Whether you’re in the tropics or not, these handmade fused glass clocks will keep you punctual.
They’re made with recycled window glass. (Thanks Kristina.)
Most will be available for sale at Sámara Organics Market.
I’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.
I’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.
After 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.
Then, with a soft pencil, I draw a design on the dry glass powder.
The design is carved away with a drummel tool.
The negative spaces are then refilled with a different color of glass powder.
When the design is complete, the piece is fired at full fuse (1535F for float glass).
Before molding the piece in a second or third kiln firing, the edges are hand sanded with 80 and 220 grit.
All 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.
I’ve been having a lot of fun recently making these wire-wrapped pendants.
I’ve enhanced them with beaded ropes.
I recently selected a few for gifts for the girls and women in my family. When I laid them out on the table so each one could choose her favorite, my 16 year-old grandson swooped in, made his own selection, and wore his pendant the rest of the weekend. So, you see, these designs are unisex.
These earrings are using a new technique with a new material. I hope you like them.
All of this jewelry is for sale at Samara Organics at the Natural Center.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve just put some new pieces into Samara Organics.
Lots of jewelry too.
Thank-you to my good friend and patron (through all my careers), Lynne Alexander.
These two 7″ square plates are ready for shipment to Seattle. Lynne says she’ll use them for candles.
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.
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”.
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.”
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.
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.
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)
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.
A new series, “CURRENTS”, will be on display tomorrow at Samara Organics Mercado & Café.
And Costa Rica is so very green
Christmas ready. Available at Samara Organics. c4,000 ($8.00)
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.