Leaf Coasters

So, I have made coasters in the past and they usually sell fairly well.  Usually as gifts around the holidays or for housewarmings.  But, I have been so focused on my glass paintings that I hadn't made any in a while.

I am currently getting ready for the season of shows coming up and thought coasters should be on my to-do list.  Several months ago I purchased a couple of sheets of 6mm clear fusing glass with the intention of figuring out a new technique for coasters.  

Well, after rolling it around for some time and peeking at one of my favorite books - Richard La Londe - Fused Glass Art and Technique - I decided to try a layered frit idea.


I know it is hard to see in a photograph, but what you see here is before the first firing.  I lay down a thin layer of vanilla colored fine frit, then carefully layer one color of frit for the basic shap of the leaf.  Next I sprinkle on two other contrasting colors of frit, then break and lay down the pieces of stringer for the veins. Finally, a 4 x 4" piece of the 6mm clear is laid on top and it is fired to 1480 degrees.


After the first firing I paint a black outline around the leaf edges and veins, then fire it again to 1450 degrees. 

The final coasters are bright, cheery, smooth and have a really cool almost double image where you are seeing the black paint "floating" above the colored leaf. 

All Seasons Coaster Set

After a pretty long hiatus from Etsy, I have decided to post my new coaster sets on there for sale.  Click Here to see my shop.  I will be adding more of the leaves and possibly some other designs soon.  Enjoy and Drink Up!


Sage and Songbirds

I am very excited to announce that I will be showing and selling my art at the Sage and Songbirds 15th Annual Festival and Garden Tour.

I plan to have lots of bird and butterfly pieces.  I am also working on some glass plant markers that should be a great hit.

Come on down to beautiful, sunny San Diego county for a weekend of fun!  


Celebrating Alpine, CA -- 
America's First Community Wildlife Habitat

hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

Private Home Garden Tour - May 4-6, 2012 
(sneak-peek photos & garden stories coming to this site soon)

FREE Festival - May 5-6, 2012 at Viejas Outlets

FREE Events and activities include:
•Educational Seminars 
•Caterpillar Races
•Butterfly Release
•Live Birds of Prey
•Live Hummingbirds
•Snakes, reptiles, bugs & other critters
•And featuring the awesome illusion of "Sleeveless the Magician", performing his sleight-of-hand magic & comedy show both days of the Festival!

•Garden Mart!
•Plant Sales!
Scavenger Hunt!
•Opportunity Drawings!




Shading and Texturing

Here is a glimpse of the second stage of all of my reverse glass paintings - the shading and texturing.  The grid lines you see are coming from my new LED light table.  That table is coming in very handy for this stage.


After the first firing of the black outline, the entire piece of glass is painted with a thin wash of black paint.  When the paint dries I use sticks and paint brushes to remove paint to create highlights and texture before firing it again. 

IMG_0626Click on the photo to be able to see the detail - especially in the wing feathers.

This is a large owl piece I am working on.  If you look carefully along the top edge of the forward wing you will see a cut line that runs diagonally across the piece.  The overall size of this glass is 14 x 21" - just slightly too big to fit into my 24" round kiln. Really it's just shaped wrong (retangular instead of round).  So, I had to break the glass up somehow and I thought this was just the right place for this design.

The piece of wood this is going on is a large chisel shape standing straight up.  I am planning to enter this into a salon show in Altadena in June.  Of course, I have to get it done, take pictures, send them in with my application and hope it is selected to be shown.  The show is juried, so IF I am accepted, I will then cross my fingers for an award.  I will be entering two other owl pieces as well since each artist is allowed up to 3 entries.  

I will post photos of all three when completed (hopefully next week).


I have boxes (yes, plural) of clear fusible scrap glass.  You see, every time I cut a piece to paint and mount onto wood (or whatever) it creates small pieces that are unuseable in my normal art pieces.  I could make jewelry with it, but that is not the direction I want to take with these pieces.

In the past I have taken scraps like that and fused them together, added frit and paint and created some very beautiful bowls.  They always end up with holes in them because as you layer the pieces to be fired, there are inevitable gaps between them.  When it is fused the gaps only become larger as the glass pulls in on itself and rounds over. 

To me, the holes are pretty and somewhat elegant in their randomness, but not quite useful to hold some things (like soup, for instance).  But...what about allowing light to spill through them??

DSC_0004                                                        "Burning Bush" - (Get it?  Cause it's "hole-ey")

This is one of the first tries and I am in love with it.  First of all, I love trees!  Secondly, the background just glows with the light and the holes create a lovely cast of light. 

This one is about 7 x 10".  Following some instructions in one of my favorite books - Richard La Londa - Fused Glass Art and Techniques - I purchased a sheet of stainless steel, some threaded rods and nuts and created a half tube slumping mold.  It is just slightly slumped and barely stands up on it's own.  


The other piece I did does not stand up on it's own.  The bottom edge has an upward curve on the left side and is just not stable. 

DSC_0007                                                                                            "Fencing"

I am considering some kind of base  to stand these up on.  Probably wood.  I am also considering whether to actually mount a light in the base, or rely on sunlight or ambiant light to make them shine.  I like the idea of natural light.  Or maybe candles? Time will tell where this takes me.  I still have lots of scrap glass.  Oh, and now I have another idea for making the "sheets" of glass - melting through a stainless steel mesh. I am thinking it will create a smoother sheet and probably avoid any of the holes - hmmm....is that a good thing?  


Higher Ground

Higher Ground

That is what I named one of my new pieces today.  Naming is always a problem for me and it can be hard to come up with new and interesting titles for my pieces. 

I paint a lot of birds and trees.  Sometimes they are the same breed of bird and my trees are my trees - they often look pretty similar even when they are quite unique - that's what makes them mine, I guess. Mark has helped quite a lot by shooting out interesting titles when he looks at a new piece.  Of course, his aren't all gems, either.

I tend to use the colors of a piece in the title frequently.  Like "Gold and Grey" or "Purple Perch".  That works, is descriptive, but doesn't seem very creative to me.  

So, I had 4 pieces I was signing and titling today.  

Atop 2
"Atop" - Aptly descriptive and a somewhat unique word, I think

Purple Perch 2
"Purple Perch" - One of my "color" names...

Remembrance 1
"Remembrance" - This title is actually somewhat connected to the color.  Mark and I were thinking of names and, of course, the word yellow came up, he says "Tie a yellow ribbon" and that got me thinking about why we tied ribbons around the old oak tree - to remember our loved ones and to guide them home.  Remember the trees I finished in December titled "Simplicity", "Harmony", "Serenity" - I like these really calming and soothing titles.  They are what I see in trees, I suppose.

Higher Ground 1
"Higher Ground" - I love flickers.  I keep suet out on the tree just outside my office window so that I can watch the flickers, nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees.  The flickers are quite common here and always wow me with their color, but also their calm assertiveness.  They are no-nonsense birds.  So, color references seemed very natural to me to use in the title for this one, but that would be too safe, too "done".  I was listening to the "Red Hot Chili Peppers" while contemplating and decided to look at the song titles on the cd - lo and behold "Higher Ground" popped out at me.  I am pretty certain the band did not have flickers in mind when they wrote this, but the title was perfect.  It takes into it that feeling of having to look up at the bird, high in the oak tree surrounded by sun-kissed golden leaves and full, round acorns.  

I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about my titling process.  It isn't always this fun - sometimes I am in a hurry and get lazy - but every once in a while........


Lighting My Life

Although I have built in some down time into the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, I am not sure I will be able to stick to it.  

My dear husband has given me an LED light table for my glass painting.  I am forever having to lift up my glass pieces to get light to shine up through the glass.  It is the only way I can see that my colors are getting right up to the edge of the black outlines.  I am really looking forward to using the light table.  It will make the coloring and shading so much easier!


I have some new ideas to work on, also.  These rectangular sketches are a bit rough, but are just ideas for a new display I want to try.  If all goes well, they will be somewhat larger pieces - maybe about 10 x 12" and thicker - 1/4 to 3/8"??  I plan to do them in layers, fused together and bent over a stainless steel mold.  I can picture them being lit from behind, or just set into a sunny window.  



Itching to get started on some new things - like I said, not really sure my downtime is really going to go as long as I anticipated.

And isn't this little guy just a cutie?? He might pop up somewhere soon....



Pets are such wonderful beings.  They can be fun, playful, sweet, rambunctious, soulful, calming and so much more.  And we are so lucky to be a part of their lives.

I have had several requests for custom pet totem orders lateley. I completed 3 of them just recently as Christmas gift orders. 

JJ Meyer totem with photo

Meyer - photo and totemIsn't this just a sweet picture??


Olendorf - photo and totem copyThe customer supplied the wood for this piece.  He is going to oil it to finish it up.

My own pets are keeping warm and safe and seem to be happy.  I hope you and your families (including pets - dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, etc) are all enjoying the holiday season!


Trees, Trees, Glorious Trees!

I finished 9 more pieces last week, just before my last show of the season in Altadena, CA.  I made 7 trees, an owl and a hare.  

Fall Moon
"Fall Moon"

I have discovered a new way to layer the background frit using transparent colors and creamy vanilla to make subtle, but vibrant skies and backgrounds.

Serenity in Red
"Serenity in Red"

Some of these were very hard to even put price tags on - I would love to keep them all!

Harmony in Red
"Harmony in Red"


Simplicity 2


Intensity 3"Intensity"

Wish Upon A Star
"Wish Upon A Star"


Finally Pictures!

As promised, here are the pictures of my latest completed ornaments and Christmas lights.  We bought our first fresh cut tree in about 15 years yesterday.  It is sitting proudly in my living room.  We are expecting a snow storm today, so it will be just right for sipping cocoa (with Kalua?) and hanging lights and ornaments!  I am looking forward to it!

Blue Snowflake Ornament

Green Reindeer Ornament 2

Tree Ornament 2

House Lights

Flowers of the Season

We spent a little time this week putting up our Christmas lights outside.  We hung 6 strands of white icicle lights along our short fence that runs along our driveway and for the first time, we put our big colorful bulb strands along the front deck railing.  I just love coming home in the evening to the house lit up like that!

I also trimmed back my rose bushes.  For two reasons - I am hoping it makes them come back full in the spring, but also so that we would not get scratched to death while maneuvering around them to put up the lights.  There were a few gorgeous roses still in bloom, amazingly enough, and I cut those to bring inside.


The little owl card was a Thank You card from my nephew, Ryan.

A couple of months ago I repotted some of my older house plants.  They were quite root-bound and the Christmas Cactus hadn't bloomed in at least 2 years.  I ended up moving the cactus to a different window, also.  I understand they like the west facing sun, but I don't have any good window space on my west side, so they went into a north window.  I wasn't really sure how that was gonna work.  I was going around watering a couple of weeks ago and was so excited to see that it had big, juicy blooms on it again.  And then last week they all popped open!  



And on the glass front, I have sold quite a few of my ornaments at the Mountain Arts Network Gallery in Lake Arrowhead.  I really wasn't sure how well they would sell, so I only made 15 or 20 of the glass ornaments.  I had one woman come in and buy 13 of them in one day!  Well, I don't expect that to happen again, but I did make some more, different ones, and took them up to the gallery the other day.

Unfortunately, I took pictures of them after the clear glass was hand painted, but before firing, but forgot to get any finished pictures because I was in a hurry to take them to the store.  But, you can see the new images I painted - a Christmas tree, reindeer and snowflake.  They were all fired onto a vanilla colored background and I hung glass beads beneath each one.  I will have to get some photos for you. :-)





I like the reindeer, but the red ones are another example of how the red paint can be so tricky. During firing, the red blurred out and became very thin in spots.  I was not able to actually use them to sell.  I am planning to try to repaint and refire them, so we will see how that comes out.

Enjoy the Flowers of the Season!