Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Making of a Chandelier: Final Reveal

The moment we have all been waiting for ... IT. IS. FINISHED.

Cue the applause and rejoicing.

Special thanks to my amazing husband for all his help and support with my most ambitious project yet. The final weight with all the glass panels was close to 35 pounds so we made sure to use a heavy duty chain and hanger that is screwed directly into the ceiling joists. This thing may be heavy, but it is not going anywhere.

I am so pleased with the final result that I smile every time I turn it on. It adds an intense pop of color to my otherwise mostly white and grey house. Alternating smooth and textured panels create visual contrast and balance while the gentle swirl in the design and curvature of the glass provide movement. It makes me happy.

Now I find myself casually hunting for other discarded vintage light fixtures that I can transform into works of art ...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Making of a Chandelier: Part 3

I bet you thought I was never going to finish this project. To be perfectly honest, I often wondered that myself.

After firing 20 pieces of glass, it was time to prepare them for hanging. My precision engineer of a studio partner (aka my husband) took the calipers to the chandelier frame and determined that a 3/16" hole would be the right size to allow enough wiggle room to not stress the glass.

Off to Amazon to purchase a 3/16" diamond drill bit.

My handy hubby rigged up a little system to keep the glass cool/wet and hold it in place to make the drilling process much easier.

I picked up a little baking pan from the store and we secured a small piece of scrap wood to the bottom to give the drill bit a cushion. He then attached a couple of handy wood-working clamps to the side to help hold the glass firmly in place. Add some cold water to cover completely and start drilling!

True confession: I hold my breath during this process. I don't know why. I always seem to hold my breath when I am doing something that has a high 'cry factor' if it goes wrong. I decided to promote the hubs to studio apprentice and ask him to take over the drilling. Because he is my hero and loves playing with power tools, he happily obliged. I couldn't even watch.

While the process of drilling 20 glass panels was nearing completion, it was time to hang the frame. Of course nothing is straightforward when you are dealing with a 1930s built house, but after tinkering around with the wiring, electrical boxes, and stud finders it is up!

Next up: hanging the glass panels. Stay tuned for the big reveal coming soon.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Making of a Chandelier: Part 2

I need a bigger kiln. Of course I have been saying that for years already ... but this time I meant it. My chandelier design calls for 3.5" x 12" panels. So I went and bought myself an early birthday present. And then my fabulous husband built me a stand. This is true love right here folks:
My new baby! ProFusion 16
In addition to a bigger kiln, I needed to stockpile a lot of glass too. Heaven forbid that gorgeous stand my hubby built have any bare shelves. I filled it. And then some.

I knew I wanted color, texture, and movement in this chandelier. After a couple of prototype panels I finalized the design. Now it was just a matter of building the individual glass panels. All 20 of them.

In order to keep the overall structure lightweight, I went with single layer panels. Glass naturally wants to be 6mm thick, so in order to keep it 3mm I chose to break all the rules: I tack-fused and slumped all in one firing. Cue the shock and horror.

rule breaker! fuse and slump together

panels ready to fire

The result was exactly what I wanted. Check out all that wonderful texture!

color and texture up close

Two down ... 18 to go. Stay tuned for the finishing touches and big reveal to come ...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Making of a Chandelier: Part 1

I have been dreaming of a colorful art glass chandelier for my dining room every since I laid eyes on a Chihuly chandelier in Las Vegas.

I cannot afford a Chihuly chandelier. Or even a knock-off copy of one. So I set out on an adventure to make my own.

Obviously I do not have a hot shop with a glass blowing furnace. This required me to stretch my creativity and design a piece that would work with kiln-formed (fused) glass, but still have that light and translucent blown glass feel I love.

Step 1: Build a frame. Or better yet, find an antique one that could be re-purposed for use with fused glass panels. My husband told me that we do not have a big enough studio to take up welding at this time. Someday I will learn how to weld too. Someday.

This proved to be a bigger challenge than I thought. I scoured auction sites, antique dealers, and craigslist until I finally found what I was looking for. Only it was that ugly old brass that had definitely seen better days.
Thankfully such a thing exists as spray paint. This is the quick and easy way to completely refinish oddly shaped objects and bring them to entirely new life. Even better, METALLIC spray paint & primer all in one. BOOM!

There are a zillion pins on Pinterest that show people updating their ugly old brass light fixtures with this metallic Rust-oleum. 


Before spraying the light fixture, I went over the entire surface with a steel wool pad dipped in vinegar to give it a thorough cleaning and 'roughing up' of the surface to help the paint adhere better.

Then I taped off all the sockets where the light bulbs go so I didn't get paint inside any of them.

Finally my husband hung it from a tree branch so I could get to all areas and I went to town. I used a little less than 2 full cans for a nice even finish.

It worked pretty good, was easy to use, and gave me the finish I was looking for. 


Step 1 done. Now onto the glass ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Must Have Earrings

I haven't worn earrings in 10 years - or basically since my oldest was born and I felt that very first baby grab at the pretties that nearly yanked my ear off.

I pretty much gave up all jewelry at that point. After my youngest was old enough to leave them alone, I slowly started wearing rings and necklaces again, but for some reason my ears remained naked.

Until now.

My friend Sydnie has a thing with earrings. She likes them big and long and insists all ears should have them. I became rather entranced with the 'statement' earrings she always wears and decided I must have some.

So I busted out my supplies that have been tucked away in nice little baggies and boxes and went to town. It was an earring making spree I tell you.

After keeping a few pairs for myself, I decided these needed to adorn the ears of my customers. They are fun. These are super light and hang so nice that you just can't help but shake your head back and forth a little just to whip them at your neck.

Or maybe that is just me. I feel like I'm in a hair commercial or something when I wear these. You need them. Available in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sushi Plates

I've been on a sushi plate kick as of late. Not because I eat a lot of sushi. In fact I don't really eat sushi hardly ever being a vegetarian and all. But I just love this size and shape for glass. 

It is such a fun canvas size to work with. And it is a great way to use up all those little bits and pieces leftover from bigger projects. I love how I can stretch my creative process to try stuff completely out of my "norm" without fear of wasting tons of glass if it ends up in the fugly bin. 

Besides, they make super cute little dishes for gift giving. Hint. Christmas is coming. Watch for these plates and more coming to my Etsy shop soon. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Let There Be Beads

A little of this and a little of that and finally I think I have re-learned everything I used to know. I made spacers, pulled stringer, mixed colors, used frit and murrini.

I raked beads, poked dots, encased beads and smashed them all into brass presses. I had forgotten there were so many things you could do to the glass. And through it all, only about a half dozen or so ended up in the fugly box for the kids.

Next step: take a bunch of pretty photos and get them listed in the shop. Then light the torch and make some more.