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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday Jewelry Sale! Pendants and Earrings!

These are just a few of the items in Jester's Baubles Black Friday sale
It's an old cliche, but I think it's true that nothing says "I love you" like a piece of jewelry. A hand-crafted item makes a gift of jewelry even more special. To help you with your holiday shopping for that Someone Special, Jester's Baubles is having a Black Friday sale.

All black pendants are marked at a special price of $10. I've also included some dark greens, purples, and blues in this Black Friday jewelry collection. Along with pendants, there are a few pairs of earrings in the mix. The original price of these jewelry items ranged from $15 to $24. To check out these great gifts, go to my on-line store and click the Black Friday link on the left-side navigation panel under Shop Sections.

While you're there, you may want to browse my selection of small dishes that can be used for sushi, soap, candles, or for holding your loose change, rings, or other trinkets.

Sushi, soap, or candle dishes at Jester's Baubles
And now it's time for me to think about pies, cranberries, and turkeys. It's also time to think about the things I have to be thankful for. I'm fortunate to be blessed with a loving husband, good health, wonderful friends, a "day job" I love, and a hobby that allows me to express myself in the beautiful medium of glass. As a special gift to thank you for reading my blog and spreading the word about Jester's Baubles, just mention this Black Friday blog post and I will include a silk cord necklace with the purchase of every pendant.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Dana

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide

As the season changes and we near the end of the year, many people's thoughts turn to holiday gift buying. Whether you're looking for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, a Yule offering, or an object of art to decorate your home for Kwanzaa, handmade items are an excellent choice. Fused glass creations are a delightful and unique alternative to more traditional gifts. Jester's Baubles specializes in fused glass pendants and home decor, and we have something for everyone -- and every budget -- on your holiday gift list.

Gifts for $10
These days, we have jewelry for everything. There's jewelry for your neck and jewelry for your ears. There's jewelry for your nose and jewelry for your toes. There's even Bling for your phone! So why not give a gift of jacket jewelry? Jester's Baubles offers fused glass baubles that can be hung on the zipper pull of a jacket or purse. What a great way to dress up last year's blazer!

Gifts for $20 or Less
For that Special Someone on your list, a fused glass pendant is the perfect stocking stuffer. Jester's Baubles offers a large selection of pendants priced at $20 or less. Designs range from the sophisticated to the playful and carefree. Whatever your gal's style, you'll find a pendant to match!












Gifts for $30 or Less
Gifts for the home are always appreciated. Jester's Baubles offers a selection of fused glass dishes which are sized perfectly for holding sushi, soap, or a candle. These dishes can also be set out and simply admired for their beauty! A stylish dish for holding spare change is a great gift for the man on your list. Note that all glass items are food-safe.











Gifts Under $40
If you're looking for that perfect gift for the "person who has everything", look no further! A one-of-a-kind wall-hanging is a unique and beautiful gift that will last throughout the years. These items are also suitable for hanging in a window to let the sun shine through.






I hope I've given you some ideas to help relieve the hassles of your holiday shopping. These are just a few of the items offered in Jester's Baubles on-line store -- stop by and browse around to see more of our fused glass pendants, earrings, dishes, and other treasures.

Here's to carefree gift giving!

Dana (aka, The Jester)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Capturing Fall

This Autumn in Northern Utah has been nothing short of spectacular. September's blue skies and moderate temperatures have persisted into October, with the added bonus of fall color. Our mountains are ablaze with firey red scrub oaks, brilliant orange maples, and bright yellow aspens that sparkle in the breeze.

We're fortunate to have been granted this Indian summer. I keep wondering when our luck will run out, and I know that our first snowfall will soon blow in on the wind. That, and a tutorial on the Helios web site about the technique of fossil vitra (http://fusedglass.org/learn/project_tutorials) are what inspired me to capture some of this fall color in glass to enjoy all year long.

I started by cutting a few leaves from a Japanese maple in the front yard and from a ginkgo tree in a friend's yard.

I sprayed the leaves, one at a time, with an inexpensive brand of pump hairspray. Before the hairspray had a chance to dry, I generously sprinkled the leaves with powdered frit. The maple leaves were coated in bronze opal and the ginkgo in green opal.










 Each leaf was placed one at a time on a Thinfire-lined kiln shelf and topped with a 4x4" square of clear glass.





 





I fired the pieces, 6 tiles at a time, according to the following schedule:

Ramp
Rate
Temp
Hold (minutes)
1
500/hr
1000
10
2
Full
1350
25
3
Full
960
30
4
500/hr
100
0

(The schedule is somewhat aggressive, since the pieces were small and single-layered.)


I'm excited about the possibilities of these leaf imprints in glass. As they are (or perhaps with another layer of glass), the small tiles can be used as coasters. The tiles can also be used as part of the design for a larger plate or bowl (I've got one cooking in the kiln as I type), or two or more tiles can be strung together for a sun catcher or wall hanging.
 



I intended the piece below to be added to my Etsy shop, but the moment I hung it on the wall to photograph it I knew the piece was going nowhere. It looks lovely hanging by my front door! I drilled holes in the corners of each tile with a Dremel fitted with a diamond bit (the glass was submerged in water to keep it cool). Large jump rings were used for the glass corners and smaller jump rings were used to connect the tiles. A length of brass chain was added for hanging.






I hope I've offered a little "food for thought" as you look around at what nature has to offer this fall. Perhaps you can capture a little fall of your own!

Dana
aka, The Jester

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Easing into Fall

The shorter days, longer shadows, and kitchen calendar show that fall has arrived. However, here in Northern Utah we're still enjoying mild temperatures and sunny skies. My only complaint is that the fall color-show will not be very interesting this year, but I'll take these 75 degree days any September.

Dana & Karl, Grand Teton National Park
The warmer days have me outside enjoying late season mountain bike rides and hikes. Two weekends ago we reveled in the fall splendor of Jackson, WY and Grand Teton National Park.Unfortunately, the glass side of things is suffering, but I'm trying to get back into the groove.

This afternoon I posted a few new seasonal items in my Etsy shop, and I've got glass "baking" in the kiln as I type. I've been dabbling with using glass powder on leaves to create a lasting imprint under clear glass, and so far I like the results. Once I get a few of the projects completed, I'll post some information on the technique and firing schedule.


If you're interested in a fun pendant for Halloween or something to complement your fall wardrobe, head on over to www.jestersbaubles.com.

Happy pumpkin picking!

Dana (aka, the Jester)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Broke the Mold on this One!

A few weeks ago, I purchased a new vase slumping form from Delphi Glass. This particular mold was ceramic, and I was a bit nervous going against the adage of "slump into ceramic and over stainless". But hey, they were selling it. And surely they wouldn't sell me something that wouldn't work! So I decided to give it a go.

After planning out a pattern on paper, I cut a clear circle that was 8.5 inches in diameter. I then cut strips of medium blue cathedral, medium green cathedral, and a nice white/blue/green Spirit glass. The green and blue strips were approximately 1.25 inches wide and the Spirit glass strips were 0.75 inches wide. I ground the outside edges to insure a nice even edge. I then arranged the strips on top of the clear glass and put them into my Paragon 14 kiln.


I followed a fairly standard fusing schedule of:

  1. 500 > 1000   hold 10
  2. 250 > 1450   hold 25
  3. afap > 1100   hold 5
  4. 500 > 960     hold 45
  5. 300 to room temp

The result was a good full fuse with smooth edges.

At this point the piece was already a nice shiny object (my weakness), and it could have been used for a cheese platter I suppose, but it was time to take the plunge. The next step was to slump the disk over the kiln-washed ceramic mold. Into to the kiln it went!

The slumping schedule was similar to the schedule above, except my top temperature was 1250 rather than 1450.

Now the problem with slumping over ceramic molds is that glass and ceramic have different expansion coefficients. The end result is that when they cool down, the glass will contract more than the ceramic. The danger is that the glass will contract so tightly around the ceramic mold that the glass will break. I had been told that if the piece was carefully watched during the slumping phase, I could avoid problems with the glass breaking or being trapped in the mold by stopping the slump just before it draped enough to touch the sides.

Gravity and physics had other plans in mind, however. I suspect that because of the design and those nice straight lines I had (perfect bending points), two opposing sides slumped first (the left and right sides in the photo above). In fact, they slumped much more quickly that the other two sides. Since I was not going for the taco look, I did not stop the slumping process until the remaining two sides had draped.

I held my breathe and waited to see what happened. When I removed the vase from the kiln, the glass was still intact (whew!), but it was firmly surrounding the mold.
 
Uh, oh.

I headed to google, the oracle of all modern wisdom, looking for a solution to safely separate the two pieces. I tried soaking in water -- for two days! -- to no avail. I tried using fishing line as "floss" hoping I could remove enough of the kiln wash to give it just a little leeway to slip out. I also read advice ranging from dropping the piece from a table to the floor to jar it loose, whacking it with a hammer, or hanging it upside down and reheating it in the kiln hot enough to let the glass contract so the mold would fall out. I just wasn't brave enough to try any of this latter advice. I really wanted to save the vase if possible.

My final plan of attack was to use a Dremel with a cutting disk, to cut away just enough of the mold to free the glass. It sounded easy enough; unfortunately, that plan failed. But in the end, I decided that there was no obstacle that a hammer and screwdriver could not remove from my path.


I can safely say that this is a one of a kind piece. I broke the mold on this one -- literally!

With every creation, I think an artist learns something. This lesson in glass is not one I will forget, and I'll certainly be heeding the common wisdom the next time I decide to slump a piece of glass.

So for now, lesson learned. I'm off to look for stainless steel molds.

Dana (aka, The Jester)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hello Sunshine!

I like winter in the intermountain west. The snow in the mountains is beautiful, and I enjoy getting out to cross country ski. However, when winter turns to spring, my thoughts turn to sunshine! I'm  ready for biking, hiking, gardening, and grilling on the patio -- all the little things that warmer weather brings.  Each spring, I can hardly wait for the bulbs to emerge. I love the yellows of daffodils, the reds of tulips, and the yellows and whites of crocuses.

It's these thoughts of flowers and sunshine that inspired my latest fused glass creation, Bowl of Sunshine.

This little bowl is 5 inches across the top edge, and about 1.25 inches tall. It's the perfect size for serving dip or nuts, can be used as a votive or knick-knack holder, or can be placed on your table to look at "just because". If you're interested in how the piece was created, read on.

Technique: The first part that I made was the sun that sits in the bottom of the bowl. I used a Taurus ring saw to cut two star shapes from an orange/red/white opal swirl. The two pieces were then tack-fused together with the "arms" offset to create a sun. Three small red "blobs" (that's a technical term) were also placed atop the glass.

Next, I cut a circle from clear glass (using the ring saw again -- I'm terrible at cutting circles with the glass cutter!). I also cut twelve 3/4" squares from an orange/red/yellow/white swirl cathedral. The sun was placed in the middle of the circle, and the squares were placed along the outside edge (the idea was, during the fuse, these squares would produce a slightly scalloped edge for the bowl). To finish off the design, I sprinkled a red coarse frit on the remaining areas of clear glass. The glass was then full-fused to produce the round disk. The final step was placing the disk on a small mold, and firing the glass to slump it into the mold.

I love the finished piece! The colors are bright and cheery, and the clear base glass allows the sun to shine through, leaving a pretty pattern in the bowl's shadow. And because I can't keep everything, this piece is now offered for sale in my Etsy shop.

I hope this first day of Spring finds you as sunny and cheerful as this bowl full of sunshine!

Dana (aka, The Jester)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting back into the Groove

It was a busy holiday season at both work and play. I enjoyed parties with friends and family, and many cross-country ski outings despite the fact we're experiencing a lighter than usual snow year. But it's time get get back in the basement, dig out the glass and oil cutter, and begin work on some new glass treasures.

One of the nice things I received during the holidays was a gift certificate to Delphi Glass. I had been wanting more slumping molds so this was the perfect gift. I picked up molds for a bowl, a vase, a triangular-shaped dish, a fluted sushi/soap plate, a drop ring, and some additional kiln posts. I'm excited to get started with these. In fact, I applied kiln wash this morning and the molds are in front of the fireplace drying as I type.

Another thing I had been interested in trying were gold decals for firing on the surface of glass. If you are a glass fuser and haven't tried these, I'll share some of my thoughts here. The instructions that came with the decals were rather vague so perhaps some of my comments will help.

Since this was my first experience with decals, I thought I would pick up the sampler pack. The description read there were approximately 40 decals per sheet. I got weird and counted mine and, if you count each dragonfly individually, there are 54 pieces.

The instructions said to cut the decals to size and soak in warm water "until they slide off easily". They also cautioned about soaking too long. I wasn't certain if "easily" equated to 15 minutes or 5 seconds. Ultimately, it was closer to the 5 second range. A short float was all that was required. The first decal went floating away in the water when I did a test to see if it was ready. Despite what the instructions said, I was able to retrieve the decal by hand. No need for the tweezers they suggested!

I chose seven previously fired cabs to apply the decals to. The whole process went quicker and was much less complicated than I anticipated. Perhaps I am just intimated by new experiences :). I placed all the decals on the cabs and let them dry overnight as suggested.

Another vague area was the information on firing. The instructions read to heat the kiln "slowly". Again, I was a bit uncertain what "slowly" meant. I figured 1000 degrees per hour was slow enough for me (I'm impatient, after all), so I set the kiln to ramp up to 1000 at 1000/hour, hold for one minute, and then ramp AFAP to 1275 (the instructions recommended 1250-1425). I used a 10 minute hold at 1275, turned the kiln off, and flash cooled to 950. I then left the kiln to cool on its own for the next few hours.

One note here: The instructions recommended keeping the kiln lid open so that the burn-off from the decals would not contaminate the finished product. I did not do this. I left the vent out of the kiln and called it good.

The results were lovely :)


I used a combination of lighter- and darker-colored cabs. When I was placing the decals, the gold showed up well on the lighter cabs. On the darker cabs, it really didn't show up at all. It was hard to determine placement on these darker colors, especially on the dark blue aventurine (lower left) and the iridescent black crackle (upper left). When the pieces were fired, however, the results were just the opposite. The gold shows up clearly on the darker cabs, and is much more subtle on lighter ones. I guess that's a Duh moment for me ;) In the future, I'll stick with the darker glass colors for decals.

I'll finish these off with some nice gold bails. The red dragonfly is just begging for a drilled gold-toned lattice bail (the ones I have in stock at the moment came from Kaiser Glass). It's also begging for me to keep it :) Look for these items to appear in my on-line store soon!

Until next time, Dana (aka, The Jester)

red dragonfly cab and black iridescent flower