Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Glass star fundraiser

Here is an ornament/sun catcher that I came up with as a little fundraiser for my P.E.O. chapter.  P.E.O. is a women's organization that promotes/supports educating women.  Our chapter raises money every year to give away as scholarships to women for their post-high school education.  P.E.O. owns Cottey College, the two-year liberal arts college in Nevada, MO that I attended before I came back to the UW.  The gold star is a symbol of P.E.O., so that's the inspiration for this little project...

This is part of the display board that we took to the P.E.O. State Convention to drum up some orders.  We did get a few!  

Hope to sell more at a particular Seattle-area P.E.O. meeting in December.  Maybe on etsy, too.....

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Friday, October 24, 2008

The Evolution of Fusing Copper in Glass, Staci Style

Because I love to knit as much as anything, I guess it was natural that I would end up knitting with copper wire and fusing that in glass.  I actually took a "Knitting with Wire" class a few years ago, so the knitting with wire idea wasn't something I just came up with out of the blue.  Here are my first experiments:

The piece on the left is a knitted swatch.  It's about 2.5"x4" and has white glass for the bottom layer.   The one on the right is a crocheted "granny square" and is all clear glass.  I discovered right away that using an opaque glass for the bottom layer really makes the wire show when  compared to using all clear glass.   

Here is a pendant that I made with a little swatch of knitting inside:

I love it!  I thought that the little knitted swatch bendant was great for knitters, but I decided that a crocheted flower would have wider appeal, so here are some examples of that:

I'm hoping to sell some of these on my etsy "store" when I get it up and running.

Around the time of this experimenting (early spring of 2007, I guess) I heard about a juried art show in Edmonds that would take submissions only from mothers called "Art of our Mothers".  It would take place around Mother's Day.  I decided that a fused class piece with different samples of knitting and crocheting would be the perfect thing to submit.  So I made up a bunch of copper wire swatches....

...and I fused them with different colors of glass as backgrounds.  I was partially inspired by the quilts made by women in my ancestry.  As I was working I was also feeling very grateful to my mom and paternal grandma for teaching my how to knit and crochet and wondering what they would think of me knitting and crocheting with copper wire!  I named the piece "Legacy".  Here is a picture of it: 

This piece is about 17" wide by 15" long.  A ton of trial and error went into making it, believe me!  I have rejects of several of the components hanging out in the garden.  I still haven't found a satisfactory way to hang it without having the method of hanging show.  It's not like a painting where the picture wire is hidden on the back.  I think I'll just have to get over worrying about that.
I owe a ton of thanks to my dad who helped me in the "eleventh hour" when my kiln went wacko and I still had pieces to fuse for this piece and the submission deadline was looming.  I was/am soooo lucky that: #1 - my dad is an electronics whiz, and #2 - we were able to find a replacement solenoid at the local Radio Shack.  This piece did hang in that 2007 Art of our Mothers show, and in the Arts of Kenmore show this summer.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fused-Glass-with-Copper-Shapes Class Auction Project

Here are pictures of the three fused glass & copper projects that my son's class made and donated to the school auction a couple of years ago.  There were 27 shapes/pieces, so I shuffled the individual pieces around (once they were all done with the fusing process) until we had 3 nice configurations -

Added together I think the pieces raised several hundred dollars, actually!

I have created some pieces of my own with the copper to give away as gifts.  Some of my favorites have been kanji symbols that I have cut out of the copper and fused into glass.  
This one says (roughly) "friendship" - 

I've also done the kanji symbols for "peace" and "love"....

Here is a Seattle-themed piece that I made for my dad's Lion's Club auction -

And finally, here is an example of an image that I've done a few different times to give to firefighter-types.  This one is a reject - I used too much glue to try to hold the copper flames flatter between the pieces of glass - 

The Beginning of My Fused Glass & Copper Experiments

Our elementary school was getting ready to hold it's PTA fundraising auction, and my son's class needed a unique auction item to create as a group to donate to the cause.  I had been wanting to try using the little kiln that I have to try some glass fusing, but I hadn't taken the plunge.  I knew a glass project for the auction would be cool and unique, but I didn't relish the thought of being in charge of a bunch of 5th and 6th graders messing around with glass shards.  I had been intrigued when I learned that copper could be fused into glass without any compatability problems.  So my idea was hatched - I needed to find some copper sheeting that the kids could cut symbols or shapes out of that I could then fuse into squares of glass.  At first I was thinking along the lines of making sets of coasters with the glass and copper, but then I ultimately decided that creating a few hanging pieces would be the ticket.

I bought some copper foil at a craft store, figuring it would be easy for kids to cut with scissors.  Actually, that copper foil is really hard to cut with scissors, just so you know.  I also tried making a shape out of fine copper wire, just for kicks.  Here's a picture of the foil piece before fusing.  You can barely see the wire-shape piece next to it:

Unfortunately the copper foil isn't pure copper, so it burned up a bit and looks gnarly:

But the wire one looks pretty good:

It reminds me of wire drawings that were part of the Vik Muniz exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum a couple of years ago.
Luckily the very helpful man at Seattle Stained Glass suggested that I visit in Fremont/Ballard and see if they had some appropriate copper sheeting.  Fortunately they had a roll of the perfect stuff.  So the project with the class was a go!
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Knitting Plastic Bags

I guess it all started with the fact that I like to see materials used in unusual ways. Using a particular material in a new or unusual way, or making a familiar object out of a different media than would be considered "normal". That is so intriguing. I am also interested in the possibility of cutting down throw-away waste to the very smallest amount possible. I believe in reusing and recycling as much as is feasible.  

So one day I saw a project in a knitting book that started me thinking in a new direction. The instructions were for a bath mitt of some sort knitted out of strips of plastic bags tied together. I was inspired to try replicating a plastic grocery bag by knitting a bag out of "yarn" made from strips of used plastic bags. And voila, a new obsession was born!

This is one of the first plastic bags I ever made. I knitted twine along with my plastic "yarn" for extra strength, but I haven't done that again. The plastic is strong enough on its own. This bag went to a school auction.  It found a great home and is well used!

These three were donated to different local auctions:

I submitted a photo of this bag to a Bumbershoot Craft contest but never heard anything back….

These are my two latest bags:

This one is the Blues Bag. Because of the colors, not my mood! I'm just now starting it's opposite- a bag with yellows, orange, pinks, etc.

This bag is made from only bread/bagel/bun bags. 

 I'm so lucky to have lots of buddies giving me their colorful plastic shopping bags to cut up! I hope to someday sell some of these bag creations on the etsy online "store" that I have started to set up….but more on that later.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

StreamFest poster

Just so you know, here is my attempt at uploading the poster that I helped with for this upcoming local event.  I did the painting for the poster.  The actual, real-live poster is a little different.  Oh well.  I cut and pasted the Word document end everything got a bit funky.  You get the main idea anyway.  It looks like I will be doing a fish print booth in the afternoon during StreamFest.  I stocked up on ink and rice paper today....


Celebrating the Streams on the

North Shores of Lake


October 11

Rhododendron Park

Kenmore Senior Center



7-8         Kayakers meet at Kenmore Senior Center

8-9:30    Kayak along north shore to see kokanee

10:30-3  Learn about streams & kokanee at Kenmore Senior Center


Where to start...

I'll just jump right in.  

This seems like as good a way as any to share what projects I've been working on recently in the studio (and out), so I will give this blog a whirl.  It may be shameless self-promotion, but I will think of it as sharing.  If nothing else, it's my own visual diary.

Appropriately enough, the first image I put in a post is my personal favorite.  It is my magnum opus, so to speak, and I can't believe that it is 20 years old.  It was done in egg tempera paint, which was a wonderful switch for me from the oil paint that was the norm in my painting classes at the UW.  I was working from a picture taken by one of my parents when I was maybe 6 years old.  We were spending the day at my favorite beach in the world; what we have always refered to as "the black sand beach".  (This is where I want my ashes strewn when I die, so everyone related to me please take note!)  I believe it is called Beach #4, and it is located north of Kalaloch and south of Ruby Beach.  That is my brother with my grandparents in the foreground, and I'm off in the distance.  The painting is actually about 28"x34".  I submitted it as one of the guest artists for the Arts of Kenmore show this past August, and I was quite surprised to pick up the Kenmore Reporter from the end of our driveway and see: 

Ha!  Didn't know that was going to happen.

So this is my starting point.  Check back in, if you want.  I will be posting pictures of the work that I did during a recent encaustic painting workshop at Pratt Art Center that was absolutely an amazing experience.  Encaustic is painting using pigmented beeswax.  It involves using hot wax and tools such as propane torches, soldering irons and woodburning tools.  Doesn't get much better than that.  Thanks to my dad's sharp eyes I am now the proud owner of a shiny new Weller soldering station, on sale in one of Dad's electronics catalogs.  Wahoo!

I will be uploading pictures of the copper/glass fusing work that I've been doing for a while now, and the alternative knitting projects I've been working on, too.  And thanks to Marte, my favorite teacher in the world, I have some bags of beautiful llama wool to play with.  I will try to needle felt with it, and I bought a drop spindle to try my hand at making my own yarn, if possible.  I can already see that that could be a bit frustrating....stay tuned.