Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stained Glass Rainbow Butterfly~~new and improved version

Last week I had begun working on a new version of a Rainbow Butterfly in stained glass.  I had come up with the original idea a couple of years ago and have done a few versions of it.  For this new design I changed things up a bit by adding a lot more detail in the wings of the butterfly and also adding swirls and curves to the background--to give the piece more of a feeling of movement.

As in the previous butterflies I chose to use a textured glass made by the Spectrum Glass Company called Rough Rolled. It has a sparkly texture that really shimmers with sunlight or even objects behind it that reflect light.  For the background pieces I was able to piroot through my leftover scrap box searching for odd parts to use~~as it turned out I was able to use seven different textures to surround the butterfly.

This was the very last rainbow butterfly that I had done before making the changes that I did.  When working on the one above the thought came to me that I really wanted the colors to flow from the center outward--the only way to get that to work was to add more pieces to the project--which of course involves a lot more cuts and a lot of small pieces to wrap with foil. Also, even though I love the deep purple that I used its such a difficult color for me to photograph that I figured that I shouldn't use it again for a butterfly.

Shown here with all of the pieces for the project cut and about half way through the process of foiling.  Even though some of the pieces were/are tiny this step seemed to move relatively quickly.

Here it was ready to be soldered together.  When doing a piece like this with tiny parts its real easy to get globby and sloppy with the solder.  Remember to bring your patience to the soldering party.

Completed this butterfly measures 12 inches wide by 10 1/2 inches tall, about 30.5cm by 26.5cm.  Available for sale in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A little bit of time for some exploration

With the record heat this summer, its sad to say but I have not had much desire to go out exploring.  Sure, I think about it and that's as far as it gets.  I know I have missed so many wonderful happenings out in nature.  When I knocked off working this afternoon I was just itching to get out, even just for a few minutes.  That's about all the time I got, soon after arriving at a local county park thunder was heard in the distance and rain started heading our way.
There were lots of lovely water lilies close to the shore.  I was glad to see them--they have been doing an extensive 'clean up' of the brushy areas in the park--the places that I love to explore.  Good to know they didn't touch the lotus.

I just can't help but think of ET whenever I see one of these seed heads from the American Lotus.  From the looks of broken off stems, somebody must like them and have picked them to take home.

Lots and lots of dragonflies flying about this afternoon.  These two stop to take a break and seem to be sizing each other up.

Butterflies and more butterflies.  This Spicebush Butterfly has definitely seen better days.  Huge chunks of its wings were missing, but it didn't seem to have a problem flying from one buttonbush bloom to the next.

Last year, they had cut back these lovely buttonbush plants to the ground.  Thankfully, they had let them grow back for this year~~the butterflies were all over them.  Here a Tiger Swallowtail feeds alone...not for long.

This second one thought that the first one had an extra special flower and wanted a taste of it as well.

Such a short visit today~as it was time to head out I spotted this Great Blue Heron feeding close to shore in the shallows--looking for a tasty meal~~~maybe a small fish, maybe a frog.  It stayed in place for a while--but not long enough while I fumbled with the settings on the camera.  Just as I was about to take a shot at it, it decided to take off--it ended up being a pretty cool shot anyway.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Something a bit different~Abstract Blue and White Suncatcher

I've had the thought of trying this idea for a while--design something without the use of a pattern.  Finally, I've gotten around to doing just that. I started this piece off by simply drawing a circle on a sheet of paper and then filling in the circle with various pieces of glass, mostly scrap pieces that were sitting in boxes.  It was a bit harder then I thought it would be--but very fun anyway.  Some of the pieces were just a touch short~~that's when I had the idea of putting a couple of glass globs in to fill in the voids.

One I had all the pieces foiled and started the solder process, I thought to pull an old trick out of my hat by adding this solder effect.  When the solder is hot, a wet sponge is smashed onto the solder lines creating this crinkly effect.

Two shades of blue along with white glass, a dark blue gem, two light blue gems and one clear gem all together in this abstract suncatcher~~available for sale in my Etsy shop.
This one of a kind piece measures 8 3/4 inches diameter, just over 22cm.

Looks interesting hanging on a wall as well.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why did the turtle cross the road?

I would have to think he did because he wanted me to write about him.  The other day I was leaving to run to town to take care of some errands and I've learned that its best to bring a camera along.  This Eastern Box Turtle was starting to make its way across the road~~of course I had to pull over and take a look.  It really did put a smile on my face when I realized it was so close to the speed limit sign.  This will probably qualify as a turtle rescue--there have been a few this year--pulling turtles off of busy highways.  And although its posted at 20 MPH not many people pay attention.  Even the school bus driver thinks he's trying to qualify for a NASCAR race when he comes through.

The shells of these turtles are just so beautiful. Such wonderful color and design. 

When I first took an interest in the workings of nature and bought loads of books to learn about the wonderful creatures around me, one of them was a book on reptiles and amphibians, their life histories and such.  Unlike mammals and most birds, reptiles show little outward signs of their gender.  With box turtles, eye color can sometimes be a determining factor along with the shape of the upper shell.  If the tail is visible, the male's are usually longer and wider than the females--although it would be difficult to compare without multiple samples. Here's a way to distiguish the two sexes.  The underside of the shell, known as the planstron will be concave in males and flat in females.  So--this one looks to be a boy.

These turtles have another wonderful design and that they can completely close themselves into their shells in case of danger--the planstrom is hinged to allow this.

Time to let him go.  After a few minutes I moved him over to the other side for some peace and quiet.  When moving turtles out of harms way--most likely a roadway, its important to move them in the direction that they were travelling--not back where they were since they will set out again.  There's a reason they were heading the way they were.