Thursday, January 27, 2011

notes from the studio

Wednesday, I laid out the fiber paper shapes for the first of the three panels in the kiln, Gene cut the glass and we positioned them in place, dammed the edges of the glass so it wouldn't puddle out, and turned on the kiln. I meant to take pictures but forgot until we were already on our way home. We are headed back in town Friday to see how it came out and perhaps to get the second panel started, that is if Gene doesn't need to use his kiln.

I'm all nervous about it. I did a small sample of a different design that they were considering and that was what the clients saw when they decided to go with the kiln formed glass even though it had to be done in three panels instead of the one panel of glass if they had gone for the etching. I was thinking all the way home that I should have done a sample of the design they choose first so that I could be sure all the detail of the over-lapping 3/32” fiber paper would show up but that's just not my way. Gene assures me it will. Or rather, he says 'it should'. Will and should are not always the same thing.

I know a lot of artists that do tests and color samples out the wazoo before they fuse or cast a piece. Not me. I fly by the seat of my pants. I make my choices on the run. Not that I don't have a bunch of color samples. I do, but they are made for their own existence, not as a test for any particular piece I'm working on. Mostly it works for me. I hope it does this time too.

We will also finish the etched piece for the art consultant's showroom on Friday, the first of several 'art pieces' I plan to do for them which they will mount in a sort of shadow box. These will serve two purposes, they will function as representations of our work for his clients and they will also be available for sale. He has a big presentation coming up in mid-February and has told me that for this job he has an area in the small lobby (as opposed to the big lobby) earmarked for our work.

I wouldn't say the dam has broken as far as work is concerned but it appears to be weakening. I have some sketches and a proposal to do for a pair of doors and a proposal I gave in November may be about to come around in February. Another project in Colorado might be ready for us this summer and I'm still holding out for the two proposals to the Methodist Church which I had hoped would be funded by now. Still, a job for a shower door slipped through my fingers when the first people they talked to said they couldn't do it and then called back five minutes after the client called me to say they could do it after all. Probably just as well since it was a tight deadline and it had to be shipped to Colorado within that time frame. But it would have been a welcome infusion of income.

not finished yet

I'm also working on the first wax model for the set of nine 4” square blocks. I haven't spent much time back there model making lately since I have had to devote so much time to marketing and kicking some life back into my profession. And finally getting to the production stage of our current job. But in the meantime, we have been casting some of the things I already had ready. The top to the wren box came out and it didn't cast great, has a few 'suckies' on it. 'Suckies' are roundish depressions on the surface of your cast piece, like a shallow crater. They are a particular problem in closed molds. This was actually an open face mold but it had some characteristics of a closed mold around parts of the model.

Oh and the last thing...I stabbed myself today with a #11 hobby knife blade trying to change the blade. The old one was stuck and then it was stuck in me. Right in the pad beneath my ring finger on my right hand. Owww! It bled for a long time. I even took a picture of it but decided to spare you all at the last minute.


  1. Ouch..............I hate doing stuff like that....makes me angry at myself for being .... well in the way of myself. The 4x4 sound interesting, as does all your projects. TOB, Linda

  2. You sound very busy. Sorry you hurt yourself. I hate paper cuts, cat scratches ... anything that hurts really.

  3. Oh gosh, that must have hurt like hell. Be good to that finger, now.
    I love hearing the finer points of what's involved in your work, I find it fascination.
    At one time I was very much into throwing pots, and photography, but strayed away as my "real" career demanded more and more time. But I am still very much drawn to the process of creation.
    You are lucky to be doing what you love, Ellen. Good luck with the project. (Oh, and I like that block model, it reminds me of something...)

  4. The fact that you're nervous is interesting - lots of energy around this breakthrough, eh? I'm very excited to see what you come up with.

    But please don't stab yourself again, no matter how exciting, ok?

  5. Easy there, Ellen. You need your limbs and your wits about you. Hope things pick up soon.

  6. Thanks for NOT showing the picture :)! Heal well!!

  7. Sounds like things are shaking up for you!! That is great! And I love your 4 x 4 !!
    Things are still slow around here! Sigh!

  8. Craft knives make me nauseous everytime I go to use one just because I know that can happen. Eek.

    Sorry you hurt yourself [but glad you didn't post the pic. Double eek]

    Sounds like a wonderfully productive day. Can't wait to see your progress.


  9. I'm a stabber, and a paper cut magnet. I'm always looking at my hands wondering where did THAT cut come from? You'd think I did manual labor for a living :)

    I love to hear about your work - it's fascinating & scary to think about making a living that way.

  10. I agree with you, too much care and caution doesn't marry well with creativity. Flying by the seat of one's pants can create something that isn't honed down into being accidentally bland.

    We've forgotten that there is interest in the quirks of a piece and a process.

    Sorry you stabbed yourself! Owie. I hope it heals well. Of course, you did make me feel slightly better than I accidentally zested my thumb the other day when making some muffins and in pursuit of orange zest. At least I keep good company in the accidental injury category :-)

  11. I'm glad you're getting more work now and hope this trend continues for you. Ouch on that stab wound. May it heal quickly.

  12. Ouch! I hope the cut/stab isn't serious.

    About you being nervous about a job... every time you've said you are nervous and then post the results, I see that they are a AMAZING as ever. I think the nerves come with the knowledge that you creating art that will give joy to so many--who would want to screw that up? I know it will precious, and being that you are doing something new, you wouldn't be as great if you didn't feel anxious.

  13. Hope you're healing. Sounds painful. I'm glad you've got lots of work coming your way.


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