Monday, April 30, 2007

Hot Glass Cold beer, or is it Cold Beer Hot Glass?

Well we had anouther great HBCG night. I made a couple of floppy bowls, they really are great for doing demos because people get to see how fluid glass is.

The above pictures where taken by Harry and Judi Purcell when they came by to see the demos. It is not often that I get a picture taken from the gallery and I enjoy them all, so a quick thank you to Harry for send me this. It was a welcome surprise when I went to work this morning stuck between the spam for Viagra and a Home Loan in my Inbox. Below you can see the cups that we made for people in the crowd along with the floppy bowl above. Which is the blue and white one on the right. The aqua one with the body wrap was made a little later. They will be in the auction at the next Hot Glass Cold Beer gathering next month. Which will be the last one for the year.

We made smaller tumblers this week, actually I only made a couple of them. I need to get more time in the shop next time to make a bucket load of them for all my buddies that come up to the shop. It is strange not to have glasses that I personally made for the people that I personally invited. Maybe I will have to hide them as they go quick, which is good and bad I guess.

Here is a shot of the annealer with the pieces in it. Top left is a tumbler that Austin made for a friend that was in the crowd. The large thin piece is a yard spike which Joe Hobbs made. They make them every Hot Glass Cold Beer night because they are to be quite honest very impressive to watch being made. The red piece was a colabritive piece between Joe Hobbs and myself. I made all the marbles that are stuck to the outside of the piece. It was the first time we have really made something together and it was fun. We realized a couple of things we would have to change to make this work out better, like me making the marble on the fly and not putting them in the annealer. They just got to cold.

The large Amber pieces was mine and I made it about the middle of the show. It was going to be a large spun out platter but when the punti just got way to sealed onto the bottom of the piece and it broke the bottom out at the very end. No one saw it break, but it is shame because it would have fetched a hansom price in the Auction next month.
Here is a close of up of the piece. It just goes to show you that you can work for a whole hour, put about 15 dollar in color, use 3 assistants, and still come about with nothing. ARG! This pieces was about 25 inches across and about 5 inches high. I think we will give it to Tim to use for jewelry so all is not lost!

Ok that is it for today kids.




Friday, April 27, 2007

Bookoo Energy Drink, and Hot Glass Cold Beer Night..again.

It is that time again boys and girls. For the 3rd Hot Glass Cold Beer night at the Belmont Arts Center. I did not make as many of the cups this time around I have just been way to busy at work and at the house. I think I might have busted out about 12 of the 70 or so cups that they should have on hand. At last count they had 48 so I hope they got some more into the annealer so everyone gets one. This is the next to last Hot Glass Cold Beer Night at the Belmont. The reason for this, much to the dismay of many a glass watcher and beer fan, is that it is just getting to hot in the shop for it to be fun for the guests. As it gets more humid(that is a joke, it is damn near 99% humidity 24/7 here) and hot towards the summer it just becomes less and less fun to be around 2300f degree furnaces. The cold beer helps but not enough to brave that my fine feathered friends.

I plan on taking a 1/2 day today and going to...drum roll....HOME DEPOT again. Yea, I had two boxes of screws in my hand. Yes I tight wadded up and put one back thinking I would not need them, yes I have to make a trip back to get the second box because I am a mo. Ladedadedododo...story of my life. I have serious plans to finish this thing this weekend. Roof, finishing, door and all. Done I tell you, like a steak on the forth of July.

On a side note, Bookoo energy drink is as I have said before the best energy drink on earth. I love these things, maybe they will somehow see this little blurb and think it would be a great idea to sponsor me. I would be the only hand blown glass guy on the Bookoo energy team. Hey BooKoo I surf also, work on know your target audience..Hook a brother up and send me a case of the Zero Carb Citrus Triple Hit once a month.
I have a new goal, to get sponsored by Bookoo. Extreame Computering...or Glass blowing Mega Nut, or something like that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More work on the shed.

Ok I got all the glass cut for the shed. Neil up at the Belmont Arts Center gave me access to some tinted scrape flat glass he had in the back. All I had to do was cut it to shape. Cutting flat glass is do wrong. Either way I would like to thank Neil up at the Glass Factory in Pensacola for letting me have the scrape and showing me how to cut it "correctly".

I have a couple of really crappy pictures of it with the stops in place. In the second picture you can see my first bloody wound for this whole project. I slung a bit of blood round the floor of the shed and did a little voodoo dance to break it in.

Here is my day labor. He must have been a supervisor at his last job all he did was watch and bark orders.

Last but not least I had to add a picture of glass that I have not posted yet. I made this a couple weeks back but never got around to sanding off the punti nipple. It is all cleaned up now and ready to for the next booth sale. I think it will get marked around 200 as it is a very nice bowl. It is about 14 across and 9 inches high. Purple, Cobalt blue, and Copper blue. That is if I can get MiniMolli to let go of it. To the left of the bowl you can see one of the Christmas Balls I made last year. I have no idea why that thing is still on the living room table. Looks very Dr. Sues eh?

Ok that is it for today kids. I am up at the shop working tomorrow night if you want to drop by. I will be making....well.....I have no idea yet.



Friday, April 20, 2007

New stuff from last night.. PINK!

Ok this is going to be quick. This was a pretty much all pink all the time night. This is the largest of the vases. It was a squat vase about 12 by 6 inches high. I think it will go well in Studio B, which is all white and pink in the shop. Everything pink was made to go in the clothing store, I think only the larger piece and the standard bud vase will go. This is the bottom of the piece.
Here is a picture of the same piece this morning as I was walking out. Sorry these are just quicky picks of the pieces. We will take some more professional shots later.
Here is the top of the pieces. I think this will look great with a single flower in it.
Standard Bud vase. Cool pink and white.
The I Dream of Jennie bottle. It came out so symetrical it looks like a machine made it. I don't care for it that much because it almost does not look hand made.
Here is the best of the night, the large flop.
Here it is from the side. It is a heavy bastard and has a crack on the bottom so I will never sell it. I will add it to the Glass Garden in the back. Kind of like the island of unwanted toys...but glass.

Ok that is it, back to work.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tag team.

Mini and I worked last night in the shop. It has been almost a month now and it showed. I made a couple of bowls, and a couple of small vases. Almost everything was in pinks and whites for a friends shop. I was not real happy about anything that I made. My mind was in the wrong place and laying off for a week because of broken equipment did not help. Mini was great even if I totally hogged up all the time and she did not make anything. I just lost track of time and before we knew it our time was up.

That will all change when we get the shop up she can work any time she also! I have been having a run a bad luck when it comes to making big things. This might have something to do with anything large it pushing the limits of the equipment at the shop I am working in. I was making a huge pick for a friends deli shop and I was completely done. It was about 18 inches high and about 14 inches wide. This was a big piece, and I was thinking it was going to be pretty cool looking. Orange on the inside, white, latte, and cherry red on the outside. Then at the final stage in the annealer where I break off the punty it shattered. I could not believe my eyes. Ah well...I really have had bad luck with big stuff as I tend to do it last when I am tired, and I get to the point where I just want to be done with it and I take short cuts or I forget something. Lost a whole hours work, about 10 bucks in color, and 30 bucks in rental time. It was the suck. People wonder why glass is expensive.....

Try to drop by and get my stuff tonight if I get a chance. If I don't get there today pictures on Friday. Everything was crap so don't expect anything great...just part of the process of getting back in the grove. I hope to get anouther day in this week and if I do I will have a "How Gnat Got his Grove Back" post.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Still broke, but got some work done. - BIG UPDATE!

Ok short story on the Belmont. That is where I rent the studio out. The parts did not come in for the Electroglass Furnace in time for me to work on Wed. night. That was a real let down, actually I was quite angry but I got over it. Just wish I had known a little sooner than when I walked in the door to work. No worries I guess it gave me more time to work on my shop. Speaking of my shop..MORE LUMBER PORN!

Ok here is a picture of the floor of the shed before I leveled out the area and put the 3/4 inch plywood on it. Now the hard part about all this is that I honestly have no idea what the hell I am doing. I credit a new friend to making me feel a little bit better about this. I helped him with some computer stuff this weekend and I feel he is as good or better at building than I am with computers. So now I know what people feel like when I am helping them, kind of a bit lost and spooked about doing anything because you don't want to hose it up. It is a strange feeling that I never had with computers but I sure as hell have with building this shed. Alas, like I tell people about computers mess it up because it is the only way you will learn. I messed up a bunch of crap.

In this case I learned that 2x4s are not actually 2x4s. They are 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 -- why don't they call them that? Mystery of the universe we may never know. Silly me I assumed 2x4 ment 2x4 and I cut and messured with the idea it was 2x4. I did not get far, but it sure cost me about 9 pieces of wood before I realized that one.

The second thing I learned. Never...EVER! let anyone load your wood into your truck. Inspect every single piece of wood. You will end up with 2x4s that look like the end of a hockey stick they are so warped. Worse you will have to use a couple that are curved and it throws everything off. So in short...spend the extra 10 minutes inspecting each piece of wood to make sure it is straight, without nots, and not cracked at the ends. My free advice from a building newbie.

Ok after all that here is the floor.

Here is me at the end of the night putting the last piece in for the front of the shed. I actually ended up bracing this with a couple more 80 inch pieces the next day. As you can tell I worked a little late into the night again. The guy that lives behind me asked me to turn up that industrial music I was playing...funny guy. This is where I also realized I was short some to home depot.(1)
Almost finish front panel.
Side panel the next day, and my lovely saw horse I built a million moons ago.
Here are the two side panels, front panel, and the floor before I level the area they are going in. I am done with all the framing sans the roof. Now it is time to start on the footers. Crap I forgot to get the footers....Of to home depot(2).
Here is me testing the macro setting on the camera. More sexy hardware shots for you pervs out there. Would you look at the star slot! Lovely those things are animals, so photogenic.

Do I even need to say much about this model. Such a "Cold Steal" look. Zoolander has nothing on this framing strap.

Speaking of animals. This little baby dove landed on my shoulder while I was working this weekend. I think it was testing out it's wings and I must have looked like a realy fat branch. I knew where it's nest was and got close and up she went back to safty in the porgula. Either way wildlife landing on you has to be a good sign right Kim?

Ok enough of the jibber jabber. Here is the footers before I leveled them. My cousin, who has been building condos for 20+ years came over and said "Hey are you really just going to use that little block for the footers?". So an hour later, and a trip to home depot(4), after I was told what to put under them I have this. A 12x12 block, under the footers to keep them from sinking. Apparently everyone knows more about building than I do. I guess you could say that was item #3 that I learned.

Ok so here are the 9 footers, with the 9 bricks, and it is hard to see but I have a line level staked out as well. Iteam #4 after I was so smoothly asked "how are you leveling these". Apparently the answer "With a 2x4 and a level" was not the right answer. Anouther trip home depot(5) and I am working again. Hats off to Chuck, the foots and the line level made all the difference. This was one of the hardest things to do. I would advise that you get some 1/4 inch hardy plank to the do the leveling instead of removing the footers/bricks, digging, putting them back, checking the level, rinse, repeat..over and over...9 times. UGh!

Ok so we are making some progress now. Laying down some plywood and I feel like things are coming together. I would like to point out at this point that if you don't wear gloves while handling plywood and 2x4s you are taking you life into your own hands...literally. My hands look like someone that does real work for a living. Not my old softy computer boy hands, but real honest to god bloody, cut up, caloused working hands. This is also where I ran out of deck screws. Off to home depot(6) again.

Here is a picture of the foot, the 12x12, and the flooring together with the hurricane strap. You will notice a couple of walls there, yea I made some progess.

Side view daddyo! We have lift off, I should have take a picture everytime we put a wall up but I was more interested in getting them up and secure with the wind blowing so hard.

Here is a shot from the inside of the shed with the 4 walls up. I was a bit worried about how sound the walls would be. The reason for that is I had to use "Scott Logic" to secure them because on the last trip to home depot(7) to get a tarp and some side panels I lost my plans. Yea, I am a moron. I have no idea when or where I lost them they are just gone. So from here on out it is "Scott Logic" all day all night until the project is finished. I am building by the seat of my brain pan and that is scary because I have so much experience with building which I think I made clear early on.

Ok here is the money shot. This is where I am at as of right now. All the walls are up, all the side panels are on, and the floor is solid and level. The top openings are getting glass and I will secure them with wood stops. I will be working on finishing after work this week and sealing up the corners. Also securing the walls in a bit more with tie downs and what not. That should keep me busy all week and this weekend I will finish the roof, add the door, and drink a crown and coke inside my new shed.

Ok that is it, big update done.



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away.

What is the deal with the universe? I finally decide to go put both feet into the fire with the shop and it rains for 3 days in a row? It honestly seems to happen to me like this, kind of a test. Every time I try to do something that is a little out of the norm something is thrown in my way to slow me down. In this case it is rain. I had a full week to get this done after work but I have yet to get a chance to actually work on it in dry conditions. I guess if it was duck soup everyone would have a shop.

On a side note it is glass night. I plan to make 2 large pieces tonight and some cups in the mold. Should prove to be interesting I have been told I will have some visiters tonight. I plan a Copper blue, Kobalt, and white with a body wrap or a lip wrap. Figure that out when I get there.

The Second piece is going to be and experiment. I plan to try something new. You guys will just have to see it. I think that I will just go ahead and do it in clear the first time...then next week try it with colors.

Also I am shipping out the last of the winners today, and I will start the next contest in the very near future. We are going to go with a "Guess the number of marbles" contest for a Beer Tumbler. I will go ahead and let the winner pick the colors.

I know I posted that picture before, but it was just a refresher to what I am talking about when I say "Beer Tumber".


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Strong Street Studio, we have lift off!

Ok, Minimolli threw down the gauntlet on me. She basically said some things that needed to be said. IE> Build it or stop talking about it because people really want to see it happen. If you don't do it you just need to stop talking like you are.

True words, harsh...but true. So my wife is out of town for the next week and I am fancy free. I wanted to start on the shop yesterday but as luck would have it I put in a 16 hour day at work. So I figured no worries I will just wake up early Sunday...Woke up to rain. Around 12:00 it dried up enough to get to work. The offical name of my glass shop is going to be Strong Street Studio. Go ahead, say it again....Strong Street Studio. Saying it just makes me smile a little bit.

So the first step in this grand plan is to build a shed. Not for the studio but to get everything out of the garage where the studo will be. I plan to take out a wall on the west side under the porgula and put all the equipment there. It will keep all the equipment inside, but the working area will be out under the wysteria that will grow up over the porgula. I also plan to have places for people to sit, a sound system (already have this), and a beer fridge (don't have this but I don't think Mini is going to argue about replacing our current fridge and moving it to the shop). We are also going to turn the area on the other side of the equipment into a little glass gallery for my stuff as well as a cold working and photoshop. Here is what a 1600 greenback diamond sander looks like with a water feed. I port the drain out of the window. The sander/grinder itself was about a grand and all the different diamond disk rand anouther 600.
I will soon have somewhere to make a perm setup area for the lights for pictures and enclosed wet colding working shop, the largest purchase in that is the grinder above. I already have all the equipment for both of these they are just waiting on an area to call home.

Ok so lets start looking at the pictures of the starting of the Shop! Here is the pile of trees that I cut down in the back yard to make room for where the shed will be. I am sure MiniMolli is going to be a bit on the "what have you done" but seeing how she is out of town I am not worried. Plus I kind of remember hearing "just do it, do what you want". So that is what I am doing. They where such good trees.
This is just a quick picture of the front of the house below. We had this porch put on before the wedding and I am just proud of it.

The porgula below is where the covering for my work area is going to be. You can see the wysteria on the far side that is really starting to grow up over the top. We will train it down the sides and over the top to make for some really cool shaded area over the working area. The garage is on the right side and that is where I am going to cut the wall out and insert the equipment. The benches will be out in the open and I will only work when the weather is nice...well just not raining. I still have to run the electric after I open it up but that is for anouther day. As you can see on the ground all my lumber is stacked up for the shed. 50, 10 foot long 2x4's and 18, 8 foot long 2x4's. This is only for the frame of the shed. It will be located behind and to the right of the garage and the porgula.

Here are my plans for the shed. I got them off of Make Magizine which is kind of a DIY site. They cost me about 25 smackers. They give you a list of what you need for a basic shed if you already have all the tool I am pretty sure you could get it done for about 500 bucks. I have made quite a few changes to the plans already to kind of spruce them up. I will use some different wood for the roof and shingles instead of asphalt paper.

Here is anouther picture of the lumber after I cut it all up to what the plans call for. It was still a little wet so I hope it dries out a bit before I get home tomorrow to put down the floor. If I am lucky I will get to frame up all the walls before it gets dark.

Here is a pic of the monkey grass I had to pull up to make way for the shed. Man that is crazy exciting eh? Look how hot that grass is, it really knows how to work the camera!

This is where the location of the future shed. As you can see I cut down all the trees and pulled up all the plants to make way. If you look close you can see the footers for the sheds location.

More lumber! As you can tell it got late and I finished up a bit deep into the night. I am sure my neighbors hope I am building a gallows to hang myself.

Ok so that is it for right now. I plan to level the area for the shed and at least get the floor in tomorrow. I need to get by to the lumber yard and buy some hurricane straps to secure the thing to the ground. I am sure that is not something most of you have to deal with. I on the other hand don't want my new shed in my living room if we have anouther Hurricane...which we will.

Until tomorrow when I post some more lumber action sexy. I wonder if MiniMolli is checking the site to see what I am doing.



Wednesday, April 4, 2007

April Fools

Ok so I said I would only post glass but I need to do this real quick.

I am sitting here in the server room at work waiting on one of my Blade Servers to! I was thinking about my friend who I pulled one serious wammy on this April Fools day. It all started out pretty simple. My partner in crime, we will call him Demon, and I where talking about April Fools and how we kind of missed it this year. Then it hit me the perfect scam! As it turned out way way way too perfect. It fooled my friend so well it sent him past concern and well into panic, to the point that I now feel horrible about doing it. We work on a very sensitive project here, that is used the world over by some very important people for very important stuff. I basically made it look like our site(his baby and all his hard work) was hacked from China. I really did a bang up job, and I did it well. It was so real, and well put together that it fooled more than just the target. It was only local to his machine and a couple others but it was cripling to see it and think about what was going to happen to him, and everyone on the project. Only after I did it did it realized what must have been going thought his head when he saw it.

It started as a ha ha got you, and turn into a full on just bad idea on my part. What I did not think about was that he would fear for his job, my job, and everyone on the projects job. That it would send him into a state that no one should have been subjected to. For that I am truely sorry and I made a bad decision. Lets hope that CorkChop will let me live it down. I know that I better keep my guard up next year for I am liable to find my house surrounded by a swat team or something.

So in short, I am sorry I took that one a little to far before I thought about it.


ps. TO make me feel even worse about myself he gave me a late x-mas present this morning. It was spot on perfect....ugg he is twisting the knife. KAAAAAHHHHNNNN!!

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Hot Glass Cold Beer gathering at Belmont Art Center

Well the Friday night gathering went very well. I rolled up the Belmont around 5:00pm and started to help get things set up. What I did not expect was that people would be there already. You ever notice that sometimes people just surprise you with how nice they can be. This happend at the HGCB gathering. People just wanted to be nice, maybe it was the free beer that came with the hand blown glass. I guess I willl never know, either way if you went and talked to me...thank you, it made my night to have everyone so possitive.

I started out the night for the shop. I cranked out a green and blue demo tumbler. IE> it will go to someone that did not get one Friday night, and then a second demo tumber all hand fashioned without the use of the mold. Just to give everyone a step by step of how different it can be making pretty much the same things. Then how different they look as well after I am done.

Ok here is the first Demo of the night, kind of a green with a little spread of blue on the bottom. This one is done in the wood tumbler mold. I would like to add that doing things in the mold are hard, but if you get it down it really can increase the speed you can crank them out.

Hand done from start to finish. I was telling everyone the step as I did this so it came out just a little bit wonky, but over all it was a good tumbler.
Here is anouther tumber I made with the mold. This one was done with a color called Iris Orange. Very cool, it sold before I got it off the punti.
Here is a shot of the one above and the next two that I made. They came out well, the last one has just a little bit of jack funk on it but turned out well.

The demo spun out bowl for the night. These always make everyone gasp and that is a lot of fun. Plus I can make them pretty quick as a crowd pleaser. We will auction it off at the next HBCG night. I just have to sand down the foot and it is good to go.

Ok that is it for today. Also, I would like to point everyone over to, which is the I Found This Glass blog I have running. It seems that one of my pieces is making it's way around the low US. They found it in Pensacola, then took it to Alabama, then it was found and thrid time, and that person is going to put it back out as well. SWEET! my plan is coming together. I am going to have to put more out now.