Fused Glass from Tropics of Costa Rica

Posts tagged “art in samara costa rica

Gecko Glass Art – New shop at ETSY

z cover e.pngI’ve figured out how to ship small fused glass art from Costa Rica to the US and Canada. So I’ve taken the plunge and opened an online shop on ETSY – Gecko Glass Art – to sell my handmade jewelry and small items. Take a look and tell me what you think of my presentation.

For now, the shop will focus on ornaments and a variety of jewelry including bead embroidery cuffs, wire wrapped necklaces, and dichroic glass pendants, all hand made by me.  I’ll be adding new pieces all the time.  Watch for Christmas and holiday items to show up in the next few months.  If you’re interested in something larger that you’ve seen on my website, email me and we can start a conversation.

If you’re here in Samara, you can avoid shipping charges by calling me or by visiting Samara Organics Mercado, where my fused glass work is displayed for sale.


Fusing with Frit

 

rpp57-58-purple-chip-and-salsaI’ve been working on a new series of chipbowls and salsa dishes, using window glass which is (usually, almost) free around here, left over at construction sites – Thank-you, Kristina.

People have been curious about the process so here is what I do.   I like the philosophy of recycling glass but the material is not as forgiving as System 96 glass which is made specifically for fusing.  The learning curve has been steep.

1-mixingAfter cutting the ¼” thick glass to the size I want, I mix up a paste of glass frit powder with an organic fusible gel.

The paste is spread across the glass and left to air dry in the sun.

3-drawingThen, with a soft pencil, I draw a design on the dry glass powder.

4-cuttingThe design is carved away with a drummel tool.

6 fill spaces.JPGThe negative spaces are then refilled with a different color of glass powder.

7 ready to fuse.JPGWhen the design is complete, the piece is fired at full fuse (1535F for float glass).

pp28-yellow-blue-dragonfly-salsa-dishBefore molding the piece in a second or third kiln firing, the edges are hand sanded with 80 and 220 grit.

rpp53-yellow-orange-powder-dishAll in all, it takes me nearly a week to finish a piece.

I’ve also been using fusible System 96 glass as well, which is more expensive but produces more consistent results.


Just in

glass fusing samara costa rica

glass fusing samara costa rica

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.


Enhancements

fused glass jewelry samara costa rica

a- j6 blue heart  Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of wire-wrapping over glass “puddles”.

a- j12 13 14

When I make mistakes in fused glass pieces, I break them up and re-fire them into “puddles”.

Tree of life pendant Sometimes, I use these puddles in other fused glass pieces – see if you can find some in my portfolio – but often, I turn them into jewelry.

a- j3 j6

Lately, I’ve been wire-wrapping them as earrings and pendants.

wire-wrapped jewelry

I started with the “Tree of Life” – I love this simple motif – and then branched out into some more abstract designs.  a- j7 j8 j9

My friend, Connie – she is great with beads and beading – helped me enhance these pendants with beaded ropes for necklaces.

Tree of life pendantSome of these pendants will be shown in Samara Organics soon.


Bottle Boxes

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So, you’ve been wondering what I do with all the wine and beer bottles

that you’ve been saving for me.

Here is my first run of bottle Boxes; good for trinkets, earrings, salt, votives,

or Grampa’s ashes.

Each box is made from two bottles, the lid is decorated and fired to fit over the cut bottle.

These Jam Jars will be for sale at Samara Organics.


New Website

ps3 - red leaf platter

Gecko Glass

Gecko Glass has gone live with a new website at http://geckoglassart.com.  Check it out for new work, classes info, and portfolio.  You can still follow my blog for news and events by clicking in the right hand column here.


New Work

I’ve just put some new pieces into Samara Organics.

Lots of jewelry too.


Just another successful class

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These students made votive holders and night lights.  Nice work, ladies!

Verano class schedule: Monday, Thursday, or Saturday mornings, 10am or 1:30 pm.  Call for reservation.  $35.00.  ask for resident’s discount.


Bottle Bird plates

costa rica birds
costa rica birds

Keel-billed Toucan

By now, everyone on the planet has seen the ubiquitous slumped bottle/cheese plate.

costa rica birds

Ringed Kingfisher

I’ve added a Costa Rican tropical bird to each one, most of which I’ve seen here in Samara. (more…)


Send me your empty, your poured.

kiln operation

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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.

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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.


Occam’s Razor, glass version

glass fusing costa rica

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.

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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 samara costa rica

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.


Birds of Paradise

Handmade fused glass samara costa rica

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

fusing recycled glass samara costa rica

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?


Five Not So Easy Pieces

fused glass costa rica

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. (more…)


A New Year’s Eve wedding gift

fused glass art costa rica

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.


Currents

art glass

A new series, “CURRENTS”, will be on display tomorrow at Samara Organics Mercado & Café.

glass fusing in the tropicsglass fusing costa ricaThis one reminds me of the ocean.

glass fusing             fused glassfused glass art costa rica

And Costa Rica is so very green


Results are in

kids' class glass fusing

Here are the light catchers we made last week in the kids’ class.

glass fusing kids' class

If you’d like to schedule a kids’ class for a birthday party or special day, call or email for information.


With earrings to match

fused glass earrings

fused glass earrings

Christmas ready.  Available at Samara Organics. c4,000 ($8.00)


New technique

fused glass art samara costa rica

This is a fun piece I just finished.  I feel a series coming on.


Everybody knows how to draw.

art education

art education 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.

fused glass art

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.

costa rica schools

“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.

art educationI 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.

fused glass class samara costa rica

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.

art education

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.

what to do in samara costa rica

The glass pieces were fixed to the clear base sheets with white glue. Who doesn’t love glue?

fused glass art

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.

fused glass art

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.

fused glass in samara costa rica

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.

 


This class filled the kiln this time

fused glass in samara costa rica

fused glass in samara costa rica

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.