Friday, October 1, 2010

Lisa's Pumpkin Patch

Glass pumpkins are here - just in time for Halloween decorating. You can find them today at Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, and at the Mint Museum Shop in Charlotte by October 11th. Just like in a real pumpkin patch, they are all different sizes, colors, and orientations. All signed and dated, they range from 2" to 4" and sell for $29.

These were inspired by my kids, who want to decorate the whole house for Halloween. Now they want big ones.... maybe next year!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Glass Blowing Demonstrations October 2nd and 3rd, 9th and 10th



Please join me as I open my studio for glass blowing demonstrations the next two weekends, October 2nd and 3rd, 9th and 10th from 11am to 5pm each day in conjunction with Cedar Creek Gallery's 43rd Annual Fall Pottery and Glass Festival. I will be rotating with two other glass blowers in my studio so you will get to see a fairly continuous glass demonstration all day. In addition there will be glass demonstrations in the Four Winds Glass Studio, pottery demonstrations, wood turning demonstrations, live music and more. Click here to see the entire schedule of events.

Also, Friday, October 1st 6 – 10pm will be the opening and Artist Reception for Cedar Creek Gallery's newest show, Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild: A Tradition of Excellence. It will feature the work of sixty-five of the guild’s premier artists, many of whom will be on hand for the opening. Harrison Harper will be blowing glass from 5:30 - 7:30pm in my studio as well (this isn't on the schedule of events).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Studio Visitor

Just in time for Halloween, I found a black widow spider. I was lubricating the blower that provides forced air for my glass furnace and glory hole. I've done it once a month for fourteen years, so I don't think much about it. My hand was down in the blower "house" loosening a bolt when I kept seeing a flash of red. I took a closer look at the spider I had shrugged off a few minutes earlier. Thank goodness she was belly up or I would never have noticed her.

She was happy to pose for pictures once I came back with my camera. And then, since I have to keep maintaining the blower once a month, I smashed her.

Replacing the Crucible

Summertime is way too hot to blow glass. So usually glass blowers sit back in the air conditioning with our feet up, sipping cold beverages. Okay, that was really a joke.

When the furnace is down our minds turn to studio maintenance. It's certainly not my favorite thing to do, but it's necessary. I have to admit with all the help I had pulling the pot this year it was actually fun (I really didn't do any of the work). John Martin, Harrison Harper, Elijah Leed and Nate Halsey all helped make it happen with lightening speed. Thanks guys!!

Why does the pot (or crucible) have to be removed from the furnace? The crucible is made of a high temperature ceramic, made to withstand temperatures in excess of 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. The glass is corrosive to the crucible so over time little pits develop. If left too long these pits could actually grow large enough to be a hole all the way through the pot - and the molten glass would run out into the bottom of the furnace. And that means unplanned down time and LOTS more equipment maintenance.

Usually I take the furnace apart and proactively replace the crucible once a year. Prior to doing that I can melt colored glass. Residue of color added to the crucible will tint future glass, so if you melt clear glass you really can only melt clear glass... until you are ready to replace the pot.
It's quite an exciting time! This year we melted turquoise, cobalt and black glass. I will admit I let a little glass drip over the side of the pot thinking that might look good. And it is quite beautiful.

Once the furnace was all put back together we started "firing up". The process of heating up to 2300 degrees and melting a pot of glass takes about a week, since we don't want to crack the new crucible. Now we are back blowing glass - the glass is hot and we're sweaty!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Larkspur Party, Raleigh, NC

Join me in the gardens of Frances and Holly Alvarino on Saturday and Sunday, June 5th and 6th. I'll be there with over thirty wonderful regional artists.

I'll have lots of garden ornaments in all colors, big and small. Right now I'm working day and night to have bright new colors and styles of jewelry just in time for summer.

Bring your friends. It's a laid back group of talented artists in a fabulous garden right in the heart of Raleigh. You're sure to enjoy yourselves!

6401 Litchford Road, Raleigh
Saturday, June 5th 10am - 6pm
Sunday, June 6th 10am - 4pm

For more info visit www.larkspurparty.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The End of the Line is coming to Cedar Creek Gallery!

No it's not what you think, Cedar Creek is alive, well and thriving. June 26th, in conjunction with Alan and Rosemary Bennett's show Beneath the Surface, we are screening the documentary The End of the Line narrated by Ted Danson. It's about the current state of our oceans and how we are harvesting fish at a rate that isn't sustainable. It's not all gloom and doom and don't eat fish - I wouldn't bring that to Cedar Creek. What it does impress though, is that we need to be selective, to question where and how fish are harvested before we eat them, and to eat fish that aren't about to be fished out of existence.

Alan will be sculpting fish and doing raku demos the day of the screening as well. I've set my sights to make it an even bigger affair by having a sustainable fish fry too. Is there anybody out there who knows how to pull that off? I could use some help!

It's exciting to put together a show that isn't just about art. This show is much more. And if we can raise awareness about the plight of our oceans, then we have made our own small step in helping change the course of our world in a positive way.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Throw and Blow

Collaboration with another artist is always exciting - mixing two medium even more so. The past two weekends Alan Bennett and I joined forces to further an exploration of glass and clay. For the past year we have periodically worked on this idea, but this weekend I started to get really excited about it. Here's how it works... Alan throws a pot with really thick walls and exaggerated throw rings. While it's still wet I blow glass into it, using the clay as a blow mold. Alan holds the sides of the clay giving it another dimension and also keeping it from blowing out the mold. An episiotomy is performed on the clay and the glass comes out with the markings and texture from the inside of the pot.

It's like someone writing half a story and handing it off to you to finish. You have to take what they have written and make it all sum up and make sense. I really got into how to make the foot and lip relate to the body, adding extra glass bits and capturing the liquidity of the glass. I never knew what was I was going to have to work with until it came out of the clay. The real fun then was thinking fast about how to finish the design. There's no time to sketch and plan - it's all very heat of the moment (please forgive the pun).

Not every piece came out. A couple landed on the floor (as usually happens when trying to figure out a new technique) and some weren't exactly what I wanted. But now I've gotten Alan's bug and can't wait for him to come back this way so we can do some more.

A couple are still in the annealer, too hot when I left the studio today to even sneak a peek. The one I liked the best from the whole weekend is in there. As soon as I open the annealer I will take some pictures and post them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cedar Creek Gallery 42nd Annual Spring Pottery and Glass Festival - April 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 10th and 11th

Come see me blowing glass! My studio will be open the first two weekends of April for glass blowing demonstrations in conjunction with the Cedar Creek Gallery 42nd Annual Spring Pottery and Glass Festival. From 11am to 1pm and 3pm to 5pm each Saturday and Sunday, Harrison Harper and I will alternate between making furnace pulled glass beads, vases and bowls. I will make the beads I pull during demonstrations the first weekend into jewelry which will be available in the gallery the second weekend.

For all the great pottery, wood and glass demonstrations that will be happening check out the complete schedule of events at: http://www.cedarcreekgallery.com/events/festival/spring10/Schedule.html

And for the kid in all of us - be sure to join us for the Adult Egg Scramble. It's an egg hunt for adults where instead of eggs you may take home one of over 35 great pieces of pottery, glass or more. That's at 2pm Easter Sunday.