Gecko Glass just received a shipment of fusible sheet glass, System 96. Lots of great colors. Drop by the studio for a class. New colors to express yourself.
I’ve just put some new pieces into Samara Organics.
Lots of jewelry too.
By now, everyone on the planet has seen the ubiquitous slumped bottle/cheese plate.
I’ve added a Costa Rican tropical bird to each one, most of which I’ve seen here in Samara. (more…)
After yesterday’s kiln repairs, these lichor bottles look just as I expected: bright, transparent, without spots and no cracking. Now I’ll paint them with tropical birds that I see around my house.
These are the ones I fired last week when the kiln wasn’t working properly: lots of devitrification (chalkiness), bubbles, exploded bubbles, and generally ugly. I am so pleased to have figured out the problem.
Send me your empty, your poured.
Since my Seattle workshop in June, I have been working every day in the studio and loving it. What have I been doing?
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.
Is it technique or technical? I don’t know and I’ve asked for professional advice.
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.
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.
A new series – The Birds of Costa Rica. (We have seen all of these from my house.)
I “paint” with powdered glass and frit onto float glass.
Some I put on bottle glass. Here is a Bombay Gin bottle, repurposed.
You can buy these birds in their wooden display stands at Samara Organics, in Playa Samara – c15,000 ($30.00)
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.
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.
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.
Then I add my interpretations of the Chorotega designs, using Michael’s “Scratch and Frit” method with glass paste and frit.
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?
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.
Watercolor technique with dichroic ($$$$) inclusions.
A simple casting. This was really fun to do with lots of processes.
A Scratch and Frit Sandwich.
This palette knife Macaw isn’t finished. It’ll probably be fired at least 2 more times as I work on it.
We were a nice group of six, with a great caterer, for a fun and productive weekend.
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.
This is a fun piece I just finished. I feel a series coming on.
What is art education? Well, it’s not something that’s offered in the small country schools around Costa Rica (and maybe not so much in the school in your hometown). But I think it’s something that’s important to growth as a human being.
Today, Gecko Glass hosted 6 primary students from Escuela Santo Domingo, just 4 kilometers up the road in the hills overlooking Playa Samara. We made “light catchers” that I’ll fire in the kiln tonight. A little discussion about what is glass fusion interested the teacher but went over most of the kids’ heads.
We started by drawing some ideas on typing paper with colored pencils. The maestra was amazed at how calm and focused the students immediately became.
“Huh? Give them a colored pencil and paper and they quiet right down. Who knew?” She was as excited as they were to be here. She says these kids, who live in the hills, never get to go anywhere or do anything interesting. She thinks it’s so important for them to explore and express themselves.
I didn’t give the kids much instruction about drawing. I think everyone knows how to draw if given a chance, especially children. They may not see exactly what you see but they can express an idea. I like to see what they’ll come up without rules.
They seemed content to just work the paper but, eventually, I got out the bowls of pre-fired glass chips. They loved the colors and shapes.
They moved them around trying to match their drawings which were of course too big and impossible to reproduce. Quick adjustments were made without complaints.
The glass pieces were fixed to the clear base sheets with white glue. Who doesn’t love glue?
It took a little prodding to encourage them to explore more ideas. Dayron was “FINISHED” several times. But Sunlly kept adding to her perfect puppy until the composition was richer and more complex but still perfect.
The maestra was thrilled about how the activity touched on so many topics and she was already working the different topics into future lesson plans. Science – melting glass. Geometry – shapes. Mathematics – celcius versus farenheit. Sociology – comportment in someone’s home and studio. English – goes without saying. Even Geography – we have a compass on the bottom of our pool which fascinated them.
I think she and the parents thought I was going to teach the kids how to draw. But, of course, they already know that. I don’t think I taught them a thing but they learned a great deal.
It was a big class this week, so we stuffed fused glass art into every corner of the kiln. Two plates, two votive holders and two night lights. A great family activity produced hand crafted vacation mementos.
Fused glass earrings and bracelet set. (Clear and dichroic glass, glass beads and copper wire.)
Sold separately at Samara Organics. (Fused aqua and dichroic glass, natural turquoise, glass beads and copper wire.)
Fused glass earrings and 21″ necklace. (Fused blue aventurine and dichroic glass, lapis chips, glass beads, and copper wire.)
(Green aventurine and dichroic glass, glass beads, and copper wire.)
Earrings – 4,000 colones
Bracelet – 5,000 colones
Necklace – 7,000 colones
Halloween costumes tucked away, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.
These 4″ Poinsettias will look great hanging on your Christmas Tree and remind you of the native Pastor that are already changing color along the roadsides in Costa Rica.
Grab one, while they’re available, at Samara Organics – 5,000 colones.
Another fun glass fusing class with beginner, Jeff from California, and frequent fuser, Roy. Colors seemed to be of a theme on this cloudy tropical morning. But Roy, this votive holder is my favorite piece yet of yours. Great design work! Nice arrangement of colors, darks and lights, and, of course, “surprise”. It’ll catch the candle-light beautifully.
Friday afternoon, we made light catchers with students from Mareas Homeschool, here in Samara.
We talked about glass: what it is made of – and glass fusing: what happens when it is heated in a kiln.
We talked about color, the color wheel, and how different colors work together.
We used pre-fired pieces of fusible art on top of a clear base sheet, in designs to match or drawings.
Here are the light catchers, with hooks, in the kiln and ready for firing up to 1490 degrees farenheit.
Twenty-four hours later, we opened the kiln to find the pieces of glass fused to the base sheet.
Colored light, ready to hang in a window.
Kids classes can be scheduled for small groups. Call for more information.
Playa Samara is home to an abundance of creativity. Come see what local artists make.
Friday 24 January 2 – 6 PM
At: Samara Organics in the Natural Center.
Paintings – Holly Crenshaw, Davina Pritchard, Marlene McCauley, Patty Shattuck, Nathan Miller, Sara Lacrimi. Davina Pritchard
Mixed Media – Maria Fernanda Galvez,
Fused Glass – Lavae Aldrich
Sculpture – Nancy Reilly
Jewelry – Gallery Sandalo, Anita Azul, Josefina Riccheri, Lavae Aldrich
Clothing – Josefina Riccheri, Anita Zuzul
Wood Frames – Jim Casey
Children’s activity table – Crear
I just put some new work in the Dragonfly Art Gallery here in Samara. I’m showing a mix of pieces using Spectrum 96 art glass and recycled window glass. Stop by the gallery on the main street in Samara, next to Coco’s Mexican Restaurant, and owner Leo will introduce you to the compelling work of more than a dozen local artists. In an easy afternoon you can do an art walk of several local galleries, all exhibiting hand-crafted work, made in Costa Rica.