Tuesday, July 23, 2013

After a year I've finally completed another version of the Rose Fairy.  I started picking the glass for her last year but other projects would come up or I would be distracted by other things.  A few weeks ago I remembered that parts of her were sitting in a box in my workshop and made a commitment to get her done.

A few years ago I was visiting with a friend and she had a collection of small illustrated books that I had not seen before.  The illustrations were of fairies, all associated with flowers~~they were the flower fairies created by Cicely Mary Barker.  I fell in love with the Rose Fairy.  Rose is my middle name and I just adored the way the sweet fairy embraced her flower.

Here she is half way through the fitting process.  By this time all of the pieces had been cut by hand and some needed to be cut with the ring saw.  One by one the pieces were placed onto the original pattern to make sure they fit together, just one of the many steps involved in creating the piece.

The Rose Fairy has been added to my Etsy shop inventory and is currently available for sale.  I've made a commitment to donating $50 from the sale of this piece to The Goathouse Refuge, a no kill animal shelter in North Carolina.  They work tirelessly to rescue cats and kittens along with providing medical care for them and trying to find forever homes for them.  I truly admire their love and dedication. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring has sprung

Happy vernal equinox! Spring is my favorite season, or is it fall? Hmmm, I suppose I love them both. Being such an important day I took some time to go exploring. I do love exploring the woodlands that surround me this time of year. Its quite exciting to see a little sprout of something make its way through the leaf litter on the forest floor. Its still a bit early for wildflowers to be blooming, but I did manage to find a few. The most abundant of the woodland wildflowers here seems to be the Toadstool Trillium. I've come across so many of them in my search, but have yet to find one opened. The one wildflower I did find was this little type of flower. I have yet to identify it but it was so pretty I had to include it here. There were more mystery plants on today's journey. Before the spring turns into summer I hope to have these figured out. These I do know, they are Mayapples. Although just emerging and small here they will grow to a good size and produce flowers beneath the cover of the leaves. The beech trees are still livening up the forest by holding on to last years leaves. Soon they will drop them in favor of new ones. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to find some lovely loves today. Tomorrow the weather will change to rain/sleet/snow. Here's hoping the first spring was joyous for you as well. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To celebrate the arrival of the new season, I've decided to have a sale in my Etsy shop. All items have been discounted 10%, no coupon code needed. The sale runs through March 24.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stained glass tulips in red and yellow

Spring is in the air so it just seemed natural to come up with a new design featuring one of my favorite spring time flowers. The idea for this piece actually started with the diamond shaped bevel that is in the center. Its been sitting in my supply cabinet for a few years, it was finally time to build something with it. The result is a combination of two of my favorite things--geometry with nature. I began playing with some ideas and scribbling in my little notebook. Lately some designs have started as tiny little sketches. Sometimes when I draw them at a large working size they don't look quite as good to me as the did in a tiny size. For the tulip plan the design elements came together really well at a large size. When I was thinking about colors for the tulip suncatcher my original idea was to use violet purple for the flowers. But I really didn't want all four of them to be the same color and I couldn't figure out a good complimentary color if I chose to split them up. After searching my stock I decided red and yellow would work better, and since the flowers are two different colors I decided to make the leaves both hunter and emerald green. Lacking soom sophisticated tools I've learned to improvise with everyday objects. For outlining circles I use covers from the kitchen~~here the cover from the slow cooker is a perfect 10 inch round while the retired frying pan makes a 12 inch circle. Since the center of the design is a glass bevel I thought adding additional bevels to the border would be a nice touch. The problem was that the 1 inch bevels I planned to use are square but the border is curved. By grinding the inner and outer edge a bit I was able to make them fit. So glad I went this route. All cutting and grinding of the pieces moved smoothly and I was able to work on the piece rather quickly. Of course I was very excited to see how everything blended together. Here is the first look off the paper pattern with one side soldered. Yesterday was the day to photograph it and list it in my Etsy shop. The skies were sunny which was ideal to get the best views of the suncatcher. It looks best in a window with good sun behind it, the colors of the piece really pop and the bevels sparkle and shine their prismatic beauty. Currently available, this tulip suncatcher measures 14 1/4 inches diameter, just over 36 cm. As always, chain will be included for hanging.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cicada wings and blooming things

Every year we are blessed with the emergence of one type of cicada or another. They spend most of their lives underground feeding on tree roots, once they emerge and break from their nymphal skins their adult life is relatively short. Their large size makes them easy to spot as they cling on to plant life or other things and I've even found them on the ground attempting to fly but their wings are so weak that all they can do is spin just a little bit.

The above is a photo of last year's Periodical Cicada coming out of its skin.

After looking at their wings closely I thought it would be an interesting fun project to create one in glass. The structure of the wing is really quite lovely.

For the first one I had made I had taken a wing that had fallen off of a cicada and simply scanned it and blew it up to a larger size to create a pattern.

For the first two wings I had created I has used textured iridescent glass. For the one I created yesterday I chose to use lightly textured sea green glass~~its fun to try things in different colors plus I've got a boat load of sea green glass that I need to find a use for.

For the previous two wings I had only added a single loop to the base of the wing, for this new one I've added a loop at a second location along one size as to allow the wing to be hung both vertically and horizontally.

I'm not quite sure if I like the location of the second loop, perhaps it should be placed further down towards the end of the wing.

Assembled using glass, copper foil and solder, the entire outer edge has been wrapped with a type of lead channel to give it strength. Cicada wing suncatcher is available for sale now in my Etsy shop.


Spring has come on in a really strong way here this year. Our winter was really mild so everything had awoken quite early. Most of the trees are in full leaf already, which doesn't usually happen for another month.

A few days ago I had noticed some lovely wild azaleas growing on a hillside just down the road from me. There are quite a few of these shrubs, I had picked the easiest to climb to to get some photos.

The flowers are really lovely growing in clusters, bright white trumpets with a heavenly scent. Members of the rhododendron family, I'm not quite sure which species these are--wild, mountain or other.

This is a view of the shrub I had picked to photo, tucked among various other trees the whiteness really stands out looking for attention.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Golden amber leaves in stained glass

A few days ago I got started on a suncatcher project for my Etsy shop in between some custom orders that I've been working on. This was a piece that I had done once before and loved it so much that I decided to create another.

Some months ago I had come across a fantastic deal on a lot of glass that someone was basically giving away. He had retired from the business and needed to get it moved off his property since the property was sold. Not having the heart to destroy all this glass, out of the blue he called me and asked if I might be interested. I simply could not resist.

Within this collection were some beautiful pieces that I'd never used before. One was this gorgeous dark amber glue chip glass. Glue chip is created when a layer of glue is spread over the sheet of glass, as it dries it pulls up parts of the surface in a random manner leaving behind an appearance of ferns perhaps, or a frosty look.

Another interesting piece was this deep dark brown glass with a granite texture that so reminded me of tree trunk. A color so rich and brown like the woods used in old German cuckoo clocks. These two colors paired with lighter amber I though would make an interesting combination.

For the center leaves I choose a medium and a pale amber colored glass, both in wavy Waterglass texture from the Spectrum Glass Company. Waterglass in all colors is probably my favorite glass to use. The colors are bold and true, the delicate texture lends itself well to so many different applications. Still photos don't do the glass justice as there is so much light play and a feeling of movement to it.

Reversing the textures of both the glue chip glass and the dark brown granite glass gives the piece additional interest once the sun goes down. Interior artificial light gently plays on the surfaces of these areas catching your eye as you walk past it.

This amber leaves suncatcher is now available in my Etsy shop. Measuring 13 3/4 inches diameter, 35cm. The design can easily be customized to colors of your choice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Black Vulture~up close and personal

Quite an exciting event a few days ago in that I got to get close to a Black Vulture and it didn't seem to mind having its photo taken.

The vulture population has always been strong in the neighborhood I live in. This area sits high on a hill top overlooking the Tennessee River. The topographic features attract vultures year round due to the thermal currents that form naturally. Vultures enjoy riding these thermal currents and can soar effortlessly for hours. The above photo was taken a few weeks ago in the early morning hours when I followed them to a clearing where they were already in action.

The trees directly across the street from my house have been a favored roosting area as well. Hundreds of them will settle down for the night in the tall trees there. Occasionally, I'll walk over to take photos of them or to simply observe their behavior. They are not vocal birds, but do make grunts and hissing sounds. The loudest sounds that come from them are when they are spooks and whole flocks leave the trees~I suppose its the motion of air beneath their long wings.

Lately, I've noticed that they are starting to come closer to my house. A few days ago I noticed a few sitting in tall trees behind my house and along with making themselves comfortable on my neighbor's roof.

I had stepped outside to take care of something or other when I noticed a Black Vulture sitting on my neighbor's back deck. What a great opportunity this would be, I thought...I'll just sneak quietly alongside their house and snap off a shot or two...all the while thinking that the bird will probably leave once it hears me approaching. I got lucky and it didn't.

So, I thought I might try sneaking around the other side of the house to their back yard and get some more shots. The bird did not seem to mind at all as I slowly crept up the stairs to the deck and stood about 5 feet from it for these photos. Its a much handsomer bird than I would have imagined~~never seeing them this close before, only through illustrations and photos in field guilds and such. Its feathers were clean and glossy and somewhat fluffy on its head. I enjoyed my time with it and left quietly leaving it alone to enjoy the sunny afternoon. It was a wonderful experience, I'll have to keep my eye out for it again...perhaps it would like additional photos taken of it.

I've got a set on my flickr photostream for more vulture photos I've taken over the years:

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011~The year of the turtle

According to the Chinese zodiac the official animal for 2011 was the rabbit~but for me it was the year of the turtle. It seemed everywhere I went I'd have an encounter with one or more. Red-eared Sliders were found both close to water where they like to be but also one made its way through my yard which was a mystery as my yard is high on a hilltop. Eastern Box Turtles were found both in my backyard safe from vehicles, but a handful needed to be rescued out of the highways as well.

Here are some of my favorite turtle photos of 2011, I couldn't list them all as there were so very many. I hope you enjoy this collection.

Wishing all a very happy and healthy 2012. I'm very excited to find out what my animal for the coming year will be.