Gathering of the Guilds

Every year the Gathering of the Guilds is such a fantastic show to be a part of. Every year I do so much work to get ready, creating inventory, making sure I have enough business cards, jewelry displays, enough silver for last minute pendants, getting all the pricing figured out and on stickers. Having cash on hand and finding the paypal reader each year. Trucking all the stuff down to the Convention Center, setting up, adjusting everything just so. Figuring out what to wear to look like a welcoming, interesting artist and human.

Every year I walk in thinking “Well, if I make what I made last year, I will be happy. Even if it drops by a little bit, with the economy and everything, it’s all good.” And every year I show up and it works out just fine, with a little bump. This year, I was concerned about sales because for the first time in the seven years I have done the show, the guild was not allowed to do open torch demos at the show. Without playing with fire in front of an audience, I felt less customers would wander over to my booth. And demonstrating how I make beads is SO much fun for me at shows, talking to people and letting them experience how it’s done.

The fire marshal said no this year, so….

But it didn’t make a difference to my bottom line that I could see, in the end. Sales were still up over last year, even with no torching available for eager learners and curiosity seekers. I had some new designs with me that were well-received, with lots of comments, which I appreciate. I really like knowing customer preferences and what they think looks best with a particular style of bead or work.

It is a three-day show, and very busy, with Friday being an 11 hour day of the show being open, plus 2 hours or so getting final setup ready in the morning. Exhausting. But a great feeling, coming home totally wiped out, sitting down with a book and a drink. A foot massage would have made it perfect. But a purring kitty on my lap was a very close second.

Show Prep

The Gathering of the Guilds show at the Convention Center happens next week, Friday – Sunday, the first weekend in May. That means I am in huge production mode until then, trying to get as much work done as I can.
I want to have lots of stone necklaces, earrings, and straws this year. I have been having a challenge with my electroforming, so I don’t have as many of those pendants as usual, which is a shame. I still have time to sort it out, so there’s hope, but…. I need to figure out what’s up with it, so that it lays down the copper correctly.

Business cards to order, start packing up all the display items, make sure the lighting rack can be zip tied to the top of the car….I need zip ties! The list just never ends with show prep!

Anyway, the show is free, all you Portland locals should check it out.

May 2-4, 2014. 3 Days. More than 200 Oregon artists. 1-of-a-kind artwork, handmade from metal, beads, glass, wood & hand-woven fabrics.

If you are on Facebook, there is a page for the event here.

Sunday Stretch

Busy two days ahead of me. Two days to cram as much glass in as I can. I have been playing with rocks, drills, new ideas. The Gathering of the Guilds show at the Portland Convention Center is about a month and a half away. So it’s when production really should kick in. But there’s so many other things going on, as well! A Trunk Show at the Art on Broadway Gallery, a few trips, and it’s spring break for the next two weeks, which means a lot less time to work when the kiddo is at school.


One step at a time. Right now, I’m going to go turn on the heat in the studio, get the kiln ramped up, and go have a quick coffee with a friend. Then it’s to work, to work!

Here’s the first new design with stone I have been messing with, I hope to make something more complex like this at the end of the the next 48 hours!

tumbled glass, stone, leather cord
tumbled glass, stone, leather cord


It’s October! Cider and donuts and crunchy leaves. The colors are peaking on some trees right now here in Oregon, the brightest reds and oranges are afire on the trees. The days are still sometimes sunny and warm, but the rains have come as well, earlier than usual. The heat in my house has started turning on in the mornings. I treated myself to some really good, organic hot cocoa mix this week. It’s time to start burrowing in for the winter.

But I have been having a good time making “spooky” earrings, ghosts and bats. The bats needed some work on the wings, and I have developed them to look a lot more like wings, so that my little black critters aren’t mistaken for spiders. I can make spiders, too, and they will look truly like spiders.

Fall and winter are often times of introspection for me, and this year is no different. Lots of changes, and a lot of inner growth. It keeps happening. I am repeatedly challenged to be more than I am, or at least, to dig deeper into what is me, and bring it forth to the surface. So while I am doing all that work, emotionally, mentally, even physically, it’s fun to just make cute ghosts and bats. Balance the work with laughter.

If you want a pair to call your very own, they are right here



New Directions

My life is so full of new directions these days. So many thoughts about where to go next, in life, work, passion, mothering, so many places, so many paths. It can feel overwhelming sometimes.

When that happens I try to take the advice of Anne Lamott’s Dad: “Bird by bird.”

One piece at a time, one small step to focus on, and then the next one.

With glass, It’s playing with rocks.

I have had an idea for awhile, and yet, even though I got some of the materials I need to work with it, I have yet to do so.

What is stopping me?

beachstoneswallink_blueskyFear of failure? Trying something new? It just seems to busy, too hard, to different?

I’m not sure. Maybe that is it, fear of failing and my new idea not being something that is an evolution of my work. But I’m smart. I know that if I never try, then failure is a 100% sure thing with this idea.

I’m going away this weekend with a bunch of other women for a Moms/women’s weekend off. I have a new knitting project, a sweater for my son, that I am going to work on while there. As well as the usual hanging out, swimming, and wine that these sorts of weekends hold. Next week, the new idea will be my bird. Bird by bird. I will start and see what happens. For surely, something will, and that is more than what would happen if I just daydreamed over my tools, as I have been doing.

I’m waiting for something to emerge. The voice spoke, the idea sparked. I should listen deep, and follow it. Trust in it. And go.


Fusing? Moi?

Dichroic Glass

Glass fusing is how I got into working with glass in the first place, back in 2002. I took a beginner fusing class at a small glass shop in California, and the love of the medium followed me to Oregon when I moved here in 2003. But it wasn’t long before I found lampworking, or torchworking, when I took a class at the Bullseye Glass Resource Center. And that was that. I unceremoniously dumped fusing for the torch, heating glass in a kiln to watching it glow molten in the light of a flame.

Mostly, I have never looked back, but every now and then, it is fun to fuse again. It is such a different way to work with glass. I often say that torchwork is like cooking, while glass fusing is like baking.

A friend of mine wanted to make some small fused glass stones for a game she plays with her kids, and I always enjoy hanging out with her. Our schedules are both so busy, it doesn’t happen as often as I wish. So this seemed perfect, and it was! I showed her how to cut up glass with my orange glass cutting tool, and she brought small pieces of dichroic glass with her to use.

Dichroic glass is used in small glass pieces a lot, especially fused work for jewelry, and some glass bead creation. From wikipedia:
“Dichroic glass is glass containing multiple micro-layers of metals or oxides which give the glass dichroic optical properties. The main characteristic of dichroic glass is that it has a particular transmitted color and a completely different reflected color, as certain wavelengths of light either pass through or are reflected. This causes an array of color to be displayed. The colors shift depending on the angle of view. Dichroic glass is an example of thin-film optics.”

I just know it’s cool and fun to play with. We made dozens of little stacks of dichroic glass with clear capped over top and set the kiln on its way overnight. Her little stones came out wonderfully.

Fusing would be something I should be doing in the winter, when the cold air actually changes how glass behaves for me in the torch, and I don’t feel like freezing out in the studio. I have heat, but it’s not as toasty as inside my home, which is why the glass cracks faster in winter months when I am out there working.

I have molds to make plates, candle holders… but yet I so rarely ever do that anymore. And I still have a lot of sheet glass sitting on the shelf. I suppose I should sell it, but it was there and ready for us that evening, making a night with two friends even more fun by sharing art as well as conversation.

Grinding It

One of those months I need several of me.

I am trying to get this site up and going for the Gathering of the Guilds show at the end of this month, April. So many things to do. I just finished installing a show at Art on Broadway in Beaverton, a solo show that runs all this month. So now I start over to do it again for Gathering of the Guilds. I could have been a wee bit more thoughful about planning and not had two shows in one month. It’s hectic, but it sure makes me productive in terms of creating pieces. That’s not bad at all.

There’s two of them cooling in the kiln right now. I’ve been experimenting with copper mesh and trying to get it to do what I want, which is a challenge. I think I should be better at it by now. Impatient me. I got frustrated today when yet another piece didn’t behave the way I wanted. And then I heated up the whole thing and kept at it and maybe noticed a clue in getting things to do what I want. But I won’t know for sure until the pieces are completely cooled down, which won’t happen until later tonight.

Glass, like life, is a lesson in patience. Trust the process.

Ok, right, the next step to get this site back off the ground is photos. I need to take photos of work that I have available, and past work to build an online gallery. A good cup of tea tonight and I will start working on that, in both regards.

And this site will start looking like a glass art site again. Imagine that!
Still, I need time to freeze so I can get everything done for this show. But that isn’t happening, so I just have to buckle down and grind through. In a good way. But a busy one.