Fused Glass from Tropics of Costa Rica

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Occam’s Razor, glass version

Occam’s Razor, is a problem solving principle surmised by a 14th century Franciscan monk as “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.”  Or as Steve says it, “The simplest solution is almost always right”.

fused glass art costa rica

I have refined this in the glass studio to “When you don’t get the results you expect, do a paper test.” which really means “See if the kiln is working.”

glass fusing costa rica A little slip of paper tucked into the coils of each element will scorch and burn if the elements are getting hot.  Currently, the side wall elements are not heating up.  I’ve been cooking everything with only one lid element – for how long, I don’t know – creating huge temperature differentials within the glass and causing stress and cracking.

DSCF3606

I’m pretty hopeful that repairs today will solve many of my recent issues and frustrations.  Jodi at Glass With a Past had lots of great suggestions but I’m going with Occam’s Razor for now.  Wish me luck.

What the ?

fused glass costa rica

Since my Seattle workshop in June, I have been working every day in the studio and loving it. What have I been doing?

art glass samara

I’ve been “painting” pictures with powdered and crushed glass (frit). I’m enjoying the process immensely, but I’m less than satisfied with the results.

fused glass samara costa rica

Is it technique or technical? I don’t know and I’ve asked for professional advice.

fused glass costa rica

It would be easy if I would stick to using the tested compatible COE96 art glass – I can knock those babies out – but I am really committed to using recycled “float” and bottle glass.

glass fusing samara costa rica

And it just isn’t going well.   I am really proud of this “save”.  But why do my pieces spontaneously crack down the middle?  Like I said, I’ve asked for professional advice.

Fused glass platter - 12"

Fused glass platter – 12″

Made with scrap window glass and frit.

Birds of Paradise

Handmade fused glass samara costa rica

A new series – The Birds of Costa Rica.  (We have seen all of these from my house.)

Black-headed Trogon

Black-headed Trogon

Hoffmann's Woodpecker

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker

I “paint” with powdered glass and frit onto float glass.

Long-tailed Manakin - Toledo

Long-tailed Manakin – Toledo

Some I put on bottle glass.  Here is a Bombay Gin bottle, repurposed.

Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee
Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw

You can buy these birds in their wooden display stands at Samara Organics, in Playa Samara – c15,000 ($30.00)

Recycling the Chorotega

gecko glass

With the new skills I learned recently from Michael Dupille, I am reinterpreting the local Chorotega pottery, made by the people indigenous to this part of Costa Rica.

chorotega pottery

The families are still working at Guaitil and San Vicente to create traditional designs which are highly patterned and usually symmetrical.  Often they have iconic animal figures in the center.

recyled glass samara costa rica

I start by making new sheets of glass, using broken wine and beer bottles.  I’m still working out the firing schedule, hoping to get the glass more transparent.

fusing recycled glass samara costa rica

Then I add my interpretations of the Chorotega designs, using Michael’s “Scratch and Frit” method with glass paste and frit.

recycled glass fusing samara costa rica

It’s time consuming and labor intensive.  It gets fired several times.  But the glass is free and I have the gift of time.

I’m thinking of slumping these into shallow plates, which will help the light pass through. What do you think?

2 Successful clases

Here are the successful results of two recent glass fusing classes.

glass fusing costa rica

Dish and two candleholders.

casa gecko glass

Students who wanted to make more or bigger pieces paid for extra glass.  Plates, coasters, and nite lites.

Five Not So Easy Pieces

My head is exploding with new information and design ideas for glass fusing with frits – that’s what we in the craft call crushed glass.  I’ve just finished a 4-day workshop in Seattle, lead by Michael Dupille at his lovely studio.  Dupille has been working in fused glass many years so his knowledge is vast.  His studio is full of completed pieces demonstrating the skills we were learning.  He’s a thorough teacher and a gentle critic.  I came away with 5 pieces, each using a different technique.  Most were fused in the kiln more than once.   I can’t wait to try these new skills out in my own studio.

fused glass costa rica

Impression sunset.

glass fusing costa rica

Watercolor technique with dichroic ($$$$) inclusions.

glass casting costa rica

A simple casting.  This was really fun to do with lots of processes.

fused glass costa rica

A Scratch and Frit Sandwich.

 

glass fusing costa rica

This palette knife Macaw isn’t finished.  It’ll probably be fired at least 2 more times as I work on it.

group 1

We were a nice group of six, with a great caterer, for a fun and productive weekend.

Inspired by the sea

Red blue coral, 13" diameter, C22,500

Red blue coral, 13″ diameter, C22,500, available at Gecko Glass

Blue green coral, 10" diameter, C12,500

Blue green coral, 10″ diameter, C12,500, Sold

Lavender blue coral, 10" diameter, C12,500

Lavender blue coral, 10″ diameter, C12,500, Available at Samara Organics Market

Que Lindo!

Para español ver abajo

art fair costa rica

What a great Que Lindo Feria de Arte.  More than 57 artists brought their creativity, dynamic energy, and cooperative spirit to the Natural Center in Samara last Friday.  Some truly beautiful work was displayed and sold.  Many new friends and connections were made.  Thanks to the more than 500 shoppers and to those supporters who took home a hand-made one of a kind piece of art.  You helped secure the future of art in Sámara.  Through the raffle and registration fees, we raised more than c138,000 ($275.00) for art education in Sámara.  We will divide it equally between CREAR, who will paint a mural inside the community salon, and Sámara Pacific School, who will make a community notice board surrounded by mosaic of shells, seeds, and stones. Read the rest of this page »

A New Year’s Eve wedding gift

fused glass art costa rica

I was commissioned to make a wedding gift for Jim and Evelyn, who tied the knot on New Year’s Eve.  We shared a lovely evening and sent them into their new life together with an amazing fireworks display over the ocean.  I hope this 14″ platter will remind them.  Best wishes to a great couple.