Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crazy Year.

Anyone else feel like they have not been able to catch up this year. I constantly feel like I am chasing something. This year has been about catching up for me. I felt over committed, over stretched, and often times overwhelmed.

I need a break to just sit back and catch up. I believe that was going to be over Christmas. Not so. If for no other reason other than catching the funk twice and never quite getting over it until today...sort of. I am still not over it just not funky. I am 1/2 normal, which is 1/3 as normal as a most people I know or 1/8 as normal as the normal population of normalville.

I have two huge things to get done at work and then I am taking some kind of break somewhere, somehow, shometime in the near future.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Mov'n on up!

About a year ago a close friend of ours came to me with a question. She had an idea about something in glass but did not know if I could do it. Full creative freedom, just get it to her so she could try to sell it. Seeing how I had never even considered making this object I took it as a challenge and said "Sure, let me play for a bit".

After a couple failed tries and a couple shall I say interesting runs at it I came up with what I considered a couple good designs that I could reproduce solo in my home shop. I made big ones, small ones, mini ultra small ones and even a couple of multi piece ones. Mini keeps we call "The Cactus" as her own. Note to self make more of those.

Anyway, back on point. Susan Campbell got the first shipment of glass to try out about 6 months ago. They have been gang busters! She sent me a link that other day when she placed them on her website. You can see them right ---- HERE!

Apparently that pink one was a huge hit and I need to make a bunch more.

10% of items purchased on the website on December 13th, 15th, 18th and 23rd will go to the Manna food Pantries.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Two shows one weekend.

Ok so this weekend was the Belmont Arts Bizarrererzerearez! They like to spell it "Different". It honestly is wrong both ways and they do it for a reason. I think mostly to make me crazy.

I also did a north hill home tour that had a cool like "Artist Village" kind of deal. It was pretty cool and was a surprise for most people. I think next year that sales will be better as people realize there is going to be a vendor area to the tour.

It was very draining, I am worn out. Pack it up, pack it it, pack it up, pack it in, take it here take it there. I am 1/2 sick still and this did not help much. Mini is such a trooper I can't even start to say thank you to her. It went pretty good in this kind of market you can't really get to optimistic unless you have something that is ground breaking. I did however learn which ornaments sell that best and will start to widdle down my production of them for next year.

Going to take a nice long break from shows now and just have some fun with the glass. Ryan should be in town soon and we can just have some fun at the shop. Maybe make a couple mini acrons or something.

I do have a bunch of orders to do but they are fun when you don't have a show hanging over your so it is all down hill for the rest of the year. Hope you guys had a great weekend. Next up is the Zeus Tumbler project. I think I will really try to post about this one with more pictures. CorkChop will be in the loop on this one as well.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Well knock me over with a feather

It is clear you guys don't care for information posts. Fine. I guess I am done trying to teach the masses about molds I can't understand why this did not spark a heated comment thread longer than my cnotest. Who would not be interested in lathe turned wood molds....no one I say no one!

Ok so it was not the most intersting topic to comment about I will give you that. What could you say "Hey nice wood!" or "You spin me round right baby right round like a wood mold baby right round right round". I will say that walking into the glass shop has caused more than one person to say "Man this place would make a great movie set, these things look like they hurt." as they hold up a pair of diamonshears and a set of jacks. Wow that was a serios ADD moment right there those two things had nothing in common.....I blame the red bull and the Sudafed.

Anyway, so I am fighting this cold/nose thing that is killing me. I have two shows this weekend, a glass blower from out of town meeting me at one, and I am 1/2 sick. Not that kind where you just want to curl up and die, more like the one where you want to curl up and drink hot toddies and eat oreos all day while Norweigan girls fan you with wild palm fronds. Not that I don't think that would be grand all the time just more grand right now because I am a big baby when I am sick.

Ok enough of that, I have glass to pick up, a bank run, stuff to pack, and a wife to take to happy hour...she is Norweigan by the way. **GRIN** My long term plan was set in motion years ago now I just need the palm fronds!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Ok so G3T films asked what the molds that I use are made of. Trick question and here is why. We use all kinds of different molds for all kinds of different reasons.

Lets list the molds real quick and give a quick description.

#1. Blocks: Which are used to shape the glass wile on the pipe or punti. These are used at the bench to shape the glass into workable globs of stuff and to level out globs/bumbs/ugly spots. It is a very basic way of getting the glass in a shape we want before we blow air into it to make something. We also use bigger ones to help keep it on center and in good shape thoughout the whole process. This kind of block/hand held mold is used the most.

#2. Optic Molds: These consist of more or less two different kinds of molds. We have what I like to call normal optic molds and Diamond or Pineapple molds. The Normal Optic mold is what anyone in the world would be talking about when they said "Optic Mold".

It is used after shaping the glass into a pug and smashing it down into the old. This creates a lined optical pattern in the glass which you can see in the ornament above.

The Second kind of optic mold is above. These are the Diamond or Pineapple Molds. They also put an optical pattern but they are crazy expensive. The ones picture here are solid bronze and cost about 780 bucks. The one up above is aluminum and run around 160 dollars. I have the smaller one of these coming for Christmas! How do I know you ask...well because I just ordered it for myself...I am the most awesome gift giver to myself ever!

Last but not least. The blow mold, spin mold, whatever you want to call it. These molds are made out of Cherry Mold and soaked in water before they are lathed. Then after they are cut/shaped they stay in water so they don't burn up while you use them. You get a basic shape of the mold before you go in, then they open up and close around the glass. The pipe will be coming out of the top of them as well as a little bit of the glass. Then you blast away with air to inflate the glass inside the mold. It will come out the basic shape of the mold. This might sound easy but to be honest it takes a whole skill set just to know how to do this well. It is always a new learning cycle every time I get a new mold like this. They are all different and all require the original shape of the glass going in to be just a bit different to work correctly. Little bigger here or there, hotter here colder there. It can be very mild boggling until you figure out just how to go in. Just how hard to blow, just how fast to spin....Guys that are new to this figure out quick it is not as easy as it looks. I would also state that the larger the mold the harder it gets...FAST! I have a very very large mold that I am pretty sure anyone at any time would find a challenge to get a good piece out of. Alas, once you get it wired you can really make some nice stuff. I gave my mold maker a plug on the picture...it is his picture so I think it is only fair.

Ok that is it for today I am off to a Belmont Art Center Guild Meeting. As my brother Ryan likes to say "Get it hot, keep it centered, and remember Gravity is your friend".



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Avalanche

Well for those of you that don't see me day to day I have been on a trip. Hence the lack of posts. I recently made a road trip up to see all my grand parents and extended family in the Indiana and Illinios area. Let me tell you 15 hours in truck is no laughing matter...ok it is if you have a little gas but other than that is pretty tuff. Mini had the worst of it being the one that got thrown in the back with the luggage being so small as to actually be able to fit in such a small space. I actually think I saw her get thrown from one side of the truck to the other durring a fast lane change. Ok that made me giggle as well.

Anyway, all the trips and such have put a cramp on my glass blowing efforts. Granted I cranked out of 100 ornaments for the two shows that I need to do this weekend but somehow I still feel that I am short. I have no illusions that I will sell all 100 of them I just tend to want to make more of everything so I don't get caught short.

I ordered a ton of glass yesterday. I am not saying I ordered a lot of glass I am saying that I ordered an actual TON of glass. As in 2000 pounds of the stuff. It should be here on Thursday and I should be good for my base glass needs for about the next year. I also have a top secret project with CorkChop that needed some attention so that it could be done in a timely manner. I must say I am actually looking forward to doing that project because it gives me a reason to get old Corky in the shop and teach him how to be a good assistant. Maybe it will rub off on him and he will want more time in the shop. I will even force him into making some stuff he would normally shy away from. Maybe one day you will see a CorkChop original here.

What else....ahh yes. The equipment was all turned down before I left and I got to inspect the pot and furnace after a full year in service. Pretty darn solid I must say. Think if everything goes well it should yield at least one more year. I was surprised at the lack of glass that missed the pot as I had expected to see some of it running down the side and eating at the bottom of the furnace. Apparently my fear of it doing just that has worked out for me as there was very little in the way of drippage. So everything is in a slow ramp up to temp, the base glass in on the way, new color is on the way, my molds came in for the project, and every is good. Life is working out pretty well right now.