikes your fancy and why (limited to pendants and earrings - sushi dishes not included in giveaway). You can copy the URL for the item or reference the item by name.

On November 30 I will drop all names into a hat and pick one who will receive the item they commented on (caveat -- if the item is sold between now and then, you'll have your choice of a substitute item). Check back the first week in December, where I will post the winner (most of you I will have an on-line contact for and will be able to contact you right away).

I'm looking forward to your comments. Happy Holidays and Good Luck!

*NOTE: People have said they have been unable to leave a comment on the blog to be entered for the giveaway. The text "comment" is not a live link. However, the number after the comment is. Click on this number and the comment box should open. Sorry for the confusion (Blogger? The template I'm using?)! If you still are unable to comment, drop me an email at jestersbaubles at gmail.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Jester Has been Busy in the Basement

It's been a busy but productive weekend, at least on the gardening and glassing side of things. Yesterday, I planted a boatload (yes, that's a valid number) of irises. Five were special orders from High Country Garden, and the rest were ones I received from generous friends.

For me, gardening leads to introspection. Yesterday I reflected on the previous truckload (yes, another finite quantity) of irises I had planted in the spring. It was Mother's Day, and I planted them in memory of my mother. This weekend, I planted for those I know who have lost someone in their lives recently -- a dear friend's aunt, a friend's 20-something YO son, mothers and fathers, and a couple of four-legged family members whose loss is felt just as greatly as the two-legged kind. When spring rolls around next year, my garden will be full of beautiful irises celebrating the memory of those who are no longer with us.

Between scoops of dirt and doing laundry, I found time to cut some glass and finish a few pieces. Here's a look at what went in the kiln yesterday morning:



And these are the transformed pieces several hours later:


One of my favorites is the one on the middle row, second from the left. Three pieces of glass are layered in this pendant -- a sky blue piece on the bottom and a slightly smaller swirled blue and teal piece, topped with a clear dichroic piece. The results are beautiful! I'm saving it for a friend. I'm also partial to the pink-ish piece on the bottom row, first left. My least favorite is the big ugly one on the top row, first left. I have this lovely medium purple glass, that just does not fire with the results I envision. And of course, I have LOTS of this glass.

A few pieces that I fired earlier and finally finished off this weekend will be donated for our annual Stokes Nature Center dinner and auction. Stokes Nature Center is located in beautiful Logan Canyon and they offer educational programs for nature lovers of all ages. Here's what I've chosen for auction:

The theme of the auction this year is "Flower Power" and I thought the middle pendant would fit that theme nicely. I still want to string together a beaded "chain" for it, with turquoise, yellow, and mauve beads. Perhaps after I finished this post :)

If you are beginning to think about Christmas or are looking for a handmade gift for that "special someone" (even if it's yourself), don't forget to take a browse around my shop at www.jestersbaubles.etsy.com.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Beginning

I suspect people think it's a little weird when you tell them you've been in the basement all day melting glass. Especially when you tell them you were having fun doing it.

I have always enjoyed a variety of "crafts". (I don't really like that word. It conjures up images of gingham, ducks, and tole painting.) Even as a small child I was begging my mom to puh-lease let me use the sewing machine so I could make clothes for Barbie. Over the years I continued to expand my interests -- crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, quilting, paper making, stained glass, bead weaving, and bead "stringing".

I liked creating jewelry with beads, but somehow, it felt like I was cheating. All I was doing was buying beads and stringing them on a wire -- anyone could do that. So I decided I wanted to begin making my own beads. At my request the darling husband (hereafter referred to as DH), bought me a lampworking kit for my birthday. So one afternoon, armed with tools of the trade as well as a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, and flame retardant suit, I began.

The kit provided fiber blankets in which to place the beads for cooling (to prevent thermal shock). I successfully created several blobs and one beautifully round bead. It was a miracle! I carefully placed each creation, still on the metal mandrel, into the fiber blanket. Imagine my dismay when I later found that all my carefully crafted blobs and one beautifully round bead had cracked!

Those fiber blankets weren't going to cut it, and I wasn't too convinced by the google searches that turned up flower pots of vermiculite and other cooling methods. I knew at this point that a kiln was in order to properly cool and anneal the pieces.

Once my kiln arrived, I got excited about all the possibilities. Not only could I anneal lampworked beads, but I could fuse glass! And I could fire metal clay! I knew that to calm my excitement, a trip to the Hobby Lobby was in order for just one small piece or two of glass for fusing.

Thus began my journey with fused glass.