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Grape Tulip How-to

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Project excerpt from my Creative Shapes video.

I love it when the simplest little changes have a huge impact on the look and feel of a finished piece of art.

Grape Tulip is a terrific example of how using tried-and-true techniques, in slightly different ways, can give you amazingly refreshing results. This finished piece of art has a unique profile and graceful form that make it stand out from the usual vase and base projects. The secret to this dazzler lies in the fused glass shapes and the way they’re slumped. It’s amazing how these slight variations in method influence the outcome. Once you see how easy the setup is, you’ll be eager to try new combinations of your own.

Here’s how its made.

This project is made up of two components that are cut, fused and slumped separately and then later glued together to make the sculptural art. The two components are made with two layers of glass. The base layer of each is clear glass.

Flower: 10-inch x 8 ½-inch, Leaf: 10-inch x 3 1/2-inch

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Tools to have handy.

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Using the pattern as guide cut the clear base glass for the flower. Cut as much as possible by hand to minimize the amount of grinding needed.

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Grind the clear flower base to remove sharp edges and improve the shape.

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Draw the deep inside cuts with a marker. Cover the marker with lip balm to keep it from washing away when using the wet saw.

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Cut the deep inside notches with a wet saw.

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Using the pattern as a guide cut the clear base for the leaf.

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Cut up the paper patterns.

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Use a glue stick to fix the paper pattern pieces to the purple glass.

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Using the pattern as a guide, cut the glass flower petals.

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Grind the cut glass petals to improve the edge quality and shape.

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Grind the cut leaf to smooth the edge.

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Cut the notches in the leaf with a wet saw.

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Glue and stack the purple petals on top of the clear base. Glue and stack the green leaf on top of the clear base. Use the smallest amount of glue possible so it burns off without leaving any trace.

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Detail the flower petals with blue opal frit.

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Use a small dry paint brush to clean any excess frit off the glass.

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Use a sifter to apply powder blue opal frit to the leaf.

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Give the powder frit a leafy pattern with a small dry paint brush. Work powder green frit into the leaf notches.

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Fire the assembled glass to a full fuse temperature using the guide below.

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The glass components after fusing.

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Place the fused glass on the molds. Place a small ceramic bowl in the kiln upside down. Position a small stainless-steel floral form mold on top. Center the fused glass flower over the stainless-steel floral former mold. Position the fused glass leaf diagonally on the stainless-steel S mold.

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Fire the glass to a slump temperature using the guide below.

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Detail of the slumped flower.

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Detail of the slumped leaf.

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Glue the cooled flower to the cooled leaf using clear silicone adhesive or a similar clear drying glue. Hold the flower in place with jars of frit, or other prop, while the glue dries.

25 Grape Tulip Flower Pattern

Flower pattern. Enlarge to 10-inch x 8 ½ inch

26 Grape Tulip Leaf Pattern

Leaf pattern. Enlarge to 10-inch x 3 ½ inch.

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Grape Tulip.

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I love it when the simplest little changes have a huge impact on the look and feel of a finished piece of art.

Here, the addition of a fluted edge on the flower component, plus the ceramic bowl riser under the stainless-steel mold, gives an otherwise ordinary floral former vase a totally new elegant appearance. The cut petal shaped rim has less mass than a circular rim.  Therefore, the glass hugs the mold and curls in giving the vase a lovely, fluted finish.

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Then the combination of the leaf’s free-form shape and the clever positioning over a standard S mold makes a stylish, free-standing base for the flower. The two components in combination make a beautifully graceful statement that’s incomparable.

Next time you’re brainstorming a new project consider using some of your trusted techniques and favorite molds in new ways. You just might create a surprisingly unique beauty like Grape Tulip.

Project excerpt from my Creative Shapes video.

Fusing Guide

Segment 1: Ramp 300 F/hr to 1300 and hold 30 min.

Segment 2: Ramp 500 F/hr to 1465 and hold 10 min.

Segment 3: Ramp 9999(AFAP*) to 960 and hold 40 min.

Segment 4: Cool to room temperature.

*As fast as possible

Gentle Slumping Guide

Segment 1: Ramp 300 F/hr to 1225 or 1265 (depending on your kiln) and hold 10 min.

Segment 2: Ramp 9999(AFAP*) to 960 and hold 40 min.

Segment 3: Cool to room temperature.

*As fast as possible.

NOTE: Kilns fire differently. Test fire these guides in your kiln and then adjust as needed.

Glass and Materials: 1 ½ sq. ft. clear glass for the flower base and leaf base, 1 sq. ft. transparent purple glass for the flower petals, 1/2 sq. ft. opal green for the leaf, Blue opal frit, fine or medium size to accent the flower petals, Blue opal frit, powder to accent the top of the leaf, Green transparent, fine frit to accent the slots in the leaf

You will need: 4-inch tall stainless steel floral former mold, 5-inch wide ceramic bowl mold, Small stainless-steel S mold. Fuser’s glue, Adhesive to glue the two slumped components together

I hope this fun project inspires creative thinking and exciting fusing.

Watch the Grape Tulip video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3k7QAzlF4M

Happy fusing!

Lisa

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Telling Stories with Pictures

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For as long I can remember, I’ve loved taking pictures. My parents gave me my first camera, a Pentax 35mm when I was in middle-school. It was winter in NJ. There wasn’t much in the way of colorful scenery to photograph at that cold, gray time of year. My parents took me on a special day trip to the shore, a 2 hour drive each way, just to take pictures. Up north we called the beach the shore. Don’t ask me why. It’s a Jersey thing.

It tuned out the shore was just as disappointing as home. The sky was low, and cloud covered. The water was a lifeless steel gray and the beach was barren of any ocean treasures worth focusing on. But that didn’t stop me from composing my own creative story in pictures.

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There happened to be a random cement, three-step staircase dumped in the middle of the beach. There was no hint that a building had ever stood on that stretch of public beach. I wondered how the heavy steps had gotten there and why the unsightly debris hadn’t been hauled away. But then I studied it closer and saw beauty in the pattern of the pitted concrete sides. I admired the sharp, angular shape and how it contrasted to the soft sand banked around the base.

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I wondered about the massive storm, and the incredible energy that delivered the heavy steps here. I speculated about the heartbreaking loss that likely accompanied such an unfortunate incident. With that backstory in mind, the lonely giant became fascinating and a worthy focal point for my beach photo shoot.

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I’d gotten away from taking pictures for artistic purposes. Instead, I’d been putting all of my creative energy into making glass art and writing. We recently started canoeing rivers and mangrove mazes. The abundant wildlife and natural beauty of the water has inspired me to start taking pictures again. I see photography as another way to connect and share experiences.

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Now that I’ve unleashed the monster, every moment and event is a photo opportunity. This awakening lead to the purchase of a new camera. My new Nikon D3500, far exceeds the quality of my previous equipment in clarity, sharpness and color. The increased depth and precision is like having a brand new, educated vocabulary to express myself and tell stories. With this expanded language, I’m motivated to compose pictures that impart emotion, pulse with positive energy and spark a sense of wonder.

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It’s no surprise that my first choice for my first outing with my new camera was the beach. That’s what we call the shore here in sunny, Florida. This time it was my hubby, Joe who sat patiently while I took more than 600 pictures. I’ve come full circle. But I’m not done. Let’s go around again…

I hope you enjoy these recently written photo stories.

Lisa

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5 Tips to Get into Your Creative Zone

Fire Storm

5 Tips to Get into Your Creative Zone

The creative zone is a wonderful place where new ideas are conceived, advanced techniques are tested, and innovative pieces of art are brought to life. In the creative zone time doesn’t exist. It’s a beautiful realm full of wonder and surprise. It’s a place of magic we all want to visit. So, how do you produce the right environment to get to this artist’s heaven on-demand? Here are some tricks to fast-track you to the zone.

1 Find your sweet spot.

Identify when you feel most productive creatively. Don’t fight it. Not everyone is meant for a 9:00 to 5:00 workday. For me, my most fruitful hours are between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. And, I like to work even later if I’ve gained momentum that’s getting projects in the kiln. My day starts a lot earlier than 11:00, but I like to work-out and clean a little before I get serious about glass work. Then, I can focus on arty tasks without distractions.

2 Free-play without a critic.

Play with your glass colors without a rigid plan. Allow your spontaneous artistic mind to wander and explore new ways to combine glass colors to make interesting blends. I pull scrap glass out and arrange it on the table in random color schemes. Then I mix them up to get even more unique design palates. This exercise is a process. Once you’ve exhausted the routine combinations, it’s amazing how new fresh ideas reveal themselves.

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3 Take a break.

Look outside for inspiration. Exciting original art is the product of artists who actively seek out stimuli to generate new ideas. Take a walk, go to the beach, the mountains, the zoo or the park. The exercise and fresh air nurtures your creative spirit and promotes action.

4 Sketch design ideas on paper.

You don’t have to be good at drawing for this exercise to work. The process of doodling frees your mind and hushes the internal sensor that holds you back. Forge ahead. Be bold. The idea is to let the drawings come naturally. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much this simple act empowers your artistic style. Try it!

5 Dedicate time to developing your art and your talent.

Commit to branching out and trying new techniques and methods that challenge your skills. In this uncharted territory you’ll find renewed energy that’ll quickly translates into exciting new pieces of art.

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Excelling in your craft is the dream of every dedicated artist. The creative zone is where we find and fine tune our own personal style. It’s where we identify with ourselves and that’s what makes you the incredible artist you are.

You have an amazing talent, use it!

Be kind to yourself. Keep trying. Always, push ahead!

No matter where you are in your artistic journey, you’re doing great!

Happy fusing!

Lisa

Happy fusing!
Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!

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5 Fabulous Frit Techniques You’ll Love

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Shere Power

 

5 Fabulous Frit Techniques You’ll Love

Never underestimate the power of small!

Frit may be tiny, but make no mistake, this little powerhouse can make a huge, positive impact on your glass artwork. The beauty of frit is in its flexibility. I love to push that flexibility every chance I get.

There are always several ways to approach any glass fusing project. But if you can incorporate frit of some sort into that project, you’ll have something unexpected that is unquestionably more engaging. And as self-serving as it is, we all want to dazzle people with our art.

Next time you’re brainstorming how to build your project, consider replacing some or several design elements with frit. Play with different sizes; use mosaic, course, medium, fine and powder. Each size has its own unique visual characteristic that you will love after firing. Work with several shades of the same color such as light amber and medium amber to create a three-dimensional quality. Repeat the same color such as red in both transparent and opal glasses for greater contrast.

Let’s dive in!

Flowering Tree Bowl - Copy

1 Go Overboard! Strengthen your design by incorporating a subtle complimentary pattern in the background. When making the Flowering Tree, I cut a leafy tree limb stencil out of stiff paper. I then sifted soft green powders over the stencil to add the delicate woodland setting behind the flowering plant. The addition of the soft foliage unifies the overall project and makes it distinctly more appealing. The great thing about stenciling a design is that each piece you make will be slightly different and therefore everyone has unique beauty.

Paisly Bowl 1 - Copy

2 Go Deeper! Consider increasing the attraction of your work by repeating the same pattern on both the base layer and the top layer. Simply sift powders over a stencil on the base layer. Then turn the stencil ¼ turn and repeat the pattern on the second layer. Stack the layers to create a new, more elegant design. This quick little trick is a terrific way to increase visual depth and ramp up the sophistication of your artwork.

Sea Turtle - Copy

3 Lighten Up! Give your design a light source and you’ll have an immediate winner. With frit you can do it in a snap. Select frit in multiple shades of the same color. Use both transparent and opal versions of every color in your palette. Then gradually spread the frit working from light to dark. Blend the colors as you go for an even more engaging flow. This painterly technique rapidly transforms flat, lifeless images into lively three-dimensional masterpieces.

Painted Forest 1

 

4 Set the Mood! Making a sherbet colored tropical sunset, a magical starry night or mysterious mist cloaked meadow is easy with frit. Think about how such enchanted places make you feel. Think about how they draw you in, tempt you to stay and make you wonder what hidden treasures wait for you just out of sight. Now take that feeling and make it tangible by mixing different colors of frit and you’ll create energetic settings that speaks out loud.

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Party Animals
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Close up of frit outlining the cat.

5 Take the Helm! Next time your cut glass design doesn’t fit as accurately as you’d like, do what I do. Throw in a zinger. Fill that nasty crevice or inconvenient hole with frit in a color that contrasts the cut glass around it. No, you’re not fudging a mistake. You’re making something new, adding detail and highlighting the more important characteristics of your design.

Don’t Mutiny! Frit may be small, but its applications are huge. Use it in small or even large doses and as you navigate these new waters, you’ll begin to fathom the many, many artistic possibilities.

Except from my Fusing with Frit Webinar, this Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Anchors Away!

Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks.

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Studio News

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Tropical Fish Tray

Check out my fun tutorial in the Glass Patterns Quarterly, Summer 2019 issue and learn how to make this bubbly dish.

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Upcoming Class

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Sculptural fused glass is the creation of three-dimensional forms that rise above a flat plane. Artists create 3-D works by using multiple methods and techniques with complete freedom of materials and process.

Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop, October 15-18, 2019

You’re invited to join me for this intense workshop held in my private studio in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Class size is limited to 4.

NEW Class Update and Special Offer. Register now and for the first time EVER, all class materials are included! PLUS, you’ll get a FREE Fused Art Design Video DVD. AND, a professional photo shoot of your completed sculptural masterpieces.

In this comprehensive class you’ll learn how to design, build and creatively display multiple stunning pieces of art that reflect your personal style.

You’ll push the boundaries glass imposes. You’ll use innovative approaches to design and combine multiple advanced techniques to construct original sculptural art.You’ll enjoy: the one-on-one instruction, making large scale projects, the well-equipped classroom, and the intimate class size.

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Its hard-core fusing in a nurturing, relaxed environment. You’ll love the concentrated, in-depth study and creative momentum you’ll gain while actively producing nonstop, for four consecutive days. You’ll also learn how to design and build custom art glass displays that enhance your original work.

Due to popular demand, I’m now extending the hands-on curriculum to include a professional photo shoot of your completed sculptures.

You’ll leave class with several completed sculptures, a working knowledge of kiln operation and custom project-specific firing guides. You’ll have the design confidence and hands-on experience to rise above and take your work to the next level.